Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Rocket

A Proton-M rocket (Photo: Oleg Golovnev/Shutterstock)

A Proton-M rocket crashed headlong into the ground shortly after take off on July 2. According to independent website Russian Space Web, which has been monitoring Russian media since the crash, reports that crash investigators examining the wreckage had found the angular velocity sensors had been installed the wrong way up.  Read More

The SpaceX Grashopper on its most recent test flight

Back in June, SpaceX's Grasshopper reusable VTOL rocket was flown to an altitude of 325 meters (1,066 feet) before landing on its original launch pad. The video of the flight (taken by a hexacopter drone hovering at 325 meters) has now been made available. The purpose of the flight was to test Grasshopper's full navigation sensor suite with the F9-R closed loop control flight algorithms to improve the precision of its landings. Grasshopper is designed to develop and test the technologies needed to return a reusable rocket from space missions. (There is no word on whether the cowboy mannequin was carried along by Grasshopper on this flight.)  Read More

Stratolaunch Systems has announced new developments in its air launch system for spacecraf...

Back in December of 2011, Stratolaunch Systems announced that it was designing a new air launch system for both manned and unmanned spacecraft. Among other things, that system would require the construction of what would be the world’s largest aircraft. While some people might understandably be skeptical of such grand plans ever seeing the light of day, the company recently announced that a couple of important milestones have been reached that bring the project closer to fruition.  Read More

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo climbing into the stratosphere on thirty tons of thrust (Phot...

At 7:55 AM PDT this Monday, the Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo (SST) attained a peak velocity of Mach 1.2 at an altitude of 55,000 feet (nearly 17 km) above the Mohave Desert with a 16-second burn of its 30-ton thrust rocket engine. Piloted by Mark Stucky and Mike Alsbury with an assist from Dave Mackay in the mother bird White Knight Two, this flight marks a stepping-off point for commercial manned spaceflight.  Read More

SpaceX Grasshopper achieves a 250-m altitude

The fifth and latest test launch of SpaceX's Grasshopper continues a recent trend of exponential altitude gains, reaching a height of 250 meters (820 feet) earlier this week. This was more than three times the altitude achieved in its March test.  Read More

Launch of the Antares rocket from NASA”s Wallops Flight Facility (Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls...

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket lifted off Sunday at 5:00 PM EDT (21:00 GMT) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA”s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch was the first from the pad at Wallops and also the first flight of Antares, which carried a "mass simulated payload" equivalent to the mass of a spacecraft into Earth orbit.  Read More

Artist's concept of a fusion-drive ship

Traveling through deep space is a hazardous undertaking and choosing the right engine can mean the difference between a fast, successful mission and a slow one with mounting dangers of radiation sickness, equipment failures and personal conflicts. A team of researchers from the University of Washington (UW) and Redmond, Washington-based MSNW are aiming to expand the options by developing a new fusion drive rocket engine that promises to make possible a manned spacecraft that could reach Mars and return to Earth in months rather than years.  Read More

Kevin Moore's successful drive with a rocket-assisted golf club head – notice the ball (th...

"FORE!! Three - Two - One - Fire!" called Doug Frost, inventor of Rocketry Golf and Manager of the Rocketry Golf Organization. Then he launched his ball (on the nosecone of a model rocket) from the tee of the par-five 433-yard first hole at the Ridge Golf Club in Auburn, California. Not fazed by the uphill approach shot to the green, he placed his tee shot...err...launch... only 23 feet from the hole. Unfortunately, Doug isn't much of a regular golfer, and two-putted in for a birdie. Frost's rocketry golf replaces your golf clubs with a selection of rockets and a putter. The rockets are used to launch the ball onto the green, where the traditional putter comes back into play.  Read More

The Lockheed Martin Miniature Hit-to-Kill interceptor roaring off the launcher (Photo: Loc...

The U.S. Army is funding Lockheed Martin to develop hardware and software for the Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) program. Under this program, Lockheed Martin has conducted the first guided test flight of the Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor rocket. The MHTK is designed to defeat incoming rocket, artillery, and mortar fire out to ranges of 3 - 4 km (1.9 - 2.5 miles).  Read More

The Merlin 1D engine, being tested at the SpaceX rocket development facility

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is now a crucial step closer to getting more efficient new engines. While the launch vehicle currently uses nine of the company’s Merlin engines, the next-generation Merlin 1D achieved flight certification earlier this week.  Read More

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