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Space Travel

An experimental version of the zero-g espresso cup on the ISS (Image; NASA)

Space travel is a bit more civilized now that there's a bespoke Italian espresso machine aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Unfortunately, solving one problem just raises another and the astronauts are still having to drink their cappuccinos out of placcy bags. To help the zero-g coffee aficionado, Portland State University's (PSU) Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science has developed a microgravity espresso cup that drinks like its earthbound counterparts.  Read More

The Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 is designed for use by astronauts (Photo: Omega)

If there's one steady market for wristwatches, it's astronauts. Omega watches, for example, have flown on manned space missions since the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph was carried on Project Mercury in the early 1960s. Now the latest version, the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33, is seeing service on the International Space Station. Based on a patented idea by ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, the timepiece is not only made to withstand the rigors of space, but also to carry out functions useful to space travelers.  Read More

Interior structure of the phantom used in the experiment Matroshka (Photo: DLR)

A European Space Agency experiment aboard the International Space Station suggests that space travelers may have less to worry about when it comes to radiation ... thanks to a phantom. Called the Matroshka, the "phantom" is a plastic mannequin that is the key component of the first comprehensive study of the effects of radiation on astronauts on long-term space missions that indicates that the hazard may not be as severe as previously thought.  Read More

The proposed Spaceport Australia would use air launch vehicles for space burials and space...

Plans are afoot to establish a spaceport in Australia. The town of Rockhampton in Queensland is one of three locations currently being considered as a potential site for the base, which would focus primarily on space tourism.  Read More

Pratap Pullammanappallil poses with an anaerobic digester used in a process that turns hum...

Flushing the human waste produced on space missions out an airlock isn't an option for astronauts. Currently its stored in containers before being loaded into cargo vehicles that burn up as they pass through Earth's atmosphere, but researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have found a better use for the material, by developing a process to turn it into rocket fuel.  Read More

U.S. communication with the International Space Station happens from this room at NASA's M...

One of NASA’s more off-the-radar facilities is responsible for some of the organization’s most important research. Kennedy Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory may get the lion's share of attention, but Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, is responsible for developing much of the complex inner-workings of rockets, satellites, and future technologies.  Read More

Scientists at Berkeley Lab believe that synthetic biology techniques could produce a signi...

The secret to pulling off long-term manned space missions is biomanufacturing – at least, that's the argument presented by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) who have used synthetic biology to produce sustainable alternatives to fuel and anti-malaria drugs. Their theory rests on the idea that biological production processes and harnessing of materials at the mission destination could dramatically reduce mass (and hence cost) requirements.  Read More

Firing lasers up the backsides of rockets could accelerate them faster without requiring e...

Russian scientists have proposed a novel way to accelerate a spaceship while in flight – firing a ground-based laser up its backside. The new technique uses a plasma flow caused by laser ablation to increase the exhaust efficiency of a traditional rocket propulsion system, and could theoretically accelerate an aircraft beyond Mach 10.  Read More

A contest has been launched by Spaceship Earth Grants offering private citizens a chance t...

Spaceship Earth Grants (SEG), a US public-benefit organization and an affiliate of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, has launched a contest that aims to give away one space flight for every 50,000 applications it receives. With a judging panel made up of former NASA astronauts, industry experts, space enthusiasts, and others, this new program aims to be a crowd-driven and crowd-funded effort to send private citizens into space.  Read More

According to a puzzling report, a new thruster design appears to be able to accelerate a c...

A NASA study has recently concluded that the "Cannae Drive," a disruptive new method of space propulsion, can produce small amounts of thrust without the use of propellant, in apparent discordance with Newton's third law. According to its inventor, the device can harness microwave radiation inside a resonator, turning electricity into a net thrust. If further verified and perfected, the advance could revolutionize the space industry, dramatically cutting costs for both missions in deep space and satellites in Earth orbit.  Read More

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