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Space Travel


— Space

Virgin Galactic steps up the pace with latest SpaceShipTwo glide flight test

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital, air-launched spaceplane, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), aka VSS Enterprise, is back in the air after a break of nearly nine months following a recent integration period for rocket motor systems and maintenance. The June 26 flight coincided with another successful full duration test fire of the spaceship’s engine RocketMotorTwo (RM2) on the same day. The tests mark an intensification of activity that sees Virgin Galactic aiming for powered flights by the end of the year. Read More
— Space

ESA tests autonomous rover in Chilean desert ahead of ExoMars mission

With remote control of rovers on Mars out of the question due to radio signals taking up to 40 minutes to make the round trip to and from the Red Planet, the European Space Agency (ESA) has developed a vehicle that is able to carry out instructions fully autonomously. The ESA team recently tested their Seeker full-scale rover in Chile where the rover was able to chart its own course through the Mars-like Atacama Desert. Read More
— Aircraft

Beamed core antimatter propulsion - more efficient, but don't hold your breath!

Antimatter propulsion is the Holy Grail of spaceflight. When matter and antimatter react, the energy produced is several billion times larger than the thermomechanical energy resulting from burning a kilogram of a hydrocarbon fuel. Now a high school student has developed a new magnetic exhaust nozzle that would double the velocity of an antimatter-powered rocket. Read More
— Aircraft Feature

Mission to Mars meets reality TV

The first people to colonize Mars might be reality TV show contestants. No, this is not a joke - it's a tremendously ambitious, eyebrow-raising plan devised by Dutch company Mars One. Next year, the company aims to select several teams of four astronauts each, and the public will be the final judge as to which team will get the ticket for a (one-way!) seven-month trip to the Red Planet in 2023. Read More
— Space

How to bake bread in space

Space travel can be boring. Voyages to Mars or the Asteroid Belt may sound exotic and exciting, but the fact is that most of the time there’s not much to see and not much to do. Wouldn’t it be great if morale on these long missions could get a boost by a reminder of home like fresh baked bread? Thanks to NASA’s “Space Apps” program, that might one day be a reality. Sixteen-year old “citizen scientist” Sam Wilkinson has come up with a way to make bread simply and efficiently using carbon dioxide and a slow cooker that is designed to work within the limitations of a spaceship’s galley. Read More
— Space

DARPA funds 100 Year Starship to develop human interstellar flight capabilities

Voyager 1, which is now in the outermost layer of the heliosphere that forms the boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space, is set to be the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. It has taken the car-sized probe over 35 years to reach its current point, but at its current speed of about 3.6 AU (334,640,905 miles) per year it would take over 75,000 years to reach our nearest star, Proxima Centauri. Despite the mind-boggling distances involved, DARPA has just awarded funding to form an organization whose aim is to make human interstellar travel a reality within the next century. Read More
— Aircraft

Engineer proposes $1 trillion USS Enterprise

An anonymous electrical and systems engineer going only by the moniker BTE-Dan has posted surprisingly detailed plans for a full-scale, functioning Starship Enterprise that he claims could be built in 20 years. Though it may be tempting to scoff at such lofty ambition, the Build the Enterprise website (up all of one week) includes specifications, costs, mission plan and funding strategies, all suggesting that a serious amount of thought has gone into creating a real world counterpart to the icon spaceship of the TV and movie series, Star Trek. Read More
— Good Thinking Feature

Gizmag turns 10!

Gizmag is celebrating its 10th birthday! Over the past decade we've published over 17,000 articles, covered a huge array of events around the globe and fostered a loyal worldwide audience willing to become part of the discussion surrounding the thing that fascinates us most - new technology. To mark our 10th birthday milestone we're taking a stroll through the archives to revisit some of the biggest hits and most popular themes in our history. Read More
— Space

Startram - maglev train to low earth orbit

Getting into space is one of the harder tasks to be taken on by humanity. The present cost of inserting a kilogram (2.2 lb) of cargo by rocket into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is about US$10,000. A manned launch to LEO costs about $100,000 per kilogram of passenger. But who says we have to reach orbit by means of rocket propulsion alone? Instead, imagine sitting back in a comfortable magnetic levitation (maglev) train and taking a train ride into orbit. Read More
— Aircraft Feature

SpaceX Dragon's ultimate mission is Mars colonization

The private spaceflight company SpaceX declared that 2012 would be the "Year of the Dragon" - a play on the current cycle of the Chinese calendar and the upcoming tests of SpaceX's Dragon space capsule. For a time, it seemed as if SpaceX was regretting that slogan. Dragon was chosen as one of five competitors for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contest to develop a cargo/passenger craft to service the International Space Station. The Dragon program had enjoyed considerable success and was scheduled to be the first private spacecraft to visit and, if all went well, dock with the International Space Station (ISS). Unfortunately, with the need for more testing of the Dragon capsule delaying the launch from its original February 7, 2012 date to late March or even into April, it looked as though the Year of the Dragon was starting a bit late. Read More
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