Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Space Travel

The Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) is looking to establish the first operational lunar ba...

Imagine if every time you went for on a trip, you had to carry all the fuel required to get you to your destination and back - even if that trip was to a place far, far away, like say Mars. In space there are no refueling options available (yet), and given that propellant makes up over 90 percent of the weight of a spacecraft, this issue is fundamental to saving costs and driving future space exploration. Now the Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) is looking to establish the first operational base to mine ice on the Moon that will be used to produce liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants for distribution to spacecraft via the first gas stations in space ... and the plan is to be open for business by 2020.  Read More

The CST-100, comprised of a Crew Module and a Service Module, will be constructed at Kenne...

Turns out NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida won’t be gathering dust following the end of the Space Shuttle Program earlier this year. Providing a glimpse of how the NASA facilities will be used in the future, Boeing has signed an agreement with NASA and Space Florida that will see it using the Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) to manufacture, assemble and test its CST-100 (Crew Space Transportation-100) spacecraft.  Read More

Virgin Galactic Terminal Hangar Facility dedication at Spaceport America in New Mexico (Cr...

Space travel just got another step closer for the masses (at least the well-heeled ones) with the dedication of Virgin Galactic's new "Gateway to Space" facility at Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built spaceliner terminal. Situated in the southern New Mexico desert, numerous luminaries were on hand to dedicate the innovative 120,000 square foot terminal/hangar facility (THF), including moon-walking astronaut, Buzz Aldrin and New Mexico governor Susana Martinez.  Read More

The Dream Chaser carried into space on the nose of a rocket. (Photo: SNC)

The Dream Chaser, a reusable space plane currently under development by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), is to undergo high altitude drop tests in 2012 following a 25.6 million US dollar boost from NASA to top-off the 80 million US dollar contract awarded earlier this year. But it won't be chasing just any dream. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program this year, the very tangible goal is to deliver a low-cost, safe alternative for transporting astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and other low Earth orbit destinations.  Read More

NASA is planning to demonstrate the largest solar sail ever built, in an upcoming space mi...

NASA's upcoming Technology Demonstration Missions are intended to "transform its space communications, deep space navigation and in-space propulsion capabilities." Three project proposals have been selected for these missions, which should be launching in 2015 and 2016. One of those projects, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, we've told you about already. Another, however, will be demonstrating a mission-capable solar sail. While NASA has recently tested a solar sail measuring 100 square feet (9.29 square meters), this one will be the largest ever flown, spanning a whopping 15,543 square feet, or 1,444 square meters.  Read More

Engineer Tim Lexen has created a prototype ranger device that can move across rough terrai...

Some day in the future, it's possible that an unmanned rover may go trundling across the Martian landscape not on wheels, but on three rotating steel coils. While able to traverse rugged terrain without getting stuck, it could also move sideways to get around obstacles, would be unlikely to malfunction as it would have very few moving parts, and could perhaps even remain mobile if it were to take a tumble and flip over. Although such a vehicle might not be exploring Mars any time particularly soon, a fully-functioning prototype does already exist here on Earth, and its design could find terrestrial applications.  Read More

April 12 marks the 50th anniversary of the first man in space (Photo: NASA)

A remarkable milestone in human history took place exactly 50 years ago today when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. During the flight of Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961, Gagarin, then 27, completed a single orbit of Earth in approximately 108 minutes. His flight begun at Baikonur cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan and ended with his safe arrival by parachute in the Saratov region of central Russia, where he was famously welcomed back to our planet with a hospitable offer of bread and milk by Anna Takhtarova and her four-year-old granddaughter Margarita.  Read More

The crew of the final Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133 mission (Image: NASA)

At 4:53pm EST Tuesday 24th February, Discovery blasted off two minutes and fifty-three seconds late for its final launch into space. After a tense few moments with an Air Force computer problem, emotions ran high as the NASA space shuttle rocketed through the clear blue afternoon skies. The mission revolves around the delivery of "Leonardo" a Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the International Space Station. In addition to carrying critical supplies the module delivered Robonaut 2, a dexterous robot that will find permanent residence on the space station.  Read More

Mission Control Center during the Apollo 13 oxygen cell failure (Photo: NASA)

NASA space missions have always been a source of fascination amongst the general public and films like Apollo 13 have tried to encapsulate the experience of space travel. The famous words “Houston, we've had a problem,” uttered by Lovell on the second day of what was to be the USA's third lunar landing mission, remains just as famous at the aborted mission itself. Now, thanks to British programmer Andrew Godwin, it is possible to view the actual NASA transcripts online. Spacelog.org has published the radio transcripts of the earliest manned NASA missions to space. Currently the site hosts the Apollo 13 transcripts along with Mercury-Atlas 6, John Glenn's mission aboard Friendship 7 as the first American to reach orbit.  Read More

The peanut-shaped Hartley 2 comet is only the fifth comet to be studied at such close rang...

Mission controllers from the University of Maryland-led EPOXI mission celebrated last week as NASA's Deep Impact space probe flew close by the Hartley 2 comet, sending back rare and valuable data about the comet. This is only the fifth time that a comet core has been viewed from such a near distance by a space probe, and it is hoped that by understanding comets better we can learn more about the origin and history of our solar system.  Read More

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