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Space Shuttle

NASA's dependence on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft (pictured) to send astronauts to the ISS...

The Ukraine crisis reached into space yesterday as NASA confirmed that it is cutting ties with the Russian space program. With the exception of continued cooperation aimed at keeping the International Space Station (ISS) operating, the agency says that in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, it will no longer participate with its Russian counterparts on projects, bilateral visits or communications.  Read More

The tests aim at reducing the weight of the SLS by 20 percent (Image: NASA)

On December 9, NASA began what is either an impressive engineering test or a classic example of world-class larking about. At the space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, engineers are crushing an enormous can by subjecting it to almost one million pounds of force. This may seem like a party trick that’s gone out of control, but there’s a serious reason behind this … or so NASA says. The crushing is part of the project to design the fuel tanks for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which will be used to launch the Orion spacecraft and deep space missions.  Read More

Space shuttle Enterprise after Hurricane Sandy passed – the inflated display pavilion has ...

Although there is as yet no official confirmation, it appears that the Space Shuttle Enterprise, recently moved to a permanent home in New York City, was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  Read More

Astronaut Shannon Lucid's spacesuit is a Sokol KV-2 (Photo: Bonhams)

A rare piece of space history will be up for grabs when record-setting US astronaut Shannon Lucid’s spacesuit goes on the block at Bonhams auction house in New York City on April 26. The Russian-made Sokol KV-2 “Falcon” pressure suit was worn by Lucid while training for her mission aboard the Russian Mir space station where she set a new space endurance record. It is expected to fetch up to US$50,000.  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

At 5:57 a.m. EDT on July 21, 2011, space shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time at NAS...

When the space shuttle Atlantis touched down at 5:57 a.m. EDT this morning at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center it marked the end of an era. Over 30 years, NASA's Space Shuttle program has overseen a total of 135 shuttle missions for the five-shuttle fleet, beginning with the April 12, 1981 launch of Columbia carrying two astronauts into space on an operational test flight. In their lifetimes, the world's first reusable spacecraft have been used to launch and repair satellites, carry out cutting-edge research and facilitate the construction of the largest manmade structure in space, the International Space Station (ISS). As the curtain comes down on the space shuttle era we take a look back at the craft that have defined space travel for a generation.  Read More

Filling of Forward Osmosis Bag outer partition with 'dirty' solution from the Input Storag...

Atlantis may have taken off on the last ever space shuttle mission last week but that doesn’t mean it has finished racking up firsts. Along with ferrying its last batch of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), Atlantis is also carrying a urine recycling system that is designed to convert astronaut’s urine into a sports drink. The Forward Osmosis Bag (FOB) system will reportedly be tested by one of the four-man crew towards the end of the shuttle’s 12-day mission.  Read More

The space shuttle Atlantis successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida this morning...

Despite the possibility of delays due to weather, the space shuttle Atlantis successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on schedule this morning at 11:26 EDT. It is the final flight both for the Atlantis, and for NASA’s 30-year shuttle program as a whole. The 12-day STS-135 mission will see four crew members traveling to the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver supplies.  Read More

The Endeavour space shuttle is currently on its final flight, and the second-last flight o...

The NASA space shuttle Discovery flew its last mission on February 24th, and now it's the Endeavour's turn to bow out of service. At 8:56 a.m. EDT this Monday (May 16), the shuttle launched from the Kennedy Space Center for the final time, on a mission to bring supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Not only is it the last flight for the Endeavour, but the second-last flight within the entire shuttle program.  Read More

Artists image of the Dragon spacecraft in orbit (Image: SpaceX)

Once the last of NASA’s space shuttle fleet shuffle off to retirement in a few months the space agency will be totally dependent on the Russian Soyuz to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. At a cost of around US$63 million per seat, or more than $753 million a year, NASA is turning to the commercial companies to provide a more economical option. As part of the second round of funding for the agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative that aims to stimulate development of privately operated crew vehicles to low Earth orbit, it will dole out grants totaling $269.3 million to four private companies. One of the recipients is SpaceX, which has been awarded $75 million to develop a launch escape system for its Dragon spacecraft.  Read More

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