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Space Shuttle

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

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

The spacesuits of Gennadi Strekalev (left) and Alexei Leonov (right)

More space history will go on sale in New York on May 5 when Bonhams will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Alan Shepard’s historic mission in Freedom 7 with a Space Sale. Some early highlights of the sale include a Sokol K spacesuit worn by cosmonaut Alexei Leonov during the historic 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Project (the symbolic end to the Space Race) and a Sokol KV-2 spacesuit worn by Gennadi Strekalov during a 1990 mission to the Mir space station. Can you tell which is which?  Read More

Robonaut 2 is set to become the first humanoid robot in space this month (Image: NASA)

Robonaut 2 will become the first humanoid robot to head into space next month when the space shuttle Discovery blasts-off. R2 has been waiting for this trip for a while, but will have to wait a little longer to get its “space-legs” since only its torso, head and arms are making the initial journey. Because R2’s legs are still being tested, they’ll be sent up on a later launch, as will a few other upgrades that are designed to ultimately allow the robot to help astronauts with extra-vehicular activities.  Read More

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