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Space Shuttle

Space

NASA crushes rocket fuel tank for science

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

Shannon Lucid's spacesuit heads to auction

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

Space

Dream Chaser space plane to fall from the skies next summer

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

Aircraft Feature

Final Space Shuttle landing ends a remarkable chapter in space exploration

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

Good Thinking

Final space shuttle mission testing system to turn urine into a sports drink

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

Aircraft

Space Shuttle Endeavour embarks on final flight

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

Space

NASA awards US$269 million to stimulate privately operated spacecraft development

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

Aircraft

Space Shuttle Discovery's final mission drawing to a close

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

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