Introducing the Gizmag Store

Spacecraft

The Mars rover is powered by radioactive thermoelectric generator (dark cylinder on rear) ...

NASA has announced the cancellation of the decade-old program to develop a Sterling Radioisotope Generator for deep-space missions. This program was a response to the critical shortage in radioactive isotopes in general, and plutonium-238 in particular, in the US and worldwide. NASA will now be depending on rebuilding a Pu-238 production system, an option that is not without its drawbacks and challenges.  Read More

The Swarm satellites being prepared for launch (Photo: ESA)

On Friday, ESA began a four-year mission to study the Earth’s magnetic field with the launch of the three-satellite Swarm constellation into Earth orbit. Packed “like sardines” in their fairing, the unmanned spacecraft lifted off at 12:02 GMT (1:02 PM CET) from the Plesetsk space port in northern Russia atop a Rockot launcher.  Read More

Dragon spacecraft in orbit during CRS-2 cargo mission to the ISS (Photo: SpaceX)

SpaceX has made progress toward an initial crewed flight in 2015 after a "milestone" safety review for manned space operations of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle.  Read More

GOCE entered the Earth's atmosphere after its orbit naturally decayed (Image: ESA)

This morning, at about 1:00 am CET, ESA’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite reentered the atmosphere and burned up somewhere along its orbital path extending from Siberia, across the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean, and to Antarctica. According to the space agency, it disintegrated in the upper atmosphere and though some debris may have reached the surface, no damage was reported.  Read More

VSS Enterprise during its recent supersonic test flight

NBCUniversal has signed an exclusive partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to televise the space tourism company's first commercial passenger flight next August. Aboard the VSS Enterprise, will be Sir Richard, age 63, and his children, Holly, 31, and Sam, 28. The other passengers and crew have not yet been named.  Read More

Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov waves the Olympic torch outside the International Space Station...

The torch for next year's Winter Olympics in Russia took a detour into orbit yesterday as two Russian cosmonauts working outside the International Space Station (ISS) conducted the first ever torch handover in the vacuum of space.  Read More

A sampling spacecraft launching a penetrator missile (Image: NASA)

In what at first glance seems like a terrible sense of direction, in March students from the University of Washington fired rockets from kites and balloons at an altitude of 3,000 ft (914 m) straight into the ground at Black Rock, Nevada: a dry lake bed in the desert 100 mi (160 km) north of Reno. This may seem like the ultimate in larking about, but it's actually a serious effort to develop new ways of collecting samples from asteroids.  Read More

Mars Orbiter Mission ready for heat shield closure

India has started the clock on its most ambitious space project to date. On Sunday at 6:08 IST, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began the countdown for its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). If all goes to schedule, the unmanned probe will lift off on Tuesday from the First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), on the island of Sriharikota at 2:38 pm IST atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25), marking the point where India hopes to launch itself into the space-faring big leagues.  Read More

The prototype Mars sample return container (Image: ESA)

A mission to return samples from the planet Mars is still many years away and, officially, not on the calendar. That hasn't stopped ESA from producing a proof-of-concept prototype of the scientific “box of delights,” which could one day bring bits of the Red Planet back to Earth for study.  Read More

Technicians powering up Orion (Image: Lockheed Martin)

NASA took another step back into the astronaut-launching business when it announced on Monday that last week it had powered up the crew capsule of the Orion spacecraft for the first time. According to the space agency, the test of the spacecraft’s avionics systems, conducted at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is a major milestone in preparing the craft for its first unmanned test flight in the autumn of next year.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 26,554 articles