Photokina 2014 highlights

Spacecraft

The Dragon CRS-3 spacecraft connected to the ISS via the Canadarm2 robotic arm (Photo: NAS...

Space X's Dragon spacecraft has splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean at 3:05 PM EDT on May 18, laden with many scientific experiments ripe for further analysis on Earth. It landed safely 300 miles off the coast of California, pending retrieval and transportation back to the SpaceX McGregor test facility in Texas.  Read More

An artist's impression of Venus Express (Image: ESA)

After eight years of study of the second planet in our Solar System, ESA’s Venus Express orbiter is winding up its science program in anticipation of a plunge into the Venusian atmosphere sometime in the next two months.  Read More

Pocari Sweat plans to land the first commercial sports drink on the Moon in the form of a ...

Lunar exploration may be an exciting adventure in the conquest of space, but what if you get thirsty? Pocari Sweat is a Japanese sports drink that’s popular in Asia and the Middle East, and as part of its marketing strategy it plans to deliver a can of its product to the lunar surface next year.  Read More

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (center) against a star field (Photo: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for ...

On its way to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P, for short), the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Rosetta spacecraft has spied its approaching target and the coma – the "halo" made primarily out of ice and dust that gives the comet its fuzzy appearance – that is developing around its nucleus. At more than 600 million km (373 million miles) from the Sun, the opportunity to observe the early onset of coma production at such distances promises to add much to our knowledge of the life-cycle of a comet as it wends its way around the solar system.  Read More

NASA's inflatable flying saucers could help astronauts land bigger and heavier spacecraft ...

It's tough to slow down spacecraft descending through Mars' thin atmosphere at supersonic speeds, as they need to drop to a speed that allows them to land in one piece. This is why NASA is developing lightweight inflatable flying saucers that will fit around the outer rims of spacecraft such as human habitats, inflating as the habitats descend to permit a safe landing. The technology will allow astronauts to land bigger and heavier spacecraft on Mars without needing to carry massive atmospheric shields or huge amounts of extra fuel.  Read More

The Lunar Module rotational hand controller used by Dave Scott on board Apollo 15’s Lunar ...

If you've been building an Apollo Lunar Module out of scrap parts in your back yard, then you’re in luck. RR Auctions is putting hundreds of items up for bid as part of an auction of air and space memorabilia ranging from the Wright brothers to the present day. Amongst a number of standout items is the joystick from the Apollo 15 Lunar Module, which goes on the block with a starting bid of US$10,000.  Read More

The Moon Express MX-1 Lander (Image: Moon Express, Inc.)

NASA has announced the selection of three US companies to develop a lunar lander to deliver payloads to the Moon’s surface. The three companies, Astrobotic Technology, Masten Space Systems, and Moon Express, won’t be receiving any funds, but will negotiate with the space agency for a partnership to exchange technical expertise and help promote the private space sector.  Read More

An engineering mock-up of the CST-100 interior

Captain Picard’s ride seemed to have landed in Las Vegas today, as Boeing unveiled a mock-up of the new commercial interior of its Crew Space Transportation (CST-100). Under development as part of a NASA program to put a privately-owned and operated manned spacecraft to ferry American crews and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), the new interior reflects Boeing’s design strategy and it ambitions beyond NASA.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Orion spacecraft attached to the ESA manufactured service modul...

NASA has successfully completed the latest series of tests for its next-generation Orion Spacecraft, currently housed at the Kennedy Space Center. The latest trials focused on vibration-testing the spacecraft, simulating the stress that Orion will be subjected to during its maiden test flight scheduled to take place in December.  Read More

Artist's impression of ISEE-3 on a lunar flyby (Image: NASA)

Putting classic cars on the road or classic boats on the water isn’t that odd, but what about putting a classic spacecraft back into service? The ISEE-3 Reboot Project is a crowdfunding effort aimed at reactivating a comet-chasing space probe launched in the 1970s. Using a radio telescope and a software emulator of the original control equipment to contact and reactivate the hibernating unmanned probe, the hope is to use the International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) to conduct a privately funded mission to fly by a comet.  Read More

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