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Test Flights

Space

Blue Origin makes historic second landing using the same rocket

SpaceX isn't the only private company racking up space firsts. Having successfully flown to space and completed a powered landing last November, Blue Origin's New Shepard booster on Friday became the first rocket to repeat the feat. According to Blue Origin founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the single stage rocket lifted from its West Texas launch site, flew straight up to an altitude of 333,582 ft (101.7 km), which is past the Karman line that designates the official beginning of space, then descended for an autonomous powered landing.Read More

Space

SpaceX Crew Dragon hovers on tails of fire

SpaceX has shown off its new party trick with the release of a video of the Crew Dragon manned space capsule conducting a powered hover test. Though no one was aboard, the tethered mock-up craft managed to lift itself into a hover position using the its SuperDraco thrusters during a five-second burn.Read More

Switzerland's first business jet makes maiden flight

Switzerland has joined an elite club with its first homegrown business jet taking to the air for the first time. With the call sign of HB-VXA, the twin-engine prototype Pilatus Aircraft PC-24 Super Versatile Jet made its maiden flight last week, traveling from Buochs Airport in a 55-minute journey across central Switzerland to Brünig.Read More

Space

Precision planetary lander technology tested by NASA

In anticipation of more ambitious planetary missions, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, in collaboration with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California, has recently been testing new landing technologies using an Autonomous Descent and Ascent Powered-flight Testbed (ADAPT). Aimed at developing new systems for landing on Mars and other planets with much greater precision, a new imaging landing system and algorithm were tested using the demonstration vehicle on two successful flights.Read More

Space

ESA prepares IXV concept spaceplane for maiden flight

The European Space Agency is preparing to test the atmospheric re-entry capabilities of its new early concept spaceplane, the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). The test flight is slated for launch in November atop a European made Vega rocket, with the hope that results will inform the design of future ESA spacecraft.Read More

Space

NASA tests flying saucer designed to land heavier payloads on Mars

NASA has successfully carried out the first of three airborne tests for its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), a saucer shaped test vehicle which will one day be used to slow down scientific payloads entering the atmosphere of Mars. This new system of atmospheric deceleration will allow the agency to contemplate heavier, more ambitious endeavors, building towards a manned mission to the Red Planet.Read More

Space

NASA scientists begin testing of EXES Spectrograph

NASA scientists are eager to get to grips with a new toy for observing the heavens, the Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph (EXES). Mounted on a heavily-customized Boeing 747, the spectrograph has undergone two successful test flights and when declared operational, will comb the sky for infrared frequency light aboard the largest flying telescope ever constructed.Read More

Space

SpaceShipTwo to be fueled by thermoset plastic similar to nylon

As the still-to-be-announced date of the first commercial flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo approaches, more and more of the technology involved is getting nailed down. A case in point is the company's announcement that it has decided which fuel will be used in the first passenger-carrying flights of the suborbital spacecraft. The solid fuel grains that will fuel the world’s largest operational hybrid rocket will be a thermoset plastic similar to nylon.Read More

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