The Hohmann transfer is a highly effective move -- road-tested and reliable. But it is expensive and time specific. Launches are limited to a brief window when the orbit and rotation of Earth and Mars are just right.
Ballistic capture, on the other hand, would allow a more flexible launch window. It would also do away with the fuel-guzzling that Hohmann's high-speed braking requires. Instead of rocketing straight at Mars, a ballistic capture technique would see the spacecraft launched out ahead of Mars' orbital path. It would gradually slow and hold in place, waiting for Mars to swing by -- the Martian gravity pulling the craft into orbit as it approached.
The flight of Orion looked, to some, like a throwback to the capsules of the 1960s. Andre Bormanis says that the rationales for human space exploration, by contrast, can’t look back to the past but instead embrace the capabilities of today and tomorrow.
Andre Bormanis applauds the achievements of the team that sent Orion into space last Friday. It thrilled him to see a vehicle capable of taking humans beyond LEO for the first time in over forty years pass its first real test so spectacularly. And certainly it’s a promising step in the direction of getting astronauts to the vicinity of Mars and back home. But if the Orion capsule is ever going to be put to its intended use, the President, Congress, and NASA needs to seriously re-think the role of humans in space, taking into account the ever-advancing capabilities in robotics and telepresence that will be available in the 2030s, probably the earliest timeframe in which a human mission to Mars might be undertaken. A program based on fifty-year-old mission plans and romantic nostalgia has little if any chance of being realized. The strategies of the past will not help us achieve the goals of the future.
L'institut européen du tourisme spatial et une agence de voyages spécialisée représentant de Virgin Galactic veulent créer un parc d'attractions qui proposerait notamment des vols suborbitaux, des vols en ballon stratosphérique, des vols en apesanteur...
A new study by researchers at McGill University and UCL finds that a "macroweather" pattern applies to atmospheric conditions on Mars. The results, published in Geophysical Research Letters, also show that the Sun plays a major role in determining macroweather.
Vincent Lieser's insight:
We're going to have a very hard time predicting the weather on Mars beyond two days given what we have found in weather records there, which could prove tricky for the European lander and rover
"Alors que de précédentes études montraient que les radiations n’étaient pas un frein pour les voyages spatiaux, une équipe de scientifiques démontre le contraire, en s’intéressant aux évolutions futures de la densité du champ magnétique solaire."
Although ESA maintains its own astronaut corps, it has never developed an independent access for its astronauts to space. Plans to develop the ATV into a manned spacecraft were put on hold because of the high costs involved.
By partnering with NASA in the development of the Orion spacecraft, Europe may nevertheless be able to barter seats for its astronauts on future Orion expeditions.
America’s human space exploration goals for the 21st Century include destinations both in low-Earth orbit to the International Space Station and deep space missions to an asteroid and even to Mars. Different exploration destinations require different systems. NASA’s Journey to Mars will take a critical step forward with the first test launch of the Orion spacecraft, which the agency will own and operate. Meanwhile, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is spearheading the development of two commercially owned and operated space transportation systems that will give astronauts safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station, where cutting edge research and technology developments are increasing our knowledge about what it takes to live and work for long periods of time in space. These new American spacecraft also will allow us to add a seventh crew member to the space station and double the amount of time the crew has to conduct research aboard the unique microgravity laboratory.
The proposed mission to send two astronauts to a captured asteroid near the Moon won’t occur until the middle of the next decade, according to an overview provided to NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP). Designated as Exploration Mission -2 (EM-2), it is likely alternative missions will be tasked to Orion and her Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, prior to the flagship mission to the asteroid.
After a series of calibration tests, the first 3-D printer to fly to outer space has manufactured its first potentially useful object on the International Space Station: a replacement faceplate for its print head casing.
"An astronaut might be installing it on the printer," said Aaron Kemmer, the chief executive officer of Made In Space, which built the 3-D printer for NASA's use.
The 9.5-inch-wide contraption was delivered to the space station by a robotic SpaceX Dragon cargo ship in September, and NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore set it up inside the station's experimental glovebox a week ago.
SpaceX has confirmed it is now into the construction phase of converting Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A for its Falcon Heavy debut, with a large amount of work now taking place to build a new vehicle hanger at the complex. The former Apollo and Space Shuttle pad is being re-purposed to host the maiden flight of SpaceX’s new rocket, set to launch as early as next summer.
Cet entretien avec Guilhem Penent, doctorant en sciences politiques, chercheur associé à l'IFRI, rédacteur du blog De la Terre à la Lune et auteur du récent L’Europe spatiale : le déclin ou le sursaut (Edition Argos), a été réalisé en collaboration avec le blog Ultima Ratio. Quelques jours après la décision politique du lancement du lanceur Ariane 6 d'ici 2020, il développe quelques unes des grandes problématiques de l'Europe spatiale, civile et militaire, secteur où la France tient encore aujourd'hui l'un des rôles majeurs.
The 3D printer aboard the International Space Station produced its first part today (Nov. 21). The milestone moment marks a big step toward a future in which humanity explores far beyond its home planet, some experts say.
Like a lot of people, I watched the Orion mission last Friday. I missed the launch (time zones reared their sleepy head), unfortunately. But I did see most of the mission—the capsule completing its first orbit, getting boosted to its second, much higher orbit, then falling back to Earth for...
Vincent Lieser's insight:
Phil is right: NASA can't do this.
With international partners, an underfunded project with a rocket-to-nowhere and a space tin-can can become a genuine footprints-on-Mars programme.
"Human spaceflight reached an important milestone this week. An additive manufacturing device, or 3D printer, was turned on, and initiated the first official 3D print on the International Space Station (ISS).
"The print took slightly more than an hour, and once it finished, the world changed. At the Made In Space Operations Center in Moffett Field, California, the rest of the team and I had the ability to command the printer and see inside it as the machine received and executed our commands. For the first time, humans demonstrated the ability to manufacture while in space. At this moment, if the space station absolutely needs a part that the 3D printer can build, I can start producing the part onboard the ISS within minutes — from my chair in California."