On january 13th, at the European Space Agency’s Paris headquarters, Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, provided a recap of ESA’s activities in 2011 and presented the missions to expect in the coming year, as well as the ESA philosophy underlying it all.
In this high the Venus atmosphere has the same pressure as on Earth and is composed mainly of carbon dioxide. An aerostat filled with Air (Oxygen-Nitrogen mixture) has here 60 % of the lifting power that helium has on Earth.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) have provided a positive overview on their progress in readying their Dream Chaser spacecraft for commercial crew operations in 2016. A fan favorite – due to its baby shuttle orbiter appearance – Dream Chaser has been paired with the highly reliable Atlas V launch vehicle as part of their Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) aspirations.
Dream Chaser – which is a reusable lifting body vehicle based on the form of NASA Langley’s HL-20 spaceplane concept from the 1980s – can land on a conventional runway, unlike all of its capsule-based competitors, as much as SpaceX are looking into a rocket assisted landing on land for their Dragon capsule.
Space Exploration Technologies' historic mission to the International Space Station (ISS) isn't quite ready for prime time, the company, which is owned and operated by internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, said this week.
So the launch dress rehearsal, scheduled for this week, as well as the launch itself, targeted for Feb. 7, are both on hold, pending the resolution of several unidentified technical issues, spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham tells Discovery News.
Our view of the moon has changed dramatically since the final days of Apollo in the early 1970s. Then, most scientists saw the moon as a barren desert with few resources. But, as a result of recent NASA missions such as the lunar reconnaissance orbiter and LCROSS, which impacted into a permanently shadowed lunar crater, we now know that the moon has an abundance of water.
Water is, of course, crucial for human exploration and more valuable than gold in space. This precious resource is enormously expensive to lift off the Earth because of our planet's strong gravity. The moon has only one-sixth of Earth's gravity and, therefore, can serve as our oasis in the inner solar system. Water is essential for life. Breaking water into hydrogen and oxygen gives us air to breath and the components of rocket fuel. Furthermore, water mined from the moon can serve as a shield against high energy radiation from the sun and the galaxy to protect astronauts.
Russia is planning to put a man on the Moon, and anyone can apply to join the crew. The Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, may have suffered some humiliating setbacks in recent months, but it’s hitting back by aiming even higher.
ForbesNASA launches Facebook game for space nerdsRegisterBy Team Register • Get more from this author NASA has created its first ever multiplayer online game, Space Race Blastoff - and it's now available on Facebook.
Depending on one's perspective, it's either the best of times or worst of times for NASA's human spaceflight program.
Citing gains made in 2011, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said the new year "truly marks the beginning of a new era in the human exploration of our solar system."
Contrast that with Paul Spudis, a scientist at Houston's Lunar and Planetary Institute, who described NASA's just-completed 2011 as an "annus horribilis."
At issue is whether, by choosing to build an expensive new rocket over the next decade, NASA is laying the groundwork for human exploration beyond the moon, or laying a gravestone for American human spaceflight.
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has promised us a permanent Moon base by 2020. Many people have been calling Newt's vow a publicity stunt, while others have chimed in by attacking the idea of a lunar base in and of itself, with assertions like "real scientists know [a Moon base] is fantasy."
We won't speak to Newt's political maneuverings, but we're sure as hell not going to sit idly by while people bash the feasibility or scientific potential of a lunar settlement. In fact, we've got 185 reasons we should set a course straight away.
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