What’s the loudest sound you’ve ever heard? Many people will say an aircraft engine unless they are lucky enough to have attended a rocket launch. And if there was one rocket that was louder than them all, it was the Saturn V, the behemoth that blasted the Apollo astronauts to the moon. But just how loud was it?Continue reading “The Saturn V was Incomprehensibly Loud. Like Thousands of jet Aircraft Taking off Together”
Reusable rocket engines have become all the rage lately, even as NASA’s continually delayed Artemis I mission attempts to launch with non-reusable technology. Realistically the only way to significantly lower launch costs is to reuse the engines rather than build them from scratch every time. Which is why every fan of space exploration should rejoice that another small start-up company, RocketLab, has successfully retested a rocket that has flown in space.Continue reading “Rocketlab Sent This Engine to Space and Then Retrieved it. A new Test Shows it’s Still Working Fine”
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The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft now sits on the launchpad, ready for liftoff on a journey around the Moon. This is the first time since 1972 that NASA has a human-rated spacecraft is ready to go beyond Earth orbit.Continue reading “Artemis 1 Goes Back to the Launch pad, Getting Ready for its August 29th Blastoff”
There’s little doubt that we live in a new Space Age, defined by increasing access, greater competition, and the commercial space industry. The titans of this industry are well known and have even become household names. There are old warhorses like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and United Launch Alliance and fast-rising stars like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, Virgin Galactic, and others. But New Zealand and California-based company Rocket Lab has also made a name for itself in recent years, moving from low-cost expendable rocket launches to reusable rockets.
In particular, their new Neutron Rocket design has been turning some heads since it first debuted in late 2021. The most recent design of this rocket features some very interesting features, which include a new engine, a new shell, and a “Hungry-Hippo” reusable fairing built from advanced carbon composites. Beginning in 2024, Rocket Lab hopes to conduct regular launches with Neutron to service the growing “satellite megaconstellation” market. Thanks to an animator who goes by the handle Hazegrayart, we now have a video of what this might look like.Continue reading “Hazegrayart Shows how Rocket Lab's Reusable Neutron Rocket Could Work”
There are few things in this world that brings feelings of awe and wonder more than a rocket launch. Watching a literal tower of steel slowly lift off from the ground with unspeakable power reminds us of what humanity can achieve despite our flaws, disagreements, and differences, and for the briefest of moments these magnificent spectacles are capable of bringing us all together regardless of race, creed, and religion.Continue reading “More Rocket Launches Could Damage the Ozone Layer”
Rocket Lab has just joined SpaceX in the club of space companies that can launch an orbital-class rocket booster and bring it back alive.
In a sense, the California-based company one-upped SpaceX by having a helicopter snag the first-stage booster of its Electron rocket with a cable and a hook as it floated past on the end of a parachute, 6,500 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
So what if the pilots of the customized Sikorsky S-92 helicopter had to release the booster moments later, due to concerns about the way their load was behaving as it swung from the hook?Continue reading “They Did It! Rocket Lab Uses Copter to Catch (and Release) a Rocket”
Earth is in the midst of a climate crisis. Thanks to the way CO2 emissions have been rising rapidly since the early 20th century, global temperatures are rising, triggering a positive feedback cycle that threatens to make it worse. According to recent analyses, even if the industrialized nations agree to slash carbon emissions drastically, global warming will not begin to slow until mid-century. For this reason, emission reduction needs to be paired with carbon capture to ensure we avoid the worst-case scenarios.
Meanwhile, there is a significant outcry from the public concerning commercial space. Whereas advocates like Elon Musk argue that increasing access to space is key to our long-term survival, critics and detractors respond by stating that commercial space “steals focus” from Earth’s problems and that rocket launches produce excessive carbon emissions. In what could be a response to these challenges, Musk recently announced that SpaceX would be starting a carbon capture (CC) program to create propellants for his rockets.Continue reading “SpaceX is Hoping to Turn Atmospheric CO2 Into Rocket Fuel”
In this series we are exploring the weird and wonderful world of astronomy jargon! You’ll finally get away with today’s topic: escape velocity!Continue reading “Astronomy Jargon 101: Escape Velocity”
On December 2nd, 2021, the commercial space company Rocket Lab unveiled the detailed architecture of their Neutron rocket for the first time. In a live-streamed event, the company showcased all the new elements that will make this “megaconstellation” launcher a serious contender in the coming years. These include updated details about the rocket’s design, materials, propulsion, and reusability architecture.Continue reading “Rocket Lab Shows off its new Reusable Neutron Rocket, due for Launch in 2024”
So far, only six countries have successfully launched more than 1 ton of equipment into space using domestically developed rockets. A seventh, North Korea, has successfully done so with a slightly smaller payload. Recently, their southern neighbor attempted to get into this exclusive club by testing its first-ever three-stage orbital rocket.Continue reading “South Korea Launches its First Rocket. The Third Stage cut off Short.”