Engineers working with the European Space Agency have developed a new thruster design smaller than the tip of your finger. Despite its small size, this mini-thruster designed for CubeSats appears to be highly efficient without the use of toxic chemicals.Continue reading “Spacecraft Could be Equipped With Tiny Thrusters That Use Water for Propellant”
SpaceX Crew-7, the next group of four astronauts, are now on board the International Space Station, and this diverse crew is definitely putting “International” in the ISS. The new crew hails from four different countries: the US, Denmark, Japan and Russia. There will be 11 people on board the station for a few days before the Crew-6 foursome head back to Earth.
NASA has at least 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations queued up for Crew-7[‘s six months space, many of which will help prepare for the upcoming Artemis missions.Continue reading “Crew-7 Reaches the International Space Station”
Virgin Galactic sent its first privately funded adventurers — and its first space sweepstakes winners — past the 50-mile space boundary today.
The tourists on the suborbital space trip known as Galactic 02 included Keisha Schahaff, who won two tickets in an online contest organized by the Omaze charity sweepstakes platform and a nonprofit group called Space for Humanity in 2021. She and her daughter, Anastatia Mayers, became the first mother-and-daughter duo to share a spaceflight, and the first spacefliers from the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
“I kind of feel like I was born in this life for this,” Schahaff, a wellness coach, told NBC’s “Today” show. Her daughter is a college student who aims to become an astrobiologist.
Jon Goodwin — an 80-year-old British adventurer who competed as a canoeist in the 1972 Olympics — also broke barriers on today’s Galactic 02 flight. In 2005, he was one of the first customers to reserve a spot with Virgin Galactic, back when the price was $200,000. Then, almost a decade ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Today he became only the second person with Parkinson’s to take a space trip. (The first was NASA shuttle astronaut Rich Clifford.)Continue reading “Virgin Galactic Flies Its First Privately Funded Space Tourists”
While the European Space Agency isn’t planning to build their own spacesuits anytime soon, they want to be ready. ESA recently had the Space Suit Design Competition, allowing the public to propose designs for future European extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suits.
The competition received 90 submissions and experts selected five winners. This first design, above, was created by Oussama Guarraz, focusing on “modernity, cutting-edge technology, innovation, and sustainability.”
Below is another design, by João Montenegro.Continue reading “Check out the Cool New Designs for Europe’s Future Spacesuits”
For most of us, this would be a nightmare.
Imagine being curled up inside a 90 cm (36 inch) fabric sphere with a small window and a small air tank while dangling from the Canadarm. As your tiny sphere shifts, you’d see Earth out your tiny window, then the Space Shuttle, damaged by some accident or other that caused you to need rescuing, then Earth again. Panic would set in pretty quickly.
But that’s where Space Shuttle astronauts in an emergency could’ve found themselves if NASA’s Personal Rescue Enclosure (PRE) had been put into practice.Continue reading “This is How NASA Wanted to Rescue Space Shuttle Astronauts”
SpaceX’s Starship launch system lifted off on its first full-scale test flight today, rising majestically from its Texas launch pad but falling short of stage separation.
The uncrewed mission represented the most ambitious test yet for the world’s most powerful rocket — which eventually could send people to the moon and Mars, and even between spaceports on our own planet.
Liftoff from SpaceX’s Starbase complex at Boca Chica on the South Texas coast came at 8:33 a.m. CDT (9:33 a.m. EDT). The Starship system’s Super Heavy booster, powered by 33 methane-fueled Raptor rocket engines, rose into clear skies with a deafening roar and a blazing pillar of flame.
Hundreds of SpaceX employees cheered at the company’s California headquarters, but the crowd turned quiet three minutes into the flight when the Starship upper stage failed to separate from the booster as planned. The entire rocket spun in the air as a ground-based camera watched.
A minute later, SpaceX’s flight termination system destroyed both stages of the rocket as a safety measure. “Obviously, we wanted to make it all the way through, but to get this far, honestly, is amazing,” launch commentator Kate Tice said.Continue reading “SpaceX’s Starship Has a Glorious Liftoff — but Then Spins and Explodes”
If it turns out that a future extraterrestrial invasion force is headed by a clone of George Washington, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.
Admittedly, that would be the unlikeliest outcome of a space shot that aims to send hair samples from America’s first president — and from Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan — into deep space.
The samples, which include bits of DNA, are to be included on Houston-based Celestis’ “Enterprise Flight,” a memorial space mission that will also carry DNA and cremated remains from the late astronaut Philip Chapman, Star Trek celebrities and scores of Celestis clients. The time capsule will be sent into space later this year as a secondary payload aboard United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, and eventually settle into stable orbit around the sun.Continue reading “Happy Presidents Day: George Washington’s Hair Set to Go to Deep Space”
When you go to space, it’s going to change your brain. Count on it. That’s because space travelers enter microgravity, and that challenges everything the brain knows about gravity. The experience alters their brain functions and “connectivity” between different regions. It’s all part of the ability of our brains and nervous systems to change in response to changes in the environment, or because of traumatic brain stress or injuries.Continue reading “This is Your Brain on Spaceflight”
NASA and its international partners have approved the crew lineup for Axiom Space’s second privately funded mission to the International Space Station — a lineup that includes the first Saudi woman cleared to go into orbit.
Two of the former crew members — former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner, a Tennessee business executive, race car driver and aviator — had previously been announced.
They’ll be joined by Ali AlQarni and Rayyannah Barnawi, representing Saudi Arabia’s national astronaut program. Only one other Saudi citizen — Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, who flew on the space shuttle Discovery in 1985 — has ever been in space. The 10-day Axiom Space mission, known as Ax-2, is currently scheduled for this spring.Continue reading “Axiom’s U.S.-Saudi Crew Approved for Private Mission to Space Station”
As science and technology advance, we’re asking our space missions to deliver more and more results. NASA’s MSL Curiosity and Perseverance rovers illustrate this fact. Perseverance is an exceptionally exquisite assemblage of technologies. These cutting-edge rovers need a lot of power to fulfill their tasks, and that means bulky and expensive power sources.Continue reading “Exploring the Outer Solar System Takes Power, Here’s a Way to Miniaturize Nuclear Batteries for Deep Space”