Although the U.S. Space Force is tasked with military operations in regards to space, they’ve never actually sent one of their own into orbit. This week, the agency announced that Col. Nick Hague will launch to the International Space Station in August 2024 to pilot the Crew-9 mission, as part of SpaceX’s ninth crew rotation to the ISS for NASA. He’ll join two NASA astronauts and a cosmonaut on the trip to space and then work as a flight engineer, spending six months on the station doing research and operations activities.Continue reading “Space Force Chooses its First “Guardian” to go to Space”
Swedish astronaut Marcus Wandt took control of a series of robots in Germany while on board the International Space Station, zipping around the Earth at 28,000 kilometers per hour (17,500 mph.) Researchers want to understand how time delays can affect the remote control of robots from an orbiting platform. Future astronauts could control rovers on the Moon’s or Mars’s surface from a spacecraft in orbit. Until now, only wheeled rovers have been part of the tests, but now they have added a dog-like robot called Bert.Continue reading “An Astronaut Controls a Robotic Dog From Orbit”
We live in an age of renewed space exploration, colloquially known as Space Age 2.0. Unlike the previous one, this new space age is characterized by inter-agency cooperation and collaboration between space agencies and the commercial space industry (aka. NewSpace). In addition to sending crews back to the Moon and onto Mars, a major objective of the current space age is the commercialization of Low Earth Orbit (LEO). That means large constellations of satellites, debris mitigation, and plenty of commercial space stations.
To accommodate this commercial presence in LEO, Sierra Space has developed the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) habitat, an inflatable module that can be integrated into future space stations. As part of the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program, NASA, Sierra Space, and ILC Dover (the Delaware-based engineering manufacturing company) recently conducted a full-scale burst pressure test of their LIFE habitat. The test occurred at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and was caught on video (see below).Continue reading “Watch a House-Sized Space Habitat (Intentionally) Burst”
When the Space Age dawned in 1957, there were only two players: the USA and the USSR. The USA won the space race by being first to the Moon, though the USSR enjoyed its own successes. But here we are only a few decades later, and the USSR appears to be fading away while China is surging ahead.
Nothing’s more emblematic of China’s surge than its Tiangong space station.Continue reading “China’s Space Station, Seen from Orbit”
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”
He’s done it again, outdoing even his own incredible work.
Over the years, we’ve written many articles to share the beautiful and mind-bending astrophotography of Thierry Legault. Each year he seems to come up with ideas to try to surpass even his own craziest attempts of astrophotography feats – such as capturing spy satellites in orbit, or snapping pictures of the International Space Station (ISS) transiting the Sun during a solar eclipse.
Now, he was able to take pictures of the ISS transiting the Sun while two astronauts were doing a spacewalk. As an added challenge, Legault made sure he was in the right place at the right time so he could capture the ISS (and astronauts) while they were passing by three enormous sunspots.
WHAT??Continue reading “Thierry Legault’s Stunning Views of the Space Station (with spacewalking astronauts) Crossing in Front of Sunspots”
The International Space Station (ISS) is nearing the end of its service. While NASA and its partners have committed to keeping it in operation until 2030, plans are already in place for successor space stations that will carry on the ISS’ legacy. China plans to assume a leading role with Tiangong, while the India Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to deploy its own space station by mid-decade. NASA has also contracted with three aerospace companies to design commercial space stations, including Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef, the Axiom Space Station (AxS), and Starlab.
Well, buckle up! The European multinational aerospace giant Airbus has thrown its hat into the ring! In a recently-released video, the company detailed its proposal for a Multi-Purpose Orbital Module (MPOP) called the Airbus LOOP. This modular space segment contains three decks, a centrifuge, and enough volume for a crew of four, making it suitable for future space stations and long-duration missions to Mars. The LOOP builds on the company’s long history of human spaceflight programs, like the ISS Columbus Module, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), and the Orion European Service Module (ESM).Continue reading “Airbus Designs a Space Station With Artificial Gravity”
The NASA/SpaceX Crew 6 members are now on their way to the International Space Stations after a spectacular nighttime liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
At 12:34 am EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent a Dragon spacecraft named Endeavour into orbit. Onboard were NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, along with United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.Continue reading “Spectacular Night Launch Sends SpaceX Crew 6 to the Space Station”
The crew of the International Space Station can now breathe a little easier. An uncrewed replacement Soyuz docked safely to the station, meaning NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin can make it back home to Earth.
The new Soyuz MS-23 will replace MS-22, which suffered a serious radiator coolant leak on December 14, 2022. After much deliberation, Russian controllers decided that it would be safer to send a replacement Soyuz to the ISS rather than risk the crew returning in a spacecraft without coolant.Continue reading “A Replacement Soyuz Arrives Safely at the International Space Station”
Normally, it would be a very bad day if your space station habitat module blew up. But it was all smiles and high-fives in mission control when Sierra Space’s LIFE habitat was intentionally over-inflated until it popped spectacularly in an Ultimate Burst Pressure (UBP) test. This video shows the moment of boom from several different viewpoints.Continue reading “Sierra Space Inflated a Habitat to Destruction, Testing its Limits Before Going to Orbit”