Materials are a crucial yet underappreciated component of any space exploration program. Without novel materials and ways to make them, things that are commonplace today, such as a Falcon 9 rocket or the Mars rovers, would never have been possible. As humanity expands into the solar system, it will need to make more use of the materials found there – a process commonly called in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). Now, the advanced concepts team at NASA has taken a step towards supporting that process by supporting a proposal from Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee, a chemist at Texas A&M. The proposal suggests using lunar regolith to build a stable landing pad for future moon missions.Continue reading “NASA Invests in a Plan to Build Landing Pads and Other Structures on the Moon out of Regolith”
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced today (Dec. 19) that his company plans to launch an upgraded version of its Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday night, Dec. 20, from Cape Canaveral, Florida – for the first time since it failed in flight six months ago on a mission for NASA to the space station – after successfully completing a crucial test of the rockets engines late Friday night.
Furthermore, SpaceX confirmed it will conduct a historic first ever attempt to recover the commercial rocket’s first stage by a soft landing on the ground at a special SpaceX site called Landing Zone 1 on the Cape’s Air Force Station. Continue reading “SpaceX Sets Dec. 20 For ‘Return to Flight’ Launch and Historic Rocket Ground Landing Recovery Attempt – Watch Live”