Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Saga of NASA's Heavy Lift Launcher

Last week, after years of studies and negotiations, NASA finally released a preliminary design for the new rocket that will replace the space shuttle. The new rocket will be a Shuttle-Derived Heavy Lift Vehicle, meaning that it will make maximum use of existing Space Shuttle components. Basically they will keep the Space Shuttle External tank and two Solid Rocket Boosters unchanged, remove the space shuttle, take the shuttle's three main engines and put them and the bottom of the External Tank, and put the cargo on top of the External Tank. This design is pretty much the solution proposed by the DIRECT team last year, called the Jupiter launch vehicle.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Giant 'straddling bus' rides above traffic

The Chinese are building a giant tramway that rides on stilts high enough so that it can ride over cars on busy streets, avoiding traffic jams. Cars will also be able to drive under them so as not to be stuck behind them when they are stopped at a bus stop.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Captain Kirk doesn't trust the VSS Enterprise

Virgin Galactic is proceeding with tests of its first SpaceShipTwo sub-orbital spacecraft, the VSS Enterprise, that will carry private, paying passengers on a short, 6 minutes flight to space. On October 10, 2010, it successfully completed its first glide flight dropped from the WhiteNightTwo mother ship, and company officials say that they are on schedule to start commercial operations in 2011.
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