Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NASA releases new details on next SLS rockets

NASA is fine-tuning its design for the new Space Launch System (SLS) that will send astronauts to the moon, asteroids and possibly Mars. Basically there will be three main types of rocket, the Block 1, Block 1A and Block 2. Block 1A and Block 2 will both have a crewed and a cargo variant, so that's a total of 5 models. The most important difference with what was announced last September is that the main core stage will now have four or five RS-25D/E Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) instead of three.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

NASA's Next Manned Mission to an Asteroid

Now that the Space Launch System program is officially on its tracks, lets take a look at what NASA plans to do with the giant rocket. After the first couple of test flights (including a manned fly-by around the moon somewhere between 2017 and 2021), the first big objective is to send 4 astronauts to a 6 month trip to a Near Earth Object (NEO). The mission would be called 'Plymouth Rock'.

Friday, September 16, 2011

NASA Officially Announces the Space Launch System

Last Wednesday NASA officials publicly unveiled the Space Launch System, the new heavy lift rocket that will send astronauts beyond earth orbit, to asteroids, the moon and possibly some day to Mars. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the design has been known for a few months now, but for various political reasons, the project hadn't been officially announced yet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kepler telescope finds planet Tatooine!

NASA engineers operating the Kepler Space telescope have announced this morning that they have discovered the first planet to orbit a twin-star system. The planet is a gas giant about the size of Jupiter, and its temperature is about -70 C, so it's not really habitable. What is important about this discovery is that it proves that planets can be formed on binary star systems. Before today, it had been speculated but never proven.

The newly discovered planet is officially designated as Kepler 16b, but NASA officials have proposed that it should be named Tatooine, after the twin-sun planet in Star-Wars, barring any licensing issues with Lucasfilm...

The Kepler 16 star system is about 200 light-years from earth.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Endeavour's Last Flight

The Space Shuttle Endeavour launched for the last time this morning at 8:56am EDT, carrying 6 astronauts and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), as well as the new STORRM navigation and docking system to the International Space Station. This is the second-to-last flight of the Space Shuttle fleet, the last flight will be Atlantis' STS-135 mission, scheduled for July 12, 2011.

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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Farewell, Discovery

The Space Shuttle Discovery will be launching for the last time on February 24th at 1:50pm PST. Mission STS-133 will be the 39th flight of the 27 year-old spacecraft, and will be bringing the Permanent Multipurpose Module Leonardo to the International Space Station, as well as the Robonaut 2 robotic astronaut helper.

With only two more Space Shuttle flights scheduled (Endeavour in April and Atlantis in June), this represents the end of an era of ambitious human space exploration, as after that the US will be left with no means of sending astronauts into space and will rely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to reach the ISS.

With the cancellation of the Constellation moon program in October 2010, the only serious prospect for US manned space flights is the privately funded and operated Dragon capsule from SpaceX, which, although a remarkable achievement for a private company, is a return to 1970's designs, and is nowhere as advanced and capable as the Space Shuttle. And Dragon will not be operational before 2013 at the earliest.

Watch the historic flight live in HD on ustream TV.

Update: For those who missed it, here is the video of the launch.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Apollo 18 movie: Cloverfield meets the Space Program

We finally have a trailer for the upcoming movie 'Apollo 18', a horror science fiction movie about a hypothetical 18th Apollo moon landing. As most of you know, in real life the last Apollo mission was Apollo17th. The premise of the movie is that an 18th mission actually took place, but it was kept a total secret. The movie shows raw footage from portable cameras brought aboard by the crew, just like in the movie Cloverfield.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ares I Resurrected! Give me Liberty

ATK, the makers of the Space Shuttle's Solid Rocket Boosters is joining force with European aerospace company Astrium/EADS, the makers of the Ariane 5 rocket, to propose a new rocket to launch US astronauts into space after the Space Shuttle retires later this year. The new Liberty rocket would be operational in 2015.
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