[VIDEO] 600 Days & Counting: US Air Force’s Unmanned Space Plane, X-37B, on Verge of Breaking Record for Longest Time in Space

In a testing procedure, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle taxis on the flightline March 30, 2010, at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, FLa. (Courtesy photo)

In a testing procedure, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle taxis on the flightline March 30, 2010, at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, FLa. (Courtesy photo)

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[VIDEO] NASA Just Launched a Spacecraft to Steal Some Asteroid Particles 

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NASA just successfully launched its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on an Atlas V rocket. Now, the vehicle is on its way to scoop up pieces of an asteroid and bring them back to Earth, a journey that will take seven years to complete. But if successful, those asteroid pieces could tell researchers a lot about the early Solar System and how life got started on our own planet. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] High-Speed SpaceX Footage from Launches of Falcon 9 Rockets  

New camera views of past launches and reentries.Missions in order of appearance: May JCSAT-14; July CRS-9 launch, stage separation, engine plume interaction, and re-entry burn; December 2015 ORBCOMM landing burn; July CRS-9 landing burn.

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SpaceX Lands Fourth Booster after Successful Falcon 9 Launch

 reports: SpaceX enjoyed a trio of successes on Friday when it launched its Falcon 9 rocket, landed the first stage and deployed a communications satellite.Falcon 9 blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:39 p.m. Eastern time with the Thaicom 8Wochit

SpaceX on Friday landed its third consecutive rocket on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, during a mission that successfully launched a commercial communications satellite to orbit.

“Falcon 9 has landed,” a member of SpaceX’s launch team confirmed about 10 minutes after a 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket’s 5:39 p.m. blastoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

About 20 minutes later, the rocket’s upper stage deployed the Thaicom 8 satellite in orbit as planned.

“All looks good,” reported SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral

Photos: SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral with Thaicom 8

Later, Musk said the rocket stage had landed at close to the top speed it was designed to handle, possibly undermining its stability on the ship floating more than 400 miles offshore.

“Prob ok, but some risk of tipping,” he said on Twitter.

[Read the full story here, at floridatoday.com]

If it staid upright, crews planned to board the unpiloted “drone ship” to weld shoes over the rocket’s four landing legs and sail it back to Port Canaveral within a few days.

Musk’s comment was a reminder that despite a remarkable run of three straight booster landings and four in the company’s last six missions, the landings remain experimental.

SpaceX’s long-term goal is to cut launch costs by reusing rockets. Musk wants to achieve aircraft-like operations, with teams needing only to hose down down and refuel rockets between flights.

But the rockets landed Friday and three weeks ago have sustained more damage, possibly too much to allow them to fly again.
Read the rest of this entry »


Remembering the Apollo 1 Disaster: How 3 Astronauts were Killed 49 Years Ago Today 

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The crew of Apollo 1 were the first fatalities in America’s space programme, but they will forever be remembered as pioneers of manned space exploration.

Gemma Lavender writes: Following the success of the Mercury and Gemini missions in the 1960’s, NASA set about planning a series of manned missions to the Moon that would become known as the Apollo missions, under direction of John F. Kennedy to land a man on the moon by 1970. Apollo 1 was to be the first manned mission and, although it would not travel to the moon itself, it was intended to test important technologies in Earth orbit with Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee on board. Tragically, however, the spacecraft was destroyed in a cabin fire during a launch pad test 47 years ago on 27 January 1967.

Each of the three astronauts had been influential during NASA’s space exploration program in the run-up to Apollo 1. Gus Grissom was the second American in space aboard Liberty Bell 7, the second Project Mercury flight, in 1961. He later became the first American to fly in space twice, piloting the Gemini 3 spacecraft in orbit in 1965.

The Apollo 1 crew are pictured here during water egress training. Image Credit: NASA

The Apollo 1 crew are pictured here during water egress training. Image Credit: NASA

Edward White was the first American to walk in space during the Gemini 4 spaceflight, also in 1965, when he spent 36 minutes outside the spacecraft. Roger Chaffee was the only one of the three who had not flown in space before. He was chosen in NASA’s third pool of astronauts in 1963 and served as capsule communicator on the ground alongside Grissom for White’s Gemini 4 mission. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Elon Musk’s SpaceX Returns to Flight and Pulls Off Dramatic, Historic Landing

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SpaceX Falcon rocket blasts off, booster lands safely

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Christian Davenport reports: Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at its landing pad here Monday evening in its first flight since its rocket exploded six months ago.

The historic landing, the first time a rocket launched a payload into orbit and then returned safely to Earth, was cheered as a sign that SpaceX, the darling of the commercial space industry, has its momentum back.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida before the reusable main-stage booster turned around, soaed back to Cape Canaveral and landed safely near its launch pad. (Reuters)

“The Falcon has landed,” a SpaceX commentator said on the live webcast, as workers at its headquarters went wild, chanting “USA! USA!”

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Unveils Company's New Manned Spacecraft, The Dragon V2

Monday’s flight, initially delayed because of technical concerns, was the second time in a month that a billionaire-backed venture launched a rocket to space and recovered it. And it represents yet another significant step forward in the quest to open up the cosmos to the masses.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

In a call with reporters, Musk said that it appeared the stage landed “dead center on the landing pad. … We could not have asked for a better mission.” He called it a “revolutionary moment.”

Typically, rocket boosters are used once, burning up or crashing into the ocean after liftoff. But Musk, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and Tesla, and Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com who has his own space company, have been working on creating reusable rockets that land vertically by using their engine thrust. If they are able to recover rockets and fly them again and again, it would dramatically lower the cost of space flight.

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Reusing the first stage, which houses the engine and is the most expensive part of the rocket, was thought impossible by many just a few years ago. But last month Bezos’s Blue Origin flew a rocket to the edge of space, and landed it in a remote swath of West Texas. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

On Monday, SpaceX’s first flight since its Falcon 9 rocket blew up in June, Musk topped his fellow tech billionaire and space rival, by landing a larger, more powerful rocket designed to send payloads to orbit, and not just past the boundary of what’s considered space. It was a much more complicated feat that was celebrated as another leap forward for Musk and his merry band of rocketeers.

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SpaceX’s unmanned — and recently upgraded — Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral at 8:29 p.m. on a mission to deliver 11 commercial satellites into space for Orbcomm, a communications company. A few minutes later, the second stage separated and headed further on while the towering booster performed an aerial U-turn and headed back to Earth, hurtling back through gusty winds and using its engine thrust to slow down. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘The Vehicle Experienced an Anomaly on Ascent’: SpaceX CRS-7 Explodes Moments After Liftoff, Mission Ends In Disaster

The latest Dragon spacecraft cargo run to the International Space Station blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28th, 2015 and exploded during flight. SpaceX wanted to attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on a ocean platform. [The last attempt crashed into the platform – see the tracking cam video]

Christian Davenport reports: An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded a couple of minutes after liftoff Sunday morning. It was the third cargo mission to the space station to be lost in recent months.

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SpaceX tweeted: “The vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent. Team is investigating. Updates to come.”

NASA officials said it was not clear what caused the explosion.

SpaceX was carrying more than 4,000 pounds of food and supplies to the space station, where American Scott Kelly is spending a year in space. There were no astronauts on board.

The failure follows two earlier mishaps. An Orbital Antares rocket blew up in October, and then a Russian Progress 59 spun out of control after reaching orbit.

Before the launch, Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokeswoman, said that the station had plenty of supplies on board and that the crew would be fine even if there was another failure. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Launch of US Air Force’s Mini Space Shuttle – X-37B on Atlas V Rocket

An American Atlas V rocket in the 501 configuration has successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral carrying the US Air Force‘s X-37B spaceplane, a smaller version of the Space Shuttle. This will be the fourth mission of the X-37B which conducts top secret missions in orbit via payloads in it’s payload bay. Liftoff occurred at 11:05 Local time, 15:05 UTC time on May 20th 2015.

 


SpaceX Tests Launch Abort System

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SpaceX has put its Dragon astronaut capsule through a practice abort.

The demonstration simulated what would happen to the crewship in the event of a rocket failure on the launch pad.

Wednesday’s test was conducted at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and saw a test vehicle – carrying no humans, only a dummy – hurled skywards by a set of powerful in-built thrusters.

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The Dragon ship was propelled to a safe distance, lowering itself softly into the Atlantic via three parachutes.

SpaceX expects to start launching astronauts in 2017.

It is one of two companies that have been contracted by the US space agency (Nasa) to develop vehicles to ferry people to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The other firm is Boeing.

Both have to demonstrate effective launch escape technologies for their rockets and capsules to receive certification. Only with the necessary assurance will Nasa permit its astronauts to climb aboard.

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SpaceX has elected to use a so-called pusher system on the Dragon.

Eight SuperDraco thrusters have been integrated into the side of the ship, and these fired in tandem for just over five seconds at the start of the test to hurl the ship up and to the east of the Cape. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] SpaceX Launch Successful: Attempt to Land Booster Rocket on Platform #Fail

After six successful missions to the International Space Station, including five official resupply missions for NASA, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are set to liftoff from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for their sixth official Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)

 


[VIDEO] Zombie Stars and Metal Worlds: 10 Weirdest Things Found in Outer Space

It’s easy to forget that there is an endless, unexplored space beyond our tiny planet Earth.

This new video from All Time 10s is packed with tons of fun facts about outer space, touching on some the of strangest objects humans have discovered there — like zombie stars and metal worlds.

Who knows what’s still out there?

via Mashable


Orion Exploration Flight Test Launch

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The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA’s Orion spacecraft mounted atop, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37 at at 7:05 a.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Florida. The Orion spacecraft will orbit Earth twice, reaching an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above Earth before landing in the Pacific Ocean. No one is aboard Orion for this flight test, but the spacecraft is designed to allow us to journey to destinations never before visited by humans, including an asteroid and Mars.

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SpaceX Capsule Returns to Earth

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In this still image from a NASA video, SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon spacecraft leaves the International Space Station to return to Earth on Saturday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — A SpaceX capsule loaded with space station experiments is back on Earth.

The unmanned Dragon capsule parachuted into the Pacific, west of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, on Saturday.

It departed the International Space Station earlier in the day with 3,300 pounds of gear for NASA, including valuable science samples. Read the rest of this entry »


October Spacewalk: Station Crew Set to Welcome SpaceX Dragon, Soyuz Spacecraft

In this photo posted to Twitter by Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman, he and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst (right) pose for a picture with spacesuits in the International Space Station's Quest airlock. Image Credit: NASA View tweet from @Astro_Reid

Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman, he and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst (right) pose for a picture with spacesuits in the International Space Station’s Quest airlock.  Image Credit: NASA View tweet from @Astro_Reid

As they get set for next week’s arrival of the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship and a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new crew members, Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst closed out the International Space Station’s workweek Friday with eye exams, cargo management and preparations for a pair of U.S. spacewalks in October.

At the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 41/42 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, right, brushes up on docking skills on a laptop computer simulator Sept. 17 as prelaunch preparations continue for the crew. Image Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

At the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 41/42 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, right, brushes up on docking skills on a laptop computer simulator Sept. 17 as prelaunch preparations continue for the crew.  Image Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

The fourth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission remains on track for a launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday at 2:14 a.m. EDT. The SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle is poised to deliver 2.5 tons of station supplies, including around 1,650 pounds of science. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 1 a.m. Saturday.

[UPDATE: See this — Boeing Isn’t Getting More NASA Money Because It’s Doing a Better Job than SpaceX]

There is a 50% probability of favorable weather for Saturday’s launch. If the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity will be early Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Long Exposure Photo of Falcon 9 Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral

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Long Exposure Photo of tonight’s Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, carrying AsiaSat 6 to Geostationary Transfer Orbit


[VIDEO] Launch of AFSPC-4 on Delta IV Rocket from Cape, July 28, 2014

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SpaceX Launch of NASA Cargo to Space Station Set for Friday, Spacewalk Wednesday

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NASA and SpaceX are targeting a 3:25 p.m. EDT launch on Friday, April 18, of SpaceX’s third cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 2:15 p.m.

The company’s April 14 launch to the orbiting laboratory was scrubbed due to a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Dragon spacecraft to the space station.

Dragon is carrying to the space station almost 5,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk tools — all to support the crew and more than 150 scientific investigations planned for Expeditions 39 and 40. If needed, another launch attempt will take place at 3:02 p.m. Saturday, April 19.

NASA Television coverage of Dragon’s arrival at the space station will begin at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, April 20. Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture the spacecraft at approximately 7 a.m. NASA’s Rick Mastracchio will support Wakata during the rendezvous. Read the rest of this entry »