After a second stage failure, Rocket Lab loses seven satellites

On Sunday morning, local time in New Zealand, Rocket Lab launched its 13th mission. The booster’s first stage performed normally, but just as the second stage neared an altitude of 200km, something went wrong and the vehicle was lost. In the immediate aftermath of the failure, the company did not provide any additional information about Read more about After a second stage failure, Rocket Lab loses seven satellites[…]

Russia returns to space tourism and offers a first citizen spacewalk

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has re-entered the space tourism market and this time will offer one person the chance to spacewalk. The agency on Thursday announced a new deal with US outfit Space Adventures to take two people to the International Space Station atop a Soyuz rocket. One of the tourists, according to Space Adventures’ Read more about Russia returns to space tourism and offers a first citizen spacewalk[…]

Beidou: China completes rival to the US-owned GPS system

China sent the last satellite to space on Tuesday to complete its global navigation system that will help wean it off U.S. technology in this area. The network known as Beidou, which has been in the works for over two decades, is a significant step for China’s space and technology ambitions. Beidou is a rival Read more about Beidou: China completes rival to the US-owned GPS system[…]

Planet’s SkySats zoom in for a closer look at the Earth, get 50cm per pixel granularity

The remote-sensing firm Planet operates more than one hundred satellites that constantly orbit the earth, collecting imagery of the world’s entire landmass each day. Now, to offer more clarity to its customers, it has flown a handful of its satellites 50 km closer to the Earth. This literal zoom-in effort will allow the firm to Read more about Planet’s SkySats zoom in for a closer look at the Earth, get 50cm per pixel granularity[…]

Astronomers have found a planet like Earth orbiting a star like the sun

Three thousand light-years from Earth sits Kepler 160, a sun-like star that’s already thought to have three planets in its system. Now researchers think they’ve found a fourth. Planet KOI-456.04, as it’s called, appears similar to Earth in size and orbit, raising new hopes we’ve found perhaps the best candidate yet for a habitable exoplanet Read more about Astronomers have found a planet like Earth orbiting a star like the sun[…]

Trump’s Make Space Great Again video pulled after former ‘naut says: Nope

A funny thing happened overnight in the world of space and politics as a campaigning video featuring SpaceX’s commercial crew launch and promoting US President Donald Trump was abruptly pulled from YouTube. “Make Space Great Again” was uploaded to YouTube following the successful launch, attended by Trump, and featured a mix of footage including some Read more about Trump’s Make Space Great Again video pulled after former ‘naut says: Nope[…]

Watch SpaceX’s Starship SN4 prototype accidentally self-destruct in a rocket test burn – just before the Falcon launches people at the ISS

In yet another setback for Elon Musk’s beloved steel spaceship, a SpaceX Starship prototype has exploded on the pad during a rocket test burn. Starship SN4 – designed to ferry astronauts to the Moon and Mars – was undergoing a static engine fire test on Friday when, in scientific terminology, it blew the hell up. Read more about Watch SpaceX’s Starship SN4 prototype accidentally self-destruct in a rocket test burn – just before the Falcon launches people at the ISS[…]

Sir Richard Branson: Virgin Orbit rocket launch from 747 fails on debut flight

The booster was released from under the wing of one of the UK entrepreneur’s old jumbos which had been specially converted for the task. The rocket ignited its engine seconds later but an anomaly meant the flight was terminated early. Virgin Orbit’s goal is to try to capture a share of the emerging market for Read more about Sir Richard Branson: Virgin Orbit rocket launch from 747 fails on debut flight[…]

NASA launches guide to Lunar etiquette now that private operators will share the Moon with governments after US power grab

NASA has laid out a new set of principles that it hopes will inform how states and private companies will interact on the Moon. The new guidelines, called the Artemis Accords, seek “to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for the benefit of humanity”. The purpose of the Read more about NASA launches guide to Lunar etiquette now that private operators will share the Moon with governments after US power grab[…]

UK takes a step closer to domestic launches as Skyrora fires up Skylark-L

Blighty is preparing for take-off as Edinburgh-based rocket-botherer Skyrora test-fired its Skylark-L rocket from a location in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Those hoping to send a satellite to orbit from UK soil might have a while to wait, however. The Skylark-L is only capable of flinging a 60kg payload 100km up. The beefier Read more about UK takes a step closer to domestic launches as Skyrora fires up Skylark-L[…]

Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, 1:5M, 2020

This new work represents a seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map derived from the six digitally renovated geologic maps (see Source Online Linkage below). The goal of this project was to create a digital resource for science research and analysis, future geologic mapping efforts, be it local-, regional-, or global-scale products, and as a resource Read more about Unified Geologic Map of the Moon, 1:5M, 2020[…]

China’s next-generation crew spacecraft nails its test mission landing

After it launched on Tuesday and nailed a series of maneuvers, China’s future crewed spacecraft has made a successful desert touchdown. Built by China’s main space contractor, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the uncrewed prototype will ferry astronauts to China’s future space station and, eventually, the moon. The crewed capsule (which doesn’t Read more about China’s next-generation crew spacecraft nails its test mission landing[…]

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket’s tanks just disintegrated in Earth’s orbit

Russian rocket tanks used to launch a radio telescope have broken up into 65 chunks, littering Earth’s orbit with debris. The tanks, dumped from the Fregat-SB upper stage of the Zenit-3SLBF rocket that took the Spektr-R radio telescope into orbit in 2011, disintegrated on Friday, Roscosmos said on Sunday. “According to reports, the destruction occurred Read more about Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket’s tanks just disintegrated in Earth’s orbit[…]

SPACEX – ISS Docking Simulator

This simulator will familiarize you with the controls of the actual interface used by NASA Astronauts to manually pilot the SpaceX Dragon 2 vehicle to the International Space Station. Source: SPACEX – ISS Docking Simulator Turns out it’s quite easy in a sim 😀

Saturn has a hexagon vortex 18 layers thick the larger than the earth over its pole packed with hydrocarbon ice crystals.

The giant hexagon-shaped storm raging atop Saturn’s North Pole is made out of frozen hydrocarbon ice suspended in seven hazy layers stacked on top of one another, according to a study published in Nature Communications on Friday. The swirling six-sided wonder, which El Reg once dubbed the hexacane, has perplexed scientists since its discovery in Read more about Saturn has a hexagon vortex 18 layers thick the larger than the earth over its pole packed with hydrocarbon ice crystals.[…]

Virgin Galactic’s spaceship flies from its new home base for the first time

The pieces are finally starting to come together for Virgin Galactic’s space tourism — the company has flown SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America for the first time. It was just a glide test from 50,000 feet up, but the flight let the spaceport fulfill its intended purpose and gave pilots familiarity with the New Mexico airspace. Read more about Virgin Galactic’s spaceship flies from its new home base for the first time[…]

Space Launch Market for Heavy Lift Vehicles: Charts and Data Set of Addressable Launches 2007–2018

In 2019, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) asked the RAND Corporation to independently analyze the heavy lift space launch market to assess how potential USAF decisions in the near term could affect domestic launch providers and the market in general. RAND’s analysis was published as Assessing the Impact of U.S. Air Force National Security Space Read more about Space Launch Market for Heavy Lift Vehicles: Charts and Data Set of Addressable Launches 2007–2018[…]

‘Zombie’ Satellite shutdown in 1972 Found alive By Amateur Radio Operator On COVID-19 Lockdown

There are more than 2,000 active satellites orbiting Earth. At the end of their useful lives, many will simply burn up as they reenter the atmosphere. But some will continue circling as “zombie” satellites — neither alive nor quite dead. “Most zombie satellites are satellites that are no longer under human control, or have failed Read more about ‘Zombie’ Satellite shutdown in 1972 Found alive By Amateur Radio Operator On COVID-19 Lockdown[…]

Incredible New Map of Moon Shows Its Every Nook and Cranny

The colors divide the map into geologic units; scientists divide the Moon’s geologic history into a different eras, so a color represents the kind of rock and its era. For example, yellow on the map represents Copernican craters—the rim, wall, and floor of bright material from the Moon’s Copernican period, which lasted from a billion Read more about Incredible New Map of Moon Shows Its Every Nook and Cranny[…]

For the First Time, a Robot Repaired a Satellite in Orbit

Space.com calls it “the first commercial satellite servicing mission.” But more specifically, it’s being called “the first in-orbit rendezvous and docking of two commercial satellites” in a statement from Northrop Grumman Space Systems, which also notes their “subsequent repositioning of the two-spacecraft stack.” And it was all done using robotics floating 36,000km (22,369 miles) above Read more about For the First Time, a Robot Repaired a Satellite in Orbit[…]

Trump signs executive order to support moon mining, tap asteroid resources

The water ice and other lunar resources that will help the United States establish a long-term human presence on the moon are there for the taking, the White House believes. President Donald Trump signed an executive order today (April 6) establishing U.S. policy on the exploitation of off-Earth resources. That policy stresses that the current Read more about Trump signs executive order to support moon mining, tap asteroid resources[…]

Rocket Lab proves it can recover a rocket in mid-air by catching it with a helicopter

Last year, Rocket Lab announced that it would attempt to reuse the first stage of its Electron rocket. The company’s goal is to catch the stage as it falls back towards the ocean by plucking it out of mid-air with a helicopter. While that’s ambitious, a video released today shows that Rocket Lab may not Read more about Rocket Lab proves it can recover a rocket in mid-air by catching it with a helicopter[…]

SpaceX loses its third Starship prototype during a cryogenic test

This week, SpaceX workers in South Texas loaded the third full-scale Starship prototype—SN3—onto a test stand ​at the company’s Boca Chica launch site. On Wednesday night, they pressure-tested the vehicle at ambient temperature with nitrogen, and SN3 performed fine. On Thursday night SpaceX began cryo-testing the vehicle, which means it was loaded again with nitrogen, Read more about SpaceX loses its third Starship prototype during a cryogenic test[…]

Comet ATLAS is Brightening Faster than Expected might be awesome to look at mid May

Comet ATLAS (C2019 Y4) is plunging toward the sun, and if it doesn’t fly apart it could soon become one of the brightest comets in years. “Comet ATLAS continues to brighten much faster than expected,” says Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC. “Some predictions for its peak brightness now border on Read more about Comet ATLAS is Brightening Faster than Expected might be awesome to look at mid May[…]