space travel

SpaceX launch succeeds: even a crash is progress

SpaceX launch succeeds: even a crash is progress

As the latest Falcon 9 Dragon rocket took off yesterday, history was once again made by SpaceX. While some headlines suggest that the "landing" bit of this mission was a failure - we don't see it that way. The first part of the mission was to send supplies to the International Space Station - that part is in progress. The second part was to successfully land the Falcon 9 back on an autonomous barge in the Atlantic Ocean - it succeeded, but also failed. While the rocket is damaged enough now that it cannot be reused, SpaceX has again come far closer than any other organization at landing like this in history.

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LIVE Countdown to SpaceX CRS-6 launch and landing mission

LIVE Countdown to SpaceX CRS-6 launch and landing mission

For the third time in so many days, the SpaceX group will be attempting to launch mission CRS-6. This mission will be the first to recapture the section of the rocket normally lost once separated from the payload, thus creating an environment in which space travel - and the delivery of goods and astronauts to the International Space Station - has its costs lessened significantly. Today there is a 60-percent chance of a successful mission launch, while yesterday's launch was canceled by an anvil cloud.

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SpaceX landing scrubbed due to anvil cloud

SpaceX landing scrubbed due to anvil cloud

This afternoon SpaceX aborted its second attempt to land a rocket on a ship at sea. This would have been - and still might be - a historic landing, if completed successfully, as it would make the Falcon 9 the first such craft to deliver goods to the International Space Station and return intact and fully reusable. Similar such craft have been successful in heading to space, but once returned, they're pretty much done for. SpaceX intends to reduce the price of space travel significantly with this giant leap forward.

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Our Earth and Baby Earth smashed out the moon

Our Earth and Baby Earth smashed out the moon

A paper has been published this week which suggests that our moon was created when a tiny Earth collided with our much larger Earth millions of years ago. Millions and millions of years ago, that'll be, so says a paper by the name of "A primordial origin for the compositional similarity between the Earth and the Moon." Did you know that our Moon is made of the same basic material as our planet Earth? Popular theory suggests that our Moon was once part of our Earth, and this newest study suggests that it was bashed out by a sort of "Baby Earth."

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Bezo’s Blue Origin preps for its first unmanned spaceflight

Bezo’s Blue Origin preps for its first unmanned spaceflight

The competition for private spaceflight is gearing up as companies compete for the privilege to send a new breed of tourists into space. Competing with Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk's Space X is Blue Origin, the covert rocket company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin's latest spacecraft is the New Shephard, which is designed to be capable of carrying 3 or more astronauts and a full cargo load into sub-orbital space. New Shephard will soon begin unmanned test flights in sub-orbital space this year.

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Opportunity rover shows its age with double amnesia event

Opportunity rover shows its age with double amnesia event

In Mars news today, NASA has reported their Opportunity rover to be having a second bit of amnesia in so many weeks. This event is affecting the machine's flash memory banks, and scientists had, after the first incident, attempted to bypass the faulty bank. The first event happened back on March 20th, and another event happened on the 25th. NASA scientists suggest that they're disappointed at the second occurrence, but not surprised. Another memory reformat may be just the ticket to get this machine back in order.

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Mercury’s dark surface may be alien in origin

Mercury’s dark surface may be alien in origin

A paper has been published this week which suggests that the surface of the planet Mercury may be comprised of cometary carbon. This means that carbon has littered the surface of Mercury, all of it from comets hurtling through space. In comparing Mercury to our own Earth-circling moon, the group responsible for this study suggest that 50 times as many carbon-rich micrometeorites impact the dark planet as do our own nearby space body. This has resulted, says the study, in approximately 3–6 wt% carbon at Mercury’s surface.

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One-year NASA mission launch: watch LIVE as Soyuz takes off

One-year NASA mission launch: watch LIVE as Soyuz takes off

Starting today, NASA's Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko will be heading off for a year in space aboard the International Space Station. While Padalka's mission will be slightly shorter at a standard six months, a full year in space is planned for Kelly and Kornienko. This mission will test the long-term spaceflight effects on the human body in both physiological and psychological terms. Scott Kelly is also part of a twin study - his (retired) brother Mark Kelly will be remaining on Earth to be studied by NASA as the mission takes place in space.

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New unmanned Dream Chaser spacecraft designed for ISS missons

New unmanned Dream Chaser spacecraft designed for ISS missons

Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) created a new spacecraft to compete in NASA's latest space vehicle contract. SNC's newest creation is the Dream Chaser Cargo System. This futuristic looking spacecraft is designed to fly back and forth between earth and the International Space Station (ISS) and is planning to do so completely unmanned. The newest model of the Dream Chaser is in the running for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract and will be competing against other private companies such as Space X and Boeing.

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