Space

Microsoft co-founder’s Stratolaunch low orbit plane revealed

Microsoft co-founder’s Stratolaunch low orbit plane revealed

While SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are scrambling to corner the still non-existent low orbit commercial transportation market, a new player has just rolled out its race horse out of the hangar for the public to gawk at. And like those other companies, Stratolaunch also has a Silicon Valley luminary behind it, the oft forgotten Microsoft co-found Paul G. Allen. And just like those companies, Stratolaunch has an ambition whose size is rivaled only by the aircraft it just revealed.

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NASA Parker Solar Probe sun mission named in honor of Eugene Parker

NASA Parker Solar Probe sun mission named in honor of Eugene Parker

As promised, NASA has made an announcement related to its sun investigation mission, the now-formerly named Solar Probe Plus. The space agency, it turns out, has decided to change the mission's name to Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker who published a study in 1958 detailing a phenomenon that is now known as solar wind. "This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft for a living individual," Science Mission Directorate associate administration Thomas Zurbuchen explained.

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NASA will detail its historic sun mission tomorrow: here’s how to watch

NASA will detail its historic sun mission tomorrow: here’s how to watch

NASA will make an announcement related to its sun mission tomorrow, the space agency has said, and you'll be able to watch it live from the convenience of your phone or laptop. The announcement will concern NASA's previously unveiled Solar Probe Plus, a spacecraft that will get closer to the sun than any other in history. By sending a spacecraft so close to our bright star, researchers will learn things about its outer atmosphere and more that answer longstanding physics questions.

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We were so wrong about Jupiter

We were so wrong about Jupiter

NASA has received the first results from its Juno mission to Jupiter, and the findings are surprising. Researchers long held certain assumptions about Jupiter, things that Juno's early findings have challenged. One of the surprising discoveries were the massive storms on the planet, ones with cyclones as large as our own planet. As well, current measurements indicate that Jupiter's magnetic field is much stronger than expected.

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NASA Psyche mission launch moved to 2022 in big cost-saving measure

NASA Psyche mission launch moved to 2022 in big cost-saving measure

NASA has moved the Psyche launch up and, as a result, the spacecraft's arrival in the asteroid belt will be four years earlier than originally planned, according to the space agency. The Psyche mission is one of many 'highly focused robotic space missions' chosen by the space agency's Discovery Program to explore elements of space, in this case the asteroid Psyche located between Jupiter and Mars. The evaluation of this asteroid will help researchers better understand our own planet and others.

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NASA will have an emergency ISS space walk tomorrow

NASA will have an emergency ISS space walk tomorrow

A failed computer will result in two astronauts conducting an emergency spacewalk at the International Space Station tomorrow, NASA has announced, enabling the ISS to resume operations with its primary (rather than backup) system. The computer is one of two units that control systems on the space station, though NASA reassures everyone that none of the astronauts have been or will be in danger from the computer failure.

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Elysium Space’s memorial spacecraft will launch on SpaceX rocket

Elysium Space’s memorial spacecraft will launch on SpaceX rocket

A loved one's ashes are typically sprinkled in a meaningful place, perhaps a field or a river. Elysium Space is aiming to change that, at least for those who spent their lives focused on the stars. The company has announced that its Elysium Star II memorial spacecraft will be launched into space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, where it will then spend a couple years circling the Earth before reappearing as a shooting star.

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Researchers find ‘warm Neptune’ with water in its atmosphere

Researchers find ‘warm Neptune’ with water in its atmosphere

Researchers have discovered a planet with an atmosphere that contains clouds foreign to the type we know as well as a 'strong water signature' and high levels of both helium and hydrogen. The planet is called HAT-P-26b, and it circles around a star that is about double the age of our own sun. Researchers with the University of Maryland and NASA describe this exoplanet as a 'warm Neptune' due to its similar size and the nature of its orbit relative to its star.

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SpaceX tested Falcon Heavy rocket’s center core last week

SpaceX tested Falcon Heavy rocket’s center core last week

Elon Musk has always been ambitious, but sometimes ambition has to be tempered by reality and the limitations of current technologies. Those are pretty much the reasons, according to Musk himself, why his space-faring SpaceX company has delayed its Falcon Heavy rocket launch year after year after year. But to assure investors and fans alike that the Falcon Heavy is still a thing, SpaceX released a short clip showing its successful test of the large rocket's center core last week.

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NASA puts James Webb Space Telescope through final freeze before launch

NASA puts James Webb Space Telescope through final freeze before launch

It won't be long before NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is launched into space, but ahead of that event comes a final cryogenic test. The space agency has detailed this test, saying it is taking place at the Johnson Space Center following a long and careful transport process from the Goddard Space Flight Center. The test, once it is fully underway, will last for about 100 days before wrapping up.

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NASA begins considering proposals for future New Frontiers missions

NASA begins considering proposals for future New Frontiers missions

NASA is looking toward the future, as it has received 12 proposals for future missions within our Solar System. These 12 proposals will be considered as part of New Frontiers, a program that has already given us some pretty impressive and informative missions. Don't expect to see the next mission launch anytime soon, though, as NASA says we likely won't see the next New Frontiers mission lift off until the mid-2020s.

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Air Force’s X-37B space plane sets 718-day flight record

Air Force’s X-37B space plane sets 718-day flight record

While companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are battling it out in the reusable rocket arena, the US Air Force is looking to space in a slightly different way. Just this weekend, the Air Force proudly announced that its unmanned orbital space plane, the X-37B, set two records. First, it had the longest unmanned orbital flight for the craft, circling the globe for 718 days. Second, it landed without a scratch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the first landing at that facility in over half a decade.

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