In a speech to NASA employees and the nation on April 15, President Obama unveiled a vision for U.S. space exploration that didn't include Constellation or development of its Ares I rocket. The next day, Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley issued his response to Obama: Not so fast.
NASA's Orion crew capsule, which was part of the cancelled Constellation program, has been revived as an escape pod for the International Space Station. A smaller version of the capsule could launch on an Atlas or Delta rocket and eliminate the need to buy a multimillion-dollar Russian Soyuz spacecraft for emergency crew escape, Florida Today reports.
Amateur and professional astronomers alike know the Orion Nebula as one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky, and a new image from Europe's powerful VISTA telescope has captured it in a stunning new light. But rather than just seeing the visible cloud of gas enshrouding the stellar nursery, VISTA turned its infrared vision upon the young stars emerging in and around the nebula.
It must be fun to be NASA. In an attempt to make a lighter, stronger and safer crew vehicle for future manned space missions, they've been beating up on an all-composite version of the Orion flight crew module, the manned portion of NASA's Constellation program. So far the vehicle has passed the structural stress tests with flying colors.
A final report issued by a blue-ribbon commission on NASA's future enthusiastically embraces in-space refueling and commercial spaceflight to low-Earth orbit, but curiously leaves out NASA's Ares-I rocket in future scenarios.
What does it take to prep humans for a trip to an asteroid or a martian moon? Starvation? Isolation? Recycling feces for food? NASA's newest astronauts begin a grueling training regimen this fall to find out
Astronauts test a prototype of a six-legged lunar buggy at Moses Lake in Washington.
Three test pilots. Two flight surgeons. One molecular biologist. A flight controller, a Pentagon staffer and a CIA intelligence officer. These are the nine people chosen by NASA to be America's next astronauts. Late this summer they reported to Houston along with two Japanese pilots, a Japanese doctor, a Canadian pilot and a Canadian physicist who will train alongside NASA's class of 2009. Call them the lucky 14.
Selected from more than 3,500 applicants, NASA's new astronaut candidates arrive at a pivotal moment in the history of human space exploration. The agency's bold ambition is to rocket humans beyond the International Space Station for the first time in more than 40 years. The question is when.
NASA has wanted to get a better look at its space shuttle landings ever since the tragic disintegration of space shuttle Columbia in 2003. Part of the space agency's solution: a modified Navy aircraft that can take 10,000 to 15,000 images of space shuttles traveling at a few miles per second.
Space shuttles have about 10,000 thermal tiles that protect their underbelly and wings during the white-hot descent from orbit. A protective layer of air molecules forms around the shuttle with temperatures up to 3,000 degrees F -- still mild compared to temperatures of more than 9,900 degrees F beyond the boundary layer.
Future space hotel moguls can get nervous when NASA's next-generation spaceship plans begin to founder. So one company has come up with a modified "Lite" design of the planned Orion vehicle to carry astronauts and paying passengers into orbit.
NASA successfully tested a launch abort system that can eject astronauts away from a launch pad disaster. It's the alternate escape system for the Ares rockets that are slated to launch astronauts to the space station and the moon, assuming that the Constellation program manages to survive the political turmoil surrounding budget overruns and engineering problems.
Next year, 33 years after its maiden flight, the space shuttle will retire. What happens after that has become subject to fierce debate within the space agency. The designated successor program, named Constellation, was the darling of previous NASA administrator Michael Griffin, but a new review now has the space agency looking elsewhere for a ride back into the firmament.