The amateur rocketeers at Copenhagen Suborbitals are getting closer and closer to orbit, testing a new bi-liquid fuel combination for a hand-built, donation-funded, non-profit rocket. The group tested its alcohol- and liquid oxygen-powered TM65 rocket over the weekend, the largest amateur bi-liquid rocket in the world.
Just one half-second before liftoff, computers aborted the launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket early this morning, delaying the dawn of the commercial space age at least until Tuesday. After all nine engines ignited, launch control detected abnormally high pressure inside the center engine and terminated the countdown.
NASA’s J-2X rocket engine is on the test stand and ready for its second round of tests, building on last year’s successful test-firings that by some metrics were the most successful rocket engine firings NASA has ever undertaken. The J-2X will provide upper-stage power propelling NASA’s next-gen Space Launch System (SLS) from the upper atmosphere out into deep space after the first stage is jettisoned.
Early this morning, North Korea attempted to put a satellite into orbit--or, at least, that's what the DPRK claims, though hardly anybody actually believes that the aim was solely to launch a weather satellite. The rocket carrying the satellite failed to move into its second phase and exploded into dozens of pieces, which fell into the Yellow Sea in between the Korean peninsula and mainland China. Those are being quickly scooped up by the Chinese and South Koreans, who will try to figure out what North Korea was really up to.
Michael Interbartolo, a staffer on the Space Shuttle Program, has posted this video of a shuttle launch, with the cameras attached to the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB). Apparently this video will be an bonus feature on the upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of Ascent: Commemorating Shuttle (which you can watch here). The big deal here is the sound--there was some assistance from Skywalker Sound, the company that provides the sound for George Lucas's movies. Watch (and listen) for the splash into the Atlantic in the video, embedded after the jump.
One rocket launch is a good time, but five rocket launches is a party. And at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the party is on. This month, NASA will launch five sounding rockets within about five minutes from Wallops on a mission to test the winds in the high-altitude jet stream some 60 miles up.
NASA’s Project M, an awesome concept to use vertical launch systems to send robonauts to the moon, is still moving forward despite Robonaut’s one-way trip to the International Space Station. It’s now called Project Morpheus, and it’s a test bed for autonomous, environmentally friendly vertical launch systems. Watch below as Morpheus fires its new engine for the first time.
Here, a two-stage suborbital rocket rips across the auroras over Alaska. The small rocket was launched by scientists Saturday as part of a NASA-backed study into how auroras can affect signals coming to and from satellites and spacecraft. Scientists hope to better understand the way space weather impacts our electrical systems on Earth and in orbit in order to possibly mitigate those effects as the sun builds toward its solar maximum in 2013.
There’s more than one way to stick it to The Man. There’s civil disobedience, subversive propaganda, political art, outright violent revolt--each possessing its own degree of difficulty and consequence. In a decidedly 21st-century twist, team of German hackers bent on fighting the powers that be has chosen a rather ambitious means of taking the power back: building a hacker-owned and -operated space program, complete with a constellation of communications satellites beaming uncensored Internet to users on the ground.
in 2012, two large, well-funded companies, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, will begin making regular journeys to suborbital and orbital space, commencing the post-NASA era of commercial space travel. But those companies will not be alone in their efforts.
Commercial spaceflight venture SpaceX has been talking for a while now about reusing every part of its space launch system, from the optionally manned Dragon capsule (which is already reusable) to the rocket stages that it discards on its way to orbit.
Have you, like us, been missing the rumble and hiss of a good old-fashioned NASA launch? Since the space shuttle retired this summer, there have been a few space payload deliveries, sure — but it’s just not the same when it’s not a human launch system we’re talking about. There was always something special about that guttural roar and plume of white steam streaming from the launchpad.
A while back, John Carmack (of “Doom” and “Quake” fame, as well as the founder of Armadillo Aerospace) issued a challenge: launch a rocket to more than 100,000 feet, get a GPS reading from up there, and recover the launch vehicle, and $5,000 is yours. Some additional benefactors pushed the Carmack prize to roughly $10,000.
Today, NASA officially announced the design of its forthcoming Space Launch System--a heavy-lift rocket capable of taking humans into deep space. It will be the primary vehicle to replace the Space Shuttle, but with significantly more power—enough to reach Mars.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.