This is the best job perk we’ve seen in some time: Work for Boeing, go to space.
The aerospace firm is planning to send its own employees to the International Space Station on the first crewed mission of its CST-100 ship, the company said Friday. Apparently internal interviews are already ongoing, because Boeing wants its astronauts to help drive further development of the space capsule.
Artificially intelligent rockets could perform self-diagnostics and self-repairs, lowering the cost of future space launches. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency is working on an intelligent rocket to supplement its current lift vehicle, and it would be cheaper and simpler to use, engineers say.
Earth won’t always be fit for occupation. We know that in two billion years or so, an expanding sun will boil away our oceans, leaving our home in the universe uninhabitable—unless, that is, we haven’t already been wiped out by the Andromeda galaxy, which is on a multibillion-year collision course with our Milky Way. Moreover, at least a third of the thousand mile-wide asteroids that hurtle across our orbital path will eventually crash into us, at a rate of about one every 300,000 years.
Three months after its first mission ended, the military is launching another X-37B space plane on Friday, in a second classified mission for the X-37B program. If the weather holds up, the second X-37B orbiter will launch Friday afternoon on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, according to launch manager United Launch Alliance.
To test future rocket designs, NASA is employing an age-old bar trick: Slowly and deliberately apply pressure to an aluminum can until it crumples. No foreheads will be involved, however.
In late March, engineers will use a million pounds of force to crush a 27.5-foot diameter, 20-foot-tall canister made of aluminum and lithium, hoping to learn more about shell buckling so they can design sturdier rocket skins.
Launching payloads into space is expensive, but high costs aside it’s also a horribly inefficient process. Conventional rockets are almost pure fuel, leaving only a small percentage (usually in the low single digits) of a launch vehicle's total weight available for payload. So NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio is looking into a whole new system of payload propulsion that uses lasers or microwaves to launch vehicles into orbit.
Remember the ludicrously fast rocket-powered Bloodhound car? Years in the making, its creators are hoping not just to beat the current land speed record, but crush it with a 1,000-mph speed--and the Bloodhound is taking another step toward that goal as construction formally begins this week.
A private company aims to send a robotic lander and rover to the lunar surface as soon as December of next year on a Falcon 9 rocket.
Astrobotic Technology Inc., a spinoff of Carnegie Mellon University, announced its contract with SpaceX Sunday. The Falcon 9's upper stage will slingshot Astrobotic's spacecraft on a four-day trip to the moon. Astrobotic's lander will enter lunar orbit, align itself and land autonomously, using guidance systems designed for driverless cars.