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.
Happy New Year! NASA may not launch any people into space in 2012, but a successful robotic mission just as the new year dawned sets the stage for the space agency's near-term future. The twin Grail probes arrived at the moon on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and are preparing to study our only natural satellite's past.
Just when the drone war was starting to get good, DARPA is looking for a way to make stealthy reconnaissance drones--like the not-so-stealthy RQ-170 that ended up in Iranian hands a couple weeks ago--obsolete.
When a satellite becomes unresponsive in orbit, there's not much to be done — engineers can try in vain to hail the spacecraft and send it instructions, or perhaps blow it up in a show of bravado. But fixing it is pretty much out of the question, especially now that the space shuttle is retired.
But what if a remotely operated robot could do the job? Engineers at Johns Hopkins University have been working with a da Vinci surgical robot in a test of long-distance mechanical repair — call it satellite surgery.
Launching satellites from launchpads is cool and everything, but if DARPA has its way the military could soon be launching small satellites from airliners, granting the Pentagon the ability to put satellites aloft from virtually any airfield and at a fraction of the cost.
Beijing officials are denying accusations the Chinese military interfered with two U.S. Earth-monitoring satellites, the wires are reporting today. On Friday, a draft report to Congress said at least two satellites were tampered with four or more times in 2007 and 2008, and that the breaches were consistent with Chinese military strategy.
Our growing space junk problem could become an orbiting spare satellite parts sale if DARPA has its way. The DoD’s research arm has launched a new program, appropriately titled Phoenix, to create new satellites from the decommissioned and dead satellites currently sitting idle in geosynchronous orbit some 22,000 miles above the Earth.
A Soyuz rocket will lift off Friday from the northern coast of French Guiana, carrying two satellites that will formally kick off the European Space Agency’s own version of GPS. It will be the first Soyuz ever to launch outside of the former Soviet Union, and its payload will free Europeans from relying on American navigation tech.
If you're feeling lucky after NASA's UARS satellite fell safely from orbit into the middle of the Pacific--rather than into the middle of Portland--let's hope your luck doesn't run out. The German Aerospace Center says the retired ROSAT satellite's orbit is rapidly decaying, and pieces of it could start falling from the sky as early as Friday and up until Monday. That should make for an exciting weekend.