SpaceX's new Falcon 9 takes a crucial step to the launchpad
By Marshall Louis ReavesPosted 03.27.2009 at 12:56 pm 2 Comments
Since January, SpaceX's heavy-payload Falcon 9 launch vehicle has stood 180 feet above Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, undergoing ground-systems tests in the run-up to its first test flight. The reusable Falcon series, named for the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars, has nine engines that provide more than a million pounds of thrust. Last September, the smaller, 70-foot-tall Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to orbit the Earth.
New competition in the space tourism industry could deliver on your dreams as soon as 2015
By Joel BarnardPosted 02.04.2009 at 12:04 pm 8 Comments
Move over, Sir Richard Branson. Someone else wants to play in your space sandbox. Thanks to a not-exactly-generous US$9.68 million injection from the EU, a new program is poised to offer competition to existing space-tourism services offered by Virgin Galactic, Xcor Aerospace, and Blue Origin. The funding will go toward the design, development and experimental validation of hybrid propulsion engines for the Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport (FAST) 20XX program, which includes two separate "vomit comet" concepts. The first launch is scheduled within a decade.