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How to Launch a Rocket at the Equator in the Ocean

Three years after Sea Launch spiralled towards bankruptcy following the explosion of its Zenit 3SL rocket, the satellite launch provider is preparing to restart operations. Both of its land and sea launches use the Zenit rocket. But the more expensive sea-based missions allow a much greater payload – up to 6,100kg (13,440lb) against about 3,600kg […]

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PICTURE & VIDEO: Shuttle Atlantis returns home after final mission

 credit: Rex Features/NASA/Jim Grossmann NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis returned to the Kennedy Space Center for the final time yesterday (26 May). Watch it touch down and the parachute being deployed from news channel Russia Today:   

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USAF seeks reusable booster concepts

Ideas for developing and operating a semi-reusable launcher that uses its engines to “rocket-back” for a gliding landing at the launch site have been requested by the US Air Force. Under the USAF‘s reusable booster integrated demonstration concept options maturation study, organisations are to provide information on how technologies can be developed for an unmanned vertical […]

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Lockheed’s Athena re-enters small payload market

Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) have teamed up to enter the small launcher market. Services will be available from 2012 using a new version of the all-solid rocket motor Athena vehicle. With a payload capability of 1,712kg (3,775lb) to low Earth orbit, the two versions of Athena, Ic and IIc, will face competition. US […]

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket

Successful rocket engine ground-test firings have taken Space Exploration Technologies and Orbital Sciences a step closer to filling their roles as key private-sector launch contractors to NASA. SpaceX achieved a 3.5s firing of its Falcon 9 rocket’s nine Merlin first-stage engines in preparation for an April maiden flight. Orbital is looking forward to verification and acceptance testing […]

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NASA’s N2A Blended Wing Aircraft Compared to 1940s Design

As rising fuel costs and pressure to cut emissions drive most of the aviation industry to seek even small improvements in aircraft efficiency, NASA is pushing to mature technologies that may realise in the 2020s an aircraft concept that could slash fuel consumption by up to a third. The so-called flying wing, or blended wing […]

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Space station finally gets its window

The International Space Stationcrew now have a better view of the station’s exterior after theinstallation of the cupola window and the last major habitable modulefor the ISS US segment. Continue reading…Hyperbola Blog: NASA’s video of the window’s installation The ISS crew can now enjoy 360° view: (Photo: NASA)

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UK could use plutonium in space nuclear power demonstration

On Earth, nuclear power is controversial – but for deep spacemissions it is a necessity. However, the plutonium driving spacecraftpower systems is invaluable not only for its ability to keepelectricity flowing where solar cells cannot; Pu-238 is also in shortsupply. Nuclear power is critical to the 2018 ESA-NASA ExoMars Martian rovers mission and the UK’s […]

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Tomorrow

ESA’s Tomorrow Bird Launcher

Telecommunications spacecraft are set to get bigger to service highdefinition television and fixed and mobile internet services, includingfor airborne users.According to the European Space Agency’s Tomorrow’s Bird study- bird being a term used for spacecraft – by the end of this decadetelecoms satellites could have masses of 10,000kg (22,000lb), asoperators seek to mitigate against high […]

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NASA: all is well on Boeing 747SP open-door front

NASAreports positive results from initial open-door testing of itsStratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (Sofia), a researchplatform that includes a 19t telescope mounted on a Boeing 747SP (N747NA). A 4.6m (15ft)-high by 4.3m-wide door on the aft left side of theaircraft that opens in flight to expose the telescope a clear view ofthe sky between 23° […]

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