Oops, did I type out that in the title? I meant ‘space tourist vessel.’ Silly me:
SpaceX just fired the engine of its latest Starship prototype, paving the way for a test flight in the near future.
The company conducted a “static fire” test of Starship SN5 today (July 30), letting its single Raptor engine blaze while the vehicle remained tethered to the ground at SpaceX’s South Texas facilities, near the village of Boca Chica.
I mean, we all know what’s happening here. That’s right: Attitude jets.
For the last year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been circling a large asteroid named Bennu that regularly passes uncomfortably close to Earth. The spacecraft has been painstakingly mapping the asteroid’s rocky surface using a suite of cameras and other instruments that will help it determine where to land next year. Once NASA selects a final landing site, OSIRIS-REx will kiss Bennu just long enough to scoop up a sample to bring back to Earth in 2023.
Many scientists expect the Bennu sample to revolutionize our understanding of asteroids, especially those that are near Earth and pose the greatest threat from space to life as we know it. But as detailed in a paper published this week in Science, NASA has already started making surprising discoveries around this alien world. Earlier this year, the OSIRIS-REx team witnessed particles exploding from the asteroid’s surface—and the team’s not sure why.
Erm: “Virgin Galactic’s tourism spaceship climbed more than 50 miles high above California’s Mojave Desert on Thursday, reaching for the first time what the company considers the boundary of space.” So does the USAF, dagnabbit. Heck, the article itself noted that the FAA was going to give the pilots (Mark Stucky and Rick Sturckow) their commercial astronaut wings over this. There’s been, like, only two of those handed out before now.
Still: this is awesome. We are long overdue for manned commercial space travel. I want the future that was promised me.
Scientists have been puzzling over Oumuamua ever since the mysterious space object was observed tumbling past the sun in late 2017. Given its high speed and its unusual trajectory, the reddish, stadium-sized whatever-it-is had clearly come from outside our solar system. But its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the solar system set it apart from conventional asteroids and comets.
This is going to bug me for the rest of my life, I’m sure.
NASA and the U.S. Air Force recently tested astronaut survival systems for the first time since the space shuttles stopped flying in 2011.
Those tests were part of the agency’s preparations for the first crewed flights of its Orion module, which is designed to carry astronauts out of our immediate neighborhood and toward more exotic destinations like the moonand Mars.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced Monday night that entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa would be the first private person to fly solo around the moon aboard the company’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) launch vehicle. Maezawa, a 42-year-old from Japan, is a billionaire who founded Zozotown, an online retail shop. The excited future space traveler exclaimed at the event, “I choose to go to the moon.”
On Thursday, a Silicon Valley startup called SpinLaunch Inc. will reveal the first details of its plans to build a machine meant to hurl rockets into space. To achieve that goal, SpinLaunch has secured $40 million from some top technology investors, said Jonathan Yaney, the founder. The company remains tight-lipped about exactly how this contraption will work, although its name gives away the basic idea. Rather than using propellants like kerosene and liquid oxygen to ignite a fire under a rocket, SpinLaunch plans to get a rocket spinning in a circle at up to 5,000 miles per hour and then let it go—more or less throwing the rocket to the edge of space, at which point it can light up and deliver objects like satellites into orbit.
A new study from NASA has found that astronaut Scott Kelly’s genes are no longer identical to those of his identical twin after spending a year in space.
Preliminary results from NASA’s Twins Study found that seven percent of Kelly’s genes no longer match those of his twin, Mark. Scott Kelly spent one year aboard the International Space Station during the study, while his brother remained on Earth.