Aerospace

NASA Sets Prelaunch Activities, Television Coverage for Orion Flight Test

The first flight test of Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft that will send astronauts to an asteroid and onward to Mars, is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4. NASA will host a series of news conferences and flight test commentary on NASA Television, as well as media events at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Proposed FAA Rules Could Nix Drone Deliveries

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects to issue proposed rules for the commercial operation of small (under 55 pounds) drones by the end of this year. If enacted, such rules would likely prevent most drone-based delivery services being floated by large tech firms.

Elon Musk Testing ‘X-Wing’ Fins For Reusable Rockets, Seafaring Spaceport Drones For Landing

The inventor and entrepreneur issued a minor tweet storm today, in which he detailed a new SpaceX program to test the function of “X-Wing” style grid fins that could help spacecraft navigate upon re-entry after delivering personnel or cargo to an orbiting space station.

NASA Selects Student Teams for High-Powered Rocket Challenge

NASA has selected eight teams from middle and high schools across the country to participate in the 2014-2015 NASA Student Launch Challenge, April 7-12, organized by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Arrives at Launch Pad, Hoisted onto Rocket Ahead of its First Spaceflight

NASA’s new Orion spacecraft now is at its launch pad after completing its penultimate journey in the early hours Wednesday. It arrived at Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:07 a.m. EST, where the spacecraft then was lifted onto a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket in preparation for its first trip to space.

Don't discount human spaceflight

With respect to the costs and benefits of humans vs. robots in space, it need not be an either-or question. To explore space, we need both. Human spaceflight is more costly, but its inspirational benefits and productivity are unsurpassed.

Rocket accidents favor unmanned spaceflight

The accidents demonstrate that private rockets, just like government ones, can go awry. They also should prompt skepticism about claims made by many in the private space industry that they can dramatically reduce the costs of accessing space and allow for a much more robust presence.

Making the case for space science as a national priority

Understanding how national priorities have affected the resources available to federal organizations in the past demonstrates an often-unappreciated aspect of the budgetary challenges faced by the space science community, while also suggesting a possible strategy for addressing those challenges.

U.S. Pilots Say New Chinese Stealth Fighter Could Become Equal of F-22, F-35

Many suspect the J-31 is designed using technology stolen from the Pentagon’s nearly $400 billion Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. “They sure look like F-35 and F-22s don’t they?” one Air Force operational test pilot told USNI News.

China Flight Tests New Stealth Jet During Obama Visit

China obtained secrets from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through cyber attacks against a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin. The technology has shown up in China’s first stealth jet, the J-20, and in the J-31. Both of the jets’ design features and equipment are similar to those of the F-35.

Beyond politics, America and Russia soar in space

Even as U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated this year, Fuller says the partnership between Roscosmos and NASA has rarely been closer. That’s because Russians value personal relationships, he said, and more than 15 years working alongside Americans has strengthened those bonds. Americans and Russians share a common goal of flying safely, first around the Earth and then to destinations such as the moon and Mars. The two countries realize the only way to do that now may be together, and by doing so they are setting an example for humanity.

US space industry girds for more oversight after accidents

Executives in the fledgling commercial U.S. space industry are bracing for increased scrutiny and oversight after two accidents last week, including one that killed a pilot, but say they view the mishaps as temporary setbacks that will not halt launches.

NASA Tests Revolutionary Shape Changing Aircraft Flap for the First Time

NASA's green aviation project is one step closer to developing technology that could make future airliners quieter and more fuel-efficient with the successful flight test of a wing surface that can change shape in flight.

Commercial space accidents not expected to slow NASA

"I think this is going to raise fears about commercial space flight, but I think they are unjustified," said Howard McCurdy, a professor at American University who specializes in space policy and history. "There's a reason NASA has more than one commercial partner. I think there's a lot of redundancy or slack in the system. It's set up to handle these kinds of issues. You want everything to be perfect but it never is. Since it never is, the goal is to set up a system that can recover. That's what NASA has done."

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Set to Roll out to Launch Pad for its First Flight

Orion is in the final stages of preparation for its uncrewed flight test, targeted for Dec. 4, that will take it 3,600 miles above Earth on a more than four hour flight to test many of the systems critical for future human missions into deep space. After two orbits and 60,000 miles, Orion will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at almost 20,000 mph before its parachute system deploys to slow the spacecraft for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

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