New launch vehicles promise cheaper access to space, either to Earth orbit and beyond or for suborbital missions. The cubesat revolution has made it cheaper than ever to build small but sophisticated spacecraft. That combination suggests that it’s feasible for scientists to develop missions without the need to go through government agencies for funding.
Launched in clusters, some staying in orbit just a year or two, the satellites would provide coverage necessary to execute a new military contingency plan called “Kill Chain.” It is the first step in a new strategy to use satellite imagery to identify North Korean launch sites, nuclear facilities and manufacturing capability and destroy them pre-emptively if a conflict seems imminent.
The design process is being headed by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The goal is to use a refrigerator-sized object to smash into and deflect an asteroid from Earth. Of course, there’s no way such a mission could stop an asteroid that’s poised to smack into the planet in the near future. However, a little nudge early enough might alter an object’s orbit and cause it to miss an impact with Earth.
This experiment was a crucial test for a budding technology called quantum cryptography, which uses quantum particles like photons to send secure information. But fragile quantum particles are notoriously difficult to transmit.
Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp will fly its first mission for the U.S. Air Force in August when it launches the military's X-37B miniature spaceplane, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said on Tuesday.
The nascent off-Earth manufacturing industry is getting set to take its next big steps. Made In Space, the California-based company that owns and operates the commercial 3-D printer aboard the International Space Station (ISS), is developing new technology, called Archinaut, that's designed to enable the assembly of large structures in the final frontier.
U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s is correct to call for a “fundamental rethinking about commercial remote sensing.” But remote sensing is only one area of space policy Congress needs to address.
Humanity has been shooting things into space for a few decades now, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it. What we haven’t gotten so good at is bringing things back down. Scientists have been sounding the alarm about the buildup of space junk for years, a point that was reinforced at the recent European Conference on Space Debris.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket recovered at sea from its maiden flight last year blasted off again from Florida on Thursday (3/30) in the first successful launch of a recycled orbital-class booster, then capped the feat with another return landing on an ocean platform.
China's breakneck economic expansion may be flagging, but the country's ambitions in space show no signs of slowing down. Alongside ongoing efforts to rival NASA by placing robotic landers, and eventually astronauts, on the moon and Mars, China's government is increasingly looking to its burgeoning space sector to rival U.S. companies like Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX, which is targeting March 30 for the latest launch of its Falcon 9 rocket..