NASA Exploration Systems progress report

Here’s the latest NASA press release detailing ongoing work on the space exploration vision: NASA engineers around the country recently completed tests associated with rocket engines, heat protection systems and spacesuits destined for use in the Constellation Program of moon and Mars missions. Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, … Continue reading

Rocketplane Kistler teaming with Orbital Sciences Corportation

Orbital Sciences Corporation has joined forces with the Rocketplane Kistler team, to support them in their COTS bid. Read about it on the Rocketplane website. The Rocketplane Kistler guys are so busy with the COTS work, it’s starting to impact their timeframe for the development of the suborbital Rocketplane XP. … Continue reading

The Space Frontier Foundation has issues with Project Orion (updated)

According to this report from Leonard David at, the Space Frontier Foundation has just released a fairly comprehensive white paper about NASA’s efforts to implement the vision for space exploration (now named – still unofficially at this point – Project Orion). They’re not too happy with it.

Charles Wood, creator of Lunar Photo of the Day

Running the popular website, Lunar Photo Of the Day, (LPOD) and writing a regular column on the moon that appears monthly in Sky & Telescope magazine, are the things Charles A. Wood is probably known for most. But, the interest of a 9 year-old in the sky went from backyard observations on a small telescope, to the University of Arizona, a stint in the Peace Corp and included working at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory cataloging Lunar craters.

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Space shuttle’s happy return

Congratulations to the STS-121 crew for a very successful mission and a safe return. In NASA’s launch schedule August 28th is the date set for the next shuttle launch. Flying Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-115 crew will deliver a truss and other key components during the Space Shuttle Program’s 19th mission … Continue reading

Science versus human exploration

Taylor Dinerman has a piece in this week’s Space Review that is well worth a read. He compares the science-vs-human-exploration situation brewing now with what was going on in the early seventies. History’s warning is simple: if we choose to underfund the Vision for Space Exploration the way we underfunded … Continue reading

STS-121 gains “Fourth of July” launch date

The Fourth of July in the United States, is always a time for picnics, parades and fireworks. Now we can add shuttle launches to that mix. Sunday’s scheduled launch of STS-121 was scrubbed for the second time in as many days. The next launch attempt for Discovery’s STS-121 mission to … Continue reading

COTS finalists picked

NASA hasn’t announced anything formally yet, but according to Alan Boyle and Michael Belfiore, the finalists for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services contracts have been notified that they have made the cut. They are: Andrews Space Rocketplane Kistler SpaceDev Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) SpaceHab Transformational Space Corporation (t/Space)

X PRIZE Foundation and NASA announce $2.5 million Lunar Lander Challenge

NASA and the X-PRIZE Foundation have announced a teaming agreement to offer the Lunar Lander Analog Centennial Challenge. Under a Space Act Agreement, NASA will supply the prize purse, the largest to date for a Centennial Challenge, and the X-PRIZE Foundation will administer and execute the competitions. The first Lunar … Continue reading

This week at The Space Review

The latest batch of articles is out at the Space Review, and once again Jeff Foust has assembled a fine collection of thoughtful commentary. Before we get to that, I have to add my voice to the others who have marvelled recently at the one-man space publishing phenomenon that is … Continue reading

Add-on LRO payload is officially an “Impactor”

Image above: In this artist’s concept, the upper stage and a “sheparding spacecraft” (left) approach the moon before impacting at the south pole (right). Credit: NASA/John Frassanito and Associates. Since the story broke several days ago the secondary payload that was said to be a lander turns out to be … Continue reading

Lunar add-on payload announced

SpaceRef has very brief article announcing NASA’s plans to tag on a robotic lunar lander mission as a secondary payload to the 2008 launch of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Details however are scant at this time. NASA managers, engineers, and scientists have been reviewing secondary spacecraft proposals that take advantage of … Continue reading

Space access topic of the day on The Space Show

Our friend David Livingston will be hosting a round-table discussion which will include the topics of rockets, engineering, and cost effective space access on his Radio/Podcast program, The Space Show. The LIVE broadcast will take place Sunday, April 9. 2006, from noon-1:30PM PDT (yeah, that pesky daylight savings time has … Continue reading

Solar eclipse puts on a show across the African continent

Oh by the way, there was a Solar Eclipse today. Yeah, I missed the boat too. A view of the shadow passing as seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA NASA TV provided live coverage of the event. Yeah I missed that too. On their website they have video … Continue reading

DNA doddles, and some space stuff too

Despite crash, Genesis appears to be to have at least a partial payoff. “We’ve managed to actually pull something out of this. We’ve done it,” said the mission’s chief scientist Don Burnett, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). A failed parachute deployment put doubt in the recovery of samples … Continue reading

STS-121 Launch Delayed to July Window

NASA has delayed the next space shuttle launch from May until at least the first of July, in order to replace suspect engine cut-off (ECO) sensors in the external fuel tank. Discovery is slated to fly mission STS-121, the second of two engineering test flights in the return to flight … Continue reading

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter makes orbit

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has successfully slipped into orbit around Mars. Over the next 6 months or so the craft will use a series of aero-braking maneuvers to refine that orbit to a nearly circular loop ranging from 320 kilometers (199 miles) to 255 kilometers (158 miles) in altitude, … Continue reading

Space advocates beware journalists with agendas

Sorry outside distractions kept me from posting recently so I’m going to do a bit of catch up. First up, is an article that appears to have taken a wonky turn posted a couple days ago on Wired News. Okay kids, adjust your tinfoil hats and take a look… “The … Continue reading

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