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Archive for the ‘space travel’ category: Page 2

Oct 26, 2020

Inspiring future space explorers: Q&A with former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin

Posted by in categories: education, space travel

Education is a huge part of Melvin’s life.

Oct 26, 2020

SpaceX prepares upgraded cargo Dragon for NASA’s next resupply mission to the Space Station

Posted by in category: space travel

SpaceX is preparing an upgraded cargo Dragon capsule for NASA’s next resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It will be SpaceX’s 21st cargo mission under the agency’s second Commercial Resupply Services contract to deliver equipment and supplies needed to perform science research at the orbiting laboratory.

SpaceX has completed 20 cargo Dragon missions to and from the space station. The company has delivered over 95,000 pounds of supplies and returned 75,000 pounds. “Cargo resupply from U.S. companies ensures a national capability to deliver critical science research to the space station, significantly increasing NASA’s ability to conduct new investigations at the only laboratory in space,” the agency wrote in a press release.

The mission will be the first resupply mission that will utilize SpaceX’s upgraded version of the cargo Dragon capsule, that is capable of carrying 50% more payload mass. This week NASA announced it targets to conduct the mission no earlier than December. A Falcon 9 rocket carrying Dragon will liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Oct 26, 2020

NASA picks Intuitive Machines to land an ice-mining drill on the moon

Posted by in categories: space travel, sustainability

#NASA has selected Intuitive Machines to deliver the #polar Resources #IceMining Experiment (PRIME-1) #drill, combined with a mass spectrometer, to the #Moon by December 2022.

The ice drilling #mission is the Houston-based company’s second Moon contract award under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

#space #spaceexploration #spaceindustry #newspace #spaceeconomy #spacetechnology #spacesector #Spacemining

Continue reading “NASA picks Intuitive Machines to land an ice-mining drill on the moon” »

Oct 25, 2020

Starship SN8 preparing for a second Static Fire test

Posted by in category: space travel

Following the first-ever triple Raptor Static Fire test, Starship SN8 is pushing through the pre-launch milestones. The nosecone has since been installed – resulting in the first full Starship stack since MK1 – allowing for a second Static Fire test this coming week. The second Static Fire test will involve propellant being fed from the Header Tank system.

SN8 passed through the first major objective in impressive fashion, progressing in a staggered manner with a preburner attempt aborted, followed by a preburner test involving at least two of the Raptors.

Continue reading “Starship SN8 preparing for a second Static Fire test” »

Oct 25, 2020

Axiom will soon finalize contract for first Space Tourist flight aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, entertainment, space travel

SpaceX launched its first crewed mission to ISS in May this year. The company demonstrated its spacecraft is safe and reliable to carry humans to space and back. Axiom’s space tourist mission with SpaceX is scheduled to be a 10-day journey that will launch civilians aboard Crew Dragon to the space station atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The space tourists will stay at ISS for 8 days, where they will experience microgravity and amazing views of our planet.

SpaceX’s first private civilian flight will carry three Axiom customers who will fly alongside former NASA Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, he will be commander during the mission. Earlier this year, NASA and SpaceX announced Hollywood actor Tom Cruise will film a movie at the space station and fly aboard Crew Dragon. Then, reports surfaced about Cruise and his film production agency working with Axiom is responsible for providing ‘training, mission planning, hardware development, life support, medical support, crew provisions, hardware and safety certifications, on-orbit operations and overall mission management.’ However, Axiom has not officially disclosed who their private passengers will be on their first mission in collaboration with SpaceX.

Oct 25, 2020

Microbes of the Universe — Could our Solar System be rife with Pathogens?

Posted by in categories: alien life, biological, environmental, ethics, existential risks, habitats, health, space travel

In a recent study of the upper atmosphere of Venus, finding the chemical fingerprint of phosphine has led to speculation that it may be tied to airborne life high in the clouds of our sister planet [1]. We harbour similar suspicion of microbial life on Mars [2], Saturn’s moon Enceledus [3], and Europa, the icy Galilean of the Jovian system [4]. The dwarf planet Ceres of the asteroid belt could be added to that list also, with recent evidence of oceanic water [5], while more exotic variations of life may exist on Titan, which is known to be teeming with organic materials [6]. Should we be more wary of our Solar System as an environment to explore, and the potential of pathogens we may encounter?

If one rewinds 500 years, to when exploration of new worlds involved sailing the oceans, the discovery of the Americas introduced viruses which decimated the native population at that time [7]. That in itself was far from a unique event in history, of course. There have been many occurrences throughout history where travel between distant lands has resulted in the introduction of devastating plagues to one population or the other — not least the Black Death, which arrived in Europe from commercial travel with Asia in the 1300s [8]. Meanwhile, 2020 has reminded us how a novel virus can prove virtually unstoppable from spreading worldwide in a matter of months and reaching pandemic level, once introduced to our now interconnected world [9].

Indeed when the first astronauts returned from the Moon in the 60s, they had to undergo weeks of quarantine as a precaution against introducing a lunar pathogen to Earth [10]. We now know the Moon to be a sterile world, but this should not give us a false sense of security when visiting and returning from other worlds, which are far more likely to harbour microbial life. It is quite plausible to consider that any microbes which have evolved to survive in the harsh environments on other worlds could multiply out of control if introduced to a more fertile environment on Earth. The likelihood of any such foreign microbes being capable of becoming infectious pathogens to our species is difficult to measure, but one could still cause problems regardless, by undermining Earth’s ecosystem in competing with native microbial life as a runaway invasive species.

Fortunately, due to the vast distances involved in inter-planetary travel, returning astronauts would likely show symptoms of infection from any dangerous pathogen long before reaching home, as such a journey would be expected to take many months, even with more advanced propulsion technology than we use in space travel today. That is not to say they could not inadvertently return with microbial life on board — or even on the exterior of craft: Earth’s tardigrades, for example, have proven quite durable in journeys into outer space [11].

Continue reading “Microbes of the Universe — Could our Solar System be rife with Pathogens?” »

Oct 25, 2020

New nuclear engine concept could help realize 3-month trips to Mars

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nuclear energy, space travel

Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has developed a concept for a new Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine and delivered it to NASA. Claimed to be safer and more reliable than previous NTP designs and with far greater efficiency than a chemical rocket, the concept could help realize the goal of using nuclear propulsion to revolutionize deep space travel, reducing Earth-Mars travel time to just three months.

Because chemical rockets are already near their theoretical limits and electric space propulsion systems have such low thrust, rocket engineers continue to seek ways to build more efficient, more powerful engines using some variant of nuclear energy. If properly designed, such nuclear rockets could have several times the efficiency of the chemical variety. The problem is to produce a nuclear reactor that is light enough and safe enough for use outside the Earth’s atmosphere – especially if the spacecraft is carrying a crew.

According to Dr. Michael Eades, principal engineer at USNC-Tech, the new concept engine is more reliable than previous NTP designs and can produce twice the specific impulse of a chemical rocket. Specific impulse is a measure of a rocket’s efficiency.

Continue reading “New nuclear engine concept could help realize 3-month trips to Mars” »

Oct 25, 2020

SpaceX makes history with 100 successful rocket flights!

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, government, space travel

SpaceX is a leader in aerospace innovation. The company was founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with the ultimate mission to make life multiplanetary. For over a decade, SpaceX teams have worked to develop technologically advanced rockets and spacecraft. Developing rockets comes with many challenges. SpaceX had a couple of failed missions in the early days. The company went from almost not making it to orbit to returning human spaceflight capabilities to the United States in 2020.

The company’s first rocket, Falcon 1, failed to attain Earth orbit three times: in March 2007 and August 2008, but in September 2008 SpaceX became the first American private company to send a liquid-fueled rocket into orbit. Despite the challenges, SpaceX pushed through until the fourth rocket launch reached orbit. A fourth failure “would have been absolutely game over,” Musk said at the International Astronautical Congress conference in 2017. “Fortunately, the fourth launch, which was … the last money that we had for Falcon 1 –that fourth launch worked. Or it would have been… that would have been it for SpaceX,” he said. The company was able to land a government contract from NASA when it reached orbit.

SpaceX then worked to develop an improved version of the rocket. In 2010, the company launched the Falcon 9, powered by nine Merlin 1D engines. Falcon 9 was designed so that its first-stage could be reused. Other companies use expendable rockets. SpaceX engineers accomplished developing the world’s first orbital-class rocket capable of returning from space to perform a controlled landing powered by its engines. Falcon 9 is capable of launching payload to orbit and landing soon after liftoff. In 2015 a Falcon 9 first-stage booster returned to Earth near its launch site for the first time, after several explosive landings (video below).

Oct 24, 2020

Axiom Space finalizing first commercial ISS mission

Posted by in category: space travel

WASHINGTON — Axiom Space hopes to soon finalize its first commercial mission to the International Space Station, scheduled for late 2021, as it continues development of a commercial module for the station.

During a panel discussion at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) Oct. 13, Michael Suffredini, president and chief executive of Axiom Space, said his company had lined up the customers for that first mission, a 10-day flight to the space station on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021.

“We have all of our customers identified and we’re about to finish their contracting,” he said. The company previously announced a contract with SpaceX for the flight and is “just about done” with a NASA contract for the mission.

Oct 23, 2020

Settle Venus First

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

Mind blowing reasons why Venus is far better, easier, cheaper, healthier, will be more fun, and is quicker to settle than Mars! Discover what an Allison Sphere is and how it can provide beautiful habitats in the Venusian atmosphere! Discover my Universal Harmony Habitat that can be used to live on the moon, Mars, or in an Allison Sphere. You will begin to understand how the Universal Harmony Habitat can solve a myriad of problems on Earth too. More to come on that later. So come with me — let’s go to Venus!!!

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