Tag Archives: space

Chinese scientists unveil plan to zap space junk with orbital lasers

Source: Engadget

“There have been more than a few proposals for eliminating space junk, such as grabbing it, gobbling it and blasting it from Earth. The latest idea, however, may be the most dramatic … and the most effective. Chinese researchers have successfully simulated an orbital laser station that would zap small debris (under 4 inches long). The system would zap targets with 20 bursts of light per second for 2 minutes, either deflecting the junk out of harm’s way or sending it to a fiery end in the atmosphere.” (01/16/18)


SpaceX says Falcon 9 rocket performed as expected during allegedly failed Zuma launch

Source: Space.com

“As media reports swirl around the ultimate fate of the U.S. government’s secret Zuma mission, which launched atop a SpaceX rocket Sunday (Jan. 7), the private spaceflight company says its Falcon 9 booster performed as expected during the launch. ‘For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night,’ SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement. ‘If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false,’ Shotwell continued. ‘Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible.’ … Shotwell’s comments come amid media speculation, including from The Wall Street Journal and Ars Technica, suggesting that the top-secret payload may have fallen back to Earth.” [editor’s note: For all we know, everything went perfectly and the “failure” claims are disinformation – TLK] (01/09/18)


SpaceX launches secret Zuma mission for US government, lands rocket

Source: Space.com

“SpaceX lofted the super-secret Zuma spacecraft for the U.S. government tonight, successfully executing a mission that also featured yet another landing by the first stage of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 lifted off at 8 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on Florida’s Space Coast. The booster’s two stages separated 2 minutes and 19 seconds into flight. The second stage continued carrying the mysterious Zuma to its destination in low-Earth orbit (LEO), while the first stage began maneuvering its way back to terra firma for a touchdown at Landing Zone 1, a SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral.” (01/07/18)


SpaceX will try to launch the mysterious Zuma satellite again Thursday

Source: Ars Technica

“Fresh off a year with a record 18 orbital launches, SpaceX is set to try its first mission of the new year on Thursday. Less than two weeks since its last flight, the company returns to Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for the launch of the secretive ‘Zuma’ mission for the US government. Originally planned for November, an undisclosed issue with the Falcon 9 rocket’s fairing caused SpaceX to delay the launch … All that is publicly known about the Zuma payload is that it was manufactured for the US government by Northrop Grumman and bound for low-Earth orbit. One source told Ars that SpaceX is launching the payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, but the NRO has denied that Zuma is its satellite.” (01/02/18)


NASA plans first interstellar mission

Source: United Press International

“Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are making preliminary plans for an interstellar mission, the agency’s first. The team wants to send a probe to look for sings of life on the exoplanets surrounding Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth. According to New Scientist, which first revealed the news, the proposed launch is set for 2069 — a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. With a 44-year-long flight, the probe wouldn’t reach its target until the next century.” (12/28/17)


Three astronauts take off for International Space Station

Source: Time

“A capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, Japan and the United States has blasted off for a two-day trip to the International Space Station. The Soyuz capsule … launched at 1:23 p.m. (0723 GMT; 2:23 a.m. EST) Sunday from Russia’s manned space-launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It entered orbit nine minutes later. … The capsule is to dock on Tuesday with the orbiting space laboratory.” (12/17/17)


Blue Origin launches new crew capsule on third New Shepard Rocket

Source: Popular Mechanics

“Blue Origin launched and landed a New Shepard rocket for the first time since October 2016 at their launch facility in West Texas. The launch, which took place Tuesday, December 12, was the first of a new rocket booster and the company’s Crew Capsule 2.0, which has been upgraded from a previous test capsule by adding large windows and some internal amenities. … The capsule achieved an altitude of 326,075 feet (99.39 kilometers), which is just shy of the internationally recognized boundary for space at 100 kilometers, known as the Karman line. The booster then returned for a propulsive vertical landing and the capsule landed using a parachute.” (12/13/17)


Alien probe or galactic driftwood? SETI tunes in to ‘Oumuamua

Source: Scientific American

“Ever since its discovery in mid-October as it passed by Earth already outbound from our solar system, the mysterious object dubbed ‘Oumuamua (Hawaiian for ‘first messenger’) has left scientists utterly perplexed. … ‘Oumuamua might be shaped rather like a needle, up to 800 meters long and only 80 wide, spinning every seven hours and 20 minutes. That would mean it is like no asteroid ever seen before, instead resembling the collision-minimizing form favored in many designs for notional interstellar probes. What’s more, it is twirling at a rate that could tear a loosely-bound rubble pile apart. Whatever ‘Oumuamua is, it appears to be quite solid … this Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time, the Breakthrough Listen project will aim the West Virgina-based 100-meter Green Bank Telescope at ‘Oumuamua for 10 hours of observations in a wide range of radio frequencies, scanning the object across its entire rotation in search of any signals.” (12/11/17)


This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat

Source: Washington Post

“Seeking to prove that a conspiracy of astronauts fabricated the shape of the Earth, a California man intends to launch himself 1,800 feet high on Saturday in a rocket he built from scrap metal. Assuming the 500-mph, mile-long flight through the Mojave Desert does not kill him, Mike Hughes told the Associated Press, his journey into the atmosflat will mark the first phase of his ambitious flat-Earth space program. Hughes’s ultimate goal is a subsequent launch that puts him miles above the Earth, where the 61-year-old limousine driver hopes to photograph proof of the disc we all live on. ‘It’ll shut the door on this ball earth,’ Hughes said in a fundraising interview with a flat-Earth group for Saturday’s flight. Theories discussed during the interview included NASA being controlled by round-Earth Freemasons and Elon Musk making fake rockets from blimps.” (11/21/17)


In Earth’s backyard: Newfound alien planet may be good bet for life

Source: Space.com

“A newfound exoplanet may be one of the best bets to host alien life ever discovered — and it’s right in Earth’s backyard, cosmically speaking. Astronomers have spotted a roughly Earth-mass world circling the small, dim star Ross 128, which lies just 11 light-years from the sun. The planet, known as Ross 128b, may have surface temperatures amenable to life as we know it, the researchers announced in a new study that will appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.” (11/15/17)