An Antares rocket with the Orbital Sciences Corporation Cygnus CRS Orb-3 spacecraft bound for the International Space Station exploded today shortly after liftoff from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. [more inside]
Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.” “The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research. “By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.(NYTSL)
How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
Kerbal Space Program is a cartoon-ish game in which you build rockets from pieces and launch/fly them around in a simulated solar system using basic orbital mechanics. It has an active forum, extensive modifications, a whole site dedicated to plugins and mods, and its own subreddit. This youtube video demonstrates the latest version, 0.18. [more inside]
Unha-3, Pyongyang's first successful orbital launch vehicle, dropped her first stage into the Yellow Sea after December 12's launch. Analysis of debris salvaged by the South Korean Navy suggests the scud-derived, crudely assembled rocket is actually an ICBM with enough range to theoretically reach the U.S. (should North Korea somehow manage to miniaturize their nuclear weapon technology and develop re-entry ability).
On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Derek Deville's Qu8k (pronounced "Quake") launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' before returning safely to earth. Above 99% of the atmosphere the sky turns black in the middle of the day and the curvature of the earth is clearly visible. Direct video links inside. [more inside]
Fancy yourself a rocket scientist? Want to build rockets and shoot little green guys into space? Comfortable with your rocket flying apart and exploding into a thousand fiery pieces? Able to press the space bar? Try Kerbal Space Program. [more inside]
Crater face: "Astronaut risks life and limb to bring two moon pimples together for love."
Chrysler's recent announcement of a three year technical collaboration with NASA continues the automaker's long involvement with the agency, including production of the historic Redstone, reliable Jupiter, and mighty Saturn launch vehicles, and the design of an unusual Space Shuttle called SERV. [more inside]
Soyuz rocket rolls to launch pad. A fine photoset of an otherwise routine Russian rocket rollout. I can tell that photographer Bill Ingalls loves rockets. His favs.
So you go to be spaceman. If the space race had taken a few different turns, we might have ended up with a historical exhibit that looked like the one cooked up by the American Dream Technical Institute. [more inside]
Video and audio from a camera mounted on one of the side solid rocket boosters during the launch of STS-124. As the camera is initially facing the main booster, there's not that much to see (except water vapor collecting on the lens and interesting-looking changes in the main booster's surface) until around 1:50, when the booster rocket is jettisoned. After that, enjoy the ride from space to splashdown, but watch out for flying debris! Here's the view from the other booster, without sound. More onboard STS cameras, previously. [N.B. -- Adjust volume accordingly, it gets loud! Looks even better in high-quality and full-screen modes.]
Lost with yesterday's third failure of Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 1 rocket were the ashes of actor James "Scotty" Doohan, who, along with astronaut Gordon Cooper and over two hundred other cremains, attempted to reach orbit not once, but twice.
Before developing exotic space propulsion systems like the ion engines on deep space probes, he developed guidance systems for Nazi Germany's ballistic missile, the V2. As Dr. Werner von Braun's Chief Scientist, he was one of the brilliant minds that founded the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and sent astronauts to the moon atop MSFC's Saturn V rocket. Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, one of the last surviving rocket scientists extracted from Nazi Germany in Operation Paperclip, died today at 94.
Light Reflection: a brilliant fan of cryogenics venting from a relief valve on STS-122 Atlantis' ET (external tank) post-separation. Also see this handheld video of the ET, with money shots at 2:15 and 3:55. [more inside]
HobbySpace hosts an exhaustive collection of information and links about space-related hobbies, including amateur astronomy, satellite design, and rocketry for both beginners and experts.
The Soviet Union’s answer to Saturn V, the massive, complex, and top-secret N1 rocket, failed win the moon race after four disastrous launch explosions between 1969 and 1972. In 2004, Polecat Aerospace had much better luck launching their 1/16 N1 scale model.
The Nedelin disaster remains the most fatal catastrophe in the history of rocketry. On October 26, 1960 an R-16 ICBM designed by Mikhail Yangel accidentally ignited killing over 100 within moments. The incident remained in strict secrecy for thirty years until it was unearthed by James Oberg. The true casualty rate remains a mystery and Kazakhstan still sees more than its fair share of rocket mishaps.
Video of Nasa's Delta II rocket launch (RealVideo) The camera was mounted on the rocket facing down towards earth and the resulting footage is amazing. There's a Windows Media version at MSNBC.
The engine canna take any more, captain! So, we're going to ground the fleet. I guess our friends in the space station are just going to have to wait until NASA is done checking under the hood.
Start saving! US Airways announces that for just 10 million frequent flyer miles, you can get a free trip to space! "There's just one catch: The rocket and the launch pad don't exist. So don't ask for time off quite yet."