space

NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark

HeroX If NASA is going to have a long-term presence on the Moon, it’s going to need an alternative to typical solar power — lunar nights can last for over two weeks in some cases. And the agency is turning to outsiders for help. It’s partnering with HeroX on a “Watts on the Moon” crowdsourcing …

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SpaceX’s reused rockets will carry national security payloads for the first time

SpaceX, Flickr SpaceX has been reusing rockets for years, but they’ve been off-limits for some crucial launches. They’ll get more use soon, however. The private spaceflight company has signed a contract with the US Space Force to reuse a Falcon 9 booster rocket for the first time on a National Security Space Launch mission. The …

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SpaceX scales back plans for Starship’s first high-altitude flight

Elon Musk, Twitter You might want to dial back your expectations for the first high-altitude SpaceX Starship flight. Elon Musk now says the flight with the SN8 prototype will top out at 15km, or close to 50,000ft, instead of the 18km and 60,000ft he’d mentioned earlier. It’s not clear what prompted the lowered expectations, but …

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Hitting the Books: The invisible threat that every ISS astronaut fears

Despite starry-eyed promises by the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin, only a handful of humans will actually experience existence outside of Earth’s atmosphere within our lifetime. The rest of us are stuck learning about life in space second hand but that’s where How to Astronaut by former ISS commander Colonel Terry Virts comes in. …

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Space startup Astra’s first orbital rocket launch ends prematurely

Astra The relatively small private rocket industry just got a little larger, if not quite in the way its new entrant hoped. The American startup Astra conducted a brief first orbital launch attempt (via TechCrunch) late on September 11th, with a successful liftoff but quickly losing its Rocket 3.1 test machine during the first-stage engine …

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China says it landed a reusable spacecraft after a two-day flight

China Daily China Daily Information Corp – CDIC/Reuters China might have closed an important gap with the US in spaceflight. The country’s state-run Xinhua News Agency says (via The Telegraph) an experimental reusable spacecraft successfully landed on September 6th after spending two days in orbit. Details of the vehicle and its mission are highly secretive, …

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Astronomers spot a super-rare class of black hole for the first time

Historically, the black holes that astronomers have found come in two distinct sizes: stellar black holes (aka collapsars), which are born from the implosion of dying stars and have a mass range of 5 to several tens that of their stellar mass, and supermassive black holes, which have a mass range of millions to billions …

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Watch ULA abort a rocket launch at the last moment

United Launch Alliance, YouTube Most rocket launch aborts are largely uneventful, but United Launch Alliance’s latest was… dramatic. The spaceflight outfit had to abort its NROL-44 mission (via Parabolic Arc) just three seconds before it was due to start, with the Delta IV rocket’s initiators already covering the vehicle in flames — the crew even …

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Researchers propose a supernova triggered the Late Devonian mass extinction

Enlarge / The Cassiopeia A supernova which left this remnant behind occurred about 11,000 light years away—much too far to pose a significant threat—and its wavefront likely reached Earth about 300 years ago. NASA/JPL-Caltech A paper released this week by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign astronomy and physics professor Brian Fields makes a case for distant supernovae …

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Rocket Lab will resume launches no sooner than August 27th

Rocket Lab Rocket Lab has narrowed down the timeframe for its return to launches following its failure in early July. The private rocket outfit has opened a 13-day launch window for its next mission starting August 27th at 11:05PM Eastern. There will be “daily” chances to launch if weather or other circumstances force a minor …

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