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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.

Friday, July 11, 2008

National Geographic Space Photos

From National Geographic:

On Wednesday launched a new Photo of the Week Gallery dedicated to the vast universe that is Space. This is for people who just can’t get enough space news, events and imagery. This week’s gallery features a photo taken from 500 miles above California’s wildfire-ridden terrain, a gumball-looking supernova and more! Every Wednesday, will unveil a new set of photos and stories.

Check out this week’s gallery at:
National Geographic Space Photos

Take a look around and make sure to check out the awesome updated content every week.

New Zealand Gets the Space Bug

Peter Beck, a New Zealander, said today that his rocket lab is building their first rocket for unmanned commercial suborbital flights launched from kiwi country.

Spaceport America Rolls Out New Website

New Mexico's Spaceport America has a new website. The launch-pad for private spaceflights is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SpaceX Dragon to be Completed this Year

SpaceX will be finished with their first Dragon capsule by the end of the year. SpaceX is one of two COTS finalists for NASA, which will begin purchasing private for cargo to the ISS in 2010. The Dragon capulse will be paired with SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

Why NASA is Building the Ares Rockets

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides has an article in Wired on why NASA is building the Ares Rockets instead of using the Atlas or Delta rockets that are already built. Her arguments are basically:

  • The Orion Capsule is to big
  • Man rated capsules need triple redundancy and it would be to hard to retrofit those rockets

With all due respect, this is a good example of "begging the question". They design the Orion around the capability the wanted the rockets to have, so of course it is to big. We could have used a smaller capsule and done multiple launches (which they will have to do anyway for a Mars or Asteroid mission). And nobody is upset that we are building a more capable rocket, but that we are building a new rocket. It cost a fortune. You can't tell me that retrofitting an existing, working rocket is more expensive than building two new rockets from scratch.

There is the other point that Deltas and Atlases would provide access to space during the "gap" planned after the shuttle retires in 2010. The Ares 1 will not be ready until 2015 (if then).

Now whether we have come to far to turn around I don't know, but there is an Turkish saying:

"No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back."

Scientists Find Water in Moon Glass

Volcanic glass brought back from the Moon during Apollo has revelled a hidden secret. Using techniques that were not available during Apollo, scientists have found water inside the tiny pebbles of glass. It was longed believed the Moon was a completely dry desert, so this is an amazing discovery.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Is NASA Worth It?

Joe Sundra has a writeup in the Atlantic City Press about why NASA is worth the tiny amount of money we give them. I really like the first reader comment:

Of course NASA was worth the investment. People just fail to see the ancillary effects, and think that dinosaurs like welfare were better uses of government money. Science is the ultimate expression of "teaching a man to fish". Welfare is the worst example of just giving a man a fish. The world is bettered for generations from our learning, it is bettered for just a couple days by putting a welfare check in the mail.

NASA Sets the Final Flight of the Space Shuttle

NASA has set the launch date for the final flight of the space shuttle. May 31, 2010 will mark the end of an era (thankfully).

Spaceflight Now has the full list of the remaining space shutle flights.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Voyager 2 Reaches the End of the Solar System

NASA said that the Voyager 2 space probe has reach the end of the solar system. The aging probe was launched 30 years ago and is the second farthest object humans have ever launched (after Voyager 1).

China Claims Breakthrough on Long March V

China said this week that they have make a breakthrough in there next generation rocket, the Long March V.

NASA to Update Hubble this Fall

NASA still plans to send one last servicing mission to Hubble this fall. The mission will fix the know problems with the telescope and add the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

PlanetSpace to go for ISS Resupply Contract

Even though PlanetSpace lost the COTS competition to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, they still plan to compete for the ISS resupply contract, estimated at $3.1 billion. They submitted the first proposal for it on Monday.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

France Wants More Military in Europe's Space Policy

France said today that the European Union should have more military elements in their space policy to counteract security threats. France has specifically asked for European spy satellites to augment the Galileo GPS like system. France takes over leadership of the European Union today.

France has also said they want a "revolution in space" to keep from falling behind the Japan, China, and India. Their plans include missions to the Moon and Mars.

Web 2.0 Meet Space 2.0

introNetworks is launching (sorry for the pun) a social network for Virgin Galactic and their customers.

SpaceX to Carry NASA Solar Sail

When SpaceX launches their small Falcon 1 rocket in July, a 10 meter NASA solar sail will be piggybacking on board. NASA seems to be doing a good job with commercial rocket providers lately.