Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Falcon Heavy Ground Test is a Success

This is a test fire in advance of SpaceX's upcoming Falcon 9 Heavy test launch. The test occurred on 1/24/2018 at Kennedy Space Center's LC-39 Pad A which is the same pad that many Apollo and Space Shuttle launches took place from. SpaceX is currently leasing the pad from NASA. Birds can been seen scattering near the area and the delayed rumble of the 12 second test can also be heard. No date has yet been announced for the test launch. This launch will be the first time SpaceX has launched a vehicle of this configuration and at 140,700 lb to low Earth orbit, it will represent the largest lift capacity of any currently available rocket. Although still short of the 150,000 to 290,000 lb capacity of NASA's upcoming SLS rocket (and well shy of Saturn V's 310,000 lb capacity), this rocket will more than double what is currently available from the Delta IV Heavy.

Video and article by: Dennis Kapatos

Monday, August 17, 2015

Eight Days in a Garbage Can

Eight Days in a Garbage Can As NASA’s efforts to land humans on the Moon picked up speed in the mid-1960s, several skills had to be mastered: spacewalking, rendezvous, docking, and long-duration spaceflight. On Gemini IV, Ed White demonstrated NASA astronauts had the know-how to function outside the spacecraft. Gemini V, NASA’s second two-astronaut flight, which launched fifty years ago this week, kept the crew in orbit for eight days, the projected length of an Apollo lunar landing mission, and set a new space endurance record. Astronauts Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad are seen here just prior to being sealed in their Gemini capsule, which Conrad likened to a “flying garbage can” because of its cramped quarters, which were not much larger than the front seat of a Volkswagen Beetle.

Image credit: NASA

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fourth X-37B Spaceplane To Launch With An Advanced NASA Materials Science Experiment

The planned May 20 fourth launch of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas-V rocket with a Boeing/U.S. Air Force X-37B spaceplane comes as the Air Force is shifting to more military spaceplane payload development instead of X-37B flight testing of its own systems.

The upcoming flight is carrying a wide variety of military technology payloads including secret payload bay sensors like optics, but its manifest also includes an Air Force xenon thruster important to spacecraft longevity in geosynchronous orbit, along with three small U.S. Naval Academy satellites and two small Aerospace Corp. satellites demonstrating military technologies and several more secret National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spacecraft.