Inflatable heat shield passes atmospheric re-entry test flawlessly

For the past couple of years NASA has been testing a new atmospheric re-entry system, designed to offer pods and capsules more stability and better degree of safety upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. Just yesterday, the latest, the Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3), was launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia for its 20-minute test, which underwent point-on-point according to plan.

Voyager at the edge of the final frontier. Spacecraft expected to exit solar system earlier than thought

It’s remarkably impressive how a spacecraft built and launched in the late 70’s is not only still functional, but well on its way of becoming the first man-made object to leave our solar system. After 35 years, new data shows that this plucky probe may soon cross the undulating boundary between the edge of our solar system and interstellar space. The

Huge asteroid will ‘barely miss’ Earth

A huge asteroid will make a ‘cosmic brush’ on Earth, closing in on our planet at a distance of only a few million kilometers. The massive asteroid, named 2012 LZ1, will buzz Earth Thursday, and amateur astronomers without any equipment can watch the flyby on the Slooh Space Camera’s website. It will be a close brush in astronomic terms; the

China chooses first female astronaut

I recently told you a few days ago China was planning its first ever space docking, and one of the astronauts will definitely be a woman – first they nailed it down to two, but now, Chinese officials have made their decision: Liu Yang will be their first female astronaut ever! Liu will be one of three astronauts aboard the Shenzhou-9

China to send its first woman into outer space

I was just telling you how China is preparing for its first manned space docking – a truly remarkable feat, especially considering how only 9 years have passed since their first space flight. However, it is still not clear which woman will board the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft docking mission, but it will be either Captain Wang Yaping (l) or Major

Reflections of NASA – 1$ invested in space exploration brought 8$ back

I recently came across this delicious post, written when NASA celebrated 50 years of age, in 2008; it has some great insights, and I honestly recommend reading it. But a few ideas really stood out to me. Because of NASA, Armstrong said: “Our knowledge of the universe around us has increased a thousand fold and more. We learned that Homo

SpaceX on a roll – lands first customer for Falcon Heavy rocket

The most successful private space flight venture, SpaceX, continues its successful streak which began with the successful launch and docking of its Dragon capsule with the International Space Station, after the company announced recently it has sealed its first contract for its slated Falcon Heavy rocket, which is expected carry about twice as much payload into orbit as currently available

Dragon Capsule on course for ISS arrival

As promised, we’ll be keeping you posted with what the Dragon capsule is doing, on its remarkable way to the International Space Station (ISS). The private capsule, owned by SpaceX, was launched from the Falcon rocket and is now right on track to deliver a half-ton of supplies and become the first commercial vessel to visit the space station. “It’s

SpaceX live on Internet TV

As we promised, we’ll keep you posted with all the developments regarding the SpaceX Falcon rocket; as it goes, NASA will provide periodic televised coverage of the SpaceX mission to the International Space Station on the Internet. Coverage can be found at, and is now scheduled for: Thursday at 11:30 p.m. PT: Live coverage from NASA’s Johnson Space Center

With milestone launch, SpaceX wants to make space flight cheaper and easier

As we already told you, after the first launch attempt was stopped with just one second to go, SpaceX finally managed to send its Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS – and to the history books. But for NASA, this is not necessarily a good thing, because for the first time in history, instead of flying a ship, they retired

SpaceX finally launches for the ISS. Sparks new age for private spaceflight

Last Saturday, after many meticulous preparatory stages and a couple of exasperating postponements, SpaceX was set to launch  its Falcon 9 rocket, along with its Dragon capsule filled with food, supplies and science experiments destined for the International Space Station. A faulty valve, however, signaled officials to abort the launch with just ONE second to go. Years and years of research and preparation

SpaceX rocket mission canceled with less than a second to go

It doesn’t only happen in the movies: the launch of the SpaceX Falcon rocket, destined to hit the International Space Station and the history books was delayed, when there was less than a second to go. Like any dramatic James Bond movie, the clock showed 3 seconds, then 2 seconds, then 1 and then… Cancel everything! However, instead of saving

First private cargo to go into outer space set for May 19

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, announced Friday it was now aiming for a May 19 liftoff; it will be a historic landmark – the first private ship to go into outer space, carrying a cargo for the International Space Station (ISS). The Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule were scheduled to launch Monday, but SpaceX wanted to conduct

Europe plans mission to Jupiter’s moons

An astrobiology mission to three of Jupiter’s moons topped two rival astrophysics proposals to win European Space Agency (ESA) funding for the next big space mission. While NASA has all its eyes set on Mars, Europe seems to be keeping its cool and wants to understand three of Jupiter’s most interesting moons: Callisto, Europa and Ganymede. All three are believed

What Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left behind

Perhaps the most famous thing left behind on the Moon is a footprint, a boot-shaped impression in the moon dust, photographed and viewed by millions of people. If everything goes according to plan, in the future, many people visiting the Moon will look at it and refer to it as ‘the first’. But about 100 feet away, in the Sea

Swiss scientists to launch “janitor” satellite to clean up space mess

When we started putting satellites on orbit, few could have pondered the idea of space junk, and even fewer would have guessed that a time will come when we will have to clean up after our spatial enterprises. But the time came, and really soon, and space junk is a real problem. This is why Swiss researchers announced their plans

Despite budget cuts, NASA makes plans for deep-space base near the Moon

NASA is trying to push an idea that has been around for quite a while: a “human-tended waypoint” near the far side of the moon, a mission perfect for an international partnership and with a huge scientific value. I really, really recommend going to NASA’s page for a lovely inside scoop. NASA declared that they will soon form a team

Russian Mars probe finds its sad ending in the Pacific Ocean

The Phobos Grunt probe, which was supposed to head for Phobos, a satellite of Mars but instead got stuck on Earth’s orbit, found its inglorious ending, crashing into the Pacific, marking an ill-fated bid of restoring the glory to the Russian space program. Russian officials declared they will find and punish the officials responsible for this failure. “I’m taking personal

International Space Station astronauts thrilled to have first private visit

Life on the ISS has its ups and downs, its perks and downsides; but in February, something which seemed a fantasy two decades ago is about to happen: the first private spaceship will ‘visit’ the International Space Station, marking the start of a new era in spaceflight. The private spaceflight company SpaceX plans to launch its unmanned Dragon capsule to

Microsoft co-founder announces new private space flight company

We’re at the dawn of a new exciting era – the private space age. More and more companies and influential businessmen have hopped on the bandwagon in the past decade, with the thought of building something truly incredible, while operating a profitable business at the same time. Richard Branson launched Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk (Paypal founder) paved the way for