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

Russia gives up on Phobos failed mission, scientist apologizes

After what can only be described has a frustrating, sleepless month for the Russian scientists involved in the Phobos grunt mission, which failed just after it escaped Earth’s atmosphere and became stranded into low-orbit, officials have announced that they have finally lost all hope and have abandoned any future efforts of re-salvaging the probe. Russia’s Phobos- Grunt did indeed manage to

SpaceX to make ISS trip in February 2012

Since NASA retired its space shuttle program this summer, the space agency has been left with no viable means of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station. As such, NASA is currently dependent on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to fulfill this duty, whose services come at a hefty cost. Today, NASA announced that the American space transport company SpaceX

Worms show that Mars colonization is possible

There are numerous challenges that come with outer Earth colonization of distant planets like Mars, or our neighboring moon, and one of the major issues scientists have addressed is reproduction. Part of a  recently published study, scientists have tracked the development of worm cultures in space in an experiment designed to study how micro-gravity and radiation has affected them. Back in 2006, researchers blasted

Russian president threatens criminal penalties for space officials; where do you stand on this?

Russian president, Dmitry Medevedev, announced that following the disaster with the Phobos-Grunt mission, which was headed for one of Mars’ moons but got stranded on Earth’s orbit, officials should be punished for recent failures in the country’s space program, which are affecting indirectly the entire country. Speaking to Russian journalists on Saturday, he stated that these mistakes dealt a “serious

NASA’s big rover on its long way to Mars

Following an absolutely perfect launch with no apparent problems whatsoever, NASA’s Curiosity rover has started its long way towards the Red Planet. Curiosity and Mars The car-sized rover blasted off Saturday at 10:02 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and separated from the rocket right on schedule, 45 minutes later. The pinnacle of technology in spatial rovers, Curiosity

Russia’s Phobos probe is alive! Contact established with the failed Russian craft

Two weeks ago, panic engulfed the Russian space agency after one of its dearest project, the  $170 million Phobos-Grunt mission, which was set to land on Mars’ moon Phobos, collect samples and then return to moon, got stranded in orbit, completely blocked off from any kind of communication. Valiant efforts were made to restore the craft, but in vain. However, just

NASA accepting new astronaut applications – have you got what it takes ?

Many children dream of becoming astronauts, but for most, the dream just gets lost somewhere along the way; but that no longer has to be the case, especially considering the exciting times we are living in. NASA may have retired its space orbiters, but there are still many manned missions planned for the International Space Station – and beyond, and

International Space Station welcomes new crew

Earlier this morning, the Soyuz spacecraft successfully containing three excited new members for the ISS docked, thus bringing the space station to full effectiveness. Dan Burbank from the US and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin are the new people lucky enough to be on the International Space Station for the next for months. For the three current members,

Russians declare Phobos-Grunt probe failed

The probe, which had the purpose of reaching one of the two Martian moons, was declared dead, and it will probably crash on Earth in January, without presenting any kind of risk to populated areas.   The Phobos-Grunt probe was supposed to reach Mars, orbit it a few months, deploy a Chinese satellite, then land on Phobos, take samples of