NASA awards ISS cargo duties to a third private corp that uses a mini-shuttle

There’s a now a third private space entity that’s been screened and granted permission to ferry cargo to and fro the International Space Station. Joining SpaceX and Orbital will be the Sierra Nevada Corp. which plans to use a reusable winged craft that looks like a mini-shuttle. The design allows for a soft landing on a runway, instead of dropping the ocean, that might prove more effective for retrieving sensitive scientific instruments.

Top-Secret Air Force plane lands after 2 year mission in Earth’s orbit

After exactly 674 days in orbit, the Air Force’s top secret spaceplane landed in California on Friday. There’s very little anyone knows about the plane, apart from its name – X-37B – and the fact that it can fly in orbit unmanned. The two main assumptions are that it’s either a space plane or a bomber. Maybe both. A mysterious unmanned shuttle

Highly secretive unmanned Air Force spacecraft launches into orbit

Yesterday morning, the U.S. Air Force launched its X-37B robotic space plane into orbit via an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This is the spacecraft’s third launch since 2010, however very little is known about X-37B itself and more importantly about its mission. Officials claim that its goal is scientific, however it’s rather clear than the Air

Boeing and SpaceX split $1 billion NASA founds – commercial spaceflight on demand

Both Boeing and SpaceX are set to split as much as $1 billion in federal awards destined to spur development of next-generation manned spacecraft. This follows other funding ventures awarded in the past few years to private space companies, in NASA‘s attempt to delimit itself from suborbital ventures, so that it may concentrate on deep space ventures. The total amount

Orion maiden test launch set for 2014, manned flight pushed to 2021

Last year NASA permanently retired the iconic shuttle program, since it became obsolete, too expensive, difficult to maintain and no longer resonated with the agency’s goals. Its successor is no other than the Orion capsule, a spacecraft capable of deep-space exploration missions developed by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with NASA. So far, it’s more or less complete, with its first

[Amazing Photo] Atlantis re-entering Earth’s atmosphere

I know some of you are either nostalgic or plain tired of all the Atlantis posts we’ve been publishing lately, but this one absolutely takes the cake. The photo above, taken from aboard the International Space Station by one of the astronauts there, shows Atlantis as it enters Earth’s atmosphere, leaving a trail of golden plasma behind it. The plasma

[VIDEO] The ISS and Atlantis shuttle as seen in broad daylight

Incredibly enough, using a a simple, standard issued astrophotography set-up, amateur astronomer Scott Ferguson was able to film in incredible detail the ISS docked together with Atlantis as they both orbited above him – all in clear sky, broad daylight. How did he do this? Well, as equipment goes Scott, like I said, used a simple 20 cm (8 inch) telescope

NASA’s last ever shuttle mission in photos

Despite unfriendly whether filled with low lying clouds and a last moment countdown glitch, which gave of all the 750,000 spectators gathered at Kennedy Space Center venue to witness the launch a pretty big scare, Atlantis was catapulted into low-orbit with dazzling success yesterday, July 8th. STS 135 was, as the name implies, the 135th and final shuttle mission, marking

On the eve of the shuttle’s “Final Countdown”

Space shuttle Atlantis will embark this Friday on its final journey, symbolizing the end of NASA’s illustrious space shuttle program. Yesterday, the last crew of the orbiter Atlantis arrived at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, where the launch will take place. Commander Chris Ferguson said: “I think I speak for the whole crew in that we are delighted to be here

Final ever shuttle mission scheduled for July 8

NASA just confirmed the shuttle’s last-ever mission will launch on July 8th. The space shuttle Atlantis will blast off headed for the International Space Station this Friday for a very important mission, in which it will deliver the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to the orbiting outpost, bearing supplies, food for a whole year and spares. The 12-day STS-135 mission will be launched from NASA’s

Endeavour launch delayed due to Russian schedule

Endeavour was set to take of in a really short time, and everybody was ready for this, but in an attempt to avoid a scheduling conflict with a Russian supply ship headed for the International Space Station (ISS), the launch of Endeavour has been delayed until April 29. The Russian spaceship will be launched on April 27 and will reach

Crew practices for Endeavour last mission

After Discovery, another legendary orbited is heading towards retirement – Endeavour is only one mission away from a lifetime of well deserved rest. But until that, the astronauts which will ride Endeavour on its last trip are preparing intensely for it; after all, they have to prepare a major astrophysics experiment, as well as deliver some supplies to the International

Discovery shuttle prepares for final landing

As I told you yesterday, the Discovery shuttle is preparing for a well deserved retirement, after 365 days spent in space, during which it traveled more than 150 million miles. All systems are go for landing at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, thus concluding its 13th and final mission. The shuttle left the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after the crew

Space Shuttle Discovery heads home after final mission

When launched in 1984, Discovery was top notch; it was the best available around, and only the third operational orbiter; now, after 3 flights, over five thousand orbits and no less than 365 days spent in space, during which it traveled 150 million miles Discovery left the International Space Station (ISS) for the last time; it is still, for a

Get me to the Moon on time

NASA’s space shuttle is set to take off on its last mission in 2010; the agency is really busy preparing to get a ship on the moon until 2020 [Update: Atlantis mission ends the NASA program]. But recent developments suggest that there may be delays, as does Nature news. NASA officials say that the programme is still on track, but