Category Archives: Spacecraft

New Virgin Galactic Spaceship Takes First Flight

For the first time, Virgin Galactic’s new passenger spaceship soared through the sky, kicking off a series of test flights in advance of commercial operations.

Attached to its WhiteKnightTwo carrier jet , the spaceship, named Unity, flew through the skies over Mojave, Calif., for 3 hours and 43 minutes on Thursday. Continue reading New Virgin Galactic Spaceship Takes First Flight

NASA Is Ready to Start Building Its Life-Hunting 2020 Mars Rover

NASA’s life-hunting 2020 Mars rover has cleared an extensive review process and is now ready to begin the final design and construction phase, agency officials announced July 15.

If all goes according to plan, the six-wheeled robot will blast off in August 2020, touch down in February 2021 in a yet-to-be-determined spot, and then explore the Martian surface for at least two years, mission team members said. Continue reading NASA Is Ready to Start Building Its Life-Hunting 2020 Mars Rover

World’s Largest Plane Will Launch Rockets into Space

The way Paul Allen sees it, the bigger the better, at least when it comes to building an airplane to serve as a flying launch pad for sending satellites into space.

The airplane, informally called the “Roc” after the legendary giant bird of prey, is nearing completion inside a custom-built hangar at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. It’s the same place where the Roc’s little sister, White Knight, lofted the SpaceShipOne spaceplane into the air in 2004 to clinch the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first privately funded, manned vehicle to travel beyond the atmosphere. Continue reading World’s Largest Plane Will Launch Rockets into Space

China Launches New Rocket, Prototype Crew Capsule

China successfully launched a new rocket and a prototype next-generation crew capsule Saturday (June 25) in the first-ever liftoff from the nation’s new launch center.

The Long March 7 rocket — which China developed in part to help build and service a crewed space station that the nation plans to have up and running by the early 2020s — blasted off on its maiden flight from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center at 8 a.m. EDT Saturday (1200 GMT; 8 p.m. local time), Chinese officials said. Continue reading China Launches New Rocket, Prototype Crew Capsule

Space Shuttle External Tank Completes Road Trip to CA Science Center

The massive orange-brown fuel tank, NASA’s last remaining example of its type, built for flight but never used, arrived at the California Science Centeron Saturday evening (May 21), completing a nearly one-day road trip through the streets of Los Angeles.

The external tank, together with the orbiter Endeavour — which was delivered to the Science Center in a similar, but longer parade in October 2012 — and a pair of solid rocket boosters still to come, will form the world’s only vertical display of a fully-authentic space shuttle launch vehicle. The exhibit is targeted to open in the Science Center’s future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center in 2019. Continue reading Space Shuttle External Tank Completes Road Trip to CA Science Center

To the Moon! Lunar XPRIZE team looks to send Wikipedia into space aboard homemade rover

Quick: You can send 20 gigabytes of data to the moon. What’s it going to be? Time’s up!

Wikipedia? What a coincidence — that’s what the Part-Time Scientists, a team working on a homegrown lunar rover for Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, decided, too! And they’re really planning to bring Wikipedia to the Moon. Continue reading To the Moon! Lunar XPRIZE team looks to send Wikipedia into space aboard homemade rover

Kepler Spacecraft Stabilized After Unexplained Emergency

After a weekend of uncertainty for the Kepler spacecraft, NASA let out a sigh of relief on Monday, saying that “the spacecraft reached a stable state with the communication antenna pointed toward Earth.”

NASA posted a statement from mission manager Charlie Sobeck on Monday, saying that the “mission has cancelled the spacecraft emergency, returning the Deep Space Network ground communications to normal scheduling.” Continue reading Kepler Spacecraft Stabilized After Unexplained Emergency