Besides its awe-striking size, thousands of completed science experiments, and a list of impressive inhabitants, the International Space Station (ISS) is a project unlike any other in terms of sheer scale — a beacon for what can be accomplished when the world cooperates in space exploration.
Are we gushing yet?
As the “most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken,” the ISS is even more ‘international’ in nature than the 5-space-agency cooperative might suggest, involving 15 of the world’s most wealthy nations. (Space exploration, of course, comes with a hefty price tag.) Read more.
Bring your dreams, your drink (the caffeinated kind, of course) and your skills to any one of 75 locations in 41 countries around this world – or the whole Blue Marble if you choose to join virtually – to the second annual International Space Apps Challenge, April 20-21.
For 48 hours, some of the most active minds on the planet will come together to crowdsource fun and maybe even life-sustaining solutions to some of the most complex space exploration problems: Read more.
Sometimes it’s hard to see price tags on space projects — $2.5 billion for Curiosity, $60 million for a Soyuz seat just to get an astronaut to and from the International Space Station — without thinking about how that money might be used on Earth. Well, in most cases, the money does have an Earthly payback. Take the International Space Station: Read more.
The contributions from NASA to the private sector have been numerous over the years for companies both in the aerospace field and out. Anyone who has spent a night on a memory foam mattress, used a GPS on a road-trip, or sent a text message has benefited from one of NASA’s many technological breakthroughs — whether they’ve realized it or not. It seems the time has finally come for the private industry to repay the favor. Read more.
When a Senate subcommittee held its recent hearing on the future of commercial spaceflight in the United States, there were no dissenters before the panel. Even a representative of the Government Accountability Office — whose mission it is to focus a critical eye on government operations and spending — told senators that the future of the industry is now.
It was a low-key event, but the stakes were high. Federal action could have a critical impact on whether the United States remains competitive in an emerging world marketplace, according to GAO testimony. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest cheerleaders was Michael Lopez-Alegria, the president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Read more.
Voyager 1 is used to being first. Fourteen years ago, it surpassed the travel distance of any other Earth-launched spacecraft. Now Voyager 1 may soon cross into interstellar space. As far as we know, it will be the first spacecraft to cross this great divide. Read more.
Even if you’re too young to know where the catchphrase came from, you’ve at least overheard it during a jokester’s misplaced zing. As many of us know, it was the phrase known to be uttered by Star Trek‘s Captain Kirk as he commanded his chief engineer, Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott, to transport him to the Starship Enterprise from some alien planet.
It seems fitting then, that there wasn’t just cargo, air, and entrepreneurial dreams aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket this past Tuesday. As it turns out, James Doohan – who played Scotty on Star Trek – went along for the ride with 307 others. Only, they weren’t alive.
“Yeah, right,” is a phrase Elon Musk probably heard more than a handful of times before his private space company, SpaceX, took to the skies. And he’s probably not the only one in the commercial space biz to be on the receiving end of murmuring disbelief.
But where would we be if every entrepreneurial spirit balked at the phrase “yeah, right”? Certainly not sending humans into space, or planning manned missions to mars. That’s for certain.
Imagine peering into the ultimate microscope, after years and years of painstaking work, finally on the brink of being able to see back in time. Back to when the universe was born, back to the very beginning of everything – and someone says, “Sorry! Money’s run out!” and unplugs it all.
Might be frustrating. Maybe. Just a tad.
A few months ago, scientists all over the world were faced with just that feeling when cost overruns and tight budgets led some in the U.S. Congress to question spending billions of additional dollars on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Read more.