News

  • Photo of the moon from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Space tourism firm Space Adventures says two customers have paid deposits for a flight around the moon on a Soyuz spacecraft, but the trip requires major changes to the Russian crew capsule, a vehicle that has seen only incremental upgrades in recent decades. While the Virginia-based company works with Russian engineers to make the venerable Soyuz ferry craft ready for a lunar voyage, Space Adventures president Tom Shelley said last week he expects prices for tourist trips to the International Space Station to fall once U.S.-built capsules begin flying astronauts into low Earth orbit....

  • NASA's LADEE spacecraft was imaged above the surface of the Moon as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft will continue its successful mission with an announced extension of 28 days in orbit. This follows a first-ever high-bandwidth laser communication which took place from the Moon to the Earth. It also included continued atmospheric analyses, and a tricky snapshot by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), another spacecraft working to further the scientific understanding of our nearest celestial neighbor.
 
“The launch vehicle performance and orbit...

Moon Express recently unveiled the MX-1 spacecraft design at the Autodesk University in Las Vegas.
The Mountain View, California-based company is in the commercial space race, competing for the $40-million-Google Lunar X prize.

The coffee-table sized...

  • Moon landing

If China’s just-launched Chang’e 3 lunar probe (quaintly known as the Jade Rabbit) drops its robotic rover down on the Moon’s surface in mid-December as scheduled, it will be the first soft landing on our nearest celestial neighbor in 37 years. It also kicks off a resurgence of interest in putting people and hardware down on the Moon, and the beginning of a new wave of robotic visits to test, trawl, drill, and construct there...

  • Chinese Launch

BEIJING
In hopes of ensuring that the next man on the moon is Chinese, Beijing launched a rocket carrying a buggy-like vehicle that is expected to roam and explore the moon’s surface for three months.
The Long March rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 1:30 a.m. Monday, Beijing time (9:30 a.m. PST Sunday), the official Xinhua news agency reported.
If...

SUMMARY
Move over NASA, Silicon Valley is joining the space race. Entrepreneurs from the nation’s high-tech hub are designing lunar landers, making plans to mine the moon and gearing up to blast off into commercial space flight. Thuy Vu of KQED reports on how private ventures and investors are investing in space exploration.

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A report prepared by Bigelow Aerospace for NASA concludes that the commercial approach that the space agency used successfully for developing commercial cargo transportation to the International Space Station should also be applied to developing transportation beyond Earth orbit, including in the vicinity of, and to the surface of, the Moon.

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  • LADEE

In the nation’s capital, the fastest residential Internet connection money can buy tops out at 75 Mbps. That’s pretty zippy. But it doesn’t compare to the 622 Mbps monster pipe that NASA just successfully tested over a distance of 239,000 miles.

Unfortunately...

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