Forty-five years ago, Ernst Stuhlinger, the associate director of science at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center, an original member of Wernher von Braun’s Operation Paperclip team, was asked by Sister Mary Jucunda, a Zambia-based nun, how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on spaceflight when many children were starving on Earth.
Elon Musk, the wealthy and polarizing founder of PayPal, Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), is on a hot streak when it comes to spaceflight. He’s raiding revenue streams from Nasa and the US military to fund a private manned space program. His main weapon: low prices, with SpaceX offering satellite launches at about one-fifth the price of competitors at just over $60m a pop.
The crew of Shenzhou 10.
In June, the successful landing of China’s latest manned space mission cast a spotlight on the country’s growing human spaceflight skills as it hones the capabilities needed to build a huge, permanently crewed space station.
Commercial Space Station (CSS) – module could house tourists, researchers or astronauts needing refuge; could be ready by 2015-2016
A trip to space is still big on the list of the uber-rich, and the latest news from the space tourism industry is the announcement of the world’s first commercial space station by two Russian aerospace companies – Orbital Technologies and Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (RSC Energia). They say that private citizens, professional crews and corporate researchers could use the station. The Commercial Space Station (CSS) is to be built with space-certified elements, modules and technologies of the highest standards. The station will have a crew capability of up to seven people. Orbital Technologies chief executive Sergey Kostenko said… (Pics)
Upgrading the International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS) is one of the most complex and expensive engineering projects ever undertaken. When it is completed in 2011, it will have cost nearly $100 billion. And then, just five years later, the space station will be destroyed when NASA deliberately takes it out of orbit and plunges it into Earth’s atmosphere.
Nanosatellites, because small is the new big
Earlier this week we heard that “Cambridge University Spaceflight” would be entering the N-Prize competition. The N-Prize (the “N” stands for “Nanosatellite“) is a competition to stimulate innovation directed towards obtaining cheap access to space. The competition was launched in 2008 by Cambridge biologist Paul H. Dear, and is intended specifically to spur amateur involvement in spaceflight.