Many people throughout the world want to travel in space but are prevented from doing so, largely due to their cost. This is a constraint on their individual freedom, their liberty and their right to pursue self-happiness for the benefit of all humankind. Space travel must be opened up to the world at large and humanity allowed to continue to explore the cosmos. 

NASA-ROSCOSMOS-ESA-JAXA-CSA

CNSA-AEB-ISRO-SSAU-KARI

 
 

 
 

NEWS January 4, 2017 (source: NASA)

NASA has selected 2 missions to study the beginning of our solar system, that is to say about 10 million years after its birth. The missions, known as Lucy and Psyche, were chosen from 5finalists and will proceed to mission formulation, with the goal of launching in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

PSYCHE

Mission In Formulation

LUCY

Mission In Formulation

EUROPA CLIPPER

In 2017, the project entered its preliminary design phase.

The Europa Clipper mission passed its KDP-B gate review in February 2017 and is in the preliminary design and technology completion phase (Phase B).

The Europa Clipper mission will advance from Phase B to C (final design and fabrication) at the beginning of 2019. This is a flagship-class mission.

The Europa Clipper mission will do a detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter's moon Europa with the goal to see whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life. To do so, it will spend  4 years in orbit around Jupiter, conducting its scientific observations by completing multiple close flybys. Staying away from Europa will minimize the spacecraft's exposure to its harsh radiation environment.

NASA would like to launch this mission January 1st 2025 and, end it January 1st 2030.

Can the Atmosphere of Mars be mined?

The final phase 1 of a study made by NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) says it is possible. 

To do so, a Mars Atmospheric Gas Resources Collector Vehicle (RCV) must pass in the upper atmosphere and trap the Carbon Dioxide (CO2). From this latter gas, Oxygen (O2) is extracted and put in a separate tank. Once this tank is full, it is transferred in the Reusable Mars Transportation System (vehicle), which can repeatedly be landed and launched on Mars.

Today's Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) technology limits to approximately 1-2 tons (t) the landed mass on Mars from Earth. With this new concept, it will be feasible to carry 4crew members and cargo up to 20 metric t.

NIAC Mars Atmospheric Gas Resources Collector Vehicle (RCV) stack concept during an aerobraking CO2 collection pass in the upper atmosphere. Credit: NASA

 EXPLORATION - POPULAR SPACECRAFTS' MISSIONS

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission to Asteroid Bennu

The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36), and bring a sample of at least 2-ounce back to Earth for study.

 

The Incredible Space Travel of New Horizons to Pluto

On July 14, 2015, after a space travel of more than 9 years and 3billion miles, New Horizons became the fastest spacecraft ever launched to reach its primary target, Pluto.

 BEPICOLOMBO's Mission to MERCURY

Scheduled for launch in October 2018, BepiColombo will be carried by the spacecraft Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) for almost 7 years before reaching its target. The MTM will travel with the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) made by the European Space Agency, (ESA), and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)from the Japanese space agency, JAXA. Once they enter orbit around the planet, they will carry out the most comprehensive exploration of Mercury and its environment ever undertaken.

GO @ EXPLORATION - SPACECRAFTS MISSIONS

ACTIVE-FUTURE-HISTORICAL

Boeing’s CST-100 approved for its first commercial crewed flight to ISS

NASA has approved Boeing’s CST-100 to carry out its first crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract awarded to Boeing, the company is required to ferry crews to and from the orbiting laboratory, something that the United States has been incapable of doing since the endof the shuttle era in 2011.

Orbital ATK Launches to ISS from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility 

On Oct. 17, 2017, Orbital ATK launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft atop an Antares rocket to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This is the sixth cargo mission to the ISS for Orbital ATK.

Credit: NASA

The Soyuz MS-02 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

The Soyuz MS-02 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the ISS at 4:05 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2017 (2:05 p.m. Baikonur time). At the time of launch, the space station was flying 252 statute miles over the south Atlantic, east of Brazil. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are now safely in orbit.

Over the next two days, the trio will orbit the Earth 34 times before docking to the space station’s Poisk module at 5:59 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. NASA TV coverage of the docking will begin at 5:15 a.m. SPACE COM. INFO: http://www.space.com/34433-soyuz-rock...

Credit: Dan Beaumont Space Museum

Bigelow Aerospace Partners with United Launch Alliance

Space hotels aren't science-fiction anymore(by CNN's Rachel Crane)

CHINA space lab: what are the missions of Tiangong-2?

Tiangong-2 will verify key technology for China’s future space station. Astronauts will be able to stay in space for a longer time aboard Tiangong-2 than Tiangong-1, China’s first prototype space lab. The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, to carry 2 astronauts, will blast off in mid-October to dock with Tiangong-2. The 2astronauts are expected to live in the space lab for up to 30 days. 

Credit: CCTV News

 

CHINA launches Shenzhou 2 two-man space mission

China has launched 2astronauts into space on a mission to dock with an experimental space station. The launch marks the latest stage in the country's developing space program.

China launched the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft  from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. The spacecraft, with 2 astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong on board, is set to dock with the Tiangong-2 space lab.

Credit: CCTV News

NASA's Spitzer reveals a large number of Earth-Size Planets around a single star

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed seven Earth-size planets around a tiny, nearby ultra-cool dwarf star. Three of these planets are in the habitable zone, the region around the star in which liquid water is most likely to thrive on a rocky planet. This is the first time so many Earth-size planets have been found around the same star.

CREDIT: JPL RAW, FEB. 22, 2017

ASTEROIDS: WHAT AND WHERE?

The total mass of all asteroids is estimated at 930 miles (1,500 km) in diameter, this is less than half the size of the Moon.

Asteroids are metallic, rocky bodies without atmospheres that orbit the Sun but are too small to be classified as planets. Known as "minor planets," tens of thousands of them congregate in the main asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. The orbits of these 2planets are separated by a distance of 2 to 4 AU (300 million to 600 million km).

Like for the RAMA project, the Automaton Rover for VENUS' Mission will be built with mechanical parts resisting a temperature of 460°C and a pressure of about 90 bar. At that pressure, the carbon monoxide (CO2) is near its supercritical state.

Credit: Jonathan Sauder

Asteroid 783 NORA (1914 UL) could bring its owner over 100 BILLION US $!

Acquired by Planetary Resources in May 2013, ASTERANK forsees huge gains from the exploitation of raw material such as nickel, iron, cobalt, water, nitrogen, hydrogen and ammoniac, foundon Asteroid 783 NORA.

Funny videos explaining the Saturn Rocket's Propulsion System... Compare the Old School to the New School!

New School

Old School

The Space Launch System (SLS)

The first launch of the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) is scheduled for 2018, with a capability of over 70 t of payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). With a payload capacity twice that of  the Space Shuttle, the SLS will go well beyond the LEO. 

As NASA develops the SLS, it also works on the Orion Program and the Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program. The Orion spacecraft will carry astronauts into Deep Space for long exploration missions. Through the GSDO Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) facilities will become the next-generation of Spaceport. The main goal is to have capabilities to support many launches by different vehicles.

Named SLS Block 1, it will provide a 70 t payload delivery capability to LEO. This initial SLS test flight will accommodate an uncrewed Orion and a number of Secondary Payloads (SPL). Its purpose is to test SLS launch capabilities and Orion’s ability for safe trans-lunar crew return. This is planned no earlier than 2018 on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1).

 GO @ ROCKETS' PROPULSIONS

. Launch Propulsion Systems

. In-Space Propulsion Technologies

. Some gas used in the Rockets

. Launch and reentry sites

. The Cryogenic Rocket Engines

. Advanced Propulsion Technologies

. Operational Orbital Launch Vehicles

and many more subjects

* SPECIAL - ROBOTIC-HUMANOID *

DARPA's Grand Challenge History

In 2004 and 2005, two Grand Challenges took place in the desert of Primm, Nevada. The main goal of these challenges organized by DARPA, was to accelerate the technological development of autonomous vehicles for military uses. These vehicles were critical to reduce human losses on roads strewn by mines or explosives in enemy zones.

The DARPA repeated the exercise in 2007 with the Urban Challenge, a competition taking place in  Victoriaville, California. In this urban context, the autonomous vehicles movedwith the traffic and took care of the highway safety code.

This boost in the research and development of autonomous vehicles brought the rapid manufacturing of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), an aircraft without pilots, and a wide range of derivative products widely used today.

Video Game for BIG BOYS: The Virtual Robotic  Challenge

To be eligible for the physical competition of the DARPA robotics challenge (DRC) Trials of December 2013, parties demonstrated their capabilities in a virtual test. The kick off of this Virtual Robotic Challenge began when the DARPA granted a contract to the Open Source Robotics Foundation, in California. The company developed a simulation system through a virtual robot able to do some tasks .

Shown above, in the third task, a virtual robot turned a pipe, as asked in the video game.

For the second task, teams had to guide their robot through lands covered with mud, paving stones, debris or simply uneven.

Big success for the DRC's Trials in Florida 

After the Virtual Robotic Challenge, the DARPA organized a physical competition between the best teams selected. Scheduled for December 2013, the Darpa Robotic Challenge (DRC) required every team to provide a robot able to accomplish a series of tasks requiring manual dexterity, balance and physical force.

The idea of a competition is not new to accelerate the development of technologies. The DRC took its origin in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, in Japan. Not only did this disaster destroyed the nuclear central of Fukushima-Daiichi, but it showed the incapacity for humans to mitigate the first effects.

DRC's Finale inLos Angeles: NO MORE GAME!

With structures of humanoids, softwares, sensors and sophisticated interfaces systems, teams realized a series of tasks conceived by the DARPA for their relevance in emergency situations.

During the Finale of the DRC in December 2015, operators and their robots overcame more difficulties than during the Trials of December, 2013. Under the hot sun of California, robots moved without supply cords and their teams had no physical and visual contacts with them. In fact, they were autonomous in their actions, quick in their execution and the bandwidth of the data offered more corruptions. And, to add to the difficulty, a SURPRISED task!

Pictured on the right, the robot Running Man of the team IHMC Robotics of Pensacola, Florida, during the test of the opening and crossing of the door. Credit: www.theroboticschallenge.org/