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Preview: The Space Review

The Space Review

Articles, essays, and commentary about all facets of space exploration

Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003-2016 Jeff Foust

Different paths to Mars

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Elon Musk will unveil his plans for human missions to Mars this week, but he's not the only person talking about Mars exploration. Jeff Foust reports there's a new emphasis on Mars mission planning, as other companies and organizations propose alternative approaches for getting humans to the Red Planet.

Further steps toward the frontier: Recent policy efforts on space settlement

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Getting space settlement put into law as a goal for US space policy has been a long-running goal of space advocates. Cody Knipfer argues that there are encouraging signs of progress.

Unpopular truths about space settlement

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, among others are developing the technical capabilities to establish private enterprise space settlements. Alan Wasser points out that actually establishing space settlements would be infinitely easier to fund if they could be as potentially profitable as their other businesses.

Review: Hidden Figures

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:57:00 GMT

An upcoming movie highlights the lives of African American women who worked as "computers" for NASA and its predecessor at the dawn of the Space Age. Jeff Foust reviews the book the movie is based on, which examines the many challenges these women faced and overcame.

The wizard war in orbit (part 4): P-11, FARRAH, RAQUEL, DRACULA, and KAL-007

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 11:00:00 GMT

In the conclusion to his series about the development of signals intelligence satellites by the US during the Cold War, Dwayne Day looks at one class of spacecraft that provided key data on Soviet activities for decades.

The new era of heavy lift

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Last week, Blue Origin unveiled its planned orbital launch vehicle, New Glenn, that likely will be able to place payloads weighing dozens of metric tons into low Earth orbit. Jeff Foust notes it's the latest development in heavy-lift vehicles that include programs by NASA and SpaceX.

Launch failures: non-launch mishaps

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:58:00 GMT

The pad accident that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket early this month during preparations for a static fire test was rare, but not unprecedented. Wayne Eleazer examines some of the previous pad mishaps in the history of the Space Age.

Commercial crew: two years after contracts, two years until flights

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Last week marked the second anniversary of NASA's award of commercial crew contracts to Boeing and SpaceX. Jeff Foust reports that, despite initial hopes that one or both vehicles would be ready by the end of 2017, delays until late 2018 are looking increasingly likely for both.

A tale of two launchers

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 11:00:00 GMT

As SpaceX continued to investigate a mysterious pad accident that destroyed a Falcon 9, United Launch Alliance flawlessly launched another NASA mission last week. Jeff Foust reports on those developments and their implications for both companies.

An interview with Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of CNES

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Formerly the head of Arianespace, Jean-Yves Le Gall currently runs the French space agency CNES and soon will take over the presidency of the International Astronautical Federation. Theo Pirard interviews Le Gall about his priorities at both CNES and the IAF.

Selecting from the flight demonstration spectrum

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 10:58:00 GMT

An aerospace flight demonstrator can help prove technologies and business cases for full-scale vehicles, if they're selected properly. Steve Hoeser describes the various types of flight demonstrators and how they should best be used to further a vehicle development effort.

Review: All These Worlds Are Yours

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The search for life beyond Earth has attracted a lot of public interest, but where is the best place to look for such life? Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers an astrobiological survey of the solar system and beyond.

Blasting to conclusions

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 11:00:00 GMT

An explosion during a test last week destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and its satellite payload, and damaged its launch pad. Jeff Foust examines the implications of the accident for SpaceX and other companies and organizations.

How we settle Mars is more important than when

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Much of the discussion about human missions to Mars has focused on the technical challenges of such missions. Joelle Renstrom argues that the various ethical considerations of such missions should not be ignored.

A seven-year mission

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 10:58:00 GMT

On Thursday, a NASA mission to collect samples from an asteroid is scheduled to lift off. Jeff Foust reports on goals of the OSIRIS-REx mission, which range from understanding the origins of the solar system to paving the way for future asteroid mining efforts.

The best reason to go to Mars

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 10:57:00 GMT

There are no shortage of reasons why humans should travel to Mars. Eric Hedman describes how the effort needed for such an expedition could catalyze technological development and education, helping improve conditions for people around the world.

"Mister President, their rocket blew up."

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Even after the US won the race to the Moon, American intelligence monitored Soviet development of the N-1, and reported on it to President Nixon. Dwayne Day discusses what Nixon learned about the N-1 based on recently declassified intelligence briefings.

A changing of the guard at Spaceport America

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Christine Anderson originally signed on to run New Mexico's Spaceport America for a year; she stepped down earlier this month after five and a half years on the job. Jeff Foust examines the state of the spaceport, including efforts she led to diversify the spaceport's customer base.

Rethinking image release policies in the age of instant gratification

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:58:00 GMT

While some planetary missions readily share the images they take with the public, others are more reticent to do so. Svetoslav Alexandrov argues that, in an era of instant access to information, all missions should be more open in releasing images.

Interplanetary "litter" on the Space Trail: University of New Mexico's Meteorite Museum

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:57:00 GMT

A small museum in Albuquerque contains a collection of meteorites, including some from Mars. Joseph Page provides an overview of the museum and its exhibits.

Review: Economic Development of Low Earth Orbit

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:56:00 GMT

NASA is trying to promote commercial activities in low Earth orbit to help build demand for commercial facilties once the ISS is retired. Jeff Foust reviews a free ebook published by the agency with papers examining the economic issues with that effort.

Through the looking glass

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 11:00:00 GMT

After the Pentagon cancelled the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program in 1969, it faced the question of what to do with the hardware already built for it. Dwayne Day examines what's known from declassified documents about that effort, including the transfer of mirrors for use in an observatory.

Human-rating the Atlas V Centaur for NASA's commercial crew program

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Part of the effort by NASA to develop commercial crew transportation systems involves human-rating the Atlas V rocket that will launch Boeing's CST-100 Starliner. Anthony Young discusses that effort to prepare both the rocket and the launch site for missions to fly astronauts to the space station.

CubeSats: faster and cheaper, but better?

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:58:00 GMT

There's growing interest in using CubeSats for a variety of scientific, commercial, and other applications. However, Jeff Foust reports that CubeSat developers are grappling with the issue of reliability of such satellites, which suffer higher failure rates than larger spacecraft.

Why a coherent Middle East space policy is a necessity

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Some in the Middle East are concerned that Iran, now free of sanctions linked to nuclear weapons development, might become more aggressive in the region. Michael Listner argues that this should provide an impetus for other nations there to develop comprehensive, coherent space policies.

Review: In the Footsteps of Columbus

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Europe has been a major partner on the International Space Station program, even though it's the last to formally endorse an extension of station operations through 2024. Jeff Foust reviews a book that recaps the first decade of European expeditions to the ISS, with many details but few deeper insights about the overall effort.

For smallsats, launch options big and small

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 11:00:00 GMT

As the number of smallsats under development grows, so does the number of options for getting those satellites into space. Jeff Foust reports on efforts to both develop dedicated small launch vehicles as well as make greater use of rideshares on larger rockets.

A 21st century renaissance in high altitude ballooning

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:59:00 GMT

New technologies are allowing high altitude balloons to perform applications once reserved for satellites. Alan Stern describes the new capabilities such balloons offer and how they are augment or replace space capabilities.

Why America needs space

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:58:00 GMT

In these turbulent times, can space exploration help unite society? Zach Miller argues that lessons from the Apollo era, combined with the growth of commercial space ventures, show what is possible.

Review: Calculated Risk

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Gus Grissom was the second American in space, but most people's perceptions of him are shaped by the negative portrayal of him in The Right Stuff and his death on Apollo 1. Jeff Foust reviews a book that attempts to offer a more complete biography of the man and his contributions to NASA.

Is the Moon a necessary step on the path to Mars?

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 11:00:00 GMT

There is an ongoing debate about whether humans should first return to the Moon before setting out on expeditions to Mars. Chris Carberry and Rick Zucker argue that human lunar missions should stand or fall on their own merits, rather than be justified as Mars precursors.

Focus on space in Germany's G20 agenda

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Germany will hold the presidency for the G20 nations in 2017. In an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the International Lunar Decade Working Group suggests she include space development, including a "Moon Village," on the agenda of issues the G20 will take up in 2017.

Scrutinizing NASA's exploration efforts

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Regardless of who wins the election, the next administration is likely to take a close look at NASA's major exploration programs. Jeff Foust reports that while NASA says those efforts are making good progress, GAO reports found potential cost and schedule issues with them.

Plagiarism in space journalism, again

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 10:57:00 GMT

An article a space website reprinted from a Russian news service appears to have extensively borrowed, without attribution, from another article. Dwayne Day examines this latest case of space plagiarism and why this is a serious problem.

Making it in space

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Who will be the customers of commercial space stations that companies, and NASA, envision being developed within the next decade? Jeff Foust reports that there are a number of potential markets for them, including an interesting new effort in space manufacturing.

The one space policy question for the candidates

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:59:00 GMT

If you could get the presidential candidates to answer one question about their prospective space policies, what should it be? Jeff Foust argues that it might to get them to explain why they believe NASA should have a human spaceflight program.

Review: Fallen Astronauts

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Forty-five years ago this week, the Apollo 15 astronauts held a brief, private ceremony to memorialize the astronauts and cosmonauts who had died in the last decade. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the lives of those men and the circumstances of their deaths.

A stepping-stone to commercial space stations

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 11:00:00 GMT

NASA hopes that, by the time it's ready to retire the International Space Station in the 2020s, one or commercial space stations will be ready to support researchers and others using the ISS today. Jeff Foust reports that one step towards a commercial station may be a commercial module on the ISS.

Stories of cislunar suspense: Literary adventure on the near frontier (part 2)

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 10:59:00 GMT

In the second and final part of his examination of literature set in cislunar space, Ken Murphy reviews novels from the 1990s to the present, and looks at some overall trends in literature.

Re-evaluating the Moon's role in Earth's past and future

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 10:58:00 GMT

A recent study suggests that the Moon has played a bigger role than previously thought in making the Earth habitable. Peter Kokh says this, plus the Moon's role in our future, should influence what we consider to be "Earth-like" worlds.

Review: Mission Control

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The concept of mission control is one that has been an essential part of spaceflight since the beginning of the Space Age, but not all mission controls are alike. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines differences in mission controls based on country and types of missions.

What happens after a year in space?

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Scott Kelly returned to Earth earlier this year after spending nearly a year on the International Space Station. Jeff Foust reports on what he said his experience there was like, and how a study involving his twin brother may provide new insights into the effects of long-duration spaceflight.

The human spaceflight equation

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:59:00 GMT

One of the fundamental questions of human spaceflight is why humans should go beyond Earth at all. Eric Hedman examines human spaceflight from the perspective of the survival imperative, and what research needs to be done to ensure that humans can, in fact, survive on other worlds.

Stories of cislunar suspense: Literary adventure on the near frontier (part 1)

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Stories about activities in cislunar space have been staples of science fiction for decades. In the first of a two-part review, Ken Murphy examines some of the cislunar science-fiction novels in the first few decades of the Space Age.

Old milestones, new gallery

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The National Air and Space Museum reopened their Milestones of Flight gallery at the beginning of this month to mark the museum's 40th anniversary. Jeff Foust explores what is new about the gallery, and what's missing.

Two SLS to Jupiter: The motivations and ramifications of the Europa mission's launch vehicle mandate

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 11:00:00 GMT

At the direction of Congress, NASA is not only working on a mission to send an orbiter and lander to Jupiter's moon Europa, it's also planning to launch them on the Space Launch System heavy-lift rockets. Cody Knipfer examines both the benefits and drawbacks to this approach.

More money, no problem

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Venture capital investment, once a rarity for entrepreneurial space companies, is becoming increasingly commonplace. Jeff Foust reports on some of trends that both investors and companies see in the market, and how long that surge of investment might last.

We are all Pluto now

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 10:58:00 GMT

One year ago this week, the New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto, providing our first close-up views of that distant world. Dwayne Day examines what's changed, and what hasn't, in the year since the spacecraft encounter.

Review: Eccentric Orbits

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 10:57:00 GMT

As Iridium prepares to launch its next-generation satellite system, it's worth remembering that, 16 years ago, the original satellite constellation was on the verge of being deorbited. Jeff Foust reviews a book that recounts how one retired businessman led the effort that eventually saved the system.

The Seattle space scene

Tue, 05 Jul 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Seattle is working to make a name for itself as a hub for the entrepreneurial space industry. Jeff Foust reports on what companies and local officials think make the region stand out, and what obstacles it faces.

The wizard war in orbit (part 3): SIGINT satellites go to war

Tue, 05 Jul 2016 10:59:00 GMT

During the 1960s, the United States ramped up its development of signals intelligence satellites, and found new uses for them as well. Dwayne Day describes how satellites developed for identifying radars in the Soviet Union also played a role in the Vietnam War.

A review of the Atlantic Council's ideas for a not-so-new National Security Space Strategy

Tue, 05 Jul 2016 10:58:00 GMT

A new white paper by the Atlantic Council offers proposals to revise the current US national security space policy. Christopher Stone argues that the new proposal is in many ways similar to the current policy, and has the same flaws.

Review: International Space Station: Architecture Beyond Earth

Tue, 05 Jul 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The International Space Station is an outpost for research and preparation for future exploration, but is it also an architectural landmark? Jeff Foust reviews a book that makes that argument as it provides a history of the station's development.

The wizard war in orbit (part 2): Black black boxes

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:00:00 GMT

As the US signals intelligence satellite effort ramped up in the 1960s, agencies developed a wide range of payloads to fly on spacecraft to study radar signals and communications. In the second part of his history on the subject, Dwayne Day explores what is known about some of those efforts through declassified documents.

Jovian fireworks: Juno arrives at Jupiter

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:59:00 GMT

While many Americans will spend next Monday celebrating Independence Day, NASA will be busy with the arrival of the Juno spacecraft at Jupiter. Jeff Foust reviews the goals of the mission and the challenges it faces dealing with the harsh radiation environment around the giant planet.

A new level of urgency for space-based solar power

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:58:00 GMT

The US military has examined space-based solar power in the past, but has taken little action beyond studies. Nathan Kitzke argues that developing even small-scale systems could have benefits for both military operations and national leadership.

The Air Force Museum's impressive encore

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The National Museum of the United States Air Force recently opened a new building with some space exhibits. Dwayne Day visits the museum to see what's on display and got a pleasant surprise.

Storytelling with space art and artifacts

Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:56:00 GMT

At last week's NewSpace conference in Seattle, attendees were advised about the importance of storytelling to sell their businesses and visions to wide audiences. Jeff Foust checks out a couple of nearby museum exhibits that offer their own takes on the interplay between space fact and fiction.

Inside Stratolaunch

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Stratolaunch Systems, the company backed by Paul Allen working on an air-launch system, opened the doors to its Mojave hangar to the media last week. Jeff Foust reports on the status of the company's large aircraft and its plans to enter the smallsat launch market.

The wizard war in orbit (part 1): Early American signals intelligence satellites

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Thanks to declassified documents, we're learning more about early American efforts to develop signals intelligence satellites. In the first of a four-part series, Dwayne Day discusses how these new sources show how diverse and prolific those efforts were.

Why won't there be a SpaceX in India unless...

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Entrepreneurs in India hope to join the NewSpace movement with space ventures of their own, following in the footsteps of SpaceX. Narayan Prasad argues that, without support from government and investors in India, those ventures won't be able to pursue their dreams.

Albuquerque's Space Age jewels: Launch exhibits at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:57:00 GMT

A nuclear weapons museum in Albuquerque has several space related artifacts tucked away among the exhibits. Joseph Page discusses the museum and its space connections.

Review: Pinpoint

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Satellite navigation services, primarily provided by GPS, have become ubiquitous in our society in recent years. Jeff Foust reviews a book that explores the history of GPS and the various effects, good and bad, it's brought to out modern-day life

The "Asian Space Race" and China's solar system exploration: domestic and international rationales

Mon, 13 Jun 2016 11:00:00 GMT

China has announced an ambitious series of robotic space missions, including future lunar sample return and Mars missions. Cody Knipfer examines how the missions fit into Chinese efforts to establish greater international power, while also stimulating a space race among other spacefaring Asian nations.

Fly me to the Moon

Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:59:00 GMT

The X PRIZE Foundation held a screening of parts of a documentary about the Google Lunar X PRIZE last week in Washington. Dwayne Day describes what the film tells us about the prize, and also the significant details it leaves out.

Landers, laws, and lunar logistics

Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Astrobotic and Moon Express are two of the leading companies involved in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, and each is dealing with a variety of technical and regulatory issues. Jeff Foust reports on their progress, and how feasible it is for either company to be ready to fly by the end of next year.

The Bird is the word

Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:57:00 GMT

A new wing at the National Museum of the US Air Force includes, among other items, the last remaining HEXAGON spy satellite. Dwayne Day discusses some key aspects of that spacecraft and of the person who designed its camera.

Remembering Patti Grace Smith and her influence on commercial spaceflight

Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Last week, Patti Grace Smith, former associate administrator for commercial space transportation at the FAA, unexpectedly passed away. Jeff Foust describes the effect she had on the commercial spaceflight industry in the unusual dual roles as advocate and regulator.

Suborbital research makes a comeback

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Several years ago, interest was high among researchers in flying payloads on commercial suborbital vehicles, only to see development of those vehicles continually delayed. Jeff Foust reports that now, as some of these vehicles begin test flights, the research community is taking a second look.

Float like a hypersonic butterfly

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Many media reports compared the recent test of an Indian technology demonstrator for a future reusable launch vehicle with the US space shuttle. Dwayne Day discusses how a better comparison is with two Air Force programs of the 1960s.

Echoes from the past: the Mars dilemma

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Last week, Elon Musk reiterated his plans to mount human missions to Mars as soon as 2024, using an architecture he will unveil later this year. John Hollaway wonders if these plans will be threatened by a shift in demand for launches that will hurt the large vehicles Musk needs to carry out his Mars plans.

Everybody wants to rule the world

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:57:00 GMT

In recent years military space policy has received heightened attention, particularly given concerns about the vulnerability of US national security satellites. Dwayne Day recaps a recent panel discussion about the US policy and what changes, if any, are needed.

Review: A Beautiful Planet

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:56:00 GMT

IMAX space documentaries have generally followed a certain structure, and the latest one is no exception. Jeff Foust reviews the movie to see of, even with that formulaic approach, what it shows of life on the International Space Station and observations of Earth is worth watching.

A year on Mars

Tue, 31 May 2016 11:00:00 GMT

The recent Humans to Mars Summit in Washington was only the latest in a series of conferences about human exploration of Mars. Dwayne Day compares this conference with some other ones, and discusses what was said, and overlooked, there about getting humans to Mars.

XS-1 prepares for liftoff

Tue, 31 May 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Last week, DARPA released a request for proposals for the next phase of its experimental reusable launch vehicle program, XS-1. Jeff Foust reports on how the competition stacks up for XS-1 and whether the program can retain its relevance as private ventures make progress on their own reusable vehicles.

The rapture of the wonks

Tue, 31 May 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Advocates of artificial intelligence can be as devoted to their belief that it will positively benefit society as space advocates are of the benefits of space settlement. Dwayne Day describes a recent interview with a science fiction author who has a more cautionary view of both subjects.

A comprehensive first look at Denmark's domestic space law

Tue, 31 May 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Denmark is the latest country to develop a national space law. Michael Listner reviews the provisions of the new law and how they compare with other nations and with international treaties.

Petitioning the US to take the lead in space solar power

Tue, 31 May 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Advocates of space-based solar power have launched petitions seeking to win attention and support for the concept within the federal government. Mike Snead makes the case for why readers should sign those petitions.

Review: Eyeing the Red Storm

Tue, 31 May 2016 10:55:00 GMT

Thanks to documents declassified after the end of the Cold War, CORONA is now widely recognized as the first US reconnaissance satellite program. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines an earlier, and largely unknown, effort by the Air Force to develop a spysat called WS-117L.

Human missions to Mars: questions of who and when

Mon, 23 May 2016 11:00:00 GMT

NASA has general plans to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, but that schedule is not fast enough for some. Jeff Foust reports on a debate among Mars exploration advocates on the schedule of such missions, and the role the private sector can play.

Apples and oranges: Why comparing India's reusable launch vehicle with the space shuttle is totally out of place

Mon, 23 May 2016 10:59:00 GMT

On Monday, the Indian space agency ISRO flew its first reusable launch vehicle technology demonstrator vehicle on a brief suborbital flight. Kiran Krishnan Nair argues that while the flight is a step forwards towards an RLV, its importance has been overhyped, particularly in the Indian media.

Creating a mission control for the commercial spaceflight industry

Mon, 23 May 2016 10:58:00 GMT

As more organizations get involved in human spaceflight, there will be a greater need for facilities to monitor and control those missions. Greg Anderson argues for the creation of a consolidated mission control organization to meet that need.

How an ICBM-based "bridge to nowhere" can help start a Moon Village

Mon, 23 May 2016 10:57:00 GMT

In recent months, the launch industry has debated whether to revise existing policy limiting the commercial use of retired ICBM motors. Michael Turner offers an alternative use for those missiles that could stimulate lunar development.

Review: Exploring the Planets

Mon, 23 May 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Fred Taylor may not be a household name outside the space sciences field, but he had a long career working on a variety of Earth and planetary missions. Jeff Foust reviews Taylor's memoir about his career developing instruments that helped explore the solar system.

Effects of changing economics on space architecture and engineering

Mon, 16 May 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Investment in government and commercial space systems have followed similar trends for much of the Space Age. Gary Oleson explores those trends and examines the possibilities offered by both very small and very large space systems to change them.

That'll do, DONKEY, that'll do

Mon, 16 May 2016 10:59:00 GMT

While the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory program was cancelled, one payload intended to fly on the military space station did find an alternative route to space. Dwayne Day examines the story of a signals intelligence payload codenamed DONKEY.

When CubeSats are too big

Mon, 16 May 2016 10:58:00 GMT

As interest in CubeSats continues to grow, some are wondering what even smaller spacecraft can do. Jeff Foust reports on one initiative to develop satellites the fraction of the size of CubeSats that could support education, technology development, and even science.

Apollo 10: "To sort out the unknowns" for Apollo 11

Mon, 16 May 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Forty-seven years ago this week, Apollo 10 lifted off on a "dress rehearsal" mission for the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Anthony Young recounts the mission and the achievements that paved the way for a successful landing on the Moon.

Review: Into the Black

Mon, 16 May 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Last month marked the 35th anniversary of the first shuttle mission, STS-1, one that began a new era in human spaceflight, but not without difficulties. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a new, and comprehensive, look at the development of the shuttle and the challenges faced leading up to, and during, that first flight.

Mining issues in space law

Mon, 09 May 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Legislation passed by the US Congress last year appeared to clear the way for space mining ventures. Jeff Foust reports that there are still policy issues these and other companies have to overcome both at a national and an international level.

An overview of the American Space Renaissance Act (part 3)

Mon, 09 May 2016 10:59:00 GMT

In his final installment examining a wide-ranging space policy bill, Michael Listner examines the sections of the bill dealing with commercial space law and regulations.

Life on Pluto

Mon, 09 May 2016 10:58:00 GMT

For decades, Pluto was largely ignored in science fiction, with too little known about the distant world to stimulate the imaginations of authors. Dwayne Day wonders, with New Horizons now revealing Pluto to be a far more dynamic place than expected, whether it will become fodder for more works of fiction.

The future of space economics and settlement

Mon, 09 May 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Many still assume that human presence and activity in space will always have government in the lead. Dick Eagleson makes the case that this view ignores fundamental limits on government involvement in space activities and sketches out how human expansion into space must be increasingly driven by private entrepreneurship if it is to happen at all.

Review: The Cosmic Web

Mon, 09 May 2016 10:56:00 GMT

In the last few decades, astronomers have discovered that the universe's galaxies trace out intricate patterns, rather than be randomly distributed. Jeff Foust reviews a book by an astrophysicist who helped understand how those structures, in some cases spanning more than a billion light-years, came to be.

Time for fresh thinking about collaboration in space

Mon, 02 May 2016 11:00:00 GMT

The International Space Station has demonstrated how the US and Russia can cooperate in space even when terrestrial relations are strained. Ajey Lele argues that this can serve as a model for cooperation in space between China and India.

A new chapter for a commercial space pioneer

Mon, 02 May 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Jeff Greason and two other co-founders of XCOR Aerospace have left the company in recent months and started a new venture, Agile Aero. Jeff Foust reports on Agile's vision for the future of space vehicle development, as well as where XCOR stands on its Lynx suborbital spaceplane.

An overview of the American Space Renaissance Act (part 2)

Mon, 02 May 2016 10:58:00 GMT

In the second part of his comprehensive review of a new space policy bill, Michael Listner examines the civil space portion of the act, including changes to how a NASA administrator is chosen.

The US should challenge the EU to lead lunar development

Mon, 02 May 2016 10:57:00 GMT

As ESA seeks to drum up support for its "Moon Village" concept, the US appears content to focus instead on missions to Mars. Vid Beldavs, in an open letter to the president, argues that the US should push Europe to take the lead on lunar development and take on a supporting role that can help support its own Mars ambitions.

Review: Under Desert Skies

Mon, 02 May 2016 10:56:00 GMT

The University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is widely considered a leading center for planetary science research, a remarkable accomplishment for a facility barely half a century old. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the origin and development of that center.

A launch company, and industry, in transformation

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 11:00:00 GMT

United Launch Alliance found itself on the hot seat last month after a executive made controversial comments at a university seminar that leaked out. Jeff Foust reports that behind the controversy are insights into the transformation that company, and the broader launch industry, are undergoing.