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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, 14 Aug 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003-2016 Jeff Foust
 



Why the US must lead again

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:00:00 GMT

The new National Space Council will have many options for issues to tackle when it starts its work in the coming weeks. Douglas Loverro argues in an open letter to the council's incoming executive secretary that it should focus on the policies the US should promote internationally that best serve national needs.



CubeSats: faster and cheaper, but are they better?

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:59:00 GMT

CubeSats have become very popular in recent years as a low-cost platform for many missions, but some have found difficulties using them for certain missions where high reliability is important. Jeff Foust reports on discussions at a recent conference on efforts to improve CubeSat reliability without losing their key benefits.



Finding Ender: The utility of tactical decision games for space warfare

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:58:00 GMT

The best ideas for military tactics can come not from generals but from junior officers and enlisted personnel. Joseph T. Page II describes how tactical decision games, used elsewhere in the US military, could be applied to space.



Building off US law to create an international registry of extraterrestrial mining claims

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Passage of space resources laws in the US and Luxembourg have raised questions about whether treaties grant rights for extracted resources to companies or countries. Will Gray argues that those laws can become the basis for an international regime for mining claims off Earth.



Review: Making Contact

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:56:00 GMT

One of the most important figures in the history of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been Jill Tarter. Jeff Foust reviews a new biography of Tarter that traces her influence on both SETI and society.



Black ops and the shuttle (part 2): Reconnaissance missions in the space shuttle, from WASP to ZEUS

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 11:00:00 GMT

In the late 1970s, the National Reconnaissance Office examined potential roles the space shuttle could play in launching and servicing reconnaissance satellites, or serving as a reconnaissance platform itself. Dwayne Day examines how declassified documents have shed new light on those plans.



The National Space Council gets to work

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:59:00 GMT

With an executive secretary selected, the National Space Council will soon be in operation, but what should it be focusing on? Jeff Foust reports from a recent event where a number of past space policy officials offered their views on the council and its priorities.



A dim future for the National Space Council?

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:58:00 GMT

As the reconstituted National Space Council prepares to hold its first meeting, some wonder just what it can accomplish. Roger Handberg argues that fiscal constraints and the rise of military and commercial activities may limit its effectiveness.



I've died and gone to Oshkosh

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:57:00 GMT

This year's EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, had more space-related events than usual. Eric Hedman provides an overview, from the appearance of Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos to an Apollo astronaut reunion.



Review: Outposts on the Frontier: A Fifty-Year History of Space Stations

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:56:00 GMT

The International Space Station is the culmination of half a century of space station projects by both the US and the former Soviet Union. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a history of those programs, from the cancellation of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory to the completion of the ISS.



Pondering the future of the International Space Station

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:00:00 GMT

As researchers make increasing use of the International Space Station, some wonder what the long-term fate of the station is. Jeff Foust reports that as NASA studies options for a post-2024 ISS transition plan, commercial users want nearer-term certainty about the station's future.



The stars, my inspiration

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Space is often said to be inspirational, but what exactly does that mean? Dwayne Day examines how spaceflight, and space-themed science fiction, can inspire different people in different mediums.



Iran's rocket launch: a need to create a "space" for engagement

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Iran launched a rocket last week that it said was a test of a satellite launch vehicle, but which was condemned in the West as a missile test. Ajey Lele argues that Iran's growing capabilities present the opportunity for peaceful space cooperation, perhaps as a way to dissuade further missile development.



The end of a very long honeymoon

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:57:00 GMT

In May, DARPA selected Boeing to develop its Phantom Express vehicle as part of the XS-1 reusable spaceplane project. John Hollaway is unimpressed with this latest effort to try and reduce the cost of getting into space.



Cislunar suspense 2: The Cynthianing

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Spaceflight in cislunar space as long been a topic of science fiction and other books. Ken Murphy updates an earlier review of such books with several dozen other novels, from the 1950s to the present day.



The Moon is a harsh milestone

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:00:00 GMT

There has been growing interest in carrying out human lunar missions prior to going to Mars, thinking that will be an easier near-term step. Jeff Foust reports that, despite these discussions, governments and companies alike have found it difficult just getting robotic missions there.



A summer update on the COPUOS long-term sustainability guidelines

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:59:00 GMT

An ongoing topic of discussion and debate at the international level regarding space is its long-term sustainability. Christopher D. Johnson and Victoria Samson provide an update on those discussions that have played out at United Nations meetings in recent months.s



Blue "Hubble": The Manned Orbiting Laboratory as a planetary telescope

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Could the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, intended to be a crewed reconnaissance satellite, have also played a role in spacebased astronomy? Joseph T. Page II finds some hints of such an alternative mission in declassified documents.



Another view on the problems facing NASA's Mars Exploration Program

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Advocates of the robotic exploration of Mars have warned of limited funding and plans for later missions needed to carry out Mars sample return. Louis Friedman argues that the focus on sample return, at the expense of other science, has also hurt the program.



Review: Spaceflight in the Shuttle Era and Beyond

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:56:00 GMT

The rationales supporting NASA human spaceflight efforts have changed over the decades. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines changing frameworks for supporting it during the shuttle and station programs, and implications for the future.



The future (or lack thereof) of NASA's Mars Exploration Program

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 11:00:00 GMT

NASA's ongoing program for exploring Mars with orbiters and rovers appears, at first glance, to be working well. Jason Callahan and Casey Dreier describe how the program is actually facing serious questions about its future because of funding challenges.



A legal look at Elon Musk's plans to colonize Mars

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Elon Musk unveiled his plans last September for establishing a permanent human presence on Mars, with a focus on the technical issues of getting people to Mars. Michael Listner examines some of the legal obstacles that such an effort would have to overcome.



Giving a push for in-space propulsion

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:58:00 GMT

With NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission now cancelled, the agency is looking for other ways to demonstrate advanced propulsion technologies like high-power solar electric propulsion. Jeff Foust reports on what concepts NASA is working with industry on that could find eventual use on Mars exploration missions.



Creating a spacefaring civilization: What is more important, means or motivation?

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Those who remember the Apollo program may be disappointed by the lack of progress in human spaceflight in the decades since. Stephen Kostes sees promise in the growing capabilities available today to enable new, sustainable space applications.



Review: In the Shadow of the Moon

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:56:00 GMT

In a little more than a month a total solar eclipse will take place on a path across the United States. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers background on the history of eclipse observations as well as some advice for seeing one yourself.



In support of a forming a US Space Corps now

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:00:00 GMT

The House is scheduled to take up this week a defense authorization bill that includes language establishing a Space Corps within the US Air Force. Mike Snead discusses why it's important to establish a Space Corps now, leading to a full-fledged Space Force, to protect national interests in space.



Seeking private funding for space science

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:59:00 GMT

As private space capabilities grow, it opens up new possibilities for doing science missions outside of government agencies. Jeff Foust reports on a recent conference that examined the prospects of, the challenges facing, privately-funded space science missions.



The last astronaut class?

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:58:00 GMT

NASA announced its newest astronaut class last month with a considerable degree of fanfare. A.J. Mackenzie wonders if that was the case because won't have much need for hiring more astronauts in the years to come.



The common burden of "spacemankind"

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Companies planning space resources ventures, and the countries backing them, are running into conflict with countries who see such resources as belonging to all humanity. Kamil Muzyka explores some possible solutions to this argument that can benefit companies and countries alike.



Review: Adventures in Outer Space

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Can a space-themed textbook help students better learn elements of math and science? Steve Rokicki reviews a book that attempts to do just that over the course of a school year.



Close encounters of the classified kind

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 11:00:00 GMT

A month ago, a classified satellite made a series of close approaches to the International Space Station, sparking questions about whether it was coincidental or intentional. Marco Langbroek examines what is known about USA 276 and why it may have passed so close to the station.



At last, a National Space Council. Now what?

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Last Friday afternoon, President Trump signed the executive order formally creating the National Space Council. Jeff Foust reports that the establishment of the council still leaves many questions unanswered about what it will do and how it will affect space policy.



Re-opening the American frontier: Recent Congressional hearings on space

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 10:58:00 GMT

A Senate committee has held a series of hearings on commercial space policy issues. Peter Garretson offers some recommendations on what Congress should, and should not, do to promote the development of new space markets.



Space colonization, faith, and Pascal's Wager

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 10:57:00 GMT

The idea of space settlement, some have argued, is reminiscent of religion in the idea that it may represent the salvation of humanity. Sylvia Engdahl argues that faith in space colonization isn't necessarily a bad thing.



Review: Chasing Space

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 10:56:00 GMT

As difficult as it is for someone to become a professional athlete, being selected as a NASA astronaut is far more difficult. Jeff Foust reviews the memoir of someone who managed to be both drafted by the NFL and selected as a NASA astronaut.



Beware of Mars and Bust

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:00:00 GMT

NASA's focus on sending humans to Mars is widely seen as a driving goal for the agency, down to the mantra of "Mars or Bust" espoused by many Mars exploration advocates. Mark Craig warns that effort could succeed, yet not be sustainable in the long-run without tying it to more fundamental goals.



A small country's big vision about small objects

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Activity in the nascent asteroid mining industry has surged again in the last year, thanks to interest, and funding, from one small country. Jeff Foust reports on the outsized role Luxembourg is playing in building up the space resources market.



Outpost in the Sky: Skylab, the NASA Mission Reports

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:58:00 GMT

The Skylab program of the 1970s is often overlooked between the end of Apollo and the beginning of the shuttle program. Dwayne Day examines the legacy of Skylab as seen through the lens of a series of books reprinting official documents about those missions.



Interstellar communication using microbial data storage: implications for SETI (part 2)

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:57:00 GMT

In the concluding installment of his paper, Robert Zubrin examines some of the implications of the transmission of genetic material among solar systems, by nature or by intent, and the role Mars exploration would play to study that question.



Review: Mars: The Pristine Beauty of the Red Planet

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:56:00 GMT

As NASA prepares to mark 20 consecutive years of missions operating at Mars, one mission in particular stands out. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides some of the best images of the Red Planet taken by a camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.



Selecting a new astronaut class

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Earlier this month, NASA unveiled a new class of 12 astronauts from a record-breaking pool of more than 18,000 applicants. Jeff Foust reports on how NASA carried out that selection process and the future of both new and current astronauts from the point of view of the agency's former chief astronaut.



Better than Paris: space solar power

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:59:00 GMT

The decision by the White House to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord has been widely criticized. Peter Garretson believes, though, that it opens new opportunities for the United States to invest in alternative technologies, notably space-based solar power, that can address the climate change issue and more.



Interstellar communication using microbial data storage: implications for SETI (part 1)

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Most have assumed the best way to search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence is to look for radio or optical communications. However, in the first of a two-part paper, Robert Zubrin argues that other formats may be more effective, with implications both for SETI and astrobiology in general.



Sunlight and shadow: putting people on Mars

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:57:00 GMT

The decision to send humans to the Moon in the 1960s was in a very different geopolitical environment from the one that exists today when planning human missions to Mars. Mack A. Bradley discusses how to make human Mars exploration relevant when old arguments no longer apply.



Review: Apollo 8

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:56:00 GMT

While overshadowed by Apollo 11, Apollo 8 was, in many respects, one of the most audacious missions NASA has ever flown. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a new history of the mission.



A hidden figure in plain sight

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Fifty years ago this month, the US Air Force selected the first African-American astronaut, Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. John Charles recalls Lawrence's life and tragic death, and the gradual integration of the astronaut corps.



GSLV Mark III: ISRO's new launch vehicle

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Last week, India successfully launched the first GSLV Mark III, the country's most powerful launch vehicle to date. Ajey Lele explains the importance of this rocket in making the country increasingly self-sufficient in space.



New challenges for planetary protection

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Plans by both NASA and private ventures to send more ambitions missions, including eventually humans, to Mars create new challenges for protecting Earth life from Mars and vice versa. Jeff Foust reports on some of the issues being discussed by an ongoing committee review of planetary protection policies.



Acknowledging some overlooked satellites

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Official satellite catalogs do not include everything in Earth orbit. Charles Phillips discusses why that creates a safety issue for those unlisted objects whose orbits are low enough to pose a reentry risk.



Review: Aliens

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:56:00 GMT

The search for life on other worlds, intelligent or otherwise, has reached new peaks of interest in recent years thanks to discoveries and new initiatives. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides an overview of the topic and some of the hurdles for finding life beyond Earth.



A coming communications crunch at Mars

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 11:00:00 GMT

A new wave of missions is bound for the Red Planet in the next several years. Cody Knipfer describes how those missions could face challenges returning their data due to limited infrastructure, notably aging relays in Mars orbit.



Is it time to update the Outer Space Treaty?

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 10:59:00 GMT

One key US senator has said it's time to examine revising the 50-year-old Outer Space Treaty to reflect modern space activities. Jeff Foust reports that many legal experts and company executives are not eager to go down that path.



Considering next-generation commercial spacesuits

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Current spacesuits used for space station spacewalks may be inadequate for future applications, particularly in the commercial sector. Steve Hoeser examines a past approach for developing an alternative spacesuit that could provide a model for future efforts.



Summer is coming: albedo modification and the global temperature auction

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 10:57:00 GMT

One approach to combatting climate change is "albedo modification" through the use of a sunscreen at the Earth-Sun L-1 Lagrange point. John Hickman writes how spacefaring powers could win support for it from other nations in an approach like an auction.



Review: Fight for Space

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Decades of efforts to resume human space exploration beyond Earth orbit have failed. Jeff Foust reviews a documentary that examines that history and tries to explain why it happened.



Finally, liftoff for small launchers

Tue, 30 May 2017 11:00:00 GMT

After years of development, and talking about launch plans, companies are now starting to launch new commercial small rockets. Jeff Foust reports on the recent progress made by those companies.



Schiaparelli did more things right than it did wrong

Tue, 30 May 2017 10:59:00 GMT

The European Space Agency released last week a summary of the final report investigating the crash of its Schiaparelli Mars lander last year. Svetoslav Alexandrov argues that the report shows that the mission should not be dismissed as a total failure.



A counterspace awakening? (part 2)

Tue, 30 May 2017 10:58:00 GMT

In the concluding part of his examination of US national security space policy, Maximilian Betmann examines the technical and organizational issues that are driving a shift to a more aggressive military posture in space.



Have spacesuit, will travel

Tue, 30 May 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Roger Moore, an actor whose career included playing James Bond in several films, passed away last week. Dwayne Day examines the one Bond film featuring Moore with a space theme, "Moonraker".



Review: The History of Human Space Flight

Tue, 30 May 2017 10:56:00 GMT

While it's been barely half a century since Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space, the history of human spaceflight has seen its share of triumphs and setbacks. Jeff Foust reviews a book that encompasses that history, but one that focuses on the distant past than more recent accomplishments.



A counterspace awakening? (part 1)

Mon, 22 May 2017 11:00:00 GMT

National security space policy in the United States has quietly shifted in the last few years. Maximilian Betmann, in the first of a two-part article, examines the factors that have led to that change in approach to defending space assets.



Is "Fast Space" fast enough?

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:59:00 GMT

A recent Air University report recommends that the Air Force partner with industry to develop new, low-cost reusable launch vehicles. Jeff Foust reports on how effective such partnerships could be given the progress industry alone is making.



Piecing the puzzle by piercing the veil: The declassification of KENNEN

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Is the National Reconnaissance Office preparing to declassify one of its biggest reconnaissance satellite programs? Joseph T. Page II discusses recent evidence that suggests major details may soon come about it.



Redefining NASA: part 2

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:57:00 GMT

In the second installment of his three-part series, Zach Miller describes how the Cold War origins of NASA influenced the nation's space program to this day.



Reviews: The (counter)cultural influences on NASA in the Space Age

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:56:00 GMT

NASA's race to the Moon in the 1960s took place while the United States was facing much broader issues, from civil rights to Vietnam, that are often overlooked in historical accounts of the Apollo program. Jeff Foust reviews a book and a documentary that try to place NASA's efforts in a broader perspective.



No rush for Mars

Mon, 15 May 2017 11:00:00 GMT

A few weeks after President Trump suggested that NASA needed to accelerate plans to send humans to Mars, agency leadership said they've received no direction to do so from the White House. Jeff Foust reports this is a sign that neither the government nor most companies are in a particular hurry to send humans to Mars.



Buzz Aldrin will not stop talking

Mon, 15 May 2017 10:59:00 GMT

At last week's Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, Buzz Aldrin was often the center of attention, even when he wasn't on center stage. Dwayne Day examines the attention, and overexposure, of the famous astronaut.



Stranger danger: Extraterrestrial first contact as a political problem

Mon, 15 May 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Searches for signals from extraterrestrial intelligences, both in fact and fiction, have often presumed that any such radio signals detected could be understood, and be friendly. John Hickman and Koby Boatright argue that those assumptions may not be warranted.



The G-Hab hotel

Mon, 15 May 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Partial gravity could have benefits for both future human expeditions as well as those who plan to live and work in space over the long term. Bob Brodbeck offers one proposal for a commercial partial gravity facility that could attract both researchers and tourists.



Review: ISRO: A Personal History

Mon, 15 May 2017 10:56:00 GMT

India's space program has made great strides since its origins a little more than half a century ago. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides an insider's account of the rise of the Indian space agency from someone who was there at the beginning.



It's time for the US Air Force to prepare for preemption in space

Mon, 08 May 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Space is increasing being seen as a potential place of conflict should hostilities break out on Earth. Edward G. Ferguson and John J. Klein argue that, in that light, it's time for the US think about preempting hostile actions in space rather than responding to an attack.



Revisiting America's future in civil space

Mon, 08 May 2017 10:59:00 GMT

The National Academies hosted a symposium last week to revisit a report from 2009 about the future of the nation's civil space efforts. Jeff Foust reports on what attendees thought had changed, and what had stayed the same.



Orbital ATK seeks a starring role in military space launches

Mon, 08 May 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Last month, Orbital ATK released new details about its planned EELV-class launch vehicle it proposes to develop, pending the award of Air Force contracts. Jeffrey Smith examines how the technical choices the company is making in its design could set it apart from competitors.



Serendipity in the space program: TDRS-1, GEODSS, and one amazing phone call

Mon, 08 May 2017 10:57:00 GMT

The launch of the first data relay satellite from the shuttle, more than 30 years ago, didn't go as planned. Joseph T. Page II describes how, in the end, things turned out better than one might have ever expected.



India launches a South Asia satellite

Mon, 08 May 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Last week, India launched a communications satellite that the country offered as a "gift" to neighboring countries. Ajey Lele examines the significance of that project to building better relations, in space and on the Earth.



Reviews: Mars and The Mars Generation

Mon, 08 May 2017 10:55:00 GMT

As a conference about the human exploration of Mars convenes in Washington this week, Jeff Foust takes a look both at last year's Mars miniseries, now out on disc, and a new documentary about the desire of teenagers to be the first to walk on the Red Planet.



Is a dream a lie if it don't come true?

Mon, 01 May 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Despite decades of failed efforts, true believers of space settlement still believe in that vision. Dwayne Day explores why space enthusiasts cling to their dreams despite the lack of accomplishment.



Commercial space's policy wish list

Mon, 01 May 2017 10:59:00 GMT

As the space community waits to see what the Trump Administration might do in space policy, some are already developing proposals to support the commercial space industry. Jeff Foust reports on a recent Senate hearing that examined a range of proposals, from modest to wide-ranging.



Fifty years later: Soyuz-1 revisited (part 2)

Mon, 01 May 2017 10:58:00 GMT

In the conclusion of his two-part history of the Soyuz-1 mission, Asif Siddiqi examines the tragic landing and investigation that followed, while debunking a number of myths associated with the mission.



Loss of faith: Gordon Cooper's post-NASA stories

Mon, 01 May 2017 10:57:00 GMT

The "treasure map" that Gordon Cooper reportedly made during his Mercury flight might not have any substance to it, but it's hardly the first time the late astronaut was linked to a questionable project. James Oberg discusses how Cooper was associated with a string of such ventures later in his life.



Review: The Great Unknown

Mon, 01 May 2017 10:56:00 GMT

For as much as we've learned about the universe in the last century, there is even more that remains a mystery. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines seven different frontiers in science, from cosmology to consciousness.



Fifty years later: Soyuz-1 revisited (part 1)

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:00:00 GMT

This week is the 50th anniversary of the flight of Soyuz-1, which ended in the death of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. Asif Siddiqi reexamines the historical record to better understand exactly what happened on that flight.



Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:59:00 GMT

The television series "The Expanse" is perhaps the best representation of space settlement available in any form of entertainment today. Yet, Dwayne Day argues, it is hardly the utopian vision of human expansion into space often promoted by space advocates.



The magic MacGuffin of Mercury 9

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:58:00 GMT

A new series on the Discovery Channel follows a treasure hunter following a map purported to be created by Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper during his spaceflight. James Oberg explains why there's little reason to believe there's any substance behind that map.



International and commercial interest in the Moon

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:57:00 GMT

NASA's plans for a potential return to the Moon remain up in the air, but that is not deterring others interested in lunar activities. Jeff Foust reports on discussions about human missions to the Moon by space agencies and companies at a recent conference.



Earth Day 2017: Space and science on the march in Los Angeles

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:56:00 GMT

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people marched in the streets of Los Angeles in one of more than 500 "March for Science" events worldwide. David Clow describes how concerns about climate change, and NASA's role studying it, were among the key issues for marchers there.



Review: The Long Space Age

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:55:00 GMT

The current wave of billionaires putting their money into space ventures appears to be a new trend in spaceflight. Jeff Foust reviews a book that argues that it is instead a return to the models used to fund past space-related activities long before the launch of the first satellite.



An alternative architecture for deep space exploration using SLS and Orion

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:00:00 GMT

NASA has started to disclose more details about how the Space Launch System and Orion can be used in the 2020s to develop a "gateway" in cislunar space to support operations of a transport vehicle for missions eventually to Mars. Ari Allyn-Feuer explains some issues with that architecture and proposes an alternative, and potentially more effective, approach.



Passing in silence, passing in shadows

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:59:00 GMT

An updated version of a recent book about the first shuttle mission provides new details about efforts to collect images of the shuttle in orbit by a reconnaissance satellite. Dwayne Day examines those revelations as part of a broader effort to use spysats to spy on other satellites.



The Roscosmos view of the future of human spaceflight

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:58:00 GMT

There's been considerable speculation about Russia's plans for the future of the ISS as well as potential participation in missions to the Moon and Mars. Jeff Foust reports on what the head of Roscosmos recently said about those issues in a rare press conference with Western reporters.



Which comes first for a new National Space Council: organization or vision?

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:57:00 GMT

As the Trump Administration continues to show interest in reestablishing the National Space Council, many wonder what such an entity can achieve. Roger Handberg argues that it will depend if the council is preceded by an overarching vision for the country's space policy.



Review: Mission Control

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Those who worked in Mission Control have never received the same amount of fame as the astronauts whose missions they supervised. Jeff Foust reviews a new documentary that puts those who worked there at the height of the Space Race into the limelight.



Time for common sense with the satellite catalog

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 11:00:00 GMT

While the US Air Force provides the most detailed satellite catalog officially available, some objects are either missing or not updated. Charles Phillips discusses why that catalog should be made more complete, and how it could be done.



Blue Origin's status update

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 10:59:00 GMT

The highlight of last week's Space Symposium conference in Colorado was arguably the display of Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle and an appearance by company founder Jeff Bezos. Jeff Foust reports on the status update Bezos provided on the company's plans to send people on suborbital spaceflights, perhaps in 2018.



The small launch industry is about to be Amazoned

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 10:58:00 GMT

At a media event last week about Blue Origin's plans, Jeff Bezos suggested the company could get into the small launch vehicle business as well. A.J. Mackenzie argues that if that happens, it spells trouble for the various other small launcher ventures out there today.



All at sea about reusability

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 10:57:00 GMT

SpaceX is talking about not only increasing their flight rates, but attempting to recover the Falcon 9 payload fairing and second stage as well. Dick Eagleson examines how efforts to prove out second stage and payload fairing recovery might proceed and looks at related logistic challenges for SpaceX as it moves to greatly increase its launch cadence.



Review: Asteroid Hunters

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 10:56:00 GMT

The threat of asteroid impacts is real, but often overhyped. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a thoughtful examination of asteroid impact risks and how astronomers are keeping tabs on the skies.



Now to make it pay off

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 11:00:00 GMT

SpaceX achieved a major milestone last week with it successfully launched a satellite using a Falcon 9 first stage that had previously flown. Jeff Foust discusses how the question is now not whether such reusability is technically feasible, but rather if it can make economic sense.



Has the space launch industry been too focused in the last 70 years?

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Even recent efforts to make reusable launch vehicles have often resulted in vehicles that don't look that dissimilar to rockets developed decades ago. John Hollaway argued that has created a tunnel vision that ignores alternative approaches to reducing the cost of space access.



Attempting a landing there: the case for a Europa lander

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:58:00 GMT

As NASA presses ahead with a mission to study Jupiter's potentially habitable moon Europa from orbit, it's also beginning planning for a follow-up lander mission. Jeff Foust reports on the state of both proposed missions, and the fiscal hurdles now facing the lander.