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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, 09 Jan 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003-2016 Jeff Foust

A taste of Armageddon (part 2)

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 11:00:00 GMT

After Apollo 11 went to the Moon, US spy satellites collected images of a failed Soviet launch of its N-1 rocket. Charles Vick and Dwayne Day describe how the US intelligence community knew about the failure even before those images were returned.

Should NASA build spacefaring logistics infrastructure?

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:59:00 GMT

There's a recent, renewed push for developing space infrastructure, including a recent commentary endorsed by Jeff Bezos. Mike Snead suports that idea, but doesn't believe it should be the responsibility of NASA to do so.

Fixing the US space exploration program

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:58:00 GMT

The future of NASA's human spaceflight program is one of the key concerns of the space community as Donald Trump prepares to take office. Roger Handberg describes why that future will likely require greater cooperation with other nations.

Decision time for the Thirty Meter Telescope

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Construction of one of the world's largest telescopes atop a Hawaiian mountain has been stalled by protests and legal disputes. Jeff Foust reports that the observatory's partners may soon have to make a decision about staying in Hawaii or moving to an alternate site.

Mars is awful

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Mars is widely seen as the long-term destination for human spaceflight, but is it the best place for people to go? J. Morgan Qualls that there's much more to be done in cislunar space and elsewhere before thinking about going to Mars.

Review: Incredible Stories from Space

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:55:00 GMT

NASA's fleet of space science missions is familiar to many space enthusiasts, although the people who work on them often are not. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides an overview of a number of those missions and profiles the people working on them.

Is creating a National Space Council the best choice?

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 11:00:00 GMT

The incoming Trump Administration is considering re-establishing the National Space Council, based on campaign statements. John Logsdon recounts the checkered history of the council and examines if it is the best mechanism for coordinating space policy.

A taste of Armageddon (part 1)

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:59:00 GMT

In February 1969, US analysts were expecting the Soviets to launch a circumlunar mission of some kind in a last-minute bid to beat the Americans to the moon. Charles Vick and Dwayne Day describe the intelligence that went into that assessment, and also what they missed.

The path to the infinite economy

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:58:00 GMT

What the incoming Trump Administration will do in space policy remains a topic of speculation in the space community. Andrew Gasser describes how the new administration should focus on public-private partnerships to create a more effective space program.

How China's seizure of a naval drone could set a precedent for nabbing a satellite in orbit

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Last month, the Chinese navy seized a US Navy robotic submersible and held it for a brief time. David Chen argues that episode could provide a precedent for China to do something similar with a satellite.

More Trek, less Wars

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:56:00 GMT

A new "Star Wars" movie has attracted large audiences since its debut last month. Dwayne Day, though, suggests that it's "Star Trek" that offer the stronger connections to spaceflight, and a much-needed optimistic philosophy about the future.

Review: Apollo Pilot

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:55:00 GMT

Among the Apollo-era astronauts, among the least well known is Donn Eisele, who flew only one mission and passed away before he could publish his memoirs. Jeff Foust reviews a book that pieces together at least a partial story about his life and flying on Apollo 7, based on drafts of a book he started decades ago

The future of war in space is defensive

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Concerns about growing anti-satellite capabilities of countries like China and Russia have led some to suggest the US step up its offensive space capabilities. Edward Ferguson and John Klein make the case that a more defensive stance to those threats will be more effective in the long run.

Dagger of the mind

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 10:59:00 GMT

In the 1960s, President Johnson received intelligence briefings about the development of what would be known as the N-1 rocket, but what did he actually see? Charles Vick and Dwayne Day discuss declassified images of the N-1 as presented in those briefings.

America's future in LEO? The possibilities and challenges facing commercial space stations (part 2)

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 10:58:00 GMT

In the conclusion of an examination of the future of America's presence in low Earth orbit, Cody Knipfer explores some of the initiatives NASA has underway to potentially add commercial modules to the ISS, and the need for a plan to transition from the ISS to commercial space stations.

Will 2017 finally be the year of the small launcher?

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Several companies continue to make progress on small launch vehicles even as other suffer setbacks. Jeff Foust examines whether the next year will see some of those efforts finally take flight, and whether smallsat developers are interested in using them.

Are lunar fuel depots needed for Mars missions?

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 10:56:00 GMT

The incoming administration may be interested in redirecting NASA back to the Moon, arguably to develop infrastructure needed for future Mars missions. Chris Carberry and Rick Zucker argue that such an approach would only delay, not support, the goal of sending humans to Mars.

Review: Earth in Human Hands

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 10:55:00 GMT

Human activity is changing the Earth, even if those changes were not the intent of that activity. Jeff Foust reviews a book by a planetary scientist and astrobiologist who examines the need to make deliberate changes to Earth to offset the damage, drawing in part upon our knowledge drawn from studies of our solar system.

America's future in LEO? The possibilities and challenges facing commercial space stations (part 1)

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 11:00:00 GMT

While all the ISS partners have now agreed to extend operations of the station through at least 2024, the station's life is finite. In the first of a two-part essay, Cody Knipfer examines some of the issues associated with the future of the ISS and potential commercial successors.

AIM misses the funding target, for now

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:59:00 GMT

At a meeting of ministers of its member nations earlier this month, ESA got most of what it asked for, with the exception of funding for an asteroid mission called AIM. Jeff Foust recounts what happened to AIM and why ESA's leader is not yet giving up on the mission.

For planetary scientists, Venus is hot again

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:58:00 GMT

As various space agencies make plans for missions to the Moon, Mars, and outer solar system, Venus -- once considered Earth's twin -- looks neglected by comparison. Jeff Foust reports on how there's increased enthusiasm for more missions to Venus, including decisions that could be made within weeks.

A Trump Administration path to advance commercial space solar power

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Should space-based solar power be part of the Trump Administration's space strategy? Mike Snead makes the argument that it's essential for the next administration to start work on a technology that can assure long-term energy independence.

Review: The Glass Universe

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Long before rocket girls were calculating hidden figures for NASA, women were supporting the research of astronomers at Harvard Observatory. Jeff Foust reviews a book that brings new light to that work as both the field of astronomy, and women's roles in it, evolved at the turn of the 20th century.

Red Planet blues: popular entertainment and the settlement of Mars (part 2)

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:00:00 GMT

A National Geographic Channel series currently airing offers a fictional look at a future Mars expedition, mixed with present-day documentary segments. Dwayne Day explores whether the series does much to make the case for the human settlement of the Red Planet.

A note on the possible impending death of human space exploration

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:59:00 GMT

As NASA continues to efforts to eventually send humans to Mars, studies are showing a wide range of health issues that long-duration spaceflight poses to astronauts. Roger Handberg wonders of those issues, and the increasing capabilities of robotic spacecraft, may close the window on human spaceflight.

The engineer and the imagineer

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Two of the recipients of awards from the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation last week were a space agency executive and a former Disney "imagineer." Jeff Foust reports on a discussion between the two on innovation, risk taking, and a potential emerging "inflection point" for commercial space.

Microbench research

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The use of terms like "microgravity" and "zero gravity" can lead some to erroneously conclude that there is no gravity at all in orbit. Philip Backman proposes an alternative term to better understand that environment.

Review: The Gravity Well

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Space advocates have for years lobbied for massive NASA budget increases, without success. Jeff Foust reviews a book that makes another case for a significant NASA funding increase to benefit the nation, but with few details about how it would be carried out.

Love and a Red Planet: popular entertainment and the settlement of Mars (part 1)

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:00:00 GMT

A new wave of movies and television shows depicts humans exploring, and settling, Mars. In the first of a two-part essay, Dwayne Day examines one upcoming movie that mixes teen romance with Mars settlement.

Recommendations to the next administration regarding commercial space

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Prior to the election, the National Space Society convened a group of experts to discuss what the next administration should do in space. That group provides here a set of five recommendations about how the government can bolster commercial space initiatives.

Commercial space in the next administration

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Since the election, much of the attention space policy has received has focused on the future of NASA programs and the agency's leadership. Jeff Foust reports there are commercial space issues for the incoming administration to contend with as well.

A new approach to selling human Mars exploration

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:57:00 GMT

A long-running challenge for advocates of human Mars exploration is building up and sustaining public interest in such missions. Joseph Smith argues that the best way to do that might be to go all-in on robotic Mars missions.

Review: Space Mining and Its Regulation

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:56:00 GMT

While mining of the Moon or asteroids may still be many years in the future, actions by the United States and, just recently, Luxembourg, are laying the regulatory framework to support such efforts. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the space mining field with a particular emphasis on its compliance with international accords.

Two years to go for James Webb

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:00:00 GMT

In two years, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope should launch on a mission that could revolutionize astronomy. Jeff Foust reports that, after a near-death experience five years ago, work on the telescope remains on track to keep that launch on schedule.

Zero-g or why not?

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 10:59:00 GMT

The importance of artificial gravity research has generated some discussion of late, particularly after NASA officials downplayed its importance. Steve Hoeser why dismissing artificial gravity could be done at our peril.

Now vs. later: Conflicting views of the path to Mars

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 10:58:00 GMT

In the early 1960s, John F. Kennedy helped lead America to the Moon by the end of the decade. Bryant Mishima-Baker argues that, instead of seeking support today for a long-term Mars initiative, we should attempt to accelerate the timetable as was done in the 1960s.

Fallen star: John Gresham, 2016

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 10:57:00 GMT

John Gresham, an author a range of military books who worked with Tom Clancy, among others, recently passed away. Dwayne Day recalls his life and his ties to space.

Review: Beyond Earth

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Most human spaceflight advocates believe that, ultimately, humans will go to and live on Mars. Jeff Foust reviews a book that argues that a better destination for humans beyond Earth lies much further out in the solar system.

Next steps for space policy

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 11:00:00 GMT

To the surprise of many, Donald Trump won the presidential election last week, and is now ramping up his transition effort. Jeff Foust reports on what that means for space policy, including who could be the next NASA administrator.

Anthropological reflections on space colonization

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Discussions of space settlement often focus on the technical issues to sustain a human presence beyond Earth. Babak Shakouri Hassanabadi notes that anthropological issues can't be ignored if human settlements are to thrive.

A world tour of reusable launch vehicle efforts

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:58:00 GMT

While the efforts of Blue Origin and SpaceX to develop reusable launch vehicles are well known, they're not the only RLV programs in the world. Antoine Meunier discusses projects in Europe and Asia to develop reusable launchers.

Negotiating a launch contract for a mishap

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The recent Falcon 9 pad accident is a reminder that launch failures are still a part of the space business, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Anirudh Rastogi and Kshetragya Nath Singh examine the contractual issues that take such failures into account.

Review: Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:56:00 GMT

National Geographic Channel is premiering a new series about Mars exploration that mixes fictional depictions of future missions with real accounts of present-day research. Jeff Foust reviews a book that is a companion to the series that sticks to fact over fiction.

Closing arguments for space in the 2016 campaign

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 11:00:00 GMT

As a long presidential campaign winds to a close, the major presidential candidates have finally offered some space policy details. Jeff Foust reports on what Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have said about space, and how their positions in some cases may not be as far apart as one might expect.

A national space policy for this century

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Regardless of the outcome of the election, it's possible, and perhaps necessary, to develop a more visionary space policy. A group of Air Force officers propose their own policy that they believe is vital to American leadership in space in the 21st century.

Finally, a prudent space access architecture perspective

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 10:58:00 GMT

A bill proposed as part of a space advocacy effort this year would promote the development of low-cost reusable launch vehicles with a prize. Steve Hoeser describes why he believes that concept would work far better than previous RLV initiatives.

Orbital ATK, CRS-2, and the return of "The Stick"

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 10:57:00 GMT

As Orbital ATK returned its Antares rocket to flight last month, the company has also been working on new launch vehicle concepts. Jeffrey Smith examines what's known about the company's next-generation launch vehicle, and how it could serve markets beyond ISS resupply.

Review: Welcome to the Universe

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 10:56:00 GMT

A Princeton University introductory astronomy course taught by three astronomers, including one quite famous one, has become the basis of a new book. Jeff Foust reviews the book to see what you can learn about astrophysics without stepping into an Ivy League classroom.

A NEMESIS in the sky: PAN, MENTOR 4, and close encounters of the SIGINT kind

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Satellite observers have been puzzled for years by the motions of one particular classified US satellite. Marco Langbroek explains how recently published revelations about the purpose of that satellite help explain its movements, and those of other classified spacecraft.

The weak pull of artificial gravity

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:59:00 GMT

Concerns about the effect of weightlessness on astronauts flying extended missions could conceivably be mitigated simply with some form of artificial gravity. Yet, Jeff Foust reports that for a variety of reasons, neither NASA or space companies seem interested in developing spacecraft that provide at least partial gravity.

Was GPS invented at "Lonely Halls"?

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:58:00 GMT

A passage in a recent book about the development of GPS mentions an early 1970s meeting over a holiday weekend at the Pentagon known as "Lonely Halls." Richard Easton examines historical documents to study just how relevant that meeting was to what became GPS.

ISRO's commitment to India's national security

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:57:00 GMT

India recently revealed for the first time that it used intelligence from its satellites to carry out a "surgical strike" against an alleged terrorist camp. Vidya Sagar Reddy discusses how India's views towards the military use of satellites has evolved over the history of its space program.

Orbiter 2016 and other space flight simulators

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:56:00 GMT

A long-running flight simulator for space missions recently got another update. Bruce Irving reviews the changes to Orbiter and how it stacks up against other options, like Kerbal Space Program.

Why ESA's Schiaparelli Mars can still be considered an overall success

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Last week, ESA's Schiaparelli spacecraft attempted to land on the surface of Mars and, based on the available evidence, crashed. Svetoslav Alexandrov argues that, despite the failure of the landing itself, the overall mission can still be considered a success in preparing for future Mars missions.

Rosetta and Philae: it's all about the feels!

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:59:00 GMT

One reason that ESA's recently-concluded Rosetta comet mission got so much public attention was a carefully crafted outreach effort. Chris Petty examines how ESA used cartoons and social media to explain a complex comet mission.

New approaches for managing space traffic

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:58:00 GMT

While the US Air Force has long shouldered the role of issuing warnings of potential satellite collisions in orbit, there are efforts to hand over at least some of that work to the FAA. Jeff Foust reports on those efforts and the issues they raise, including what exactly "space traffic management" should mean.

Financing the purchase of a new Interplanetary Spaceship

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Elon Musk announced last month an Interplanetary Spaceship that he aims to produce for $200 million each in the 2040s. Sam Dinkin considers what the financing options are.

Review: Spaceman

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Mike Massimino is better known than many former astronauts thanks to his social media presence and sitcom cameos. Jeff Foust reviews his new book where he recounts his life before and after becoming an astronaut.

Enabling a Mars settlement strategy with the Hercules reusable Mars lander

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:00:00 GMT

NASA's current plans for human Mars missions don't involve reusable spacecraft, but such systems may be essential to long-term exploration and settlement. John Strickland explains how one concept for a reusable Mars lander could make human Mars missions more sustainable.

The suborbital space non-race

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:59:00 GMT

As Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic make progress on their suborbital spacecraft, some wonder who will be the first to enter commercial service. Jeff Foust reports that neither company appears to be in a race with the either for that achievement.

Technology shocks are felt around the world

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Advances in technologies can have effects far beyond their original field. Steve Hoeser discusses how certain technologies can have great leverage, and explores one potential technology that could affect spaceflight.

O, full of scorpions is my mind!

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:57:00 GMT

Spaceflight has been the subject of episodes of several contemporary TV series, usually not coming off very well. Dwayne Day, though, examines one such episode that may be the worst of them all.

Review: Spaceships

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:56:00 GMT

There's been a strong link throughout history between real spaceships and those imagined in science fiction tales. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers an illustrated history of both classes of vehicles.

Is there a business case for Mars?

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 11:00:00 GMT

SpaceX is the latest venture to propose sending humans to Mars as some kind of private effort. Chris Carberry and Rick Zucker explore if there is, in fact, a commercial case for human Mars missions.

Mars lodging and ground transportation

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:59:00 GMT

One key element missing from Elon Musk's announcement of his Mars settlement plans is how people will live once they get to the planet. Sam Dinkin looks at some options for those considering buying a ticket to the Red Planet.

Mega-constellations and mega-debris

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:58:00 GMT

Companies are proposing the deploy networks of hundreds or even thousands of satellites in the next several years. Jeff Foust reports that these systems pose new concerns about the growing orbital debris environment in low Earth orbit.

Blockchains and the emerging space economy

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:57:00 GMT

A technology called the blockchain promises to revolutionize electronic commerce on Earth. Vidvuds Beldavs describes how the blockchain and related technologies can advance the development of a true space economy.

Review: Waiting for Contact

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:56:00 GMT

Efforts to search for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations entered a new chapter last year with a $100-million private donation. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines both the long, and sometimes difficult, history of SETI projects as well as the motivation for scanning the skies.

Elon Musk's road to Mars

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 11:00:00 GMT

Last week, at long last, Elon Musk offered details about the rockets and spacecraft he sees SpaceX developing to send large numbers of people to Mars. Jeff Foust reports on the details of his plan, the spectacle of the speech itself, and questions yet to be answered about his proposed effort.

Space myths: DoD and NASA cooperation

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 10:59:00 GMT

From time to time, someone proposes that the Pentagon and NASA more closely cooperate in various areas of spaceflight. Wayne Eleazer notes that this idea is hardly new, and had rarely resulted in any real savings for either military or civil space efforts.

PSLV C-35: ISRO's two-orbit mission

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 10:58:00 GMT

The launch of an Indian PSLV rocket last week featured one twist from previous missions, by placing its payload of satellites into two different orbits. Ajey Lele argues this is another step in making India competitive in the global launch market.

Albedo 0.06: Vangelis returns

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 10:57:00 GMT

The end of the Rosetta mission last week marked the beginning of something else: the release of a new album by composer Vangelis inspired by the comet mission. Dwayne Day examines the long-running links between Vangelis and other electronic music composers and spaceflight.

Review: How to Make a Spaceship

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 10:56:00 GMT

This week marks the 12th anniversary of the final flight of SpaceShipOne, capturing the $10-million Ansari X PRIZE. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the history of that effort, as seen by many of its key players, leading up to that final flight.

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.