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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, 20 Mar 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003-2016 Jeff Foust

The cislunar gateway with no gate, revisited

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 11:00:00 GMT

If NASA and other space agencies press ahead with plans for a cislunar gateway outpost, how would it be most effectively developed? John Strickland proposes a design that emphasizes cargo and propellant storage that can support, and be supported by, a lunar base.

A farewell to ARM?

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:59:00 GMT

In the White House budget proposal released last week, the Trump Administration mentioned in passing that NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission would be cancelled. Jeff Foust reports on what's known about those plans, and the limbo that statement puts ARM into.

Taking salvage in outer space from fiction to fact

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:58:00 GMT

The concept of salvaging spacecraft in outer space has long been a part of science fiction, but faces legal challenges if attempted in real life. Michael Listner discusses how salvage could be applied to satellites or other space assets.

The fault in our Mars: popular entertainment and the settlement of Mars (part 4)

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:57:00 GMT

The movie "The Space Between Us", about a teenager returning to Earth from Mars, flopped at the box office earlier this year. Dwayne Day examines what went wrong with the film and if it indicates popular interest in Mars is waning.

Review: The Wanderers

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Can a novel about a human mission to Mars be more than just a science-fiction epic? Jeff Foust review a "literary fiction" approach to a novel about a crew preparing for the first human mission to the Red Planet.

Spinning out of the shadows

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Last month, NASA issued a request for ideas of payloads that could fly on a mysterious satellite the agency was getting from elsewhere in the government. Dwayne Day traces that satellite back to a National Reconnaissance Office program that briefly exited the black world nearly two decades ago.

SpaceX at 15

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:59:00 GMT

By some accounts, this week marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of SpaceX. Jeff Foust examines the company's legacy to date in shaking up the space industry, for better or for worse.

America needs a space corps

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Military space programs have suffered from the perception they are considered less important by the US Air Force than aircraft. M.V. "Coyote" Smith argues that, to elevate the importance of space, it needs its own independent service within the military.

Moon launches and circuses: seeking presidential leadership yet again

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:57:00 GMT

All eyes are on Washington to see what the Trump Administration might propose for NASA's budget in 2018 and what new initiatives it might offer. Roger Handberg says that history suggests we should treat such proposals skeptically.

Road-tripping to the birthplace of space reconnaissance

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:56:00 GMT

The site of a classified military space facility known as the "Blue Cube" is now home to a college and a government building. Joseph T. Page II visits the former Blue Cube site to see how its legacy has been preserved there.

Review: Exoplanets

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 10:55:00 GMT

As discoveries of exoplanets mount, both the variety of known worlds and the prospects that some could harbor life continue to mount. Jeff Foust reviews a book by two scientists that examines what some of these worlds might be like and how hospitable they may be to life in one form or another.

Lunar cause and effect

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Last week, SpaceX announced plans for a commercial human mission around the Moon, while Blue Origin said it's working on a lunar cargo lander concept. Jeff Foust reports on these developments, and examines if these developments are shaped by, or instead are shaping, space policy.

Human flight around the Moon: An opportunity to cooperate, not compete

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Gerald Black revisits last week's commentary about human lunar missions with a call for NASA and SpaceX to work together on their proposed circumlunar missions, rather than compete with one another.

The status of Russia's human spaceflight program (part 3)

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:58:00 GMT

In the final part of his examination of Russian human spaceflight efforts, Bart Hendrickx discusses efforts by Russia, in cooperation with other space agencies, to develop a cislunar outpost that could support future exploration.

The Apollo formula

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:57:00 GMT

For decades, space advocates have been trying to recreate the factors that allowed the dramatic success of Apollo. Jack Kiraly identifies the key factors in the "formula" that enabled Apollo and why they may be a product of that era.

Review: No Bucks, No Buck Rogers

Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:56:00 GMT

While new commercial space ventures have gotten a lot of attention recently, the business is still dominated by traditional satellite communications and related companies. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the current state of the industry and how it can transition to a new state of growth.

The status of Russia's human spaceflight program (part 2)

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:00 GMT

In the second part of his comprehensive assessment of the state of Russia's human spaceflight program, Bart Hendrickx explores efforts in recent years by Russia to develop new crewed spacecraft and launch vehicles to support missions beyond Earth orbit.

The risks and benefits of accelerating crewed SLS missions

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:59:00 GMT

NASA announced earlier this month it is studying the possibility of putting astronauts on the first SLS/Orion mission, which currently is set to fly without a crew. Jeff Foust reports on the details of the study and some of the issues NASA will likely to encounter.

Human flight around the Moon: a worthy goal, but using the wrong vehicles

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:58:00 GMT

If sending people back to the Moon is a good idea, should it be done with SLS and Orion? Gerald Black argues that it makes more sense to send humans back to the Moon using commercial vehicles arguably further along in their development.

A radically easier path to space settlement

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:57:00 GMT

The promise of space settlements has remained just that because of the extremely high costs of establishing these outposts beyond Earth orbit. Al Globus offers an alternative approach that he believes could be much more feasible by sticking closer to home.

To the Moon, Uncle Sam!

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:56:00 GMT

As the debate continues about whether NASA should redirect its human space exploration program back to the Moon, another question is how to carry out such missions. Ajay Kothari says that such missions make sense provided they involve reusable launch vehicles.

Review: The Final Mission

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 10:55:00 GMT

Changing programs and restricted budgets often force NASA to make tough decisions about what older historic launch pads and other buildings it should maintain. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines some of the issues associated with "space archeology" of NASA facilities, on Earth or on the Moon.

New life for an old pad

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:00:00 GMT

On Sunday, a Falcon 9 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A, the first launch from the historic pad since the end of the shuttle program. Jeff Foust reports on the significance of the launch both for SpaceX's near- and long-term plans, and for KSC's efforts to work with industry.

The status of Russia's human spaceflight program (part 1)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Russia's human spaceflight program is suffering from the country's broader economic downturn. In the first part of a series, Bart Hendrickx examines the effects those problems are having on Russia's participation on the ISS and plans for a future space station.

Presidential space leadership depends on the enabling context (part 2)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:58:00 GMT

In the concluding part of his examination of presidential leadership in space policy, Matt Chessen uses the lessons of history to examine whether a Trump Administration could provide strong leadership for space, and whether such leadership is even desirable.

When is it time to turn off a satellite?

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Satellite operators seek to extend the lives of their spacecraft as long as possible, but run the risk of failures that could lead to in-orbit breakups. Charles Phillips offers a couple of case studies where operators face tough decisions about when to shut down their satellites.

The threat to ISRO's position as a premier smallsat launch provider

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:56:00 GMT

An Indian rocket last week launched more than 100 satellites, the vast majority of which came from US companies. Ajey Lele warns that, despite the technical success of that mission, policy changes could make it harder for India to maintain its position in the smallsat launch market.

Review: Thrust Into Space

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:55:00 GMT

Fifty years ago, aerospace engineer Max Hunter published a book about the technical issues with launching spacecraft into Earth orbit and beyond. Jeff Foust reviews a reissue of that book to see how those assessments have stood the test of time.

Black ops and the shuttle (part 1): On-orbit servicing and recovery of the HEXAGON reconnaissance satellite

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:00:00 GMT

During the development of the space shuttle in the 1970s, the National Reconnaissance Office examined how it could use the shuttle to do more than simply launch its satellites. Dwayne Day examines what is known about proposals to adapt the HEXAGON satellites for the shuttle, including servicing.

Recalculating risk

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:59:00 GMT

NASA has grappled with the risks associated with human spaceflight for decades. Jeff Foust reports on how one top NASA official wants to reexamine how NASA calculates and communicates risk for crewed spacecraft.

Launch failures: new discoveries

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:58:00 GMT

For a while, it appeared that engineers had found all the ways a launch vehicle could fail. But, as Wayne Eleazer explains, new vehicles have created new failure modes, and even new categories of launch failures.

Presidential space leadership depends on the enabling context (part 1)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:57:00 GMT

Space advocates continue to look back at President Kennedy as a model of presidential leadership in space policy. In the first of a two-part essay, Matt Chessen discusses what factors made Kennedy effective, and how they translated -- or didn't translate -- to later administrations.

Build a Moon mall and make the Moon pay for it

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:56:00 GMT

President Trump's preferred method of communication seems to be Twitter. Sam Dinkin provides ten tweet-sized recommendations on how to make space great again.

Review: Gravity's Kiss

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:55:00 GMT

It's been a year since scientists announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves, opening a new window on the universe. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a look behind the scenes as the LIGO team works to interpret the discovery and make the historic announcement.

Remembering Eugene Cernan

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Last month, Eugene Cernan, the last human to date to walk on the Moon, passed away. Anthony Young recounts Cernan's spaceflight career, including the missions leading up to Apollo 17.

Getting back to the historic sequence of opening our space frontiers

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Space advocates often talk about opening the space frontier, but is NASA really working to do so? Steve Hoeser argues that US space policy should be revamped to emphasize not just exploration of space, but establishing a growing economic presence there.

It's vital to verify the harmlessness of North Korea's next satellite

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:58:00 GMT

North Korea's space program, interconnected to its missile development efforts,remains cloaked in secrecy. Jim Oberg, one of the few Westerners to get a glimpse of that effort, warns that the US should be cautious of any future satellite launch attempts.

The science and spectacle of the Great American Eclipse

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:57:00 GMT

In a little more than six months, a total solar eclipse will stretch across the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. Jeff Foust reports on some of the planning to deal with the logistical issues of such an event, as well as the science some hope to get out of the eclipse.

G20 agenda: International cooperation in space

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:56:00 GMT

The actions of the Trump administration led some to wonder if the US will turn away from international partnerships, in space and elsewhere. Vidvuds Beldavs suggests that space cooperation be a topic for this summer's G20 summit.

Review: Amazing Stories of the Space Age

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 10:55:00 GMT

Decades of spaceflight have created plenty of headlines in the history books, but also many other lesser-known tales. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a grab bag of those more obscure, but still interesting, stories.

Black ZEUS: The top secret shuttle mission that never flew

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:00:00 GMT

In the 1970s, the National Reconnaissance Office considered developing an imaging payload that would fly on space shuttle missions. Dwayne Day reveals what is known about that effort thanks to newly-declassified documents.

Tumult, continuity, and uncertainty

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:59:00 GMT

The first week of the Trump Administration has been hectic, and a cause for concern among many scientists. Jeff Foust reports on the changes that have been made, what's stayed the same, and the underlying concerns about science in the new administration.

Adapter in the rough

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:58:00 GMT

Sometimes space history research can involve tracking down a long-forgotten object. John Charles describes his quest to find a piece of hardware from the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program.

Three principles to constructively engage China in outer space security

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:57:00 GMT

How should the Trump Administration develop a space policy that can effectively deal with China? Michael Listner offers three principles that he believes should guide the new administration's space policy.

Why the US and Russia should work together to clean up orbital debris

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Relations between the US and Russia have been contentious in recent years, although space has been mostly free of those tensions. Al Anzaldua and Dave Dunlop argue that a means of improving relations between the countries, and solving a key space-related problem, is to cooperate in space debris cleanup.

The Outer Space Treaty at 50

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Fifty years ago this week, the Outer Space Treaty was formally opened for signature. Christopher Johnson discusses how the treaty took shape despite the US and USSR having sharply differing views on issues, like the role private actors should play in space.

Satellite breakups and related events: a quick analysis

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:59:00 GMT

Certain families of spacecraft in sun-synchronous orbit appear susceptible to in-orbit breakups. Charles D. Phillips examines the record of those groups of spacecraft and what could be causing those problems.

Asteroid Discovery

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:58:00 GMT

When NASA announced its selections of the next Discovery missions earlier this month, many were surprised that the agency chose two asteroid missions. Jeff Foust reports on the missions that were selected and what NASA is saying about why it chose those missions.

An engineer's view of what low-cost, reusable, commercial passenger space transportation means

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:57:00 GMT

While companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are making steps towards low-cost reusable launch vehicles, they fall short of what's been done in other modes of transportation, such as aviation. Mike Snead describes what space transportation attributes should be pursued in federal policy to make society truly spacefaring.

Why the space resources section of federal law is invalid

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:56:00 GMT

A controversial provision of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, passed in 2015, gives US companies rights to resources they extract from asteroids and other celestial bodies. Justin Rostoff argues that the law, as written, is in violation of international treaty.

Review: Explore/Create

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:55:00 GMT

Richard Garriott is known to the space community as the private citizen who flew to the ISS in 2008, but to computer gamers he is a legendary pioneer. Jeff Foust reviews his memoir that touches on both aspects of his life, including details of his long effort to get to space.

Back to business(es)

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:00:00 GMT

Four and a half months after a pad explosion, SpaceX returned the Falcon 9 to flight with the successful launch of a batch of Iridium satellites Saturday. Jeff Foust reports on the effort to resume Falcon 9 launches, and the other issues and upcoming milestones for SpaceX in the coming year.

Red zeitgeist: popular entertainment and the settlement of Mars (part 3)

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:59:00 GMT

The success of the National Geographic Channel series about Mars exploration has been enough to warrant a second season. Dwayne Day takes another look at that series and the overall interest in the Red Planet, in both fact and fiction.

A human spaceflight program for the new administration

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:58:00 GMT

There's no shortage of advice about what the incoming Trump administration should do about space policy. A white paper from a space advocacy group argues that it should closely tie human spaceflight to commercial efforts.

When robots trespass

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:57:00 GMT

US law grants rights to commercial asteroid miners for the resources they harvest, but how can that law be enforced? Thomas Simmons examines one issue with the law, dealing with the fact that such mining is likely to be done by robots, not humans.

Is the purpose of deep space exploration pure science or proving humanity's worth?

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:56:00 GMT

Should be space exploration efforts be driven by a quest for science, or the expansion of humanity beyond Earth? Shalina Chatlani warns of the consequences of overlooking "scientific reality" in favor of realizing human visions.

Review: The Politics and Perils of Space Exploration

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:55:00 GMT

Some space advocates believe that the public would offer greater support for space exploration if they only knew more about what's going on in space. Jeff Foust reviews a book that attempts to provide such an education, but is ultimately flawed.

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.