Space History: The Lunar Orbiters

Post by Nic Quattromani: The Apollo missions, as intrepid as they were, did not venture into wholly uncharted territory. By the time Neil Armstrong famously planted his boots in the lunar soil, a whole fleet of US spacecraft had already explored and mapped out the globe of the Moon in meticulous detail. There were the... Continue Reading →

The future of the International Space Station

Very interesting article from the Science Geek, about what exactly we’re going to do about that vast, aging, and expensive piece of hardware we’ve got sitting in LEO. My personal hope is that we can boost the ISS into a high orbit and use it as a museum; failing that, a controlled reentry would make for some interesting fireworks.

The Science Geek

After the Soyuz spacecraft failed to get into orbit on 11 October 2018, it looked like Soyuz flights to the ISS might be on hold for a period of time and that the ISS would even need to be temporarily abandoned. Fortunately this has proved not to be the case and the next Soyuz will fly to the ISS on 3 December 2018.

Soyuz MS spacecraft docked to the ISS – image from NASA

Although this is good news for now, the future of the ISS is uncertain beyond 2024. In February 2018, the White House indicated that NASA would cease to receive government funding for the ISS by 2025.  If this is enforced, billions of dollars will need to come from private companies, and other countries benefiting from the ISS will need to make a much greater contribution to the costs.

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An Obituary for Kepler

Post by Nic Quattromani: I’ve got some tragic news to share today: NASA’s Kepler space telescope, formerly our premier planet-hunter floating in the sky, has ceased operations. This was not due to any technical failure aboard the craft. Rather, it simply ran out of fuel, rendering it unable to conduct stationkeeping or even orient itself... Continue Reading →

Eyeball Worlds

Post by Nic Quattromani: Tidal locking is one of the more interesting phenomena in the realm of speculative fiction, partly because it clashes with our terracentric ideas of what a planet should look like. While our comfortable, spinning Earth has two icecaps sandwiching a hot equatorial region, its tidally locked counterpart, called an “eyeball world”... Continue Reading →

Book Review: Black Star Renegades

Post by Nic Quattromani: I’ve discovered a surprising craving lately, for straightforward—perhaps derivative—storytelling. Of course I appreciate sleekly inventive settings and genre deconstructions as much as the next nerd, but the problem is that that’s all we’ve been getting lately. Nowadays, to follow in the footsteps of another work is looked down upon as trite,... Continue Reading →

Blast From The Past: Project Echo Still Echoing

Post by AJ Rise: Here’s a little bit of neat space technology history: Project Echo was one of the earliest experiments in satellite communication, launched in the 1960s, and it paved the way for communicating satellites, which remain essential to our everyday lives. Echo 1 was the very first passive communications satellite to be launched... Continue Reading →

Space News: ICESat-2

Post by Nic Quattromani: You know it’s a breathtaking time to be alive when you can Google “space news” and count on dozens of fascinating results instantly flowing into your browser. One such news story, which escaped my attention because Earth science escapes everybody’s attention, is the recent launch of NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land... Continue Reading →

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