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Posts from the ‘Space’ category

Orion: On Our Way to Mars Again

In the midst of a series of technical glitches which delayed the planned launch of the Orion capsule by a Delta IV rocket on Thursday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is reported to have told NBC News, “We’re now on the way to Mars, and that’s what’s most important.” Uh, no. First of all, we’re not anywhere close to being on our way to Mars…

Orion: Hard to Get All Tingly Over NASA’s New Capsule

NASA is preparing to launch its new Orion capsule on Thursday, December 4. It will be the first test launch of the spacecraft, which is being billed as kind of a big deal because it represents the agency’s first major step toward regaining an inhouse manned spaceflight capability — something it has not had since the end of the Space Shuttle program…

Antares and SpaceShipTwo: A Wake Up Call for Lots More Test Flights

I remember reading back in 2008 that Virgin Galactic would soon begin flight testing its SpaceShipTwo spaceplane. I recall reading there would be at least 50 test flights before there would be any thought of the vehicle carrying passengers, other than its two test pilots. I thought, “Hmm, 50 flights… that seems reasonable.” I figured that should…

Tens of Billions of Dollars for Asteroid Roping?

If you want a good example of what’s wrong with the US space program, take a good look at the Space Launch System rocket NASA is developing. In 2011, NASA estimated the cost of developing this human-rated, heavy-lift vehicle, along with the Orion crew capsule and launch facility upgrades, at $18 billion through 2017. The latest estimate by…

NASA’s Commercial Crew Vehicles: Practical But Not Sexy

The two Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts awarded to Boeing and SpaceX by NASA on September 16 should come as no big surprise to anyone familiar with both the agency’s conservative culture and its relatively small annual budget of just under $18 billion. Boeing received $4.2 billion to continue with development…