Once upon a time, NASA contemplated building an inflatable solar-powered space station. Unlike most early concepts for bringing humans to space, this one made it from concept art all the way to a testable prototype, although it never left the planet.
With enough ingenuity, nearly anything is possible. Engineers on NASA’s Orion crew module have found ways to cut down the number of main weld-points from 33 to just 7 in the latest prototype, dramatically reducing mass by the equivalent of several astronauts.
When Microsoft said you’d be able to make Minecraft worlds appear in your living room with its new HoloLens headset, perhaps you squealed in glee. Or perhaps you wrote it off as smoke and mirrors—not reality. Guess what? I just played it. Everything you saw on stage is real.
A flying saucer plummeted through the skies over Hawaii today in the second test of NASA’s new Mars landing system. If this had been a real flight to Mars, we’d have just killed a rover by slamming it into the planet below.
The fantastically-named Supersonic Naval Ordnance Research Track, or SNORT, is a naval facility in the heart of the Californian desert. It’s also where NASA engineers let their evil side run free by wreacking havoc on innocent objects, using a rocket sled to destroy prototype parachutes destined for Mars
It’s a good day for innovative space technology. The Planetary Society’s technology demonstration of solar sails to propel microsatellites hitched a ride into orbit with the launch of the secretive X-37B space plane. The LightSail project is testing solar sail technology for a mission in 2016.
Today marks an important step in NASA’s commercial crew program: the first pad abort test for SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon vehicle. The 2-minute test will run the capsule through emergency procedures that would fling astronauts free from harm’s way in case a launch goes catastrophically amiss.
The best-laid plans have astronauts returning to Earth on dry land when they hitch a ride on Boeing's CST-100 in the future, but NASA's emergency plans dunked the spacecraft in splashdown tests to ensure waterlogged astronauts would still find their way home.
A pair of SuperDraco engines firing at the same time is far quieter than I thought it would be. The dual firing is part of SpaceX pad abort testing for the rocket engines, ensuring both engines can simultaneously ignite and throttle if they need to carry the Crew Dragon to safety.
Sometimes, all a day really needs is a nice video of rocket components exploding during stress-testing. Why, hello there Space Launch System! Did your booster composite case get over-pressurized with water to test how the materials would withstand launch-strain? Perfect!
It lives! The RS-25 rocket engines from the space shuttle have been repurposed for the Space Launch System, NASA's rocket for deep space exploration. The engines hot fired for the first time since 2009 in this 500-second burn.
This December, Orion left for a 60,000 mile journey through space, to land at sea to be carried 600 miles back to shore, and finally went on a 2,500-mile road trip home. Here's the whole journey from construction through the flight and back home, in pictures.
After a one-day delay, Orion blasted off early this morning for its first-ever test flight. Follow the live-stream here along with our updates of photographs, videos, flight details, and tips on when to tune in to catch the most dramatic moments of this historic flight.
The Orion spacecraft toyed with our hearts this morning, three times reaching the terminal countdown before the launch attempt was ultimately scrubbed. Twice, gusts of wind were to blame; the third time, a sticky valve refused to close. Here's what went down and what needs to happen before the next attempt.
The very first test flight for NASA's Orion spacecraft is Thursday December 4th. Here's the nitty-gritty details of how the 4.5 hour test flight will put the service module, launch abort system, heat shield, and parachutes through their paces as the craft launches, completes two orbits, and returns to Earth.
The downright futuristic Morpheus prototype lander kicked off its newest round of testing with an anticlimactic soft abort ending the test before it started. At least this wee frog got a great view of the excitement!
Parts of this engine were 3D printed using copper alloy materials. All of them survived their first-ever hot fire test, and 18 more hot fire tests in different injector and thrust chamber assembly configurations. The future is so cool.
Have you ever wondered how water flows under the ground beneath your feet? We build a low-cost groundwater detection system in under twenty-four hours using common materials and tools. Here's what we did, and how you can do it, too.