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'Dream Chaser' mini spaceplane soars over Mojave Desert

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A test version of a'mini space shuttle' has soared over the Mojave Desert in a major step forward for the mini shuttle. Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser was carried to an altitude of 10,000 feet by the civilian version of the Army's CH-47 Chinook, and then dropped to glide to the ground and land on a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in a test of its autonomous landing systems. The uncrewed Dream Chaser made a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base during the free-flight test at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, NASA officials said in a statement Spot the shuttle: Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser was carried to an altitude of 10,000 feet by the civilian version of the Army's CH-47 Chinook, and then dropped to glide to the ground and land on a runway at Edwards Air Force Base in a test of its autonomous landing systems. The mini shuttle made a perfect lading at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The Dream Chaser is preparing to deliver cargo to the International Space Station beginning in 2019.


'Dream Chaser' mini spaceplane hoisted over Mojave Desert

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A test version of a spacecraft resembling a mini space shuttle was carried aloft over the Mojave Desert by a helicopter Wednesday in a precursor to a free flight in which it will be released to autonomously land on a runway as it would in a return from orbit. Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser craft was lifted off the ground at 7:21 a.m., at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was carried to the same altitude and flight conditions it will experience before release in a free flight. A control team sent commands to the wingless vehicle and collected data before the helicopter brought it down at 9:02 a.m., the company said. Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser craft was lifted off the ground at 7:21 a.m., at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California'Everything we have seen points to a successful test with useful data for the next round of testing,' director of flight operations Lee'Bru' Archambault said in a statement. A second captive-carry test is scheduled this year and if it is successful, a free flight test will follow.


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos doesn't think Elon Musk should colonise Mars

The Independent - Tech

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said he wants to use his vast wealth to build the infrastructure needed to make space accessible for startups, rather than simply sending humans to Mars. Speaking at a private event at the Yale Club in New York, Bezos revealed that he considered his space company Blue Origin to be "the most important work" that he does. But such work is only possible by liquidating $1 billion of Amazon stock each year to bankroll it. Other space startups, such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, require similar funding from their billionaire backers due to the high barriers of entry into the space industry. Bezos said space startups are currently unable to flourish in the same way that Amazon and Facebook did because the infrastructure that facilitated such tech firms does not yet exist for space.


NASA tests 'Son of Concorde' supersonic prototype

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has revealed the latest tests on a radical supersonic plane that could revolutionise air travel. The space agency is using a model of its Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) Preliminary Design in windtunnel tests at NASA's Langley Research Center. The space agency says it is ready to begin taking bids for construction of a demonstration plane in a project worth $390 million over five years, according to Bloomberg. QueSST is designed to fly at Mach 1.4, 55,000 feet above the ground. The aircraft is shaped to separate the shocks and expansions associated with supersonic flight to reduce the volume of the shaped signature, and was developed by Lockheed's Skunk Works over 20 years.


NASA nears the end of its splashdown tests for Mars craft

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Nasa has conducted the second to last splashdown test for its Orion spacecraft as the agency prepares to eventually send humans to Mars. Scientists at NASA's Langley facility on Thursday used a pendulum and explosives to fling a test capsule into a pool of water at about 25 mph. The 11-foot craft disappeared behind a bowl-shaped splash before bouncing buoyantly against safety netting. A mockup of NASA's Orion spacecraft, a deep space vessel that is slated to eventually travel to Mars, hits the water in a simulated ocean splashdown test at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. An unmanned test flight is scheduled for 2018 with the first crewed flight is slated for 2023.