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tag: spacecraft

Posts Tagged ‘Spacecraft’

Electric Rockets Set To Transform Space Flight

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
no pic yet.

An anonymous reader sends this quote from an article at Txchnologist:
“The spectacle of a booster rocket lifting off a launch pad atop a mass of brilliant flames and billowing smoke is an iconic image of the Space Age. Such powerful chemical rockets are needed to break the bonds of Earth’s gravity and send spacecraft into orbit. But once a vehicle has progressed beyond low-earth orbit chemical rockets are not necessarily the best way to get around outer space. That’s because chemical propulsion systems require such large quantities of fuel to generate high speeds, there is little room for payload. As a result rocket scientists are increasingly turning to electric rockets, which accelerate propellants out the back end using solar-powered electromagnetic fields rather than chemical reactions. The electric rockets use so much less propellant that the entire spacecraft can be much more compact, which enables them to scale down the original launch boosters.”

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Swiss To Build Orbital Cleaning Satellite

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
no pic yet.

garyebickford writes ” As The ETH Lausanne says: ‘The proliferation of debris orbiting the Earth – primarily jettisoned rocket and satellite components – is an increasingly pressing problem for spacecraft, and it can generate huge costs. To combat this scourge, the Swiss Space Center at EPFL is announcing today the launch of CleanSpace One, a project to develop and build the first installment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up space debris.’ This looks like a reasonable method, although I think that at some future point it might be useful to just put at least the smaller stuff in a higher ‘parking orbit’ for later destruction or recycling. This way you wouldn’t lose one vacuum cleaner for each satellite retrieved. And much later down the road, it might be useful to collect bigger units — expended boosters, for example — as raw materials and/or containers. The cost of getting the mass into space has already been spent.
I optimistically foresee a future where much of the stuff sent into orbital space has a recycling function built into the design.”

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NASA Considers Privatizing GALEX Astrophysics Satellite

Monday, February 13th, 2012
no pic yet.

hogghogg writes “The GALEX spacecraft (surveying the Universe in ultraviolet wavelengths at which the atmosphere is close to opaque) is coming to the end of its budget life, but it hasn’t finished imaging the entire sky and is still (fairly) functional. A group at Caltech wants to keep it running, so NASA is considering transfer of ownership under the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, which ‘allows the transfer of government-owned excess research equipment to educational institutions and non-profit organizations.’ Many NASA missions are terminated for budget reasons at the end of a prescribed period, even while the hardware is still highly functional. Although this is the first-ever transfer from NASA of a functioning satellite, maybe this is just the start for a class of privately run astronomical and Earth-observing facilities in space?”

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SpaceX Tries Out Its New SuperDraco Rocket Engine

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
no pic yet.

cylonlover writes “SpaceX, the California company that is developing the reusable Dragon spacecraft, recently test-fired its new SuperDraco engine. Presently, the Dragon capsule is equipped with less-advanced Draco engines, which are designed for maneuvering the spacecraft while in orbit and during reentry. The SuperDraco, however, is intended to allow the astronauts to escape if an emergency occurs during the launch.”

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