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Why we’re going back to the Moon - with or without NASA

posted onDecember 16, 2015
by l33tdawg

It was time for the spent rocket to die. So the 2,000kg Centaur upper stage, about the size of a yellow school bus, detached from its spacecraft and began falling toward the Moon six years ago. Soon lunar gravity took hold, tugging the Centaur ever faster toward the Moon’s inky black South Pole. An hour after separation, the rocket slammed into terra incognita at 9,000kph (or roughly 5,600mph).

Jurczyk Named Head of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate

posted onFebruary 24, 2015
by l33tdawg

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Steve Jurczyk as the agency's Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, effective Monday, March 2. The directorate is responsible for innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use on future NASA missions.

Jurczyk has served as Center Director at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, since April of 2014. An accomplished engineer, he previously served as the deputy center director and in other leadership positions at the center prior to his appointment as center director.

NASA's green rocket fuel set for major space test

posted onAugust 20, 2014
by l33tdawg

NASA said today it would launch a spacecraft that would for the first time test fire green propellant technology in space.

NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will use a small satellite using a Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate fuel/oxidizer mix, developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, is also is known as AF-M315E propellant. This fuel may replace the highly toxic hydrazine and complex bi-propellant systems in-use today, NASA said.

Civilians steer NASA satellite from an old McDonald's

posted onAugust 11, 2014
by l33tdawg

I hadn't been aware that, if you ask NASA nicely, you'll be allowed to take the controls of a satellite floating in outer space.

Clearly, I need to get out more, as this is what a group of very interested civilians are doing from their headquarters in a McDonald's.

Let's be fair, it's an old McDonald's. It doesn't serve burgers anymore. Indeed, as Betabeat reports, it's now referred to as McMoon's. From here, Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who hasn't lost his enthusiasm for space, huddles with his team to re-create the joy of satellites gone by.

Hunting for Earth 2.0: NASA finds 715 new planets

posted onFebruary 27, 2014
by l33tdawg

NASA today announced the discovery of 715 planets orbiting 305 stars, revealing multi-planet systems much like our own solar system.

Four of these newly verified planets are in their sun's habitable zone, a distance from a star where the temperature is conducive to the planet's having water in liquid form. With water, it's possible these four planets could potentially hold life.

NASA says first space Internet test 'beyond expectations'

posted onOctober 23, 2013
by l33tdawg

NASA scientists say the first tests of what could someday become an outer space Internet have far surpassed their expectations.

"It's been beyond what we expected," said Don Cornwell, the Lunar Laser Communications Mission manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "We obviously expected it would work well, but this is even better... Everything going better than we thought it would. We're running these systems error free."

Brazilian Hacker Hits 14 NASA Websites

posted onSeptember 17, 2013
by l33tdawg

Starting last Tuesday, 14 subdomains of NASA went down.

One of them, dedicated to the Kepler mission that searches for habitable exoplanets, had an announcement posted that read, "Down for Maintenance: The requested webpage is down for maintenance. Please try again later."

Astronaut describes almost drowning on spacewalk

posted onAugust 22, 2013
by l33tdawg

An Italian astronaut who nearly drowned during a July 16 spacewalk outside the International Space Station used his blog to describe the terrifying ordeal.

"At this exact moment... I 'feel' that something is wrong," Luca Parmitano, an astronaut with the European Space Agency, wrote in a blog post. "The unexpected sensation of water at the back of my neck surprises me -- and I'm in a place where I'd rather not be surprised."

NASA Is Taking a 3D Printer Into Space

posted onJuly 30, 2013
by l33tdawg

NASA clearly loves 3D printing as much as we do—to the extent that it's decided to take an entire 3D printer into space as early as next year.

The space agency has co-designed a custom shoe-box sized 3D printer, made specifically to work in micro-gravitational conditions. The hope is that it will make it aboard the International Space Station sometime in 2014.