There are spaceports all over the world, but they're built by governments and militaries and meant for launching super secret spacecraft, not your luxury liner to the moon. The idea of regular spaceflight is still something we leave to astronauts and sci-fi authors, but the U.K. is taking its first step toward that goal, and the U.S. its second.
NASA and SpaceX have decided on a time for the latter's Dragon commercial space capsule to return to our planet. Once again you'll be able to watch it live, but this time you may actually be able to sleep in. UPDATE: Dragon successfully splashed down at 11:42 A.M. PDT. See more here.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch its Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday morning, May 19 at 4:55 A.M. EDT. If all goes well, SpaceX's Dragon capsule will be one step closer to ferrying astronauts up to orbit and opening the door for manned private spaceflight missions in the future. Update inside.
SpaceX is busy gearing up for a date with the International Space Station, but the company now has a second invite to one that doesn't exist yet. SpaceX has announced that it will help fellow private spaceflight firm Bigelow carry its inflatable modules into orbit, with the goal of connecting a bunch to form a proper station.
U.S. aerospace company Alliant Techsystems supported NASA's shuttle program by manufacturing the space agency's Solid Rocket Boosters (or SRBs), the pair of which provided most of the initial thrust to carry the spacecraft aloft. Now, the firm is looking to put that know-how toward building a manned launcher of its own.
Within the next five years or so, you'll be able to buy a ticket to suborbital space for about $200,000. And that'll be fun, we're looking forward to it. SpaceX, a major player in the suborbital industry, is thinking about where else the company will be able to take people within the next few decades, and founder Elon Musk says Mars is a real possibility. And it'll be damn cheap.
At the 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference few weeks ago, we heard updates from all of the companies involved in commercial suborbital spaceflight. This includes big names such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, and we'll tell you what each one is promising and when they'll be able to deliver. In this post, we'll take a look at five of the most promising up-and-comers that are looking toward suborbit for manned space travel and more.
Sir Richard Branson is not the only millionaire with aspirations towards a future of space travel. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' venture, Blue Origin is also part of the privately funded space race aiming to take up the challenge of space exploration.
Monday morning, Professor Neil Armstrong (yes, that Neil Armstrong) gave a talk out here in California about his experiences in the X-15 suborbital flight program. The X-15 was America's first dedicated high speed, high altitude, rocket-powered suborbital space plane, and back in the early 1960s it was busy paving the way for the commercial spaceflight development that's one of the most exciting things happening in space today.
NASA has been flirting with a number of private firms in the hunt for a company that could offer the U.S. an option in getting its astronauts back into space by the end of 2016. It looks like one such company will be ready for a test flight by as early as next summer.