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.
Beyond the boundary of space, some 62 miles above the surface of the Earth, the wind is blowing like a hurricane. Too high for weather balloons and too low for satellites, we don't know much about this region, which is why NASA sent five sounding rockets up there in under five minutes this morning.
One thing we know is NASA knows how to launch a rocket. Now, the agency is upping its game by launching five rockets in five minutes to study the winds swirling in the atmosphere at the edge of space
Making a rocket engine isn't that hard: you can do it at home with some Diet Coke and Mentos. It's getting the rocket to go where you want it to that's the tricky part. Private spaceflight companies are in the same boat, so they've asked the guys who came up with the guidance computer for the Apollo program for help.
High up on the list of things that it seems like a very bad idea to swallow are hydrogen-powered rockets. But researchers looking for new ways to deliver drugs inside the stomach have developed little microrockets powered by microbubbles and steered by micromagnets that are apparently perfectly safe to ingest. Yum?
You remember SpaceShipOne, right? It's the passenger-carrying rocket ship that's boosted a big chunk of the way to space by that crazy airplane that's really two airplanes stuck together. A company called Stratolaunch is going to take this concept and supersize it to launch cargo rockets (and eventually passengers) to orbit.
I'm not entirely sure how drilling tiny holes into bullets will make them quieter, more accurate, and into rockets, but some Italian company says that's what they've done. It's just too bad that James Bond's done it already.
Ask any superhero who isn't fortunate enough to have a built-in flying ability whether they prefer jetpacks or rocket boots, and they'll always say rocket boots.* Why? Because rocket boots let you do tricks. We might not have proper rocket boots yet, but these water-powered ones are the next best thing. And they're even affordable.
Generally, tanks are not designed with the ability to fly, much less the ability to fall through the air from a couple thousand feet up and land safely. You can strap a bunch of parachutes to them and hope for the best, but a much more effective (and much more awesome) way to do it is to use rockets instead. Just ask the Russians.
NASA's new Space Launch System isn't going anywhere without some monstrous engines. The second stage engine will be the J-2X, a descendant of the Apollo-era J-2, and NASA just lit one off for 500 seconds in a very loud, steam-filled test.