Public fireworks shows may be in short supply this weekend due to the pandemic, but Rocket Lab is ready to fill the gap. It’s planning to launch its 13th mission, “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen,” from a complex on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 5:19PM Eastern with a livestream (below) available 15 minutes before takeoff. The launch window is open until 6:03PM Eastern. This is only the third Rocket Lab launch this year, due in no small part to the pandemic, and it includes some significant payloads.
As part of a consortium that includes Indian telecom Bharti Global, the UK government will invest $500 million and take a “significant equity share” in space exploration firm OneWeb, it announced Friday. OneWeb, which has its headquarters in the UK, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US in March, after it was unable to secure financing. Bharti Global also will invest $500 million as part of the deal.
OneWeb is one of several companies working on an Internet-from-space project, using a combination of low-altitude satellites to beam internet connectivity to ground terminals on Earth’s surface. It was slated to launch a constellation of 650 spacecraft, and its plans included providing internet coverage for the Arctic. So far, it has launched 74 satellites for the project.
Have you ever wondered what outer space smells like?
If you assumed it smells like nothing up there — as I did for 26 years — you’re wrong. Astronauts have compared the smell of space to “seared steak, raspberries, and rum.” And thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, you might soon be able to experience the mysterious smell yourself.
The Kickstarter, which has raised nearly $250,000 so far, seeks to bottle the scent as a fragrance called “Eau de Space,” and make it available to the average, curious, space-loving person.
SpaceX successfully launched a GPS III satellite for the U.S. Space Force today. The Space Force took over the U.S. in-space GPS assets from the Air Force when it became its own dedicated wing of the U.S. armed forces.
The launch employed a Falcon 9 rocket, the first stage of which was new and fresh from SpaceX’s factory floor. This launch did include a recovery attempt of the Falcon 9 booster, however, unlike the first GPS III launch that SpaceX launched in December 2018. SpaceX says that it was able to work with its customer to ensure that it could complete its mission as planned, while retaining enough reserve fuel for a recovery attempt – something that didn’t happen with the first launch.
A few months ago, NASA unveiled its next-generation space suit that will be worn by astronauts when they return to the moon in 2024 as part of the agency’s plan to establish a permanent human presence on the lunar surface. The Extravehicular Mobility Unit—or xEMU—is NASA’s first major upgrade to its space suit in nearly 40 years and is designed to make life easier for astronauts who will spend a lot of time kicking up moon dust. It will allow them to bend and stretch in ways they couldn’t before, easily don and doff the suit, swap out components for a better fit, and go months without making a repair.
Tesla may push the boundaries of automotive technology but its production process is a bit of a mess. In a recent initial quality survey from JD Power and Associates, Tesla customers reported 250 build defects (misaligned body panels, shoddy paintwork, things of that nature) per 100 vehicles. The national average is around 166 defects per 100 vehicles. But hey, at least you can spend $3,000 on an autopilot feature that probably won’t crash you headlong into a highway median divider. Probably.
I am one of the few African-American aerospace engineers who helped design the Apollo spaceships that took men to the Moon. My great-grandfather was a slave in Claiborne, Alabama, who used primitive tools to work the land. My father was born in Alabama before the Wright brothers made mankind’s first flight. He lived to see men walk on the Moon, twin robotic biology labs land on Mars, and a fleet of four space probes on their way to the stars. But many black people, like the late Reverend Ralph Abernathy, felt that the money used to make these amazing things happen would have been better spent on helping the poorest descendants of American slaves.
Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1933, Dwight’s father, Ed Dwight, Sr, played second base for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League. His mother, Georgia Baker Dwight, encouraged the boy from a young age, and Ed Jr. became an avid reader, able to work well with his hands — including creating art, a passion to which he would later return.