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Wanted: Astronauts; Missing: U.S. rocket to fly them

November 16, 2011 4:33 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Even without it’s own manned launch vehicle, NASA is afraid it will soon not have enough astronauts. The space agency needs about 55 astronauts, and currently has 58, but with veteran astronauts leaving the space agency NASA has begun its biggest effort yet to find recruits.

Despite snowstorm, latest Soyuz launch a success

November 14, 2011 1:13 pm | by Vladimir Ischenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

Just days after losing control of a major mission to Mars and just months after the failure of the unmanned Progress cargo ship, Russia’s regained some of its confidence with a flawless launch Monday of a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station. The launch took place despite whiteout blizzard conditions.

Alaska Airlines takes key steps toward lower carbon flight

November 14, 2011 2:44 am | News | Comments

On Nov. 9, Alaska Airlines initiated the first regular commercial service in the United States powered by a blend of sustainable biofuels from used cooking oil and petroleum-based jet fuel. The flights from SeaTac Airport to Washington D.C. and Portland, Ore. are important steps in a long journey that will provide a more sustainable and lower carbon future for the aviation industry.

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NRL's MIGHTI selected by NASA for potential space flight

November 10, 2011 8:36 am | News | Comments

A Naval Research Laboratory instrument designed to study the Earth's thermosphere is part of a future science mission that has been selected by NASA for evaluation for flight.

Space shuttle data helps researchers develop better solar power production model

November 10, 2011 8:03 am | News | Comments

The space shuttle program may have ended, but data the space craft collected over the past three decades are still helping advance science. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego recently used measurements from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission to predict how changes in elevation, such as hills and valleys, and the shadows they create, impact power output in California's solar grid.

Pilotless planes fly with help of drone phone

November 8, 2011 7:13 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Imagine controlling an airplane in flight just by holding your iPhone out in front of you: tilting it in the direction you want the plane to travel, or raising it to make the plane fly higher. Or tapping a point on a map on the screen, and having the plane automatically fly to the designated spot. Now, imagine if the plane itself were a continent away from where you're doing this iPhone-based controlling. What might seem like a figment of the imagination is actually fact.

Alaska Airlines launches biofuel-powered commercial service

November 7, 2011 7:41 am | News | Comments

Alaska Airlines will fly 75 commercial passenger flights in the United States powered by biofuel, starting this Wednesday. These flights signal aviation's next era, where sustainable biofuels can provide a viable alternative to conventional fuel and enable airlines to reduce their environmental impact.

China spacecraft dock together in orbit over Earth

November 3, 2011 4:57 am | by Gillian Wong, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Shenzhou 8 craft that was launched by China Tuesday docked today with the already orbiting Tiangong 1 module. The maneuver puts the country closer to manning its own space station, which could occur within the next decade. The U.S. and Russia are the only other countries to master the space docking technique.

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Boeing leasing shuttle hangar to build new capsule

October 31, 2011 9:56 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

On Monday, more than 100 Boeing, NASA and state and federal officials gathered in the massive empty former space shuttle hangar—Orbiting Processing Facility No. 3—for the announcement of the first-of-its-kind agreement allowing a private company to take over the government property.

Advanced Earth observer achieves orbit

October 28, 2011 7:44 am | News | Comments

After a years-long delay, NASA’s newest climate satellite blasted into space early Friday on a dual mission to improve weather forecasts and monitor climate change. Five scientific instruments will extend more than 30 key long-term NASA datasets, including ozone layer measurements, land cover, and ice cover.

Student-built satellite to prepare NASA instrument

October 26, 2011 7:03 am | News | Comments

When the M-Cubed satellite, built by University of Michigan students, goes into orbit, it will become the first CubeSat to test a NASA instrument for major space missions. It is scheduled to be launched on October 28.

Moon rock sting terrifies California grandmother

October 24, 2011 7:18 am | by Thomas Watkins, Associated Press | News | Comments

Expecting the worst, NASA agents swept in on a 74-year-old woman in a Denny’s restaurant five months ago to recover what believed to be a moon rock being sold on the black market. The woman claimed the tiny speck of rock, encased in acrylic, was given to her husband by Neil Armstrong. Armstrong says otherwise, and NASA is silent on the case.

EU launches its first satellite navigation system

October 21, 2011 8:17 am | by Raf Casert, Associated Press | News | Comments

In a bid to establish a system that is more precise and more reliable than the U.S.-established Global Positioning System, a Russian-French collaboration Friday launched the first two satellites of the European Union's Galileo navigation system.

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SpaceX completes key milestone to fly astronauts to International Space Station

October 21, 2011 6:43 am | News | Comments

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced it has successfully completed the preliminary design review of its launch abort system, a system designed for manned missions using its Dragon spacecraft. This represents a major step toward creating an American-made successor to the space shuttle.

Venture investments grow in 3Q from last year

October 19, 2011 5:05 am | by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

According to a study out Wednesday venture capitalists invested more money in more U.S. startups in the third quarter than they did a year earlier. Though overall investments dropped from the second quarter, the software industry showed especially big jumps in venture capital quarter to quarter.

Aerospace Strikes Back

October 19, 2011 4:21 am | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

The last decade has been challenging for the aerospace industry, but a host of breakthroughs have given both big business and private consumers reason to hope.

Unmanned Aerial Systems Soar to New Places and Sizes

October 19, 2011 4:02 am | by Lindsay Hock | Articles | Comments

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or systems (UAS)—vital components in the national security and military arsenal—can be controlled from a remote location or flown autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans using complex automation systems. Military UAS perform reconnaissance, attack missions, or other missions deemed too dirty or dangerous for personnel.

Report: Top U.S. firms show strong 2010 R & D investment jump

October 18, 2011 11:53 am | News | Comments

The European Union Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, published annually by the European Commission, tracks the world’s top 1,400 companies and ranks their investments in R&D. The report shows global R&D investment increased by 4%, but some regions are lagging behind others in investment growth.

Webb Space Telescope Sunshield Gets Full Size Test

October 18, 2011 11:08 am | Articles | Comments

Tests on five tennis-court sized sunshield layers designed to protect NASA's James Webb Space Telescope mirrors and instruments from the heat of the sun will tell Northrop Grumman Corp. (Falls Church, Va.) engineers how the full-size sunshield layers will behave in orbit.

Antennas Enable Early Science at ALMA

October 18, 2011 11:02 am | Articles | Comments

Thirteen 12-m antennas manufactured by General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies have been installed at the 16,500-foot-high Chajnanator plateau in Chile, home to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) astronomical observatory.

GPS-directed Flight Paths Seek Validation

October 18, 2011 10:58 am | Articles | Comments

Boeing and Lion Air, the largest private carrier in Indonesia, pioneered precision navigation technology in South Asia with the introduction of Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight operations.

Biofueled Passenger Flights Take to the Skies

October 18, 2011 10:48 am | Articles | Comments

In July, Lufthansa launched the first daily commercial passenger flights using biofuel—50% Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA)—flying four daily flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt on an Airbus A321.

Branson, officials dedicate Virgin Galactic’s space terminal

October 18, 2011 7:04 am | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

Joined by Gov. Susana Martinez, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and scores of would-be space travelers, billionaire Richard Branson rappelled from a balcony in New Mexico Monday to christen the world’s first built-from-scratch commercial spaceport. More than 450 people have already purchased Virgin Galactic tickets.

ESA finds that Venus has an ozone layer too

October 10, 2011 4:40 am | News | Comments

The European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft has discovered an ozone layer high in the atmosphere of Venus. Ozone has only previously been detected in the atmospheres of Earth and Mars. On Earth, it is both generated by and protects life from the sun’s harmful rays, but on Mars and Venus, the effect is non-biological.

Dark and bright: ESA chooses next two science missions

October 5, 2011 5:42 am | News | Comments

The powerful influence of the Sun and the nature of mysterious dark energy motivate ESA’s next two science missions. Solar Orbiter will venture closer to the Sun than any previous mission, and Euclid will be a space telescope designed to map out the large-scale structure of the cosmos.

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