Fishing for Space Junk: New Nets Capture Old Satellites (Video)

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Fishing for Space Junk: New Nets Capture Old Satellites (Video)

SpaceX retries drone-ship rocket landing after first fiery failure

Chris Davies

As instructions for space flight go, “Just Read the Instructions” seems like basic advice, but that’s the last thing SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will see as it coaxes down onto a floating landing pad today. Elon Musk’s ambitious private space flight project is set to send another unmanned Dragon capsule to the International Space Station with a fresh batch of cargo, but the arguably more interesting flight is a whole lot shorter and will end much closer to home.

That’s because, rather than plummeting into the ocean and being useful as little more than scrap as per traditional rocket stages, the goal is to bring the Falcon 9 stage back down to Earth in a reusable state.

To do that, SpaceX has floated an autonomous landing platform – complete with whimsical message – out at sea. Granted the ability to reposition itself at will, that pad will hopefully be where the Falcon first stage ends up, rather than in pieces.

“After Dragon and Falcon 9’s second stage are on their way to orbit,” SpaceX said of the test, “the first stage will execute a controlled reentry through Earths atmosphere, targeting touchdown on an autonomous spaceport drone ship approximately nine minutes after launch.”

With Musk & Co. counting on reusable rockets to help bring down the cost of spaceflight, plenty is riding on the team getting this right.

It’s not SpaceX’s first attempt at the feat, however. Back in January, the company deemed its original test landing a success even though it ended in flames, opting to focus on the valuable telemetry rather than the failure to actually bring the rocket down in a reusable state.

Those lessons led to some big changes this time around. The rocket has been tweaked to make it more maneuverable, while the drone ship can handle choppier water without putting the landing in peril.

SpaceX expects the touchdown to come just nine minutes after Dragon and the Falcon 9 rocket take off, itself expected at 4:33pm ET today. Meanwhile, the cargo capsule will head off to the ISS, and is scheduled to arrive in roughly two days time.

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First parts 3D printed in space are unboxed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The – Video



First parts 3D printed in space are unboxed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The
First parts 3D printed in space are unboxed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The printer used 14 different designs and built a total of 21 items and some calibration coupons. Before…

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Human Space Flight Day: UN spotlights the need to advance exploration

Marking International Day of Human Space Flight, the United Nations on Sunday spotlighted the contribution of space science and technology to sustainable development and underscored the need to push the boundaries of exploration for the benefit of all people.

I am confident that the International Day of Human Space Flight will remind us of our common humanity and our need to work together to conquer shared challenges, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on the Day marked worldwide on 12 April. I hope it will also inspire young people in particular to pursue their dreams and move the world towards new frontiers of knowledge and understanding, the UN chief added. In 2011, the General Assembly declared 12 April International Day of Human Space Flight to reaffirm the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development. The Assembly also expressed interest in promoting and expanding the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. This day, 12 April back in 1961 was the date of the first human space flight, carried out by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen. This historic event opened the way for space exploration. Yuri Gagarins journey as the first human in space 54 years ago has inspired us all to advance the boundaries of exploration, said United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Director, Simonetta Di Pippo. To mark the day, UNOOSA has launched the fourth edition of its Messages from Space Explorers, a collection of messages from Space Explorers serving as a memorabilia of their contribution and inspiration to future generations. Recording the messages of the many men and women who have travelled into space allows us to commemorate the role these people have played as Ambassadors for humankind, said Di Pippo. The new edition available on UNOOSAs website in six different languages – contains messages from space explorers from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. One of the featured explorers, Scott Kelly is currently on a one year mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), which started on 28 March 2015. The autograph album also contains a copy of the signed sheets received from 57 other space explorers from 20 nations, among which Valentina Tereskhova of Russia, the first woman in space, and Charles F. Bolden, the current NASA Administrator, and copy of the autographs of Yuri Gagarin, and Edward H. White, the first American to walk in space. Photo: NASA

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Russia 'busts satellite spy ring': space commander

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Remembering First Man in Space 54 Years Ago

April 12 is the International Day of Human Space Flight, marking the day in 1961 when 27-year-old Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the world’s first man in space.

His historic single orbit around Earth, while crouched in the Vostok 1 spacecraft at a speed of 27,400 kilometers per hour, lasted only 108 minutes, but ushered in a new chapter of history – space travel.

Before Gagarin’s flight, space travel had been the purview of science fiction writers.

Gagarin had no control over his spacecraft while it was orbiting. It was instead controlled by a computer program sending radio commands to the Vostok. However, a key had been placed in the spacecraft in case Gagarin needed to take command.

Premier Nikita Krushchev named Gagarin a hero of the Soviet Union, and Gagarin, who became an international hero, was dubbed “the Christopher Columbus of the Cosmos.”

His flight during Cold War tensions sent the American space program into a frenzy. The Soviet Union had said the space flight was an affirmation of “the genius of the Soviet people.”

Less than a month later, U.S. astronaut Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. In February of the next year, U.S. astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Gagarin died in a plane he was piloting in 1968. At the time of his death, he was training for a second space mission.

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Russian official claims 'enemy' spy satellite network discovered

MOSCOW, April 12 (UPI) — A Russian official claimed the country detected a network of “enemy” spy satellites disguised as space junk during a film televised Sunday.

Russian Aerospace Defense Commander Maj. Gen. Oleg Maidanovich made the remarks during the 40-minute, state-produced film Space Special Forces shown on the defense ministry channel Zvezda.

“Very recently, specialists of the department of space intelligence center uncovered a newly created group of space satellites… made for radio-technical reconnaissance of equipment on Russian territory,” Maidanovich said. He declined to say who the satellites belonged to, stating “there is currently no necessity to do so.”

The film was released to commemorate the space flight of cosmonaut Yury Gagarin on April 12, 1961.

Although tensions between Russia and the West have been escalating recently, outer space cooperation, including for the International Space Station, has continued.

The film’s narrator described the spy satellites as being turned off for a certain time and then awaking when needed.

“One talks of peaceful satellites, but there are known cases when groups of potential enemy satellites formed against our satellites, above our territory… There are cases when a space satellite pretends to be space junk for years and then wakes up and starts working at the right moment.”

Maidanovich said that when spy satellites are discovered, his division reports it to Russian leadership for decisions to be made at international levels.

2015 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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BBC Space Science Documentary* Reinventing Space Flight with Plasma *Full HD, Discovery – Video



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JAXA guests 'experience' space flight

"I want to see what it's like to go into space." The Space Mission Simulator at the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Chofu Aerospace Center lets people experience a simulation of that dream. When you enter the cockpit of the "space plane," which takes off for space from a runway like an airplane, there is a screen ahead and a monitor, and a control stick in front of the pilot's seat …

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