Archive for spacecraft

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The Moon as a Fuel Depot

There are good reasons to mine the Moon. Ice will supply water and oxygen for life, and hydrogen and oxygen for fuel. Aluminum and other metals can be extracted and formed into basic building block materials for construction. But both the ice and the building materials will be mostly thrown out into space for use […]

Dawn in the Belt

The Dawn probe spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral in September of 2007, used Mars as a slingshot in February of 2009 and has now reached the asteroid belt, where it will remain. Dawn Takes up Residence in Asteroid Belt – [universetoday.com] The Dawn spacecraft – which is on a course to study the asteroid […]

Reconfigurable Spacecraft

This describes a concept of building spacecraft using “flux pinned interfaces” (FPI) that make the spacecraft easily reconfigurable. Flux pinning is the process of maintaining structural integrity by using superconductors and magnetic fields to create “non-contacting virtual structures”. Flux-Pinned Spacecraft – [ spacecraftresearch.com] (at Cornell Univ.) The effective stiffness and damping of a flux-pinned connection […]

Skylon

Skylon is a spaceplane design that is under development by Reaction Engines, a British company. The basic idea is to fly (like a conventional airplane) up through the atmosphere into space, using a lot less thrust than conventional rockets which “blast” their way straight up into space, requiring vast amounts of thrust. By flying like […]

Kepler Space Telescope

The objective of the Kepler space telescope is to search for planetary systems outside of our solar system. It will be placed into a solar orbit that trails Earth, so it can scan distant light sources with no interference, but also easily relay data back to Earth for analysis. Kepler Spacecraft to Hunt Earth-Like Worlds […]