DailyDirt: Launching Rockets And Satellites

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Getting into space is getting cheaper as more countries and more companies are able to launch space-worthy rockets. The space shuttle may be retiring, but unmanned missions seem to be (mostly) progressing nicely. It might be inspiring to see humans in space, but it seems far more practical to get more missions up and to explore with robots -- as long as the robots obey us. Usually, they do.
  • SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully put its Dragon spacecraft into space. The privately-owned spaceship also made it back to Earth. Rinse. Lather. Repeat... And profit? [url]
  • NASA launches a nanosatellite from a microsatellite. I wonder if the Russians ever put a matryoshka doll in space... [url]
  • Schools can request a space shuttle heat shield tile from NASA. And it's only a matter of time before these tiles are auctioned off on eBay for school fundraisers. [url]
  • A malfunctioning satellite is taking out US weather services and could strike again. Remotely rebooting satellites ain't easy. [url]
  • Japan's Akatsuki probe missed Venus orbit, and now JAXA will have to wait 6 more years to try again. Betcha can't add 6 years to a human space mission as easily. [url]

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    • icon
      Tom Landry (profile), 10 Dec 2010 @ 5:40pm

      One of the few good things Obama did was to encourage private sector companies to start taking up the slack that NASA was going to be faced with since their fundings been cut. Profit is what will drive innovation. Sci-Fi author Stephen Baxter along with a respected scientists have estimated that a smaller asteroid composed of nickle and other metals would be worth 3 trillion or more along with volatile organics etc. That kind of money is going to drive some pretty serious efforts and should cut through a lot of the red-tape and ego that comes with government funding. NASA has a place but the real meaty stuff will be performed by private citizens.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        bob, 10 Dec 2010 @ 6:09pm

        Re:

        I don't think anyone from Earth will be out mining the Kuiper anytime soon. But when that happens the companies who do it will rule the earth.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Michael Ho (profile), 10 Dec 2010 @ 6:36pm

        Re: Mining asteroids...

        The possibility of mining an asteroid has a huge upside, but I doubt it'll happen in our lifetimes.

        It would be pretty interesting to see some technology -- developed to prevent large asteroids from colliding with the Earth -- used to steer small mineral-rich asteroids /towards/ us....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Tom Landry (profile), 11 Dec 2010 @ 12:14pm

          Re: Re: Mining asteroids...

          It will absolutely NOT happen in MY lifetime (I'm 49) but mining the asteroid belt is what will be a necessary step to populating/exploiting the solar system. If we were to leave it up to NASA and govt. funding this wouldn't happen for another 500 years, if ever. Scientific exploration is a noble effort but pure profit is what will keep it funded as well as an irresistible return on investments from the exploitation of space based raw materials.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jasonkk (profile), 12 Dec 2010 @ 8:24pm

      Xtreme No

      If you are talking about the booster rockets strapped to the side, they are about 50 tons of solid cordite which burns out completely in about 20 seconds. Once fired you can't switch them off.
      They help to give extra thrust to build sufficient speed to break from the pull of gravity and be able to get into free orbit.
      Xtreme No

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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