News That Matters

Tag: space

SpaceX's big new rocket blasts off, puts sports car in space

SpaceX's big new rocket blasts off, puts sports car in space

Technology
SpaceX's big new rocket blasted off Tuesday on its first test flight, carrying a red electric sports car aiming for an endless road trip past Mars. The Falcon Heavy rose from the same launch pad used by NASA nearly 50 years ago to send men to the moon. With liftoff, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket in use today, doubling the liftoff punch of its closest competitor. For SpaceX, the private rocket company run by Elon Musk, it was a mostly triumphant test of a new, larger rocket designed to hoist supersize satellites as well as equipment to the moon, Mars or other far-flung points. For the test flight, a red sports car made by another of Musk's companies, Tesla, was the unusual cargo, enclosed in protective covering for the launch. The three boosters and 27 engines roared to life at...
NASA bumps astronaut off space station flight in rare move

NASA bumps astronaut off space station flight in rare move

Technology
NASA has bumped an astronaut off an upcoming spaceflight, a rare move for the space agency so close to launch. Astronaut Jeanette Epps was supposed to rocket away in early June, and would have been the first African-American to live on the International Space Station. Late Thursday, NASA announced it was pulling Epps off the mission but didn't disclose why. Astronauts have been removed from missions in the past, mostly for health reasons. Epps, an engineer, will be considered for future space missions, according to NASA. She's been replaced by her backup, Serena Aunon-Chancellor, a doctor. Both were chosen as astronauts in 2009. Epps is returning to Houston from Russia, where she'd been training to fly to the space station with a German and Russian. NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean said Friday...
UK satellite to make movies from space

UK satellite to make movies from space

Science
A British satellite has gone into orbit on an Indian rocket to acquire full-colour, high-definition video of the surface of the Earth. The demonstrator is expected to pave the way for a series of at least 15 such spacecraft, which will be operated by the Guildford-based company Earth-i. The small, low-cost UK mission was one of 31 payloads riding on the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. It lifted off from the Satish Dhawan spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.Controllers made first contact with the UK satellite as planned within a few hours.The spacecraft is a pre-production model. If it performs well over the coming months, its manufacturer, SSTL, also in Guildford, will proceed with Earth-i's first batch of five operational spacecraft. The contract for these platforms was signed in November....
Light shed on mystery space radio pulses

Light shed on mystery space radio pulses

Science
Astronomers have shed more light on a mysterious source of recurring radio pulses from space.Fast radio bursts are one of the most persistent puzzles in astronomy; while usually short-lived, one source in the sky was sending out repeated flashes.Now, a team says the strange emission could be caused by a dead star with an exceptionally powerful magnetic field.Details were reported here at the 231st American Astronomical Society meeting.The first FRB was discovered in 2007, in archived data from the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. Astronomers were searching for new examples of magnetised neutron stars called pulsars, but found a new phenomenon - a radio burst from 2001. Since then, 18 FRBs - also referred to as "flashes" or "sizzles" - have been found in total.But only one of these sour...
Astronaut shocked after growing 9cm in space

Astronaut shocked after growing 9cm in space

Technology
A Japanese astronaut living on board the International Space Station has expressed his shock at growing 9cm (3.5in) since arriving in space three weeks ago.Lieutenant Norishige Kanai said on social media that he was concerned he wouldn't fit into the spacecraft that would return him to Earth.Lt Kanai, 41, was selected as an astronaut candidate by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2009.He launched as JAXA's crew representative on Expedition 54 to the International Space Station (ISS) in December.Lt Kanai tweeted: "Good morning, everybody. I have a major announcement today. We had our bodies measured after reaching space, and wow, wow, wow, I had actually grown by as much as 9cm!"I grew like some plant in just three weeks. Nothing like this since high school. I'm a bit worried...