Space Station

Ten high-profile players in the commercial space race

Publication:   Date: September 15, 2010   View Article

When NASA’s space shuttle fleet retires in 2011, the space agency will have to rely on Russian spacecraft and the private sector to taxi cargo and humans to and from the International Space Station, even as it turns its focus to the technologies required to send humans beyond low-Earth orbit.

President Barack Obama views the policy as a boost to the nascent commercial spaceflight industry, where competition is already heating up to supply the taxi services. Some companies are also talking about offering out-of-this-world rides for researchers as well as tourists with deep pockets and a serious case of star lust. Check out 10 of the top players in the race to commercialize space.

See the world from the space station

Publication:   Date: February 6, 2010   View Article

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have used hand-held cameras to take more than 450,000 photographs of Earth as seen from their orbiting outpost about 220 miles up in the skies since November 2000.

The flexibility to look off to the side, change lenses and choose interesting features to photograph are some of the advantages over stationary Earth-observing cameras on satellites, noted Cindy Evans at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston where the database of images is maintained.

7 colossal construction projects

Publication:   Date: November 3, 2009   View Article

In 2011, the last rivet should be in place on the International Space Station, a $100 billion project under construction in outer space since 1998. Once completed, the 16-nation orbiting lab will contain more than 33,000 cubic feet of livable space, weigh 925,000 pounds and stretch 361 feet from end to end, which is the length of a football field including the end zones. Check out this and six more colossal engineering projects.

All-time top 10 astronomy pictures

Publication:   Date: April 1, 2009   View Article

Every day since June 16, 1995, Professor Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Technological University and NASA scientist Jerry Bonnell have posted an image on the Web as their Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click through 10 of Nemiroff’s favorites in this slideshow, which pays tribute to an event called 100 Hours of Astronomy.

Spacecraft Explodes Like Fireworks on Reentry

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 7, 2008   View Article

The Jules Verne unmanned cargo ship put on a rare fireworks display as it burned up and exploded upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA Budget Diverts Funds From Science to Spaceships

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 8, 2006   View Article

Is Earth the only planet with life?

It’s one of many tantalizing scientific questions that NASA is failing to adequately address, several experts said in response to the 16.8-billion-dollar 2007 budget that President George W. Bush’s proposed for the U.S. space agency on Monday.

The spending plan, which is a 3.2 percent increase over 2006, places priority on the space shuttle’s return to flight, space station construction, and development of the next-generation spacecraft to ferry humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars.

Stuffed, Orbiting Spacesuit to Communicate with Earth

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 2, 2006   View Article

Tomorrow giddy astronauts on the International Space Station will intentionally jettison one of their older colleagues into Earth orbit.

It’s no homicide, though. The “colleague” is a defunct spacesuit retooled to be one of the most unusual satellites ever launched.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach