SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket does not have a spotless record. In the last few years, SpaceX has lost one vehicle on the launchpad and another broke apart en route to the International Space Station (ISS). Yet, SpaceX is on a roll as it nears three dozen successful Falcon 9 launches in a row. The company is also cruising toward certification to ferry astronauts to the ISS.
David Strauss, an analyst and oddsmaker at MyBookie, says NASA is the underdog and Musk is the favorite. “Bezos may have the discipline, but Musk has the infrastructure and just the right amount of craziness to make a successful mission happen,” he said today in a news release. “The days of government organizations staging trips to another planet are behind us. I would be surprised if NASA truly makes it back to the moon.”
The U.S. Space Force will include uniformed service members drawn from the Air Force, Navy and Army -- but it is not expected to include the National Reconnaissance Office mission, according an internal draft of the Pentagon’s plan to create a sixth branch of the military.
The request is the latest in a series of bureaucratic moves made inside the Pentagon in recent weeks that set the stage for the Defense Department’s formal proposal early next year to establish a Space Force -- a sixth branch of the military.
China’s lunar probes may one day threaten critical U.S. satellites, said one of the military’s top experts on space threats. “We’ve seen [reports] in open press…that say the Chinese have a relay satellite flying around…the flipside of the moon. That’s very telling to us,” Jeff Gossel, the senior intelligence engineer in the Space and Missile Analysis Group at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said at an Air Force Association event on Friday.
British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson believes Virgin Galactic is "more than tantalizingly close" to its first trip to space. "We should be in space within weeks, not months. And then we will be in space with myself in months and not years...
If the United States is to maintain military advantage in space, as President Trump has promised – and as his new Space Force is meant to do – U.S. policy and strategic decisions should be informed by an understanding of China’s ambitions to become an “aerospace superpower” – and how the Chinese military has reorganized itself to seek dominance in space.
Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which arrived at the near-Earth asteroid on June 27 after a journey of more than three years, released the MINERVA-II1 container from a height of about 60 meters (SN Online: 6/27/18). The container then released two 18-centimeter-wide, cylindrical rovers. Because Ryugu’s gravity is so weak, the rovers can hop using rotating motors that generate a torque and send them airborne for about 15 minutes.
In March 1983, President Ronald Reagan delivered an Oval Office speech to announce his Strategic Defense Initiative -- or as it was dubbed by critics, “Star Wars.” He proposed a space-based missile defense program that would have placed infrastructure featuring high-powered lasers, beams of atomic particles, and rocket interceptors in orbit to shoot down enemy missiles before they reached the United States.
Sixty years after NASA was formed, countries around the world have joined the space race, with an eye to putting a person on Mars. But experts say the future of space activity may rest with private corporations that are building their own products, launching commercial satellites and even exploring small missions. In spite of interplanetary probes like New Horizons, which have reached past Pluto, and successful robotic explorations of Mars, some scientists say progress isn't coming quickly enough.