The Space Reviewin association with SpaceNews
 


What is The Space Review?

The Space Review is an online publication devoted to in-depth articles, commentary, and reviews regarding all aspects of space exploration: science, technology, policy, business, and more. more info

Write for us!

Interested in contributing an article to The Space Review? Please read our submission guidelines.

RSS

Advertise here!

Related sites

spacetoday.net
Space news from around the web

This week in The Space Review…

spaceplane

Solving the commercial passenger spaceflight puzzle (part 3)

In his final installment, Mike Snead turns to history to show one concept of a reusable spaceplane and how it could have led to an airworthiness-certified vehicle years ago, and how a similar approach could be used today.
Monday, September 16, 2019

Intersections in real time: the decision to build the KH-11 KENNEN reconnaissance satellite (part 2)

Developing the KH-11 reconnaissance satellite required not only technical breakthroughs but also political legerdemain. Dwayne Day tracks the debates in the late 1960s and early 1970s about which form of near-realtime spy satellite would go forward.
Monday, September 16, 2019

The curious case of the transgressing tardigrades (part 3)

In the final installment of their analysis of the legal issues involved with the undisclosed inclusion of tardigrades on the SpaceIL lander, a group of experts examines some of the broader issues about commercial space activities raised by this event.
Monday, September 16, 2019

Chandrayaan 2’s Moon illusion

As the search for Chandrayaan 2’s lunar lander continues, so does speculation about what caused the lander to lose contact just a couple kilometers above the surface. Ajey Lele discusses what we know and what could have gone wrong in those critical moments.
Monday, September 16, 2019

Review: Fire in the Sky

The threat posed to the Earth by asteroid impacts has become increasingly clear in recent decades, but many people are only now becoming aware of it. Jeff Foust reviews a book by an author who, intrigued by a fireball he saw a few years ago, dived deep into the history and science of asteroid impacts.
Monday, September 15, 2019


Previous articles:

Intersections in real time: the decision to build the KH-11 KENNEN reconnaissance satellite (part 1)

The idea that reconnaissance satellites can return high-definition images in near real time is taken for granted today, but took technology advancements and political persistence to make possible. Dwayne Day examines the efforts by the CIA in the 1960s to develop such spacecraft.
Monday, September 9, 2019

Solving the commercial passenger spaceflight puzzle (part 2)

In the second part of his analysis of commercial spaceflight passenger safety, Mike Snead examines how the airworthiness certification system developed for aircraft could be applied to crewed spacecraft.
Monday, September 9, 2019

Schrödinger’s lander

On Friday, India attempted to land its Vikram spacecraft on the surface of the Moon, but contact was lost with the spacecraft during its descent. Jeff Foust reports on the uncertain status of the lander and the lessons it and other setbacks offer for future missions to the Moon.
Monday, September 9, 2019

Review: Atomic Age Declassified: Spies in Space

More details are coming to light about the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program of the 1960s. Dwayne Day reviews a recent documentary that offers a new overview of that program and its ultimate cancellation.
Monday, September 9, 2019

Will LandSpace be China’s SpaceX?

China has seen a surge of space startups, many of which are developing launch vehicles. Chen Lan and Jacqueline Myrrhe visit one of those companies, LandSpace, which is in position to become the Chinese version of SpaceX.
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The curious case of the transgressing tardigrades (part 2)

In the second part of their examination about the recent controversy about undisclosed microscopic life included on a lunar lander mission, a group of experts examines the regulatory issues in the United States that come into play in this incident.
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Solving the commercial passenger spaceflight puzzle (part 1)

Despite decades of experience, human orbital spaceflight remains a risky endeavor. In the first in a three-part article, Mike Snead critiques one recent proposal to establish a system intended to improve human spaceflight safety.
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Review: Space Settlements

Space colonies, or space settlements, rose and fell quickly in the 1970s but still capture the imagination today. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines those concepts with a focus on architectural and design issues.
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The curious case of the transgressing tardigrades (part 1)

An Israeli spacecraft that crash-landed on the Moon in April carried a hidden payload: microscopic organisms called tardigrades, whose presence on the spacecraft wasn’t revealed until earlier this month. A group of space law experts examines the legal ramifications of this undisclosed payload.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Huge cash prizes and the abdication of public oversight

Last week, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and others proposed a $2 billion prize for a human mission to the Moon. Casey Dreier explains that, while prizes can sound promising, they have significant flaws.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Revectoring the small launch vehicle industry

The space industry has long expected the vast majority of small launch vehicle startups to fail, a belief supported by problems suffered earlier this month by one high-profile venture, Vector. Jeff Foust reports that Vector’s problems don’t necessarily mean a shakeout is imminent for the rest of the industry.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Review: Spies in Space

A new book offers a history of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. Dwayne Day reviews the book and discusses both the once-classified details it reveals about the program and the questions it leaves unanswered.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Turning a corner on Mars

For decades, scientists have sought to bring back samples from Mars for study in terrestrial labs. Van Kane and Pat Nealon describe how those efforts are now picking up momentum with a series of missions that could return Martian samples within a little more than a decade.
Monday, August 19, 2019

Macron’s Space Force: Why now?

Last month, French government officials, including President Emmanuel Macron, outlined plans to take a more active military space role, including its own space force. Taylor Dinerman examines why France is taking the lead on such efforts among its European allies.
Monday, August 19, 2019

An “operationally ready” spaceport

Virgin Galactic took another step closer to commercial operations last week not with another test flight of SpaceShipTwo but instead updates to Spaceport America in New Mexico. Jeff Foust reports on the significance of what might seem to be a trivial milestone.
Monday, August 19, 2019

The future of commercial space transportation

Today, the term “commercial space transportation” usually refers to rockets for placing payloads into orbit. Dallas Bienhoff describes how that will soon expand to in-space transportation services, either in orbit around the Earth or for missions to the Moon.
Monday, August 19, 2019

Review: Heroes of the Space Age

As the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 fades, so does the generation that made that mission possible. Jeff Foust reviews a book that profiles some of the “heroes” of the early years of human spaceflight.
Monday, August 19, 2019

Solar sailing, at long last

The Planetary Society announced last week that its LightSail 2 mission successfully changed its orbit using a solar sail. Jeff Foust reports on the accomplishment and the long path that led up to it.
Monday, August 5, 2019

China’s grand strategy in outer space: to establish compelling standards of behavior

China’s growing space activities have generated debate about what the country’s real goals are with those efforts. Namrata Goswami describes how those efforts are part of a grand strategy to make China the leader in setting standards of behavior in space.
Monday, August 5, 2019

The International Lunar Decade: A strategy for sustainable development

While there is growing interest in making use of lunar resources, the viability of those efforts is uncertain because of the lack of information about those resources. Vidvuds Beldavs describes how a coordinated effort modeled on the International Geophysical Year can help strengthen the case for using those resources in space or on Earth.
Monday, August 5, 2019

The role of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in supporting space property rights

Legal experts have debated if the Outer Space Treaty restricts the ability of private entities to claim property rights on celestial bodies. Wes Faires argues that it can, when considered through the perspective of another UN document.
Monday, August 5, 2019

Review: Origins of 21st-Century Space Travel

As NASA grapples with a new effort to return humans to the Moon, a study of the previous effort to do so can be instructive. Jeff Foust reviews a book that examines the development of the Vision for Space Exploration, and the years of behind-the-scenes studies that provided the foundation for it.
Monday, August 5, 2019

A new path for space investment?

A lot of money has flowed into space startups in recent years, but there have been few exits by companies that were acquired or went public. Jeff Foust reports on Virgin Galactic’s non-traditional approach to raising money and going public, and whether other companies will follow its lead.
Monday, July 29, 2019

How space technology benefits the Earth

There are many examples, both well-known and more obscure, of how space applications provide benefits, and produce profits, on Earth. Jeff Greenblatt and Al Anzaldua outline both those existing applications and those that may emerge in the near and long term.
Monday, July 29, 2019

The Apollo 11 50th anniversary at EAA AirVenture

One of the final commemorations of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 took place last week at the EAA AirVenture show. Eric Hedman provides an overview of how Mike Collins and others in attendance reflected on the mission.
Monday, July 29, 2019

Apollo as viewed from a jungle

When Apollo 11 returned to Earth 50 years ago this month, one young boy listened to the spacecraft’s return in a remote part of India. Ajay Kothari describes how that inspired him to pursue a career in aerospace, and how it can be an inspiration again for a return to the Moon.
Monday, July 29, 2019

Review: Escape from Earth

Some of the key figures in the early days of rocketry have largely faded from the popular histories of the era. Jeff Foust reviews a book about one such person who was a cofounder of both Aerojet and JPL.
Monday, July 29, 2019

And now, the next 50 years

As the Apollo 11 anniversary celebrations come to an end, some wonder when we will go back to the Moon. Jeff Foust notes that popular interest in Apollo today doesn’t necessarily translate into support for a return to the Moon or other human space exploration programs.
Monday, July 22, 2019

The big white bird: the flights of Helo 66

When many of the Apollo missions returned to Earth, the astronauts were recovered by the same helicopter. Dwayne Day tells the story of Helo 66 and its unfortunate fate.
Monday, July 22, 2019

Is ISRO’s “cryogenic curse” finally over?

On Monday, India successfully launched the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission on its GSLV Mark III rocket. Ajey Lele says the launch suggests India has mastered the cryogenic engine technology it had struggled with for decades.
Monday, July 22, 2019

Why the Space Corps needs to use naval rank

Most concepts for a separate Space Force or Space Corps assume that the new military branch will use the same rank structure as the US Air Force. Brent Ziarnick makes the case for naval ranks to help ensure a Space Corps takes on a different culture and mindset from the Air Force.
Monday, July 22, 2019

Advancing the jurisdiction of the US federal court system to address disputes between private space actors

The emerging commercial space industry brings with it potential for new disputes that could be difficult for current legal systems to handle. Michael Listner offers a proposal for how US federal courts could deal with cases involving companies from different countries.
Monday, July 22, 2019

Review: Reaching for the Moon

As the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 winds down, so do the books about that mission and the early Space Age. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a concise and thoughtful history of that era of spaceflight.
Monday, July 22, 2019

An exploration shakeup

As NASA and the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the agency got caught up last week in issues involving its effort to return humans to the Moon. Jeff Foust reports on the shakeup that led NASA to reassign two top officials in its human spaceflight program.
Monday, July 15, 2019

The NASA-Vatican relationship models a bridge between science and religion

Science and religion can often seem diametrically opposed to each other. Deana Weibel describes how NASA’s long-running relationship with the Vatican Observatory, one dating back to Apollo, can show how the two can work together instead.
Monday, July 15, 2019

When a chimpanzee landed on the Moon: the saga of Boris (part 2)

Last week, Dwayne Day explained how a tall tale he created about a mythical Soviet program to send chimpanzees to the Moon took on a life of its own on the Internet. This week, the story itself.
Monday, July 15, 2019

Fifty books about the Moon (which aren’t about Apollo)

While there’s an avalanche of new books about Apollo and the Moon, many others written years or decades ago are still excellent guides to the Moon. Ken Murphy offers his list of books about the Moon, and not necessarily Apollo, that have stood the test of time.
Monday, July 15, 2019

Review: Eight Years to the Moon

The story of Apollo is usually told through the lens of its most famous figures, from astronauts to politicians. Jeff Foust reviews a book that instead examines Apollo from the perspective of those working behind the scenes.
Monday, July 15, 2019

One small leap for Orion

NASA launched an Orion spacecraft last week, and it returned to Earth minutes later, just like the agency planned. Jeff Foust reports on the test of Orion’s abort system that took the spacecraft a step closer to flying people.
Monday, July 8, 2019

The first future MOL

Some in the US Air Force had plans in the 1960s for military space stations beyond the original Manned Orbiting Laboratory concept. John Charles examines how some of those proposals were depicted in art.
Monday, July 8, 2019

When a chimpanzee landed on the Moon: the saga of Boris (part 1)

No, the Soviets didn’t land a chimpanzee on the Moon, but it can be fun to craft such a tale as a clever inside joke. Dwayne Day describes what happens when that story takes on a life of its own on the Internet.
Monday, July 8, 2019

Apollo 11’s greatest hits and misses: a short reader’s guide

In the decades since Apollo 11, hundreds of books have been published about the mission and the overall race to the Moon. Thomas Frieling looks at some of the books that have stood the test of time, and a couple that haven’t.
Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: Chasing the Moon

Commemorations of the Apollo 11 50th anniversary are also appearing on television in the form of a number of documentaries. Jeff Foust reviews a companion book to one of the more ambitious documentaries that focuses more on personalities and policies than science and technology.
Monday, July 8, 2019

Top Secret DAMON: the classified reconnaissance payload planned for the fourth space shuttle mission

The NRO built a reconnaissance payload for the Space Shuttle that would have been on STS-4, but the program was cancelled before it flew. Dwayne Day provides new insights on that program and why it was grounded.
Monday, July 1, 2019

Déjà vu or sea change? Comparing two generations of large satellite constellation proposals

The “megaconstellations” of communications satellites under development by Amazon, OneWeb, SpaceX, and others come two decades after previous efforts to develop networks of communications satellites in low Earth orbit ran into financial difficulties. Stephen J. Garber and James A. Vedda compare the two generations to see if history will repeat itself.
Monday, July 1, 2019

The Eagle has crashed: the top secret UPWARD program and Apollo disasters

During planning for the Apollo landings, NASA turned to the NRO to develop a camera system based on reconnaissance satellites for mapping the Moon, including investigating any landing accidents. Dwayne Day examines what is known about the proposed system based on recently declassified information.
Monday, July 1, 2019

Astronomers and Apollo

It took tens of thousands of engineers, technicians, and others to get astronauts to the surface of the Moon 50 years ago. Jeff Foust describes how a few astronomers and other scientists also contributed, in some cases literally guiding the way.
Monday, July 1, 2019

Why the next Space Policy Directive needs to be to the Secretary of Energy

The first four space policy directives from the Trump Administration have dealt with everything from returning humans to the Moon to establishing a Space Force. Peter Garretson argues the next should deal with making use of the energy resources of space.
Monday, July 1, 2019

Reviews: Apollo 11 in graphic detail

As its 50th anniversary approaches, the Apollo 11 mission is being retold in a variety of media. Jeff Foust reviews two graphic novels that recount the mission, and the history of the Space Age, in a mix of text and illustrations.
Monday, July 1, 2019

Visit the Archive for additional articles.