The Space Reviewin association with SpaceNews
 

NSRC 2020

Articles previously published in The Space Review:

December 2005:

Forging a vision: NASA’s Decadal Planning Team and the origins of the Vision for Space Exploration

Long before President Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration nearly two years ago, NASA has been quietly working on its own ideas for future human exploration of the solar system. Dwayne Day and Jeff Foust outline the history of those efforts and the influence they may have had on the creation of the VSE.
Monday, December 19, 2005

The politics and ethics of spending money on space exploration

Many people argue that money spent on NASA would be better put to use for any number of other efforts. Eric Hedman discusses the external and internal challenges NASA faces for funding and what the agency should do to win a bigger slice of the budgetary pie.
Monday, December 19, 2005

The first orbital honeymoon: the next step in space tourism?

Space tourism celebrated several successes in 2005, but what is the next step for the nascent industry? Taylor Dinerman makes the case for an exploration of a different kind of final frontier.
Monday, December 19, 2005

Review: The Planets

Most books about the solar system are lavishly illustrated with the latest images from Hubble and other spacecraft missions. Jeff Foust reviews The Planets, a book that eschews images for a more literary approach.
Monday, December 19, 2005

Welcome to the party, pal!

SpaceX recently filed a lawsuit to block the formation of the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Wayne Eleazer agues that history is not on SpaceX’s side, and that the US government has a long history of trying to eliminate, not promote, competition in launch services.
Monday, December 12, 2005

Review: Life as We Do Not Know It

The nascent field of astrobiology faces a number of challenges, including just how alien life on other worlds might be. Jeff Foust reviews a book by a leading astrobiologist that tackles the nature of life and its prospects elsewhere in the solar system.
Monday, December 12, 2005

Human factors and the new Vision for Space Exploration

Crews of future long-duration space missions face a number of threats to their physical and mental well-being. John Putman examines some of these issues and the role of the ISS in addressing them.
Monday, December 12, 2005

Why does NASA do what it does?

NASA’s evolution over nearly a half-century has been anything but a straightforward progression. Taylor Dinerman uses a new book on the agency to examine the political forces that have shaped it.
Monday, December 12, 2005

A few words with Dick Rutan

Pilot Dick Rutan has flown an impressive array of aircraft, from the around-the-world Voyager to the EZ-Rocket. Mark Trulson interviews Rutan about his career and his thoughts about the future.
Monday, December 12, 2005

The final shuttle flights: how expensive and how necessary?

NASA has, at most, 19 more shuttle missions scheduled between now and the retirement of the fleet in 2010. Taylor Dinerman examines the policy, budget, and other pressures facing the shuttle program, and by extension the Vision for Space Exploration, today.
Monday, December 5, 2005

Pay no attention to the man with the notebook: Hugh Sidey and the Apollo decision

Last month veteran political reporter Hugh Sidey passed away. Dwayne Day describes the role Sidey played in space history, recalling a meeting he attended with President Kennedy and his advisors as the decision to go to the Moon began to take shape.
Monday, December 5, 2005

A model for the international development of the Moon

NASA administrator Michael Griffin recently said that international cooperation would be needed to realize the Vision for Space Exploration. Ryan Zelnio offers one model of how such cooperation would work in an approach that goes beyond simple agreements between space agencies.
Monday, December 5, 2005

A historic space mission nears launch

Next month NASA is scheduled to launch New Horizons, the first spacecraft mission to Pluto. Alan Stern, principal investigator on the mission, gives an overview of the mission and its importance to scientists and to the country in general.
Monday, December 5, 2005

Review: The Space Tourist’s Handbook

Space tourism has gained considerable respectability in the last several years. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers an overview—with a touch of irreverence, deliberate or otherwise—of the field for potential customers.
Monday, December 5, 2005


November 2005:

Just another Apollo? Part two

The Vision for Space Exploration, as implemented by the ESAS plan, is intended to be much more than just returning humans to the Moon. In the second part of his analysis of the program, Daniel Handlin compares the follow-on plans contemplated for Apollo to ESAS, and the need to undertake such exploration in general.
Monday, November 28, 2005

Boldly going: Star Trek and spaceflight

Star Trek has been cited as an inspiration by many who sought careers in the space field. Dwayne Day describes how the nascent space program may have itself provided some inspiration to the producers of that legendary TV series.
Monday, November 28, 2005

NPOESS: another example of technological overreach?

The NPOESS weather satellite program is the latest government space effort to undergo Congressional scrutiny for cost increases and schedule delays. Taylor Dinerman believes this is evidence that the government needs to focus more on evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, improvements in space capabilities.
Monday, November 28, 2005

The high road

Want to get to the high frontier? Sam Dinkin makes the case for burying the hatchets.
Monday, November 28, 2005

Leadership at Johnson Space Center

Earlier this month NASA named Michael Coats as the new director of the Johnson Space Center. Anthony Young examines the history of the center’s directors and finds a sharp difference between its early leaders and their successors.
Monday, November 28, 2005

Just another Apollo? Part one

NASA’s exploration architecture has undergone intense scrutiny, and considerable criticism, since its release two months ago. In the first of a two-part report, Daniel Handlin examines the technical details of the architecture and concludes that this is far more than “Apollo on steroids”.
Monday, November 21, 2005

Going (almost) all the way to Mars

Human expeditions to Mars may well be an expensive endeavor that could take years of planning after humans return to the Moon. Jeff Foust reports that some believe a way to speed up such missions is to send people not to Mars itself but to one of its small moons.
Monday, November 21, 2005

Making the case for Ariane 6

Now that Europe’s Ariane 5 has hit its stride in the launch market, the natural question is what comes next. Taylor Dinerman looks at some of the arguments for developing a successor to the Ariane 5, and when such a vehicle might be needed.
Monday, November 21, 2005

Why Democrats should support space exploration

When President Bush unveiled the Vision for Space Exploration nearly two years ago, many Democrats, particularly at the grassroots level, automatically opposed it. Jeff Brooks argues that the Vision, and space exploration in general, is a natural fit for the Democratic Party’s core beliefs.
Monday, November 21, 2005

Common sense planets

Pluto has been caught in the middle of a long-running debate on how to define the term “planet”, and whether Pluto should qualify as one. Joseph Baneth Allen believes that the answer is obvious, if only astronomers would use a little common sense.
Monday, November 21, 2005

Big plans for SpaceX

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has made bold plans for his company, unveiling successively larger launch vehicles even before his smallest launcher performs its first flight. Jeff Foust reports on even bigger plans for launch vehicles, engines, and markets for commercial space that this entrepreneur has.
Monday, November 14, 2005

Will a new British space policy arise?

A recent report by the Royal Astronomical Society endorsed human spaceflight as a project for the British space program. Taylor Dinerman contemplates what effect this report might have on UK participation in ESA programs as well as the development of domestic space capabilities.
Monday, November 14, 2005

Spaceflight needs a reality check

The past several weeks have seen SpaceX sue to block the formation of the United Launch Alliance and Kistler Aerospace lay off employees as its financial backer cuts back on its funding. Eric Hedman sees these developments as evidence for the need of a rationalization of the commercial launch industry.
Monday, November 14, 2005

Review: Orbiter space flight simulator

Orbiter is an application that turns a PC into a simulator for a wide range of actual and fictional spacecraft. Bruce Irving reviews the program and finds that it is both educational and addictive.
Monday, November 14, 2005

Chasing the Challenge

Masten Space Systems is one a number of entrepreneurial space ventures that has expressed an interest in NASA’s Centennial Challenges prize program. Mark Trulson interviews Masten engineer Jon Goff about the company’s suborbital vehicle development effort and how it might compete for a prize.
Monday, November 14, 2005

Mysterious dragon: myth and reality of the Chinese space program

There are regular, often conflicting reports about Chinese plans for space exploration and military space operations. Dwayne Day cuts through the rhetoric to find that China and the US often misinterpret each others’ space policies and plans.
Monday, November 7, 2005

Could the X Prize Cup help NASA develop a Lunar RLV?

Last month NASA announced plans to work with the X Prize Foundation on new prizes, including a lunar lander analog challenge. Taylor Dinerman believes that this is the first step towards the development of an RLV for the Moon.
Monday, November 7, 2005

Exploiting the Moon and saving the Earth

There have been many ideas put forward for returning humans to the Moon, but none perhaps as big as saving the Earth. Jeff Foust reports on one proposal to use privately-developed lunar resources to combat global warming.
Monday, November 7, 2005

The first launch crisis

Many launch vehicles have stumbled over the years because they required an all-up test of a relatively large launcher. Charles Pooley describes an alternative approach modeled on the PC industry, starting with much smaller rockets.
Monday, November 7, 2005

Needed: a change of focus

Debates about the utility of space exploration have almost always focused on the scientific benefits. Hans Starlife argues that a different approach, one that focuses on the growth of life beyond Earth, is necessary for human spaceflight to win over the general public.
Monday, November 7, 2005


October 2005:

A piece of the last true man

Neil Armstrong has maintained a low profile, at least relative to some of his former colleagues, since the Apollo program. Dwayne Day takes issue with a recent book review that subtly criticized Armstrong, instead seeing Armstrong as a rare man of character.
Monday, October 31, 2005

An interview with Sam Dinkin, CEO of SpaceShot

Sam Dinkin is a regular columnist at The Space Review, but he is also an entrepreneur starting a new space company. Rob Wilson turns the tables on Dinkin, interviewing him about SpaceShot and his plans to give away trips to space.
Monday, October 31, 2005

Reviews: Looking back at Apollo

NASA’s plans to return to the Moon offer a new opportunity for retrospection regarding the Apollo program and the astronauts who first traveled to the Moon. Jeff Foust reviews a book and a PBS documentary that take different looks on Apollo.
Monday, October 31, 2005

Were the shuttle and ISS mistakes?

NASA administrator Michael Griffin made waves a few weeks ago by suggesting that the shuttle and station programs have been failures. Eric Hedman examines this argument and sees lessons in them for the Vision for Space Exploration.
Monday, October 31, 2005

Giving future human space explorers the credit they’re due

People have long debated whether it is better to explore Mars with humans or robots. Anthony Kendall makes the case for human exploration, noting that the far higher efficiency of humans over robots may make human exploration cheaper in the long run.
Monday, October 31, 2005

The debate over ESAS

NASA’s Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) has gotten a lukewarm response since its introduction last month, not just in the media but among some space advocacy groups as well. Jeff Foust reports on what some of those groups find wrong with ESAS, and how they would do things differently.
Monday, October 24, 2005

In the service of the Emperor

One of the major aspects of China’s manned space program is the international prestige the country gains from it. Dwayne Day discusses how this explains the relatively slow pace of the Chinese program as well as its inevitable diminishing returns.
Monday, October 24, 2005

The US Navy: lost in space?

Much of the attention regarding military space problems has been focused on the Air Force. However, Taylor Dinerman notes that the US Navy also has some serious issues regarding space programs to address.
Monday, October 24, 2005

Priming the pump for lunar PGM mining

The Moon may be a major source of platinum group metals, but a major challenge is funding the mining of those metals should they exist. Bill White offers a means to help fund the initial mining efforts by creating some unique souvenirs.
Monday, October 24, 2005

Gallery: SpaceShipOne at the Smithsonian

Photos from the dedication of SpaceShipOne at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington earlier this month.
Monday, October 24, 2005

To the Moon: together or separately?

The United States is one of several countries planning robotic missions to the Moon in the next several years. Jeff Foust reviews these various national efforts and the prospects for international cooperation in lunar exploration.
Monday, October 17, 2005

Italy: seeking to maintain its political equilibrium in space

Italy is not considered a major space power, but some in that country want to change that. Taylor Dinerman discusses how Italy plans to balance its participation in ESA with its own missions and cooperation with NASA.
Monday, October 17, 2005

Astronaut Herrington makes no bones about it (part 3)

Sam Dinkin wraps up his interview with former NASA astronaut and current Rocketplane Ltd. test pilot John Herrington with an extended discussion on NASA and commercialization, as well as the awe of space travel.
Monday, October 17, 2005

Risk management: our daily game of Russian Roulette

How we deal with risks is a factor not just in our everyday lives, but in NASA’s current and future programs. Eric Hedman claims that NASA is being unrealistic in assigning specific odds of failure to the Crew Exploration Vehicle given its many uncertainties and unknown factors.
Monday, October 17, 2005

Gallery: More X Prize Cup highlights

Additional photos from the Countdown to the X Prize Cup, held October 9 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Monday, October 17, 2005

A day at the space show

Thousands attended the inaugural Countdown to the X Prize Cup event Sunday in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Jeff Foust reports on the successes and failures at this event, part traditional air show and part harbinger of the future of commercial spaceflight.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Gallery: X Prize Cup highlights

Images of the highlights of the Countdown to the X Prize Cup event October 9 in Las Cruces.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Red Moon. Dark Moon.

As China gears up for its second manned spaceflight, some believe the country is planning to race the US back to the Moon. Dwayne Day looks to history for ways to determine if China has a manned lunar program.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

INA: on its way out?

Congress is working on amending the Iran Nonproliferation Act to remove barriers to NASA’s purchase of Russian Soyuz flight services. Taylor Dinerman believes that while this approach will work for the short-term, it may also have unforeseen long-term consequences.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Astronaut Herrington makes no bones about it (part 2)

In the second part of his interview with Sam Dinkin, former NASA astronaut John Herrington describes his work as a test pilot with Rocketplane Ltd. and his acceptance of risk.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

When “about time” equals “too late”

NASA administrator Michael Griffin recently made waves when he suggested that the shuttle program may have been a mistake. Wayne Eleazer argues that, for the US launch industry, that assessment comes decades too late.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Astronaut Herrington makes no bones about it

In the first part of an extended interview with the former astronaut and current Rocketplane test pilot, Sam Dinkin talks with John Herrington about his NASA and Navy career and his Oklahoma heritage.
Monday, October 3, 2005

“Bone” Herrington picked for Rocketplane

John Herrington has traded in his career as a NASA astronaut and Navy aviator for a job as test pilot for Rocketplane Inc. Sam Dinkin provides some background on Herrington and the role he will play in opening the commercial door to space.
Monday, October 3, 2005

The reaction to the exploration plan

The response to NASA’s new exploration architecture over the last two weeks has been lukewarm, at best. Jeff Foust studies some of the arguments made in the media against the plan, and suggests that NASA needs to do a better job explaining why, not how, humans should go back to the Moon.
Monday, October 3, 2005

Ex Luna, Scientia

Lost in the discussion of whether and how humans should return to the Moon is the topic of the science such missions could provide. Alan Stern discusses the planetary science and other studies that the resumption of human lunar exploration offers.
Monday, October 3, 2005

Review: Astropolitik: Classical Geopolitics in the Space Age

Policy and space have been intertwined since the beginning of the Space Age, for better or for worse. Taylor Dinerman reviews a book that offers a well-reasoned, if potentially controversial, examination of the issues regarding space policy today.
Monday, October 3, 2005

Human factors in commercial suborbital flight: Radiation exposure and weightlessness

How serious a concern is radiation on a brief suborbital spaceflight? In the conclusion of his ongoing series on the medical effects of suborbital spaceflight, John Jurist examines the issues of radiation exposure and weightlessness on passengers and crew.
Monday, October 3, 2005


September 2005:

X Prize losers: still in the race, not doing anything, or too seXy for the X Cup?

When SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X Prize nearly a year ago, it meant that about two dozen other teams lost. Robin Snelson checks out what happened to those other teams, and sees who is planning to participate in next month’s X Prize Cup exhibition.
Monday, September 26, 2005

Can NASA keep its side of the trans-Potomac bargain?

An agreement last month between NASA and the Defense Department clears the way for NASA to develop shuttle-derived launch vehicles while making greater use of the EELV. Taylor Dinerman reports that some in the DoD are concerned that NASA won’t live up to its end of the deal.
Monday, September 26, 2005

Review: Magnificent Desolation

What do you get when you combine Tom Hanks’ love of space with the IMAX 3D format? Jeff Foust reviews Magnificent Desolation, a visually stunning reenactment of the Apollo Moon landings.
Monday, September 26, 2005

Gallery: Magnificent Desolation premiere

Images from the September 21 world premiere of Magnificent Desolation at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
Monday, September 26, 2005

Magnificent opportunity missed

Last week’s gala premiere of Magnificent Desolation was open only to invited guests and the media. Tom Hill explains why shutting out the public could hurt NASA’s efforts to promote a new return to the Moon.
Monday, September 26, 2005

Letters: Whose space security?

Last week’s article about a space security hearing generated letters from readers with varying viewpoints on the topic.
Monday, September 26, 2005

Where do we go from here? Making the Vision for Space Exploration a reality

As NASA prepares to unveil a new strategy for sending humans back to the Moon, a key issue is how to maintain momentum for that strategy with future Presidents and Congresses. Daniel Handlin argues that NASA should accelerate the VSE as much as possible to make it difficult for future politicians to change course.
Monday, September 19, 2005

The Moon and the Tragedy of the Refrigerator

When limited resources are freely available, they tend to be overconsumed with a lack of investment. Sam Dinkin explains how property rights can prevent this from happening on the Moon.
Monday, September 19, 2005

Whose space security?

The concept of weapons in space remains a hot-button issue for many in the space community. Taylor Dinerman is disappointed with the arguments put forward by many at a recent international hearing on the topic.
Monday, September 19, 2005

Smallsats and standardization

As small satellites take on new missions, there is a push underway to standardize aspects of their design. Jeff Foust explains the approaches being considered, and why some think standardization may be premature.
Monday, September 19, 2005

Canadian robotics and the future of space exploration

Canada has established a niche for itself in space exploration with the robotic arms it has developed for the shuttle and ISS. Sumitra Rajagopalan explains how that nation can leverage that to take a leading role in the future human exploration of space.
Monday, September 19, 2005

The trouble with space stations

The International Space Station has proven to be a far more difficult project than its proponents—and even some if its detractors—originally imagined. Jeff Foust reports on what a panel of experts thinks are the technical and managerial roots of the problems that affect the ISS and space stations in general.
Monday, September 12, 2005

NASA’s Florida infrastructure: the next generation

As NASA embarks on the Vision for Space Exploration, it must not overlook critical ground-based infrastructure. Taylor Dinerman makes the case for replacing the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building.
Monday, September 12, 2005

The most important in situ resource is money

NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is all about fulfillment of space needs. Sam Dinkin argues NASA should be researching revenue sources.
Monday, September 12, 2005

Copernicus smiled

Planetary science is awakening to the realization that our solar system contains many more planets than any 20th century textbook ever envisioned. Alan Stern explains why this is not your father’s solar system.
Monday, September 12, 2005

The Astrazoic Eon

We are at the beginning of an era when there are always people living off the Earth. Phil Smith discusses the significance of this and what is needed to firmly pull humanity off the surface of the Earth.
Monday, September 12, 2005

Letter: response to “SETI politics”

Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute responds to a recent article about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, arguing that while interstellar travel is not infeasible, it is likely to only involve robots, not people.
Monday, September 12, 2005

The hurricane and the vision

New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still reeling from Hurricane Katrina, a storm that may have claimed thousands of lives and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. Jeff Foust examines some of the short- and long-term consequences of this disaster on NASA, the shuttle program, and the Vision for Space Exploration.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

TSAT: unobtainium urgently needed

The Defense Department is planning a new generational of “transformational” communications satellites that will provide the high-bandwidth communications military planners envision needing in the years to come. Taylor Dinerman cautions that the TSAT program, as currently proposed, might represent the wrong technical and operational approach.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Review: Gaia Selene

The need to settle the solar system has often been told in books, but less frequently in video. Douglas Jobes reviews the documentary Gaia Selene, which makes the case for settling the Moon in order to save the Earth.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

SETI politics

Supporters of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence have had to walk a fine line to avoid being lumped together with UFO fanatics. Gregory Anderson wonders if, in the process, SETI researchers have put themselves in a box regarding interstellar travel.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Advocating colonization

Why colonize the Moon, or anywhere else in the universe? Sam Dinkin writes that it’s all about the children.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005


August 2005:

When I’m not in prison I’m an astronomer

In the hierarchy of astronomers, those who study the solar system rank at the bottom, far beneath those who study more distant, esoteric phenomena. Dwayne Day suggests, though, that the discovery of a new planet could elevate planetary astronomers’ standing—provided they classify this new discovery as a planet.
Monday, August 29, 2005

General (Rocket) Motors

Most of the attention regarding the nascent space tourism industry has focused on companies planning to build or operate spacecraft. Sam Dinkin identifies some other business opportunities that space tourism will help create.
Monday, August 29, 2005

Review: Roving Mars

One of the highlights of space exploration in recent years has been the stunningly successful twin Mars Exploration Rovers. Phil Smith reviews Roving Mars, an insider’s account of the long history behind the mission and the many difficulties faced by those who worked on it.
Monday, August 29, 2005

A few lessons from the return to flight

The recent STS-114 shuttle mission was a success in many respects, but also revealed that NASA has more work to do on shuttle safety issues. Taylor Dinerman discusses the lessons learned from this mission that can be applied to future shuttle missions as well as successor spacecraft.
Monday, August 29, 2005

The Space Flag

Advocates of human spaceflight and colonization have struggled to find means to publicize and symbolize their case. Michael Huang argues that a unique flag might be a tool to aid the cause.
Monday, August 29, 2005

Nuclear waste in space?

Reducing launch costs is a major problem. Nuclear waste is also a major problem. Jonathan Coopersmith describes a technical solution that could offer cheap space access as well as a means of safely disposing of nuclear waste.
Monday, August 22, 2005

Working on the Moon

As NASA makes plans for a return to the Moon, one critical area of development will be a new generation of spacesuits for use on the lunar surface. Dwayne Day reports on the lessons that can be learned in that regard from the Apollo program.
Monday, August 22, 2005

Russia, space tourism, and exploration

This month Space Adventures announced it was partnering with RSC Energia to offer commercial Soyuz missions around the Moon. Taylor Dinerman believes that this may be the opening for a larger role for Russia within NASA’s exploration plans.
Monday, August 22, 2005

Building a foundation for space settlement

Very little is spent today on commercial launch activities, keeping prices high and ventures grounded. Sam Dinkin suggests that a little charitable giving—before or after death—might kickstart space settlement.
Monday, August 22, 2005

Review: China’s Space Program

The upcoming flight of Shenzhou 6 will again focus attention on the current state and future plans of the Chinese space program. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a much-needed overview of that country’s secretive space efforts.
Monday, August 22, 2005

The Woodstock of Mars

The Mars Society faces new challenges now that the concept of human exploration of Mars has become part of US national space policy. Tom Hill reports on developments from the annual Mars Society Conference last week in Colorado.
Monday, August 15, 2005

More international delusions

Given all the past problems associated with international cooperation, does an international space agency make sense? Taylor Dinerman takes aim at a proposal recently published in France to create just that.
Monday, August 15, 2005

Voyages to alien worlds

TV shows and movies are replete with science fiction programming that features incorrect, improbable, or just plain bad science. Dwayne Day reviews two docudramas available on DVD that make an effort to be far more accurate.
Monday, August 15, 2005

Go granny go!

When you picture a space tourist, does the image of a male billionaire come to mind? Sam Dinkin challenges those stereotypes as he interviews a 65-year-old grandmother who is ready and willing to be the first suborbital space tourist.
Monday, August 15, 2005

Human factors in commercial suborbital flight: Failure modes and survival strategies

While suborbital space tourism has been billed as a risky adventure, vehicle operators will still focus heavily on safety. John Jurist examines the various failure modes suborbital vehicles will face and what steps developers can take to mitigate them.
Monday, August 15, 2005

Richard Garriott and the beginnings of space tourism

Richard Garriott has had a long successful career in the world of computer games, but few people know of his small but key role he has played in space tourism. Sam Dinkin interviews Garriott to learn more about Garriott’s past accomplishments and future plans.
Monday, August 8, 2005

Engineering simple solutions to complex problems

The recent EAA AirVenture show, featuring SpaceShipOne, coincided with the shuttle launch and foam shedding problem. Eric Hedman uses the opportunity to compare the tradeoffs between simplicity and complexity in the two vehicles, and offers other insights on SpaceShipOne from Oshkosh.
Monday, August 8, 2005

Oriana Fallaci on the way to the Moon

Five years before men walked on the Moon, Italian author Oriana Fallaci visited NASA to learn more about the people making those missions possible. Taylor Dinerman recalls Fallaci’s book and the spirit both she and those she interviewed embodied.
Monday, August 8, 2005

Astrosociology and the space community

Soft sciences like sociology and the hard sciences and engineering have not worked together much throughout the history of space exploration. Jim Pass proposes the development of a new discipline, astrosociology, designed to bring the two together.
Monday, August 8, 2005

Gallery: SpaceShipOne at Oshkosh

A gallery of photos of SpaceShipOne and White Knight taken at the EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last month.
Monday, August 8, 2005

Foam and the limits of foresight

The joy of the shuttle’s return to flight last week soon gave way to concern when images revealed a large chunk of foam came off the external tank. CAIB staff members Dwayne A. Day and Christopher Kirchhoff describe how accident investigators turned up the possibility of foam loss from the tank’s PAL structure more than two years earlier.
Monday, August 1, 2005

The past meets the future in Oshkosh

One of the stars of last week’s EAA AirVenture show was SpaceShipOne, stopping there en route to the Smithsonian. Eric Hedman provides an account of the historic spaceship’s visit to Oshkosh and what its designers have in store for the future.
Monday, August 1, 2005

A tentative ceasefire in the trans-Potomac launcher wars

NASA and the Defense Department have been debating whether the space agency should use shuttle or EELV-derived designs for the launch vehicles needed to carry out the exploration vision. Taylor Dinerman reports that the apparent decision to adopt a shuttle-derived approach probably serves both sides well.
Monday, August 1, 2005

Interview: two guys at the vanguard (part 4)

Sam Dinkin wraps up his interview with TGV Rockets COO Earl Renaud by discussing intellectual property, autonomous flight, and when his vehicles will be mature enough to serve the space tourism market.
Monday, August 1, 2005

Preview: Magnificent Desolation

The biggest movie to hit the really big screen this fall will have nothing to do with wizards or giant apes. Jeff Foust offers a preview of Magnificent Desolation, the Tom Hanks-produced IMAX 3D movie about the Apollo missions.
Monday, August 1, 2005


July 2005:

A vision for commercialization

The space industry has been eagerly awaiting how new NASA administrator Michael Griffin will put his stamp on the Vision for Space Exploration. Jeff Foust reports that, among other things, the plan will require an unprecedented amount of commercialization.
Monday, July 25, 2005

Interview: two guys at the vanguard (part 3)

Sam Dinkin continues his interview with TGV Rockets COO Earl Renaud, examining the importance of simple, fast vehicle turnarounds and why the height of highway bridges is a critical factor in vehicle design.
Monday, July 25, 2005

Near space: balloons, satellites, and suborbital rockets

The Air Force is looking at using balloons in so-called “near space” to provide communications and reconnaissance services for tactical forces. Taylor Dinerman looks at the effectiveness of this approach versus using satellites and suborbital RLVs.
Monday, July 25, 2005

The first woman on the Moon

This week the space shuttle is scheduled to lift off with Eileen Collins in command. Anthony Young wonders when the first woman will walk on the Moon.
Monday, July 25, 2005

Review: The Real Space Cowboys

When does a book’s bonus disc outshine the book itself? The Space Review asks that question as it reviews the book The Real Space Cowboys.
Monday, July 25, 2005

The real lessons of international cooperation in space

Recent anniversaries for the Apollo-Soyuz and Shuttle-Mir programs have provided an opportunity for astronauts and cosmonauts to give their own rosy opinions of these missions. James Oberg offers a more sober assessment of how such international cooperation affected geopolitics and space endeavors.
Monday, July 18, 2005

Gallery: Apollo-Soyuz Test Project 30th Anniversary

Images from a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Apollo-Soyuz, held last week in Washington.
Monday, July 18, 2005

Interview: two guys at the vanguard (part 2)

Sam Dinkin continues his interview with TGV Rockets COO Earl Renaud by examining the tradeoffs between operations costs, development costs, and performance.
Monday, July 18, 2005

Will NASA support space entrepreneurs?

The retirement of the shuttle and current law greatly restricts how NASA can access the ISS in the near future. Taylor Dinerman makes the case for promoting commercial access to the station as a solution.
Monday, July 18, 2005

Human factors in commercial suborbital flight: Impact acceleration: an extreme skydiving experience

Passengers on commercial suborbital spacecraft may be subject to strong accelerations during their flights. Dr. John Jurist looks at the effects of short-duration accelerations and how they might apply to an extreme version of skydiving.
Monday, July 18, 2005

Interview: two guys at the vanguard (part 1)

TGV Rockets stands out from other suborbital vehicle developers by spurning space tourism in favor of other markets. In the first part of an extended interview, Sam Dinkin discusses markets and engineering philosophy with TGV COO Earl Renaud.
Monday, July 11, 2005

2009: a space vision

With less than three and a half years until the next Presidential election, it’s not too soon to start thinking about where potential candidates stand on space issues. Chris Carberry reviews the various political issues facing space exploration through the 2008 election.
Monday, July 11, 2005

A stroll down Abbey Lane

A report by George Abbey and Neal Lane published last month lays out some problems facing US space policy. Jeff Foust reviews the report and finds some flaws in their analysis, but also some recommendations worth keeping.
Monday, July 11, 2005

Return to flight: has NASA changed enough?

This week marks the long-awaited return to flight of the space shuttle. Taylor Dinerman examines whether the space agency’s culture has changed enough to successfully fly out the remaining shuttle missions.
Monday, July 11, 2005

Big claims, little evidence

How big of a role did Lyndon B. Johnson play in starting—or stopping—the space race with the Soviet Union? Dwayne Day argues that a recent two-part article on the subject overstated Johnson’s influence.
Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Two guys at the vanguard

TGV Rockets has been beating the drum for suborbital for a long time. Sam Dinkin asks if they have identified the suborbital killer app.
Tuesday, July 5, 2005

More on space weapons

The concept of placing weapons—offensive or defensive—in space has proven to be a hot-button issue. Taylor Dinerman continues the public debate.
Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Human factors in commercial suborbital flight: What does acceleration do to the human body?

Strong acceleration is one of the hallmarks of the spaceflight experience, but how significant are its effects on the human body? In his latest column, Dr. John Jurist examines the medical effects of acceleration and what it means for space tourism.
Tuesday, July 5, 2005

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