SpaceNews: November 25, 2015

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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin just landed a space craft back on Earth

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s private space company Blue Origin has completed a ‘historic’ test flight, after sending a craft to space before successfully landing it on Earth.

Several other reusable rocket-based systems have completed similar sub-orbital tests, though none has made it to orbit and safely back to Earth under its own power. As such it would appear this test, while significant, is a more concretely a “first” for BlueOrigins — and a relatively subtle first for spaceflight as a whole.

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Space tech meets aviation: The hypersonic revolution

151123143559-separationsl7-2-exlarge-169London to Melbourne in 90 minutes? Paris to San Francisco in under an hour? That’s travel at 25 times the speed of sound — or barely enough time to take in an in-flight movie. Few areas of aviation generate wilder predictions than hypersonic flight — but a team in Germany might just have cracked it.

Hypersonic means speeds of Mach 5 or over, or more than five times the speed of sound. Supersonic is Mach 1, or the speed of sound. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are taking their own approach. A team has applied space technology principles to propose what is possibly the world’s most advanced hypersonic airliner concept to date.

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Google, Facebook, SpaceX, OneWeb plan to beam Internet everywhere

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 15.47.29About 57% of the world population is offline — mostly because of unavailable Internet in poor or rural countries. The United Nations set a goal of getting that number down to 50% by the end of 2020.

One problem is cost. Another hurdle: Many nations include huge wilderness areas where hard-wire delivery systems like landlines and towers don’t exist.

Google, Facebook, SpaceX and other outfits plan to beam the Internet from either low-orbiting satellites or high-flying drones and balloons.

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