SpaceShipTwo, repurposed spy telescope and Asteroid Redirect Mission

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Virgin Galactic unveils new ship 16 months after crash

Virgin Galactic is one of several companies that want to take humans to space. The flight plan is pretty dramatic: a large carrier aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo will carry Unity underneath, flying to an altitude of about 15,000 meters (50,000 feet). It releases Unity, which then ignites a rocket engine and thrusts upward to a height of more than 100 kilometers—the Kármán line, the accepted-upon but arbitrary altitude where space “begins”—with passengers experiencing several minutes of microgravity as it falls upward and then back down. It then glides back down to Earth like a plane.

TTo be clear, this is a suborbital flight, essentially up and back down. This takes far less energy and fuel than going into orbit, which requires speeds of 25,000 kph. But oh, what a trip! It’s still a voyage to space, which is exciting, and I’ll note a lot of science can be done on such trips.

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NASA will use repurposed spy telescope for wide-sky survey

NASA is ready to move forward on a new telescope that will have 100 times the field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope and will use old spy-telescope hardware.

The new mission, called the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), is expected to launch in the mid-2020s. It will aim to help scientists better understand dark energy, dark matter, planets around other stars and the universe’s evolution.

The WFIRST mission has been in preparatory studies for years. It received increased public attention when the National Reconnaissance Office (a U.S. intelligence agency) made the surprise decision to give NASA two Hubble-class spy telescopes in 2012, which fit the mission’s parameters. On Wednesday, (Feb. 17), NASA’s Agency Program Management Council made the ultimate decision to pursue the WFIRST program, according to a statement.

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Report suggests NASA fly precursor to Asteroid Redirect Mission

arm_capture-planB-879x485A report released by NASA Feb. 18 found no scientific showstoppers for the agency’s planned Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), but suggested a precursor mission to the selected asteroid could improve the odds of success.

The 21-member Formulation Assessment and Support Team (FAST) was chartered by NASA last fall to examine scientific issues involved with the mission to support development of its first element, a robotic spacecraft called the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM). That spacecraft will travel to a near Earth asteroid, grab a boulder from its surface, and return it to cislunar space.

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A job opening for a CFD Technical Services Engineer, ANSYS (Spain). The Technical Support Engineer  is responsible for helping customers and ANSYS channel partners solve complex engineering problems using ANSYS software products. More information


Build up your space resume by participating in the CFD Launch Simulation challenge. Make a CFD model for spacecraft launching process. You can use any rocket or shuttle model that was launched already. Try to experiment with various weather conditions and find which weather is good enough for aerospace launches. More information

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