...the who's who,
and the what's what 
of the space industry

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Behnken and Hurley

WASHINGTON — The NASA astronauts who flew on the SpaceX Demo-2 commercial crew vehicle said they were pleasantly surprised at how well the Crew Dragon spacecraft performed.

At an Aug. 4 press conference, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley praised SpaceX and NASA’s commercial crew program for their work developing the Crew Dragon spacecraft that they returned to Earth in two days earlier, completing a mission that lasted a little more than two months.

SpaceX Starship prototype finally flies

Tuesday, 04 August 2020 10:17
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Starship test flight

WASHINGTON — After months of delays and testing setbacks, a prototype of SpaceX’s Starship next-generation reusable launch vehicle made a brief “hop” flight Aug. 4 at the company’s South Texas test site.

The Starship SN5 vehicle, powered by a single Raptor engine, lifted off shortly before 8 p.m.

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Washington DC (UPI) Aug 04, 2020
Two NASA astronauts who returned from space to a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday praised the SpaceX Dragon capsule's performance in their first public comments since the mission. "We're so proud of the SpaceX and NASA teams to get Dragon through its first crewed flight flawlessly," Doug Hurley said. "I'm almost kind of speechless, as far as how well the vehicle did and

AFLCMC Awards Skyborg Contract

Tuesday, 04 August 2020 09:20
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Wright-Patterson AFB OHw (SPX) Jul 27, 2020
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has awarded multiple indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts to The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri; General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California; Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems, Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Palmdale, California. These initial awards will establish a vendor pool tha
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Marignane, France (SPX) Jul 29, 2020
The prototype of Airbus Helicopters' VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) has performed its first free flight. The VSR700 performed a ten minute flight at a drone test centre near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. This is a significant step in the programme following the first flight in November 2019 when the prototype was tethered to comply with regulatory requirements. To enable thi
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Kingston RI (SPX) Aug 03, 2020
For decades, scientists have gathered ancient sediment samples from below the seafloor to better understand past climates, plate tectonics and the deep marine ecosystem. In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers reveal that given the right food in the right laboratory conditions, microbes collected from sediment as old as 100 million years can revive and multiply, even after
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Boston MA (SPX) Aug 03, 2020
The classic dinosaur family tree has two subdivisions of early dinosaurs at its base: the Ornithischians, or bird-hipped dinosaurs, which include the later Triceratops and Stegosaurus; and the Saurischians, or lizard-hipped dinosaurs, such as Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. In 2017, however, this classical view of dinosaur evolution was thrown into question with evidence that perhaps the l
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Cambridge UK (SPX) Aug 03, 2020
Scientists have found that a physical property called 'quantum negativity' can be used to take more precise measurements of everything from molecular distances to gravitational waves. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, Harvard and MIT, have shown that quantum particles can carry an unlimited amount of information about things they have interacted with. The results, reported
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University Park PA (SPX) Aug 03, 2020
The possibility of achieving room temperature superconductivity took a tiny step forward with a recent discovery by a team of Penn State physicists and materials scientists. The surprising discovery involved layering a two-dimensional material called molybdenum sulfide with another material called molybdenum carbide. Molybdenum carbide is a known superconductor - electrons can flow through
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Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Aug 03, 2020
Semiconductors are important materials in numerous functional applications such as digital and analog electronics, solar cells, LEDs, and lasers. Semiconducting alloys are particularly useful for these applications since their properties can be engineered by tuning the mixing ratio or the alloy ingredients. However, the synthesis of multicomponent semiconductor alloys has been a big challenge du
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Dallas TX (SPX) Aug 03, 2020
A material composed of two one-atom-thick layers of carbon has grabbed the attention of physicists worldwide for its intriguing - and potentially exploitable - conductive properties. Dr. Fan Zhang, assistant professor of physics in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at The University of Texas at Dallas, and physics doctoral student Qiyue Wang published an article in June with D
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Render of the ZhengHe near-Earth asteroid/comet orbiter spacecraft.

HELSINKI — China is advancing with development of the Chang’e-7 lunar south pole mission and a complex near-Earth asteroid sample return and comet orbiter project.

The China National Space Administration issued a call (Chinese) late July to Chinese university, middle school and elementary school students for popular science experiments for Chang’e-7, a multi-spacecraft lunar mission, and an asteroid and comet exploration project tentatively named ZhengHe.

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The Starship prototype was built in a few weeks by SpaceX teams on the Texas coast, in Boca Chica (pictured September 2019)
The Starship prototype was built in a few weeks by SpaceX teams on the Texas coast, in Boca Chica (pictured September 2019)

SpaceX on Tuesday successfully completed a flight of less than a minute of the largest prototype ever tested of the future rocket Starship, which the company hopes to use one day to colonize Mars.

"Mars is looking real," SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted in response to a fan.

The current Starship prototype is fairly crude: it's a large metallic cylinder, built in a few weeks by SpaceX teams on the Texas coast, in Boca Chica—but it's still smaller than the actual rocket will be.

Several previous exploded during ground tests, during a learning process of trial and error.

In images shared Tuesday by several space specialists, including the space news website NASASpaceFlight.com, the latest prototype—dubbed SN5—reached an undetermined altitude before descending to land in a cloud of dust, demonstrating good trajectory control.

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Astronauts: SpaceX Dragon capsule 'came alive' on descent
In this frame grab from NASA TV video, astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley wave during a news conference, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Houston. The two NASA astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday in a dramatic, retro-style splashdown carried out by Elon Musk's SpaceX company. (NASA TV via AP)

The astronauts on SpaceX's first crew flight said Tuesday that their Dragon capsule "came alive" and sounded like a beast as it descended through the atmosphere to a smooth splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

Discovering new penguin colonies from space

Tuesday, 04 August 2020 06:00
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Emperor penguins

Satellite images have revealed that there are nearly 20% more emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica than previously thought. Scientists, at the British Antarctic Survey, have used satellite data from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission to track penguin guano, or penguin poo, to monitor the presence of thousands of penguins.

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