Monday, August 15, 2011

Let's go to Brazil!

The Alcântara Launch Center
Within a decade, a new spaceport could rise above the tropical vegetation beside the gleaming Atlantic Ocean. Brand new rockets will thunder aloft from state-of-the-art launch complexes, carrying almost any type of satellite into whatever orbit is required. Revenues will flow into the coffers of new companies.

Cape Canaveral, in the NewSpace era?

No. This one’s just a little further south. And it’s not the one in French Guiana.

The spaceport is named Alcântara. And if Brazil can achieve its space goals for it over the next decade, it could become one of the busiest launch sites in the world, and one of the most lucrative. Located just two degrees from the equator, Alcântara is ideal for launching geosynchronous orbit communications satellites.  Read More...

Check out thier Homepage:  (though I could not find an english version...)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blacker Than Coal...

New Exoplanet is Blacker Than Coal
CAMBRIDGE: A newly discovered exoplanet reflects less than 1% of the sunlight falling on it, making it blacker than coal or any planet or moon in our Solar System.

The distant exoplanet, TrES-2b, is a gas giant the size of Jupiter, rather than a solid, rocky body like Earth or Mars. It orbits the star GSC 03549-02811, which is located about 750 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Draco. (One light-year is about 10 million million kilometres.)  Read More…

US Military Loses Contact with Hypersonic AircraftUS military scientists on Thursday launched a hypersonic aircraft but lost contact with the experimental plane in its second test flight, officials said.

The unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2), designed as a global bomber prototype capable of a mind-boggling 20 times the speed of sound, launched successfully from California aboard a Minotaur IV rocket, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.  Read More…

Russia to Build New Space Center in Far East
Russia is planning to build a 250 billion ruble (8.5 billion U.S. dollar) space center in its Far East, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos told a local newspaper Thursday.

In an interview with the Kommersant daily, Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin said the design process was underway, including ground infrastructure and technical and launch complexes, for the new center, to be located at Vostochny.  Read More…

NASA Selects Seven Firms To Provide Near-Space Flight Services
NASA has selected seven companies to integrate and fly technology payloads on commercial suborbital reusable platforms that carry payloads near the boundary of space.

As part of NASA's Flight Opportunities Program, each successful vendor will receive an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract.  Read More…

GRAIL Launch Less Than One Month Away
NASA's twin lunar probes - GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B - completed their final inspections and were weighed one final time at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla., on Tuesday.

The two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft will orbit the moon in formation to determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust to core and to advance understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon. GRAIL's launch period opens Sept. 8, 2011, and extends through Oct. 19.  Read More…

Solar Storms Building Toward Peak in 2013, NASA Predicts
Solar flares like the huge one that erupted on the sun early today (Aug. 9) will only become more common as our sun nears its maximum level of activity in 2013, scientists say.

Tuesday's flare was the most powerful sun storm since 2006, and was rated an X6.9 on the three-class scale for solar storms (X-Class is strongest, with M-Class in the middle and C-Class being the weakest).

Flares such as this one could become the norm soon, though, as our sun's 11-year cycle of magnetic activity ramps up, scientists explained. The sun is just coming out of a lull, and scientists expect the next peak of activity in 2013. The current cycle, called Solar Cycle 24, began in 2008.  Read More…

Monday, August 1, 2011

Win a Trip to Outer Space!

Check it out!  Are you brave enough?

Space Needle Wants to Send Someone Into Outer Space

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Seattle's iconic Space Needle, the landmark's managers want to put someone into honest-to-goodness outer space.

"We went back to 1962 and questioned why the Space Needle was built," said Ron Sevart, President and CEO of the Pacific Northwest landmark. "It was an optimistic time, a forward-looking time, right in the middle of the space race."

The Space Needle — with its hourglass tower and a top that resembles a flying saucer — embodied the era.  More...