I just did a guest post on the Sic Semper Tyrannis blog on the CCtCap and Blue Origin/ULA announcements. They’re aimed at people less familiar with space news than most Selenian Boondocks readers, but I figured I’d link to it so I can say I’ve done at least one post on this blog this month…
NASA announced a pair of contracts worth a total of $6.8 billion to Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station in a press conference today.
The mission for each company: build a ship capable of sending at least four astronauts at a time to the station and demo at least one flight by 2017. Thereafter, deliver two to six more missions each as required by NASA.
The contracts couldn’t come soon enough for NASA, which has, embarrassingly for the U.S. government, had to rely on Russian Soyuz launches to get its crews to the space station since the Space Shuttle retired in 2011. This flies in the face of U.S. sanctions against Russia imposed in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The new contracts are designed to end the reliance on Russia for Space Station crew flights as soon as possible.
Interestingly, the two companies won’t get an equal split of the contract money, even though they are to deliver the same set of milestones. Boeing is to get up to $4.2 billion, while SpaceX stands to make $2.6 billion. A NASA official was asked several times by reporters why Boeing gets more for the same service, but she wouldn’t comment except to say that the award amounts were based on proposals by the two companies.
My own guess is that SpaceX is charging less because it can, and because more affordable spaceflight is one of its primary missions.
Aboard the orbiting International Space Station, Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst tackled a packed agenda Tuesday filled with spacewalk equipment inspections, science support and preparations for the arrival of a commercial cargo craft set to launch early Saturday. Meanwhile on Earth, the three flight engineers who will restore Expedition 41 to its full six-person complement are in the homestretch of training for their launch to the station [...]
Selection Will Return Launches to America.
U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts NASA announced Tuesday. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.
"From day one, the Oba [...]
Our Milky Way galaxy is littered with the still-sizzling remains of exploded stars.
When the most massive stars explode as supernovas, they don't fade into the night, but sometimes glow ferociously with high-energy gamma rays. What powers these energetic stellar remains?
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is helping to untangle the mystery. The observatory's high-energy X-ray eyes were able to peer into a particular site of powerful gamma rays and confirm the sourc [...]
A planet may be causing the star it orbits to act much older than it actually is, according to new data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This discovery shows how a massive planet can affect the behavior of its parent star.
The star, WASP-18, and its planet, WASP-18b, are located about 330 light-years from Earth. WASP-18b has a mass about 10 times that of Jupiter and completes one orbit around its star in less than 23 hours, placing WASP-18b in the “hot Jupiter” category of exoplan [...]
According to the statement made on Monday, Indian spacecraft to Mars is on course, having reached 665 million miles after the launch from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota last November. This allows to say that New Delhi low-cost space technology is on the way to victory aiming to become the only Asian nation to reach the Red Planet.
The rocket carrying the unmanned probe which weighs 350 tons will enter Mars next week after a 10-month journey around the sun.
The rocket engines will be [...]
The U.S. space agency's inspector general says NASA is failing in its congressionally-ordered mission to find 90 percent of potentially dangerous asteroids flying close to Earth.
The official, Paul Martin, Monday criticized the agency's Near Earth Object program as being understaffed and badly managed.
In his report, he says the program has so far found just 10 percent of asteroids and other objects bigger than 140 meters across and flying 45 million kilometers from Earth.
The program i [...]
Galaxies, stars, and a serene reflecting pool combine to create this memorable land and skyscape. The featured panorama is a 12-image mosaic taken last month from the Salar de Atacama salt flat in northern Chile. The calm water is Laguna Cejar, a salty lagoon featuring a large central sinkhole.
On the image left, the astrophotographer's fiancee is seen capturing the same photogenic scene. The night sky is lit up with countless stars, the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies on the left, [...]