UW-Madison: Dark energy to be topic of Space Place event

"To Infinity and Beyond: The Accelerating Universe," a live broadcast from the World Science Festival about dark energy, an antigravitational force that confounds the conventional laws of physics, will be hosted on the evening of May 28 by UW-Madison'sSpace Place.

Originating from New York and moderated by internationally known theoretical physicist and bestselling author Lawrence Krauss, the broadcast will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Space Place, the UW-Madison astronomy outreach outpost, is located in the Villager Mall, 2300 S. Park St. The event will be held in the mall atrium.

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IceCube telescope: Extreme science meets extreme electronics

Junko Yoshida
EE Times


MADISON, Wis. — The world’s largest telescope, currently under construction more than a mile beneath the Antarctic ice, is on schedule to be completed next year, according to a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, the lead institution for a scientific project called IceCube.

Ninety-five percent of the IceCube telescope, consisting of thousands of digital optical modules developed for scientists working to understand the universe, is already installed and operating at the South Pole, said Albrecht Karle, a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an interview with EE Times.

The IceCube telescope is no ordinary apparatus. With a volume of one cubic kilometer, the instrument is pointed not to the sky, but downward towards the center of the Earth, buried beneath tons of ice in the coldest spot in the world. No one will ever “look through” this telescope. Instead, it will convey its findings through vast arrays of digital sensors.

Scientists backed by the National Science Foundation are looking for very small, very elusive particles called neutrinos that can tell scientists much more about the universe than photons or charged particles.

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Femtoseconds lasers help formation flying

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has helped to establish that femtosecond comb lasers can provide accurate measurement of absolute distance in formation flying space missions.

NPL, along with collaborators, produced technical reports for the European Space Agency (ESA). The conclusions demonstrated that the lasers were a suitable method for measurement in such missions.

Formation flying missions involve multiple spacecraft flying between tens and hundreds of metres apart, which autonomously control their position relative to each other. The benefit of such missions is they can gather data in a completely different way to a standard spacecraft – the formation can effectively act as one large sensor.

Measuring absolute distance between the formation spacecraft is critical to mission success. Femtosecond comb lasers are an accurate way of making such measurements. The lasers emit light with very short pulses – each lasting just a few femtoseconds (a femtosecond is one billionth of one millionth of a second). The short pulses allow time of flight measurements to be used to determine distance to a few microns.

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UWM lab crunches data to seek mysterious gravitational waves

By MARK JOHNSON

markjohnson@journalsentinel.com
Posted: March 9, 2008

From outside Room 223, you can hear Nemo roar.

Open the door and a deafening drone emanates from 780 gleaming metallic computers and the fans tirelessly cooling them, and the air conditioners keeping the whole room from cooking like a hundred space heaters. Blue lights blink like distant stars from one group of computers; green lights blink from another. The machines in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's physics building have been networked together to form the supercomputer dubbed Nemo.

Nemo represents mankind's best effort to find a gravitational wave.

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Wow! Astronomers Explode a Virtual Star

Jeanna Bryner
Staff Writer
SPACE.comThu Mar 22, 5:30 PM ET

For years astronomers have tried in vain to blow up an Earth-size star using strings of computer code. Finally, mission accomplished. And the resulting 3-D simulation has revealed the step-by-step process that fuels such an explosion.

Dubbed white dwarfs, stars about the size of Earth and weighing as much as the Sun end their lives with quite a show. When their core furnace begins to burn out, white dwarfs explode in so-called type-1a supernovas that astronomers say could be responsible for producing most of the iron in the universe.

Until now, a peek beneath the hood of such a white-dwarf explosion has been tricky.

Prior attempts to produce the simulated explosion required scientists manually tell the computer model to detonate the star, which meant the model was not quite right or it would have generated its own cataclysm. With more tweaking of models, University of Chicago scientists generated natural detonations of white dwarf stars in simplified, two-dimensional simulations.

"There were claims made that it wouldn't work in 3-D," said Don Lamb, director of the University of Chicago's Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes. With some extreme computing, the team produced a 3-D detonation.

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Lunar dust 'may harm astronauts'

By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News, Houston
 

Scientists are investigating the possible threat posed to astronauts by inhaling lunar dust.

A study suggests the smallest particles in lunar dust might be toxic, if comparisons with dust inhalation cases on Earth apply.

Teams hope to carry out experiments on mice to determine whether this is the case or not.

Nasa has set up a working group to look into the matter ahead of its planned return to the Moon by 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A team at the University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville is also looking at ways of using magnets to filter dust from the living environments of lunar bases and spacecraft.

 

 

 

 

The health effects of inhaling lunar dust have been recognised since Nasa's Apollo missions.

 

 

Astronaut Harrison H (Jack) Schmitt, the last man to step on to the Moon in Apollo 17, complained of "lunar dust hay fever" when his dirty space suit contaminated the habitation module after an energetic foray on the lunar surface.

 

 

The US space agency (Nasa) is now keen to assess the effects of more prolonged exposure and to address the problem before humans are sent back to the Moon in just over a decade.

 

 

Details of the work were presented to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas.

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Privateer Elon Musk has launched his budget rocket, Falcon-1, from the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific.

The 21m-long vehicle lifted off at 1810 California time (0110 GMT) and rose to an altitude of 320km (200 miles).

Mr Musk, who co-founded the internet financial system PayPal, wants to lower the cost of access to space.

The flight did not achieve all its goals, but the he said it demonstrated the vision of his Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX).

The mission was the second attempt to loft the rocket; the first, in March 2006, ended when a fire fed by a fuel leak led to the shut down of the main-stage engine just 29 seconds after lift-off.

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UW-Madison stellerator a step forward in plasma research

March 9, 2007

A project by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has come one step closer to making fusion energy possible.

The research team, headed by electrical and computer engineering Professor David Anderson and research assistant John Canik, recently proved that the Helically Symmetric eXperiment (HSX), an odd-looking magnetic plasma chamber called a stellarator, can overcome a major barrier in plasma research, in which stellarators lose too much energy to reach the high temperatures needed for fusion.

Published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, the new results show that the unique design of the HSX in fact loses less energy, meaning that fusion in this type of stellarator could be possible.

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Probe studies 'extreme physics'

By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News, Seattle

A pioneering US space agency spacecraft is set to launch on a mission to explore the most energetic phenomena in the Universe.
The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (Glast) has been described as an "extreme physics" laboratory.

The probe is due to launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral base in November on a Boeing Delta II rocket.

The team presented details of the mission at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

As its name suggests, Glast will detect the emissions of gamma rays in space. Gamma rays are the most energetic form of radiation known to science.
Examples of energetic phenomena to be probed by Glast include active galaxies, which spew massive amounts of energy from their centres.

This explosive outpouring is thought to be powered by supermassive black holes.

Other targets for Glast include pulsars - rotating neutron stars which emit radio waves - as well as the remnants of exploded stars, and galaxy clusters.

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Very high frequency radiation makes dark matter visible

The stars and gas which are seen in galaxies account for only a few percent of the gravitating material in the Universe. Most of the rest has remained stubbornly invisible and is now thought to be made of a new form of matter never yet seen on Earth. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics have discovered, however, that a sufficiently big radio telescope could make a picture of everything that gravitates, rivalling the images made by optical telescopes of everything that shines (online: 28. November 2006).

As light travels to us from distant objects its path is bent slightly by the gravitational effects of the things it passes. This effect was first observed in 1919 for the light of distant stars passing close to the surface of the Sun, proving Einstein's theory of gravity to be a better description of reality than Newton's. The bending causes a detectable distortion of the images of distant galaxies analogous to the distortion of a distant scene viewed through a poor window-pane or reflected in a rippled lake. The strength of the distortion can be used to measure the strength of the gravity of the foreground objects and hence their mass. If distortion measurements are available for a sufficiently large number of distant galaxies, these can be combined to make a map of the entire foreground mass.

This technique has already produced precise measurements of the typical mass associated with foreground galaxies, as well as mass maps for a number of individual galaxy clusters. It nevertheless suffers from some fundamental limitations. Even a big telescope in space can only see a limited number of background galaxies, a maximum of about 100,000 in each patch of sky the size of the Full Moon. Measurements of about 200 galaxies must be averaged together to detect the gravitational distortion signal, so the smallest area for which the mass can be imaged is about 0.2% that of the Full Moon. The resulting images are unacceptably blurred and are too grainy for many purposes. For example, only the very largest lumps of matter (the biggest clusters of galaxies) can be spotted in such maps with any confidence. A second problem is that many of the distant galaxies whose distortion is measured lie in front of many of the mass lumps which one would like to map, and so are unaffected by their gravity. To make a sharp image of the mass in a given direction requires more distant sources and requires many more of them. MPA scientists Ben Metcalf and Simon White have shown that radio emission coming to us from the epoch before the galaxies had formed can provide such sources.

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Robots May Allow Surgery in Space

Robots May Allow Surgery in Space

By CHUCK BROWN
The Associated Press
Thursday, October 27, 2005; 7:16 AM

OMAHA, Neb. -- Small robots designed by University of Nebraska researchers may allow doctors on Earth to help perform surgery on patients in space.

The tiny, wheeled robots, which are about 3 inches tall and as wide as a lipstick case, can be slipped into small incisions and computer-controlled by surgeons in different locations.

"We think this is going to replace open surgery," Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov said at a Wednesday news conference. Oleynikov is a specialist in minimally invasive and computer-assisted surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

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Large New World Discovered Beyond Neptune

Large New World Discovered Beyond Neptune
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 29 July 2005
11:08 am ET

A newfound object in our solar system's outskirts may be larger than any known world after Pluto, scientists said today.

It also has a moon.

Designated as 2003 EL61, the main object in the two-body system is 32 percent as massive as Pluto and is estimated to be about 70 percent of Pluto's diameter.

Other news reports that the object could be twice as big as Pluto are false, according to two astronomers who found the object in separate studies and another expert who has analyzed the data.

If the mass is only one-third that of Pluto, then theory holds that it can't be larger than Pluto, according to Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Center, which serves as a clearinghouse for data on all newfound objects in the solar system.

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Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company

Richard Branson and Burt Rutan Form Spacecraft Building Company
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 27 July 2005
03:09 pm ET

British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, has teamed up with aerospace designer, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites to form a new aerospace production company. The new firm will build a fleet of commercial suborbital spaceships and launch aircraft.

Called The Spaceship Company, the new entity will manufacture launch aircraft, various spacecraft and support equipment and market those products to spaceliner operators. Clients include launch customer, Virgin Galactic—formed by Branson to handle space tourist flights.

The Spaceship Company is jointly owned by Branson’s Virgin Group and Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. Scaled will be contracted for research and development testing and certification of a 9-person SpaceShipTwo (SS2) design, and a White Knight Two (WK2) mothership to be called Eve. Rutan will head up the technical development team for the SS2/WK2 combination.

Drawing from SpaceShipOne technology

The announcement was made today at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture gathering being held July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The yearly event spotlights homebuilt aircraft, antiques, classics, warbirds, ultralights, rotorcraft—as well as the emerging commercial spaceflight business.

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Engineer who worked on Apollo space program dies

Engineer who worked on Apollo space program dies

The Associated Press
BARNSTABLE, Mass. -- Edward Schwarm, an electrical engineer whose work on the Apollo space program helped NASA land the first man on the moon, died of skin cancer last month at his home on Cape Cod. He was 82.

Schwarm was working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when the school teamed up with NASA on the Apollo missions.

He developed some of the technology used in the Apollo 11 mission, the first lunar landing, and was part of the team that helped the Apollo 13 astronauts return safely to Earth.

Schwarm also was an accomplished inventor who owned 11 patents for innovations in space aviation and electronic power systems.

"He was an inventor, and he always looked at problems from a practical view," said his daughter, Shutesbury resident Claudia Gere.

During World War II, the Milwaukee native left the University of Wisconsin at Madison to join the Army.

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Sensitive Skin Covering for Robots Proposed

Sensitive Skin Covering for Robots Proposed

NASA -- The ballerina gracefully dances on a small stage. She is followed not by a male partner, but by a robotic arm manipulator that seems to sense her every move. For NASA Goddard technologist Vladimir Lumelsky, the performance captured on the videotape neatly shows the future of robotics.

It also demonstrates an advanced technology that Lumelsky hopes to develop as part of the push from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. to develop niche robotics capabilities critical for carrying out the Vision for Space Exploration.

New Laboratory Under Development

Lumelsky, until recently a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has begun setting up a laboratory at Goddard to develop a high-tech covering that would enable robots to sense their environment and react to it, much like humans respond when something or someone touches their skin.

Such a technology, which he refers to as a "High-Tech Skin," is essential for carrying out the Vision for Space Exploration because the Vision depends heavily on humans and robots working together under a variety of working conditions, many of them highly unstructured, Lumelsky said.

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So Long, Cell Towers

So Long, Cell Towers
Wired News Report

12:20 PM Apr. 13, 2005 PT

The makers of "Stratellite," an airplane-like device, believe it will revolutionize the broadband and wireless industry -- if it ever gets off the ground.

Wisconsin communications company Sanswire unveiled its almost-finished prototype of a hard-framed, unmanned airship designed to fly in the stratosphere 13 miles above the earth and send broadband and mobile phone signals to an area the size of Texas.

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Wing Warping Patent

Airbus France has obtained a US patent for a method of warping wings using articulating winglets to provide improved whole-wing aerodynamics for different phases of flight.

Warping helps to distribute aerodynamic loading along the wing and reduce drag, but can only operate in one phase of flight, normally the cruise.

Airbus’s patent describes how the angular position of the winglet relative to the wing can induce torsional forces that warp the wing to the optimum shape for flight. The winglet’s angular position would be controllable, providing active warping control. This is expected to improve lift at low speeds.

The moving winglet would pivot around a line of articulation parallel to the aircraft’s longitudinal axis to induce the warp.

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Advanced Research Aircraft To Arrive at NCAR Friday

Advanced Research Aircraft To Arrive at NCAR Friday
March 8, 2005

BOULDER—A new aircraft with exceptional research capabilities is scheduled to arrive at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Friday, March 11. Known as HIAPER (High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research), the $81.5 million aircraft will serve the National Science Foundation's environmental research needs for the next several decades. NSF, NCAR's primary sponsor, owns the aircraft. NCAR will maintain and operate HIAPER at its Research Aviation Facility at the Jefferson County Airport in Broomfield.

HIAPER, which is scheduled to begin research missions later in 2005, will provide scientists with insights into the atmosphere and Earth's natural systems. A modified Gulfstream V jet, the aircraft can fly at an altitude of 51,000 feet and has a range of 7,000 miles. It can carry 5,600 pounds of sensors, putting it on the forefront of scientific discovery.

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IceCube: Neutrino Telescope on the South Pole

FIRST CRITICAL PARTS OF GIANT NEUTRINO TELESCOPE IN PLACE

Ice_cube
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Illustration by: Dan Brennan.

MADISON - Working under harsh Antarctic conditions, an international team of scientists, engineers and technicians has set in place the first critical elements of a massive neutrino telescope at the South Pole.

The successful deployment - in a 1.5 mile-deep hole drilled into the Antarctic ice - of a string of 60 optical detectors designed to sample phantom-like high-energy particles from deep space represents a key first step in the construction of the $272 million telescope known as IceCube.

The telescope and its construction are being financed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which will provide $242 million. An additional $30 million in support will come from foreign partners.

"It's all on track," according to Francis Halzen, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of physics and the principal investigator for the project. "This was our first exam. We met our milestones for the season and we can move on to the next Antarctic summer."

Continue reading "IceCube: Neutrino Telescope on the South Pole" »

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Johnson Controls to sell division

Johnson Controls to sell division
World Services helps manage space center
By AVRUM D. LANK
alank@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 11, 2005

Johnson Controls Inc. said Friday it is selling a division that helps keep the Kennedy Space Center running - the same company that took some controversial pictures of the launch of the ill-fated space shuttle Columbia launch.

IAP Worldwide Services Inc. in Irmo, S.C., is paying Glendale-based Johnson Controls $260 million for Johnson Controls World Services Inc.

Johnson Controls World Services, which is based in Cape Canaveral, Fla., also provides support services for other government bases and has annual sales of about $770 million. Some of the military support duties the company provides include work force management and temporary personnel services.

The company has about 5,000 employees at about 35 locations, according to Glen Ponczak, a spokesman for Johnson Controls. The division has no employees in Wisconsin.

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Solar super-sail could reach Mars in a month

Solar super-sail could reach Mars in a month
29 January 2005
NewScientist.com news service

To Mars by MicrowaveA LICK of paint could help a spacecraft powered by a solar sail get from Earth to Mars in just one month, seven times faster than the craft that took the rovers Spirit and Opportunity to the Red Planet.

Gregory Benford of the University of California, Irvine, and his brother James, who runs aerospace research firm Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California, envisage beaming microwave energy up from Earth to boil off volatile molecules from a specially formulated paint applied to the sail. The recoil of the molecules as they streamed off the sail would give it a significant kick that would help the craft on its way. "It's a different way of thinking about propulsion," Gregory Benford says. "We leave the engine on the ground."

Solar sails are in essence nothing more than giant mirrors. Photons of light from the sun bounce off the surface, giving the sail a gentle push. It was while developing a solar sail five years ago that the brothers stumbled upon their idea for enhancing the effect.

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High-Tech Spacesuits Eyed for ‘Extreme Exploration’

High-Tech Spacesuits Eyed for ‘Extreme Exploration’

By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 26 January 2005
06:43 am ET

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Future explorers on the Moon and Mars could be outfitted in lightweight, high-tech spacesuits that offer far more flexibility than the bulky suits that have been used for spacewalks in the 1960s.

Research is under way at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a Bio-Suit System that incorporates a suit designed to augment a person’s biological skin by providing mechanical counter-pressure. The “epidermis” of such a second skin could be applied in spray-on fashion in the form of an organic, biodegradable layer.

This coating would protect an astronaut conducting a spacewalk in extremely dusty planetary environments. Incorporated into that second skin would be electrically actuated artificial muscle fibers to enhance human strength and stamina.

The Bio-Suit System could embody communications equipment, biosensors, computers, even climbing gear for spacewalks or what NASA calls an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA).

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Raptor Tests Suspended After Crash

By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2004; Page E01

The Air Force suspended testing of its Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor fighter jets yesterday, a day after one of the stealth aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The pilot, who was conducting a training mission, ejected safely and was unharmed in the crash near Las Vegas on Monday afternoon, according to Air Force officials. It marked the first loss of a non-prototype version of the F/A-22 Raptor, designed to replace the F-15 as the nation's most powerful air-to-air fighter, according to Air Force and industry officials.

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Satellite ‘safe zone’ isn’t that safe after all

Solar storms can squish a region that was thought to provide orbital shelter

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior science writer
Space.com
Updated: 5:12 p.m. ET Dec. 15, 2004


SAN FRANCISCO - A pocket of near-Earth space tucked between radiation belts gets flooded with charged particles during massive solar storms, shattering the illusion it was a safe place for satellites.

The safe zone was thought to be virtually radiation-free, a good region in which to deploy satellites so they'd be protected from the potentially debilitating effects of magnetic storms that can slam into Earth at millions of miles per hour.

But a new study of a string of severe storms last year debunks the notion. Scientists discussed the work here Wednesday at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

The once-suspected safe zone is called the Van Allen Radiation Belt Slot. The Van Allen belts are like two doughnuts of electrons around Earth, all trapped by the planet's magnetic field. The safe zone is a thick circular ribbon of space between the two doughnuts, from about 4,350 miles (7,000 kilometers) above the planet to 8,110 miles (13,000 kilometers) up.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parent of the National Weather Service, have recently pondered putting satellites into this region to avoid the radiation that affects satellites at higher and lower altitudes. (In most cases, however, satellite location is determined by imaging or communication needs.)

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White House wants plans for GPS shutdown

Global Positioning System would be disabled during crisis to keep enemies from using it

By Ted Bridis
Technology Writer
The Associated Press
Updated: 8:54 p.m. ET Dec. 15, 2004


WASHINGTON - President Bush has ordered plans for temporarily disabling the U.S. network of global positioning satellites during a national crisis to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology, the White House said Wednesday.

Any shutdown of the network inside the United States would come under only the most remarkable circumstances, said a Bush administration official who spoke to a small group of reporters at the White House on condition of anonymity.

The GPS system is vital to commercial aviation and marine shipping.

The president also instructed the Defense Department to develop plans to disable, in certain areas, an enemy’s access to the U.S. navigational satellites and to similar systems operated by others. The European Union is developing a $4.8 billion satellite navigation program called Galileo.

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Inflatable space module cleared for liftoff

FAA gives payload approval; launch targeted for 2005

The U.S. government has given payload approval to Bigelow Aerospace, permitting the entrepreneurial firm to launch its inflatable space module technology.

Bigelow Aerospace of North Las Vegas has blueprinted a step-by-step program to explore the use of inflatable Earth-orbiting modules. Those modules would not only support made-in-microgravity product development, but serve as the technology foundation for eventual space tourist housing and the use of similar structures on the moon and Mars.

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Probe launched to search for black holes


Fastest-swiveling space observatory ever built rockets into orbit

The Associated Press
Updated: 2:53 p.m. ET Nov. 20, 2004CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The fastest-swiveling space science observatory ever built rocketed into orbit Saturday to scan the universe for violent celestial explosions that astronomers believe represent the birth screams of black holes.

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NASA 'Scramjet' Launched on Mach 10 Try

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A tiny unmanned NASA "scramjet" soared above the Pacific Ocean Tuesday at nearly 10 times the speed of sound, or almost 7,000 mph, in a successful demonstration of a radical new engine technology.

The 12-foot-long X-43A supersonic combustion ramjet reached about Mach 9.7, said Leslie Williams, a spokeswoman at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

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Europe Reaches the Moon

16 November 2004
ESA PR 60-2004. ESA’s SMART-1 is successfully making its first orbit of the Moon, a significant milestone for the first of Europe's Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology (SMART) spacecraft.

A complex package of tests on new technologies was successfully performed during the cruise to the Moon, while the spacecraft was getting ready for the scientific investigations which will come next. These technologies pave the way for future planetary missions.

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NASA advances water recycling for space travel and Earth use

Water is one of the most crucial provisions astronauts need to live and work in space, whether orbiting Earth, working at a lunar base or traveling to Mars. The Water Processor Assembly developed by the Marshall Center will improve water recycling on the International Space Station.

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X-43A Scramjet

NASA Jet Will Try to Go 7,000 MPH

By JOHN ANTCZAK
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In March, NASA launched an experimental jet that reached a record-setting speed of about 5,000 mph. Now researchers want to leave that milestone in the dust.

NASA's third and last X-43A "scramjet" was set to streak over the Pacific Ocean on Monday at 7,000 mph for 10 or 11 seconds - or 10 times the speed of sound.

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NASA Looks for Mach 10

With 'Scramjet,' NASA Shoots for Mach 10

By Guy Gugliotta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 10, 2004; Page A01

HAMPTON, Va. -- They call it a "scramjet," an engine so blindingly fast that it could carry an airplane from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., in about 20 minutes -- or even quicker. So fast it could put satellites in space. So fast it could drop a cruise missile on an enemy target, almost like shooting a rifle.

Next week, NASA plans to break the aircraft speed record for the second time in 7 1/2 months by flying its rocket-assisted X-43A scramjet craft 110,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean at speeds close to Mach 10 -- about 7,200 mph, or 10 times the speed of sound.

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