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marshall space flight center: test site for nasa's rockets


marshall space flight center plays a significant role in the american space program, from developing the rockets that carried the first u.s. astronaut into space to working on the system that could one day carry astronauts to mars.






why does nasa use sounding rockets?


the smaller and less expensive rockets can be designed in 6 months and a mission can be accomplished in 1-3 years. the trade-off (from launching on a bigger rocket) is you “only get 10 minutes of suborbital flight,” according to dartmouth college physics professor kristina lynch.nasa launches black brant ix suborbital sounding rocket to test tech - video






test site for nasa's rockets


located in huntsville, alabama, nasa's marshall space flight center has played a significant role in the american space program. marshall helped to develop the rockets that carried the first u.s. astronaut into space and those that delivered humans to the moon. today, the agency is working on the space launch system that could one day carry astronauts to mars. shortly before opening the new agency, nasa described the marshall center as "the only self-contained organization in the nation which was capable of conducting the development of a space vehicle from the conception of the idea through production of hardware, testing, and launching operations." in addition to developing space vehicles, marshall also participates in scientific programs, helping to develop and test hardware and instrum






nasa rockets launch to unveil mysteries of the northern lights


nasa launched three rockets into the aurora borealis on thursday (march 2) to study what happens to earth's upper atmosphere when it's bombarded with solar wind, or energetic particles that flow from the sun.






spacex delays first flight from nasa shuttle launch pad


spacex on sunday bumped this week's planned launch of an echostar communications ellite until after a mid-february cargo run to the international space station for nasa, saying it needs more time to get its new launch pad ready. spacex, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur elon musk, is leasing the historic launch complex 39a from nasa to fly its falcon 9 and planned falcon heavy rockets. the pad was last used by nasa's space shuttles in 2011 and previously by the apollo program moon rockets. pad 39a is located at kennedy space center in florida, just north of what had been spacex's primary launch site at cape canaveral air force station. the cape canaveral pad was heavily damaged on sept 1 when a falcon 9 rocket burst into flames during a routine preflight test.  after the accid






nasa agreement sign of stratolaunch engine development program


washington — an agreement to do engine testing at a nasa center is the latest sign that stratolaunch is considering developing its own launch vehicle for its giant aircraft. the space act agreement between stratolaunch and nasa’s stennis space center, signed sept. 13, covers "reimbursable testing and related support services to stratolaunch to support propulsion, vehicle, and ground support system development and testing activities." nasa published the agreement on its website as part of a provision in a nasa authorization act signed into law this year to disclose such agreements. an annex to that umbrella agreement specifies that it involves "testing of its propulsion system test article element 1" at stennis's e1 test stand. that facility has supported engine tests by a number of compani






watch spacex test reusable rockets (and scare cows) in texas test-site video


a new video from spacex shows the best way for space nerds to send a herd of cows running: just dangle a self-landing rocket practically over their heads.






test flight photos of nasa's first spaceship


credit: nasa on september 9, 1956, the big joe launch vehicle took off for a suborbital test of the mercury capsule. after a successful launch from cape canaveral, florida, the capsule was recovered after an equally successfully reentry test.






spacex test fires rocket, aims for march 14 satellite launch


the private spaceflight company spacex test fired a falcon 9 rocket thursday (march 9), setting the stage for a commercial satellite launch next week. spacex conducted the falcon 9 static test fire at launch pad 39a of nasa's kennedy space center in cape canaveral, florida to ensure that the rocket is ready to launch the communications satellite echostar 23 on tuesday (march 14). the test, which was captured on video by spaceflightnow, is a standard preflight check ahead of every spacex launch. the falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch echostar 23 tuesday during a nearly three-hour window that opens at 1:34 a.m. est (0634 gmt) and closes at 4:04 a.m. est (0904 gmt). it will mark spacex's third launch of the year and its second from pad 39a, which the company is leasing from nasa for comme






spacex test fires rocket, aims for march 14 satellite launch


the private spaceflight company spacex test fired a falcon 9 rocket thursday (march 9), setting the stage for a commercial satellite launch next week. spacex conducted the falcon 9 static test fire at launch pad 39a of nasa's kennedy space center in cape canaveral, florida to ensure that the rocket is ready to launch the communications satellite echostar 23 on tuesday (march 14). the test, which was captured on video by spaceflightnow, is a standard preflight check ahead of every spacex launch. the falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch echostar 23 tuesday during a nearly three-hour window that opens at 1:34 a.m. est (0634 gmt) and closes at 4:04 a.m. est (0904 gmt). it will mark spacex's third launch of the year and its second from pad 39a, which the company is leasing from nasa for comme






blue origin prepares to build its florida rocket launch complex


jeff bezos' rocket company blue origin has begun site preparation for an orbital launch complex and rocket engine test stand at cape canaveral air force station in florida. the 300-acre site will be built on land that previously hosted a trio of atlas rocket launch pads. the latest version of the atlas now flies from launch complex 41. blue origin leased launch complex 36 a and b, as well as launch complex 11, in 2015. some of nasa's most historic missions were launched from complex 36, including the pioneer, surveyor and mariner spacecraft in the 1960s and 1970s. the pads were operational from 1962 to 2002. basically, all that remains of the original launch complexes is a dome-shaped white circle, site of the blockhouse where the launch team was based during countdowns and liftoffs, said






will mini fusion rockets provide spaceflight's next big leap?


fusion-powered rockets that are only the size of a few refrigerators could one day help propel spacecraft at high speeds to nearby planets or even other stars, a nasa-funded spaceflight company says.






hwasong-14 missile test: can north korea's rockets reach the us?


are north korean rockets capable of reaching american shores?






nasa to test orion space capsule parachute


the nasa spacecraft that could one day help ferry humans to mars is scheduled to undergo a parachute test tomorrow (march 8).






new zealand space launch is first from a private site


image copyrighttwitter/@rocketlabusaimage caption the launch had been delayed by several days due to poor weather an american company has launched a rocket into space from new zealand, the first from a private launch facility.rocket lab's 17m (56ft) electron rocket took off from the mahia peninsula, in north island, the firm said on twitter.the test flight was the first launch ever from new zealand and is a major first step in an emerging market; launching cheap disposable rockets to carry small satellites and other cargo.the company plans to start frequent commercial launches later this year.poor weather conditions had pushed the launch into the fourth day of a 10-day window and the electron finally took off at 16:20 local time (04:20 gmt). image copyrighttwitter/@rocketlabusathe test lau






sierra nevada's dream chaser space plane aces free-flight drop test


sierra nevada corporation's privately built dream chaser space plane aced a critical test saturday (nov. 11) during a successful free-flight over california's mojave desert.  the uncrewed dream chaser made a smooth landing at edwards air force base during the free-flight test at nasa's armstrong flight research center in edwards, california, nasa officials said in a statement. earlier this year, officials at the armstrong center, where dream chaser is being tested, said the space plane would to be dropped from an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) by a columbia 234-ut helicopter for this test. [sierra nevada's dream chaser space plane in pictures] "the dream chaser had a beautiful flight and landing!" sierra nevada representatives announced on twitter saturday. the company promised to






foom! nasa tests powerful engine that will take astronauts into deep space


spectacular footage from a rocket engine test at nasa's stennis space center in mississippi shows a larger than life cloud of smoke pouring across a field as spectators look on. the video shows the oct. 19 test of a rs-25 engine that will power nasa's next-generation rocket, the space launch system (sls). the rocket — the agency's most powerful rocket since the saturn v that took astronauts to the moon in the 1960s — is designed to bring astronauts out of low earth orbit to deep-space destinations, including the moon and possibly mars. the sls will have four rs-25 engines on board each flight. this latest test will allow nasa engineers to proceed with flight certification for this engine type, according to a statement from the agency. [space launch system: nasa's giant rocket explained (in






nasa's predawn rocket launch will test a supersonic parachute


nasa will launch a small rocket from virginia's eastern shore early wednesday (oct. 4) to test a supersonic parachute system for future spacecraft bound for mars. the launch may be visible to observers along the u.s. east coast, weather permitting. the sounding rocket will launch from nasa's wallops flight facility at wallops island, virginia at 6:45 a.m. edt (1045 gmt). you can watch it live online at nasa's wallops ustream site here, beginning at 6:15 a.m. edt (1015 gmt). the suborbital rocket will carry the advanced supersonic parachute inflation research experiment (aspire), designed by nasa's jet propulsion laboratory (jpl) in pasadena, calif. jpl engineers developed the parachute system to withstand the high speeds and thin atmosphere spacecraft encounter during the decent to the mar






nasa is using high-tech paint to improve the performance of its rockets


why it matters to you data this accurate will help researchers build better rockets through improved understanding of how a vehicle’s structure responds to buffeting in flight.folks at nasa’s ames research center in silicon valley have been rolling up their sleeves to apply a lick of paint to a miniature rocket.no, it’s not about making it look nice for anyone who happens to set eyes on it. it’s actually part of important research to learn more about the stresses put on different parts of a rocket as it hurtles toward supersonic speeds.and the paint isn’t your run-of-the-mill semi-gloss enamel that you might pick up from your local home depot, either.instead, it’s a high-tech substance known as “pressure-sensitive paint” (psp) that reacts with oxygen to produce light in response to buffet






powerful nasa sls rocket engine test-fired in mississippi


by steve spaleta | may 23, 2017 06:17pm et the rs-25 rocket engine had a “500-second test on the a-1 test stand at nasa’s stennis space center in mississippi,” according to space agency. four of these engines will be able to produce 2 million pounds of thrust for the space launch system (sls) rocket.  credit : nasa stennis space center






how vintage rocket tech could be nasa's ticket to mars and beyond


nasa could sidestep many of the impediments to a mars mission if they could just get there faster. but sluggish chemical rockets aren't cutting it — and one group of engineers is rebooting research into an engine last fired in 1972.






nasa rockets launch to unveil mysteries of the northern lights


nasa launched three rockets into the aurora borealis thursday (march 2) to study what happens to earth's upper atmosphere when it's bombarded with solar wind, or energetic particles that flow from the sun. all three black ix sounding rockets blasted off within a 2-hour time span from the poker flat research range in alaska. these were the last three launches of nasa's poker flat sounding rocket campaign, which has sent a total of five black brant ix sounding rockets soaring into active auroras since january. the five missions carried three different types of instruments for studying various aspects of auroras, which can hold clues about earth's magnetic field and the ionosphere, a region in earth's upper atmosphere where atoms and molecules are ionized by solar radiation, creating a shell






in photos: nasa's orion space capsule parachute test of 2017


nasa's orion spacecraft, which could one day help ferry humans to to mars, completed a successful parachute drop test on march 8.






sierra nevada's dream chaser space plane aces free-flight drop test


sierra nevada corporation's privately built dream chaser space plane aced a critical test saturday (nov. 11) during a successful free-flight over california's mojave desert.  the uncrewed dream chaser made a smooth landing at edwards air force base during the free-flight test at nasa's armstrong flight research center in edwards, california, nasa officials said in a statement. earlier this year, officials at the armstrong center, where dream chaser is being tested, said the space plane would to be dropped from an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) by a columbia 234-ut helicopter for this test. [sierra nevada's dream chaser space plane in pictures] "the dream chaser had a beautiful flight and landing!" sierra nevada representatives announced on twitter saturday. the company promised to






nasa telecon on orion/sls test flight


nasa will hold a teleconference today at 3 p.m. edt (1900 gmt) to give a status update on exploration mission 1 (em-1), the first combined test flight around the moon of the orion spacecraft and its space launch system megarocket. the audio of that conference will be available here at start time. preview: nasa is giving a status update on 1st orion-sls megarocket test flight today the em-1 mission will be nasa's first combined test flight of the orion deep-space crew capsule  and its space launch system rocket, known as sls for short. the mission will use the sls to launch the orion spacecraft on a mission to loop around the moon before returning to earth. the mission was initially planned to be an uncrewed test flight, followed by a crewed flight called em-2. nasa has been studying the fe






nasa telecon on orion/sls test flight


nasa will hold a teleconference today at 3 p.m. edt (1900 gmt) to give a status update on exploration mission 1 (em-1), the first combined test flight around the moon of the orion spacecraft and its space launch system megarocket. the audio of that conference will be available here at start time. preview: nasa is giving a status update on 1st orion-sls megarocket test flight today the em-1 mission will be nasa's first combined test flight of the orion deep-space crew capsule  and its space launch system rocket, known as sls for short. the mission will use the sls to launch the orion spacecraft on a mission to loop around the moon before returning to earth. the mission was initially planned to be an uncrewed test flight, followed by a crewed flight called em-2. nasa has been studying the fe






will mini fusion rockets provide spaceflight's next big leap?


fusion-powered rockets that are only the size of a few refrigerators could one day help propel spacecraft at high speeds to nearby planets or even other stars, a nasa-funded spaceflight company says. another use for such fusion rockets is to deflect asteroids that might strike earth and to build manned bases on the moon and mars, the researchers say. rockets fly by hurling materials known as propellants away from them. conventional rockets that rely on chemical reactions are not very efficient when it comes to how much thrust they generate, given the amount of propellant they carry, which has led rocket scientists to explore a variety of alternatives over the years. [superfast spacecraft propulsion concepts (images)] an option now used in spacecraft is the ion drive, which generates thrust






nasa launching rocket to create artificial clouds


a small nasa rocket will launch to create colorful artificial clouds sunday night (june 11) at 9:04 p.m. edt (0104 gmt on monday), and you can watch all the action live here at space.com. coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. edt (0030 gmt monday). you can also watch the liftoff, which will take place from nasa's wallops flight facility in virginia, at the wallops ustream site: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallopsfrom nasa: "the window for a nasa terrier-improved malemute sounding rocket launch to test a new ampoule ejection system designed to support studies of the ionosphere and aurora opens june 11 and runs through june 18. lift-off for a june 11 launch is scheduled between 9:04 and 9:19 p.m. edt."nasa has two ground stations — at wallops and duck, n.c. — to view blue-green and red arti






look up! nasa launch will create colorful clouds


update for june 24, 1:30 p.m. et: nasa has once again delayed the launch of the artificial cloud mission due to unexpected cloudiness around the wallops flight facility launch site. wallops has not announced when the next launch window will open. nasa will provide an update on the next launch attempt here.  nasa is hoping to execute a rocket launch that will create artificial glowing clouds. these could be visible to millions of people along the u.s. east coast. a terrier-improved malemute sounding rocket will launch into the night sky from nasa's wallops flight facility on wallops island, virginia. if all goes well, the rocket will create brilliant red and blue-green clouds of vapor as part of a canister-ejection technology test. weather permitting, the clouds could be visible to observer






putting crew on huge rocket’s first flight won’t be feasible due to immense cost


a nasa working group has concluded after a two month review that sending astronauts on the first flight of its massive new rocket wouldn’t be feasible due to the immense costs of safely accommodating a crew on the planned 2019 mission, the first step in america’s return to human space exploration.the trump administration has expressed a desire to quickly restart the manned spaceflight program. but with rare exception, nasa tests rockets first without astronauts, given the huge risks associated with space vehicles.rockets in the early years of space flight were unreliable in test phases and sometimes blew up on the pad or shortly after liftoff. even today, such disasters occasionally strike private rocket firms such as orbital atk and spacex. despite tremendous advances, rocket science reta






nasa's orion space capsule prototype aces parachute drop test


nasa successfully completed a test of the orion space capsule's parachute system yesterday (march 8) in arizona. wednesday's trial run was the second of eight drops that are designed to test the parachute system in various scenarios. this test simulated an abort sequence, which might occur if something went wrong with the rocket launching an orion spacecraft into space, and the capsule needed to be ejected. above the u.s. army's yuma proving ground in arizona, a model of orion was dropped from a c-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet, according to a statement from nasa. the drop took place at 9:45 a.m. local time (11:45 a.m. est/1645 gmt), about 2 hours later than scheduled, and lasted about 4 minutes, a nasa representative told space.com. [nasa's orion space capsule parachute






nasa nails test on voyager spacecraft, 13 billion miles away


cape canaveral, fla. (ap) — nasa has nailed an engine test on a spacecraft 13 billion miles away.last week, ground controllers sent commands to fire backup thrusters on voyager 1, our most distant spacecraft. the thrusters had been idle for 37 years, since voyager 1 flew past saturn.to nasa’s delight, the four dormant thrusters came alive.engineers wanted to see if these alternate thrusters could point voyager 1’s antenna toward earth, a job normally handled by a different set that’s now degrading. the thrusters will take over pointing operations next month.most read storiesunlimited digital access. $1 for 4 weeks.launched in 1977, voyager 1 is the only spacecraft traveling through interstellar space, the region beyond our solar system. voyager 2 is close on its heels. the thruster test wo






nasa considering using pre-flown spacex rockets for cargo flights


nasa is comfortable with used spacex spacecraft, at least on uncrewed cargo flights. and it's now entertaining the possibility of going with used falcon 9s on future resupply missions as well, agency officials said.






the greatest space missions launched from nasa's historic pad 39a


nasa's launch complex 39a saw the first astronauts blast off to the moon before launching 82 space shuttles. now spacex is launching rockets from the historic pad 39a. here is a look back at the milestones that defined pad 39a's place in history.






spacex wants to explore deep when it can't explore shallow


in the aftermath of president obama’s cuts to the national aeronautics and space administration and subsequent reliance on russian space agencies, nasa has invested billions of dollars into private space companies to carry cargo and, eventually, astronauts to the international space station. nasa’s private contracts have offered a “fixed price” for commercial services and required companies to provide their own funding to develop new spacecraft and rockets.spacex, a private space company founded by canadian-american business magnate elon musk, is one of those contractors, along with companies such as blue origin and orbital atk. recently, these companies have raised eyebrows with plans to develop large, heavy-lift rockets, which will allow travel beyond low-earth orbit.one of these systems






nasa orion spacecraft’s abort system motor test-fired


the orbital atk attitude control motor will be used to steer the capsule out of harms way if there is an emergency. nasa's orion space capsule prototype aces parachute drop test






nasa remembers 1970 solar 'eclipse of the century'


as this year's "great american total solar eclipse" approaches, nasa scientists commemorate the total solar eclipse of march 7, 1970, when 32 sounding rockets were pointed to the skies to study the spectacular celestial event. on aug. 21, 2017, the moon will completely cover the sun and darken skies all the way from oregon to south carolina along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide. this will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the united states mainland since 1979. the total solar eclipse of 1970 also crossed over the united states, and it provided a unique opportunity for scientists to study the skies before, during and after the event. [total solar eclipse 2017: when, where and how to see it (safely)]the total solar eclipse of march 7, 1970, ran along the ea






gambia's new leader vows overhaul of feared security service


banjul, gambia — gambia's new president adama barrow promised an overhaul of the country's feared security forces urday as he works to rebuild a country that lived under authoritarian rule for more than 22 years.in his first news conference since taking office, barrow told reporters he also plans to rename the national intelligence agency, which was tasked with interrogating and sometimes torturing detainees."it's an institution that has to continue, but the name will change," barrow said.barrow returned to gambia on thursday in a dramatic homecoming where he was met by hundreds of thousands. he had taken the oath of office in neighboring senegal, shortly before longtime dictator yahya jammeh was forced into exile.some of jammeh's top ociates fled with him to equatorial guinea, another aut