October 15, 2008

Space News

One of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes brings us these tidbits regarding progress in the opening of the final frontier....

On the 9th NASAs  Casinni probe successfully flew to within 16 miles (!) of the surface of Enceladus and managed to pass through the tenuous remains of a guyeser plume! Samples were collected and are being analyzed now by the probes dust analyzer. Previously, spectroscopic analasis had confirmed that the big guysers at the moons southern hemispere are very rich in organic matter as well as water. The probes dust analyzer may well give a better idea of what sort of organic matter it is.

NASA is also working on the Hubble Telescope which has suffered a major problem and are attempting to switch to redundant electronic systems. The  Atlantis mission to service the historic telescope one last time is already delayed until next year.

Space X successfully launched its medium lift launcher several days ago. Brickmuppet Blog was remiss in not covering it at the time....but here is a You Tube in atonement.....

Often overlooked when talking about commercial space are suborbital sounding rockets, but these are potentially a growth industry as well and have some potential to be stepping stones to greater things for their respective countries. One such outfit is Garvey Spacecraft Corperation which recently launched a science paload designed by college students from Kentucky.

On the other side of the pond, the UK minister of science is endorsing the creation of a UK Astronaut corps,  This is a sea change for the Brittish space program . More here and here.

France is studying microsatelites launched from a Rafael fighter. The Aldabran program is discussed here (HT RLV News) and there are other inexpensive  small launchers proposed in this report.

ESA is looking into a means to bring things the other way..from space to earth..with an eye to a manned system as well as other aplications. To that end they are studying something with the rousing name of Intermediate Experimental Vehicle.....This is hoped  to , amongst other things, allow for a rescue capability from the Space Station independant of soyuz.

Finally in a less near term time frame.  International Space University has conducted a study of the engineering challanges of outer planet exploration , mainly with regards to the systems of Jupiter and Saturn. Report one from Project Theseus is mainly concerned with a Europa mission, though the ambitious spaceship design is scalable to loftier goals.


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