The sun rises as the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft is rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Sept. 23, 2014.
Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for Sept. 25 at 4:25 p.m. EDT (Sept. 26 at 2:25 a.m. Kazakh time) and will carry Expedition 41 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore of NASA, and Flight Engineer Elena Serova of Roscosmos into orbit to begin their five and a half mont [...]
I was jolted a bit when I read the amounts and requirements for commercial crew last week. Not that Boeing got more than SpaceX, but rather that $6.8B is budgeted for a developing a couple of commercial capsules to fly on existing launchers. Boeing’s $4.2B doesn’t bother me as it should be expected of traditional contractors, SpaceX’s $2.6B does.
I am not going to suggest that human transport vehicles to LEO should be trivial or cheap. I do suggest that SpaceX requiring $2.6B to finish development of a capsule that is supposedly almost ready to go, even including the maximum 7 flights, is well out of step with the reported development costs of that company. It has been said quite often that SpaceX developed the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Dragon 1 for under a billion dollars.
My question is, why should capsule development cost on the order of triple that of an entire Falcon 9 launch vehicle? This is not to trivialize the work to be done, or the paperwork involved, but seriously asking what is so complicated and expensive inside that vehicle that drives the cost far beyond that of entire launch vehicle families?
This post might be considered snark. That is not the intention. It is a serious puzzle that affects development of the solar system. A puzzle that I can’t yet understand. I am not real interested in the standard NASA bashing response of how the government drives up costs that we have all rehashed a hundred times. I am interested in any solid information on the hardware/software cost drivers of this bus without a main engine.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help explain why some T Tauri stars have disks that glow weirdly in infrared light while others shine in a more expected fashion.
T Tauri stars are the infant versions of stars like our Sun. They are relatively normal, medium-size stars that are surrounded by the raw materials to build both ro [...]
That's no sunset. And that thin red line just above it -- that's not a sun pillar. The red glow on the horizon originates from a volcanic eruption, and the red line is the eruption's reflection from fluttering atmospheric ice crystals. This unusual volcanic light pillar was captured over Iceland earlier this month.
The featured scene looks north from Jökulsárlón toward the erupting volcano Bárðarbunga in the Holuhraun lava field. Even the foreground sky is picturesque, with textured gre [...]
The three residents aboard the International Space Station have an extra day to prepare for the arrival of SpaceX CRS-4. Dragon’s launch slipped into Sunday morning after unacceptable weather conditions at the launch site prevented its early Saturday morning liftoff from Kennedy Space Center.
Astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst paired up Monday afternoon for a robotics training refresher course to maintain their skills necessary to grapple Dragon with the 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) Cana [...]
Earth is at equinox. Over the next 24 hours, day and night have nearly equal duration all over planet Earth. Technically, equinox transpires at 2:29 am Universal Time tomorrow, but this occurs today in North and South America. This September equinox signal that winter is approaching in the northern hemisphere, and summer is approaching in the south.
At equinox, the dividing line between the sunlit half of Earth and the nighttime half of Earth temporarily passes through Earth's north and sout [...]
The Space Show, hosted by David Livingston at www.TheSpaceShow.com, will have the following guests this week:
1. Monday, September 22, 2014, 9:30-10:30 AM PDT (16:30-17:30 GMT)
DR. PAT HYNES returns to discuss this year's Personal Spaceflight Symposium in Las Cruces, NM from Oct. 15-16, 2014.
Dr. Patricia (Pat) Hynes has served as director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium (NMSGC) since 1998. Additionally, in 2007 she was appointed director of NASA’s Experimental Program to Stimula [...]
NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars’ orbit at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.
“As the first orbiter dedicated to studying Mars’ upper atmosphere, MAVEN will greatly improve our understanding of the history of the Martian atmosphere, how the climate [...]