Articles on Space travel

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stands in front of a Falcon 9 rocket at SpaceX’s launch site in Florida. SpaceX

SpaceX launch: the age of commercial spaceflight is here

Late tomorrow evening (AEST), all going well, a Falcon 9 rocket will lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. A few days after launch the craft will rendezvous in low-Earth orbit with the International Space…
Where there’s mineral wealth, people always follow. MGM

Lunar boom: we’ll soon be mining the moon

As history has repeatedly shown, where there are valuable minerals to be unearthed, adventurous humans will arrive in droves – even if it means battling extreme conditions and risking life and limb. So…
When we start building structures outside Earth, the raw materials will likely come from asteroids. Planetary Resources

Asteroid mining will happen … but Australia will miss the boom

There will be a future mining boom, as heralded in recent media stories. But this mining will take place in a location even more hostile than the Australian Outback – space. More specifically, the ore…
Russia is no stranger to ambitious space exploration – and has produced several notable firsts. Maxim Shipenkov/ EPA

Space Race reloaded: will Russia send cosmonauts to the moon?

For decades, the Soviet Union was a major player in the exploration of space, famously locking horns with the US in the “Space Race” – a competition for orbital supremacy and solar system exploration throughout…
Does the US suffer from its desire to go it alone in space? NASA

NASA, we have a problem: why America is lost in space

In its newly released budget request to Congress, the Obama Administration is seeking to reduce NASA’s funding by US$59m to US$17.7 billion – a reduction of just 0.03%, not that you would know that from…
Another election campaign, another out-of-this-world promise. Erik S. Lesser/EPA

A US moon colony? Does Newt Gingrich’s idea have a legal basis?

In Florida last week, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich asserted that, under his leadership, the US would establish a “permanent moon base” by 2020. What’s more, he claimed, “it will be American…
Solid boosters are recovered following the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2000. Bruce Weaver/AFP

In pictures: 30 years of the Space Shuttle program

At approximately 8pm last night (AEST), the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down at the Kennedy Space Centre for the final…
Could Stanley Kubrick’s classic offer direction for the future of space travel? slagheap

2011, a space odyssey – what comes after the Shuttle program?

Tomorrow morning (AEST), weather depending, the Space Shuttle Atlantis will blast off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, marking the end of NASA’s 30-year-old Space Transportation System. But as the…
A computer-generated artists impression of the thousands of objects in orbit around Earth. AFP

Space junk and the environment: it’s a very dark picture indeed

Since the launch of the first artificial satellite in 1957 – the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 – countries around the world have been putting satellites and spacecraft into Earth orbit. While the majority of…
Keeping the space shuttle together is a tremendous feat of engineering. Stan Honda/AFP

The shuttle launch: delayed (but still worth the Endeavour)

The Space Shuttle Endeavour, one of the most complex machines ever created, is about to take its last trip into space. But not just yet. The countdown to Endeavour’s final flight began a few days ago…
How hard can it be getting an object from A to B at great speed? KARI/HANDOUT

Rocket science isn’t rocket science, if you get my thrust

You know, it’s odd being a rocket scientist. The people you meet assume you’re not just smart, but some super-colossal paragon of intelligence with the wits of an atomic lovechild of Albert Einstein and…

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