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Articles on Spacecraft

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Virgin Galactic’s Unity VSS spacecraft went on a suborbital test flight in May 2021. VIrgin Galactic

What’s a suborbital flight? An aerospace engineer explains

Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are sending spacecrafts – and their billionaire founders – into suborbital flight. But what differentiates a suborbital flight from a trip around Earth?
The idea that there’s a moral imperative for humans to expand beyond Earth is echoed by influential proponents of space exploration. Tamara Craiu/Flickr

To boldly go toward new frontiers, we first need to learn from our colonial past

Technology had enabled humans to explore the deep sea, the Earth’s poles, and outer space. But we shouldn’t forget historical lessons about frontiers in the process of traversing them.
Mars mission with plasma rockets concept. NASA

Traveling to Mars with immortal plasma rockets

Getting to Mars with current rocket technology will use massive amounts of fuel to move very small cargoes. There is a more fuel-efficient way.
New Horizons continues to help unravel the icy dwarf planet’s secrets. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Picture of Pluto further refined by months of New Horizons data

After last summer’s Pluto flyby, the New Horizons spacecraft started sending data back to Earth – at 2 kilobits per second. Here’s some of what scientists have learned so far from that rich, slow cache.

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