These craft and others such as craft like the voyagers continue to return immensely valuable data long after their primary mission is complete. One of the things NASA and other space science organizations struggle with is supporting these ships long after the original funding timeline is past. This is a great problem to have and by and large the money is found since these are very cheap deep space projects in the big picture.
So my title, the economy of ‘outer space’ is all about data, science, prospecting right now. These are valuable assets that we need to support to provide returns orders of magnitude greater than the cost in the sense of other ways of getting that data, data that is both live affirming in its fascination and valuable as part of the bedrock of our understanding of the universe.
A really cool concept. Miniature walking rovers that can explore tiny spaces, a single test to the moon this year with plans for swarms (small ones) in the not too distant future. Tbe video animation from Spacebit is worth a couple of minutes.
Falcon 9 first stage burns an engine during a controlled descent to the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: SpaceX)
Falcon 9 first stage in a controlled descent toward the Pacific Ocean. At this point, the stage was about 3 meters (9.8 feet) above the water. (Credit: SpaceX)
“SpaceX then lit the center engine for a single engine burn. That relight also went well, however we exceeded the roll control authority of the attitude control thrusters. This particular stage was not equipped with landing gear which could have helped stabilize the stage like fins would on an aircraft. The stage ended up spinning to a degree that was greater than we could control with the gas thrusters on board and ultimately we hit the water relatively hard.
from the picture above it looks like it came pretty damn close! WOW!
An Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship reached the International Space Station early Sunday and was captured by the lab’s robot arm. The successful rendezvous marked a major milestone for NASA and a program to fund development of commercial cargo carries to replace capacity lost with the space shuttle’s retirement. (Credit: NASA TV)
For planetary, early interstellar precursor and simple omniplanetary applications, ACMF (antimatter catalyzed fusion) exhibits the best performance. The reference case of a 1-year human round-trip mission to Jupiter with a 10 to 100 metric ton (mT) payload requires an antimatter quantity of 1 to 10 micrograms (μg). It appears as though this requirement could drop into the 1 to 10 ng range for payloads consistent with unmanned, planetary missions.
So fuel for a trip to Jupiter (in one year!) every week.
3ders.org a great 3 D printing site has this up…..TUI, a space technology development company based in Bothell, WA is currently developing “SpiderFab” to provide order-of-magnitude packing- and mass- efficiency improvements over current deployable structures and enables construction of kilometer-scale apertures within current launch vehicle capabilities.
Of course, the system will have to go significantly higher if it’s to be of use to NASA. SpaceX plans to introduce a second version of Grasshopper – known as v1.1 – sometime after October 2013, which will stand 160 feet tall and use nine of the engines from the Falcon 9-R rocket, rather than Grasshopper v.1′s single engine.
When testing begins, Grasshopper v1.1 is expected to eventually fly to heights of 300,000 feet, launching from a specially constructed pad at Spaceport America, New Mexico.