Don’t miss the launch and test of @ESA’s IXV spaceplane tomorrow!!!

The European Space Agency will be launching and testing their Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV) spacecraft tomorrow!!! More info on the launch here (also below). More info on the IXV spaceship here and here!

ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is ready for its launch and reentry mission on 11 February. The launch is scheduled for 13:00 GMT (14:00 CET) atop a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Streaming starts at 12:45 GMT (13:45 CET)

This IXV mission will test cutting-edge system and technology aspects to provide Europe with an independent reentry capability, and a building block for reusable space transportation systems. It will validate designs for lifting-bodies, incorporating both the simplicity of capsules and the performance of winged vehicles, with high controllability and manoeuvrability for precision landing.

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft is on the launchpad prepping for Dec 4th test flight!! #JourneytoMars

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is on the launchpad and ready for a test flight orbiting around Earth. The Orion program is to transport astronauts into space, with the eventual goal for a Jouney to Mars (#JourneytoMars)!!

[tweet https://twitter.com/ulalaunch/status/534561292686618625]

A cool NASA video about the heat shields that are part of the test flight!

Orion: Heat Shield – Orion’s heat shield has to endure temperatures near 4000 degrees Fahrenheit in its December flight test. Engineer Molly White explains how it works in this video.

Video filmed on the International Space Station demonstrates how the Philae spacecraft will land on a comet!

Demonstrating Rosetta’s Philae lander on the Space Station

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst performs a demonstration of how ESA’s Rosetta mission will attempt to put a lander, called ‘Philae’ on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Alexander narrates the story of the Rosetta mission and performs a demonstration that visualises the difficulties of landing on an object that has little gravitational pull. Using the weightless environment of the Space Station, Alexander attempts to land ‘Philae’ (an ear plug) onto the surface of the ‘comet’ (an inactive SPHERES robot) with increasing levels of difficulty: a rotating comet that is not moving to one that is both rotating and moving.

This video is one of the six experiments and demonstrations in the Flying Classroom, Alexander will use small items to demonstrate several principles of physics in microgravity to students aged 10–17 years.

The Rosetta mission’s lander, Philae, will be deployed on 12 November at 08:35 GMT/09:35 CET from a distance of 22.5 km from the centre of the comet. It will land about seven hours later, with confirmation expected to arrive at Earth at around 16:00 GMT/17:00 CET.

Livestream todays ISS spacewalk with astronauts @Astro_Alex and @astro_reid #BetterThanGravity

Astronauts Alex Gerst and Reid Wiseman will be outside the International Space Station today during a spacewalk to perform repairs. Super Cool Livestream! #BetterThanGravity
ISSspa

Approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes into today’s spacewalk, astronaut Alexander Gerst, assisted by Reid Wiseman, installed the failed pump module on External Stowage Platform-2 on the Quest airlock. The crew will clean up their worksite and move ahead to their tasks, including replacing a camera light on the Destiny module, and installing an electrical relay system to provide backup power to the Mobile Transporter and Canadarm2.

[tweet https://twitter.com/astro_reid/status/519226796567699458] [tweet https://twitter.com/Astro_Alex/status/518465045815361536]

Video: Astronaut Chris Hadfield attempts to console five-year-old sad about Voyager One satellite @Cmdr_Hadfield

Rachel Maddow: LOL! Voyager is the BRAVEST Satellite of all. Does that make you Happier, Timur? – Timur, a five-year-old Canadian boy, is deeply concerned about Voyager1’s safe passage through outer space. LOL!!! (Rachel’s “Best new Thing in the World.”) with Commander Chris Hadfield, first Canadian astronaut.
From TRMS, MSNBC

Video showcases Boeing CST-100 spacecraft selected by NASA for US astronauts

Boeing CST-100 to Transport U.S. Astronauts to the International Space Station

The CST-100 spacecraft in development by Boeing Space Exploration of Houston, Texas, will -advance beyond the design phase and be put into manufacturing for flight tests and eventual operational missions to the International Space Station. NASA selected the company’s crew transportation system and spacecraft for a contract in the final phase of certification for privately built and operated integrated systems to carry astronauts from American soil to the orbiting laboratory.

NASA selects Boeing and SpaceX to develop space transport systems for US astronauts

NASA has selected Boeing and SpaceX to transport US astronauts to the space station in the next wave of US crew space transportation.

The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

These Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts are designed to complete the NASA certification for human space transportation systems capable of carrying people into orbit. Once certification is complete, NASA plans to use these systems to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and return them safely to Earth.

The companies selected to provide this transportation capability and the maximum potential value of their FAR-based firm fixed-price contracts are:
— The Boeing Company, Houston, $4.2 billion
— Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California, $2.6 billion

AWESOME!! Elon Musk, SpaceX, unveil new spacecraft (Dragon V2) to take humans to space

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“Thursday’s event included a dramatic unveiling of the new spacecraft, which stood about 15 feet tall, with a rounded, cone-shaped top. At one point, Musk even went inside and sat in one of its four reclined seats.”

“One big upgrade from earlier models is that Dragon V2 will be reusable, which will cut down on costs and open up opportunities for humans to explore. Thanks to propulsion and other technology to slow its re-entry into Earth’s orbit and control its descent, Musk said the spacecraft should be able to land most anywhere much like a helicopter.”

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/29/us/spacex-new-spacecraft/

http://www.spacex.com/dragon