Ninety years ago, on March 16, 1926, a rocket lifted off – not with a bang, but with a subtle, quiet flame – and forever changed the scope of scientific exploration. This event ties directly to the birth of NASA more than 30 years later.
None of this would be possible without the experiments of Massachusetts physics professor Robert Goddard, best known for inventing the liquid-fueled rocket. The namesake of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, he dreamed as early as 1909 of creating an interplanetary vehicle. While he couldn’t achieve that in his lifetime, his inventions in the first half of the 20th century became the engineering foundation for the rockets that first took humans to the moon in the 1960s and for today’s rockets, which look further into space than ever before.
After nearly 17 years of work, Goddard successfully launched his creation on March 16, 1926.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle successfully flew to space, reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.
The Leonid meteor shower, one of the most celebrated of the year’s annual “shooting star” displays, will peak overnight tonight (Nov. 17) and early Wednesday morning.
You can see the famous Leonids this year even if clouds or bright city lights spoil your skies: The online Slooh Community Observatory will air a free Leonids webcast Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT Wednesday) featuring live views from locations on four continents. You can watch this broadcast by joining Slooh and also gain access to the observatory’s archive of past shows.
NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System, will meet the challenges of exploring deep space. And when it comes to NASA’s journey of Mars and beyond, there are no small steps. Stephen Granade talks how SLS will be the most capable rocket ever built for that trip to the Red Planet and other destinations in the solar system. This is the first video in a set of three.
Meet the CST-100 Starliner, the newly unveiled name of Boeing’s commercial crew transportation spacecraft. It’s been designed with a focus on automated flight, reliable operation and frequent flights carrying NASA astronauts to the space station. It also may take paying customers to the awe-inspiring heights of low-Earth orbit and the unique sensation of sustained weightlessness.
The annual Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak this week, giving amateur skywatchers with clear dark skies a potentially dazzling celestial light show.
Luckily for those watching the skies, there will be a new moon, allowing for maximum darkness just when the Perseid meteor shower will be is at its best. The meteor shower’s peak occurs during the overnight hours of Wednesday (Aug. 12) and Thursday (Aug. 13). No fancy equipment is required; just a lawn chair and your naked eyes will be enough to see the “shooting stars.”