Space Force launches robotic X-37B space plane on new mystery mission

The U.S. Space Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane successfully launched on its sixth mystery mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9.14 a.m. EDT (1314 GMT) on May 17, riding atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

While the X-37B’s exact purpose is a secret, Space Force officials have revealed that the craft is packing numerous experiments on this trip to test out different systems in space. Some of those experiments include a small satellite called FalconSat-8, two NASA payloads designed to study the effects of radiation on different materials as well as seeds to grow food, and a power-beaming experiment using microwave energy.

Astronauts enter a routine quarantine for historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launch

The crew is two weeks away from a historic launch. Astronauts Robert “Bob” Behnken and Douglas “Doug” Hurley entered a pre-flight quarantine today as they get ready to launch to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vehicle as part of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission. This type of quarantine is known officially as “flight crew health stabilization,” and is used to ensure that they will be healthy and will not carry any contagious illnesses to the space station. It is standard procedure and not related to the ongoing coronavirus issues.

This mission, scheduled to launch later this month on May 27 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, will be the first crewed mission for the vehicle and will be the first crewed mission to orbit since NASA’s Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

SpaceX’s Starship SN4 prototype passes another, tougher pressure test: a test flight could be just around the corner

SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype keeps passing tests, edging closer and closer to a highly anticipated test flight.

The SN4 vehicle, the latest pathfinder for SpaceX’s Starship Mars-colonization spacecraft, aced a high-pressure and high-simulated-thrust trial at the company’s Boca Chica facilities in South Texas.

But the SN4 looks poised to leave terra firma for the first time soon. Musk has said he wants the vehicle to make an uncrewed test flight to an altitude of about 500 feet (150 meters), and the prototype has now checked off a lot of boxes on the road to lift-off. That’s probably as high as the SN4 will get. SpaceX is already building its successor, the three-engine SN5, which Musk has said will target a test-flight altitude of 12 miles (20 kilometers).

Four amazing astronomical discoveries from ancient Greece

This article is a fascinating look at the ancient Greeks’ understanding of Earth and the surrounding solar system, showing what they knew about the planets orbit around the sun, the size of the moon and the Earth’s circumference, as well as their design and use of the first known astronomical, mechanical calculator.

The Histories by Herodotus (484BC to 425BC) offers a remarkable window into the world as it was known to the ancient Greeks in the mid fifth century BC. Almost as interesting as what they knew, however, is what they did not know. This sets the baseline for the remarkable advances in their understanding over the next few centuries – simply relying on what they could observe with their own eyes.

The Kim Jackson Scholarship at ANU

The Kim Jackson Scholarship is a new scholarship at ANU.

It will support a promising female engineering student to pursue her passion for technology/engineering through an undergraduate degree at the ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science.

This exciting opportunity is valued at $20,000 per annum for each year of an ANU undergraduate engineering degree. The recipient must come from a non-metropolitan area to apply for this scholarship.

Guiana Space Center launches to resume in June

Europe’s spaceport will resume launch preparations in late May under new protective measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The French space agency CNES said April 29 that 100 people will travel from Europe to the Guiana Space Center on May 11, and will start preparations for a Vega rocket launch after a 14-day quarantine ending May 25.

Arianespace, the European company that launches from the Guiana Space Center, said April 29 that the spaceport’s first missions would be a mid-June Vega launch previously scheduled for March, followed by an Ariane 5 launch in late July.

Hubble captures a ‘Cosmic Reef’ in stunning 30th anniversary image

Thirty years ago Hubble launched into space on a mission to open humanity’s eyes to the wonders of the cosmos. With a captivating new photo, the “Cosmic Reef,” NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope showcases the instruments’ incredible capabilities on its 30th anniversary.

In this new Hubble image, the telescope captured two neighbouring clouds of cosmic dust and gas: the giant red nebula NGC 2014 and a smaller blue nebula nearby called NGC 2020.

Hubble scientists named the image “Cosmic Reef,” because the sparkling, brilliant structures resemble a cosmic coral reef glistening in some secret corner of a deep ocean.

Safety panel concludes May launch of commercial crew test flight is feasible

A NASA safety panel, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP, believes the agency’s plan to launch a SpaceX commercial crew test flight in late May is feasible, although some issues still need to be resolved before the launch.

Sanders, the panel’s chair said the panel has been kept up to date by NASA about commercial crew activities, including plans for SpaceX’s Demo-2 crewed test flight scheduled for May 27. “We are aware of a few technical items that remain to be more fully understood,” she said, “but the path forward appears feasible.”