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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.


Help NASA while safely staying home!

This is a great activity during the lockdown.

NASA JPL has created a citizen science program to assist in analysis of Mars terrain.

The labels will be used for training a classifier for MSL and M2020 Ground Ops. Perhaps for on-board algorithms in the future!


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.”


Our friends at NASA JPL!

A new high-pressure ventilator developed by NASA engineers and tailored to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients passed a critical test Tuesday at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, an epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States.


The Value of Experience in Education

Not all education can or should take place in the classroom. Some of the most educational, engaging and memorable experiences that students will ever have can be those that occur on excursions, camps, and study trips. The challenge for many schools is funding and resourcing such opportunities. With so many competing priorities, the focus for


An Out-of-this-World Problem to Solve

How would you like to be part of a team representing Australia in a robotics competition against teams from at least 11 other countries, with the finals being conducted in real time on the International Space Station (ISS)? This is the latest in STEM outreach experiences being provided for Australia’s student population to advance team


News from Virgin Galactic

We’ll be running weekly Live Spacechats on the Virgin Galactic YouTube channel. The first will take place this Thursday and will feature our Chief Astronaut Trainer, Beth Moses, talking through her flight to space.

In 2 days – get up early and listen to Beth!


Coronavirus pauses work on JWST

NASA has suspended work on the James Webb Space Telescope as it prioritizes what agency missions require people to be on site during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement March 20, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said NASA had completed an assessment of work across the agency, deciding which projects are essential enough to require people to go to NASA centers or other facilities to work on them.

“We are going to take care of our people. That’s our first priority,” said Bridenstine. “Technology allows us to do a lot of what we need to do remotely, but, where hands-on work is required, it is difficult or impossible to comply with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines while processing spaceflight hardware, and where we can’t safely do that we’re going to have to suspend work and focus on the mission-critical activities.”


Watch how the only woman in space today celebrated International Women’s Day

The only woman in space right now made a special presentation for International Women’s Day this Monday (March 9).

Floating in the Kibo module of the International Space Station NASA astronaut Jessica Meir spoke in a video posted to Twitter Monday about why we need diverse perspectives to accomplish big goals in space exploration. “It takes all sorts of people from diverse backgrounds to explore the unknown and to make things that are seemingly impossible, possible,” said Meir, an astronaut on the three-person Expedition 62. “When we all work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.”


SpaceX Dragon cargo ship, the last to be caught by robot arm, arrives at space station

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule arrived at the International Space Station early in the morning of March 9, delivering more than 4,300 lbs. (1,950 kgs) of supplies to the orbiting lab.

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir used the station’s huge Canadarm robotic arm to capture Dragon at 6:25 a.m. EDT (1025 GMT).

It was the last-ever capture of a Dragon by the station’s robotic arm. The current mission, the 20th SpaceX has flown under a cargo deal with NASA, is the last for this first version of the SpaceX resupply vehicle. The new iteration will dock directly to the International Space Station (ISS), no arm required, just like SpaceX’s astronaut-carrying Crew Dragon capsule.

“The SpaceX 20 mission is a milestone for several reasons,” Meir said this morning. “It is of course the 20th SpaceX cargo mission, but it is also the last SpaceX cargo vehicle captured by the Canadarm, as future vehicles will automatically dock to the space station. It is also the last cargo vehicle that will visit during our current crew’s time on the space station.”