Earlier today, an unmanned Russian Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft broke up in the atmosphere and crashed over Siberia while making its way to the International Space Station.
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National Geographic's new TV miniseries Mars has a message for the people of Earth: Colonising the Red Planet is not a pipe dream. In fact, it's achievable within a generation. Unfortunately, in the first few episodes at least, that message smothers the show's ability to tell a good story. Mars is much more enjoyable when it's not trying to cram facts, figures and carefully scripted interviews down our throats.
The European Space Agency's Schiaparelli lander did not touch down on Mars as planned yesterday. During a press briefing this morning, ExoMars mission scientists confirmed that the lander's signal cut out about 50 seconds before landing, and that something went wrong in the final steps, right around when the parachute was jettisoned. ESA is still analysing data collected by satellites and telescopes to get the full story.
Richard Branson and Elon Musk aren't the only personalities in the commercialised spaceflight game. There a plenty of smaller operations having a crack, from hobbyist operations such as John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace, to more serious efforts. In this video from Freethink — which will be an ongoing series — we get a chance to meet one of these dedicated outfits, with the focus here being Jeff Greason and XCOR Aerospace.
As SpaceX's investigation of a Falcon 9 rocket explosion on September 1 drags into its second month, rumours are flying that this may have been more than a random technical failure. According to a Washington Post report, SpaceX is considering the possibility of sabotage.
Earlier this week, Elon Musk revealed his plan to make humanity a multi-planetary species by building an express train to Mars. There are a lot of open questions about how this will work, technically speaking, and who will pay for it. But there's another fundamental issue that must be addressed before anybody can reserve a seat on the first spaceship out: Is going to Mars even legal?
Yesterday, billionaire tech entrepreneur and noted late guy Elon Musk unveiled his hotly-anticipated plan to send humans to live — and die — on Mars. And not just a few humans: A lot of them. In a talk that wavered between overreaching science fair presentation and straight-up science fiction, Musk described sending fleets of spacecraft, each packed hundreds of colonists, to live on a dusty, airless wasteland that we're apparently going to fix up with nuclear reactors and artificial magnetic fields.
China's second prototype space station, Tiangong-2, successfully launched into orbit today. The launch comes five years after China sent up its first space lab, Tiangong-1, and serves as a reminder to the West that China's space-based capabilities are growing fast.
Two weeks ago, a SpaceX rocket inexplicably burst into flames, taking its satellite payload up in smoke. Now the space company has given a date for when we can expect to see its rockets back in the air.