Tagged With rockets

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While rocket launches aren't typically thought of as "cute", watching the maiden voyage of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket is the closest we'll get to seeing the Brave Little Toaster go to space. Yesterday, the 17m carbon fibre rocket blasted off from New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula and made it to the edge of space. Though Electron didn't make it into orbit, it tried its best, and that's all that counts.

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Watching a rocket launch is the most wholesome and exciting activity besides going on a roller coaster or eating large quantities of cheese. Today, at around 1:11AM AEST, NASA, in coordination with United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Orbital ATK, will take things to the next level — the agency will be broadcasting the first-ever 360 degree live stream of a rocket launch.

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On March 30th, SpaceX made history when it became the first to launch and land a refurbished rocket into orbital space. Seriously, it was fucking awesome. But Elon Musk and co. aren't stopping there. According to Musk's Twitter, SpaceX aims to launch a reused upper stage by late next next year in order "to get to 100%" reusability. That's right: Musk doesn't just want to reuse the first stage booster, which is estimated to cut down launch costs by up to 30 per cent. He wants to reuse the whole damn rocket.

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Late next year, NASA is hoping to launch its Space Launch System — a powerful next generation rocket capable of exerting 900 tonnes of thrust. NASA engineers have now completed construction of a stand sturdy enough to test its enormous fuel tank. It's an important milestone, and another step towards sending humans to Mars.

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Pandora is one of Saturn's many baby moons, far too runty to form a sphere under its own gravity. Instead, this 84km across space rock looks more like a fossilized glob of silly putty in closest image ever captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

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Going to the Moon is officially hip again, thanks in no small part to Google, which is offering $US20 million to the first private company that can land on our nearest neighbour, roll around a bit, and beam images back to Earth. The latest contender for that sweet sweet X-Prize money is Japan, which has just obtained a launch vehicle for the shiny metal cheese grater rover it plans to send to the Moon late next year.