The End is Near: NASA’s MESSENGER Now Running on Fumes

For more than four years NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has been orbiting our solar system’s innermost planet Mercury, mapping its surface and investigating its unique geology and planetary history in unprecedented detail. But the spacecraft has run out of the fuel needed to maintain its extremely elliptical – and now quite low-altitude – orbit, and the Sun will […]

SpaceX Could Launch 17 Rockets in 2015, Including the Most Powerful Rocket Since Saturn V

If all goes as hoped, SpaceX will have a very busy 2015. The commercial space company could launch as many as 17 rockets, including a mid-flight test abort of the Dragon capsule to demonstrate its in-flight crew escape system. Then there’s the launch that every rocket aficionado one has been waiting for: the demonstration mission […]

Making the Trip to Mars Cheaper and Easier: The Case for Ballistic Capture

When sending spacecraft to Mars, the current, preferred method involves shooting spacecraft towards Mars at full-speed, then performing a braking maneuver once the ship is close enough to slow it down and bring it into orbit. Known as the “Hohmann Transfer” method, this type of maneuver is known to be effective. But it is also […]