I woke up with a wonky knee this morning. How does a person hurt their knee sleeping? 

I’m halfway through Level 7 in French on Duolingo. I’m pretty much French now. I’m sure I’ll be moving to France very soon and communicating with the natives easily. As long as we discuss how red apples are, or talk about my black and white dog, I’m all set! That’s what French people talk about, right?

Remember my potatoes in buckets that I planted back in the spring? Welp, I think they’re ready for harvest. I’m so excited. You guys want to see pictures of my sexy potatoes? Oh, you know you do.

The news is so depressing lately. Looks like we’re going to war, again. And should we be worried about Ebola? I read The Hot Zone so I’m basically an expert, and I’m a little concerned about it.  But I prefer to focus on the good news, like NASA working with  SpaceX and Boeing to develop fricking SPACE TAXIS to the ISS and eventually to Mars! That’s fucking cool. 

Ok, I’m done rambling now. Have a good night, all.

Boeing, SpaceX win contracts to build ‘space taxis’ for NASA

"NASA will partner with Boeing and SpaceX to build commercially owned and operated "space taxis" to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, ending U.S. dependence on Russia for rides, officials said on Tuesday."

Read more from reuters.

2

SpaceX Restartable Thrusters Pass Early Tests

SpaceX completed qualification testing for its SuperDraco thruster late last month. The engine will eventually be mounted on the manned version of the Dragon spacecraft as part of its launch escape system. It will also help the vehicle touch down on its return to Earth or on whatever other planet it visits.

SpaceX says the engine produces 16,000 pounds of thrust and can be fired multiple times. In an emergency, eight SuperDracos built into the Dragon will provide 120,000 pounds of thrust to propel the crew a safe distance from the rest of the vehicle.

The thruster’s engine chamber is made through the industrial 3-D printing process called direct laser metal sintering. It is composed of Inconel, a strong nickel-chromium superalloy able to withstand high temperatures. 

Read More

2

Soon, it will be possible to buy a ticket to the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Lesser known than Elon Musk and Richard Bronson’s space tourism exploits is World View, a luxury flight capsule that, in an estimated four years, will start taking travelers on five hour tours through our earth’s atmosphere.

Do we really have to wait that long?!

MORE.

Inside The New Dragon Spacecraft

Last night, SpaceX unveiled the Dragon V2 capsule, destined to eventually carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

Although the previous version of the Dragon capsule was flightworthy enough to deliver supplies, its life support system wasn’t reliable for human passengers. Dragon V2, on the other hand, will be able to carry seven astronauts for seven days.”

Read more from popsci.

2

SpaceX successfully launched their first upgraded Falcon 9 rocket at 12pm EST (9am CST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today. Sporting an elongated first stage, the vehicle’s 9 Merlin D-1 engines are more efficient and arranged in what SpaceX calls an “Octaweb” pattern, versus the 3x3 grid-like pattern from before.

The rocket launched a Canadian space weather observation satellite, Cassiope.

Photos courtesy SpaceX and the LA Times.

The is SpaceX’s Dragon V2 capsule, which the company unveiled this week. According to SpaceX, it will take seven passengers into space, before landing anywhere in the world “with the precision of a helicopter”.

3

SpaceX Releases Video Of Successful Falcon 9 Rocket Landing At Sea

Two weeks ago SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station as part of the company’s third cargo resupply mission. It was also the first SpaceX launch with landing legs attached to test a soft landing of the rocket’s first stage at sea. Prior to launch SpaceX had estimated a 30 to 40 percent chance of success.

Later the same evening SpaceX confirmed via social media that the soft landing at sea was a success, saying:

"Data upload from tracking plane shows first stage landing in Atlantic was good! Flight computers continued transmitting for 8 seconds after reaching the water."

The successful soft landing is a significant step forward in developing reusable-rocket technology that could dramatically reduce the cost of space exploration. The ultimate goal is have the Falcon 9’s first stage booster fly itself back to a landing pad, so they can quickly turnaround and reuse them.

Watch the (repaired) video from the Falcon 9 rocket’s onboard camera here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er66BActC4E

If you want to help improve the video quality of the raw footage received from the Falcon 9’s onboard camera, go here: http://www.spacex.com/news/2014/04/29/first-stage-landing-video

Most of NASA’s funding goes to out-of-house contractors, such as SpaceX, in the private sector. By advocating for an increase in NASA’s budget you are helping SpaceX reduce the cost of space exploration for all of us! Take action today! Tell Congress to increase NASA’s budget: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

The first image shows the Falcon 9’s first stage prior to launch with landing legs attached. The second image is of the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying cargo to the ISS. And the third image was captured by the Falcon 9 rocket’s onboard camera right before its successful splashdown at sea showing a controlled landing with the landing legs deployed properly.

Image Credit: SpaceX / NASA

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