It is now 65 years since the launch of Sputnik 2 on November 3 1957 by the Soviet Union. It was only the second spacecraft to venture into space and followed the successful launch of Sputnik 1 one month earlier. Sputnik 1 was a small metal sphere whose only piece of equipment was a radio… Continue reading Sputnik 2
4 October 1957 – Sputnik 1
Despite the somewhat difficult relations between Russia and the West in the last few years, it is worth looking back 65 years to October 1957 and the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1. This historic event, which caught many in the West by complete surprise, was the beginning of the space age. To… Continue reading 4 October 1957 – Sputnik 1
Effects of Large Satellite Constellations on Astronomy
Many of you will have seen the images back in 2019 which showed long ‘trains’ composed of up to sixty SpaceX Starlink satellites crossing the sky in a straight line. These pictures hit the headlines not only because of the number of satellites, but because of their brightness. A 'train' of SpaceX Starlink satellites,… Continue reading Effects of Large Satellite Constellations on Astronomy
The end of the International Space Station?
There have been stories in the news recently that NASA intend to deorbit the International Space Station (ISS) in 2031. They are largely based upon a recent NASA report outlining the future of the ISS. This report makes interesting reading and describes how NASA will transition away from the ISS towards commercial space stations (which… Continue reading The end of the International Space Station?
James Webb Telescope
On 18 December a Ariane 5 rocket will take off from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, aboard it will be the $12 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) - the most expensive scientific instrument ever launched into space. In this post I’ll talk about this remarkable telescope and the mission to deploy it.… Continue reading James Webb Telescope