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
A week is certainly a long time in crewed spaceflight! Following Richard Branson’s trip to “the edge of space” on Sunday 11 July, Jeff Bezos went one step further on July 20. He made a short journey to space, in the first crewed flight of his Blue Origin rocket ship, New Shepard. As the spacecraft… Continue reading Congratulations Blue Origin!
Great news from Virgin Galactic on Sunday. Although according to the widely used definition, their spacecraft didn’t quite get into space. Most international authorities define that space begins at an altitude of 100 km (the Karman line), whereas VSS Unity reached an altitude of 86 km, but a fantastic achievement nevertheless !!. For those who… Continue reading Congratulations Virgin Galactic
Ten years ago, on 8 July 2011 Atlantis took off for the final mission of a Space Shuttle, bringing to close a programme which had lasted nearly 40 years and had cost the equivalent of $220 billion in 2021 dollars. In this post I'll review this fascinating and unique piece of technology. The landing of… Continue reading The Space Shuttle 10 years on
Solar sails are the only method of spacecraft propulsion in which no fuel is needed. Until recently spacecraft powered by solar sails were the stuff of science fiction. However, following the success of the Japanese spacecraft IKAROS which flew close to Venus in 2010, and in 2019 the crowd-funded Light Sail 2 spacecraft it is… Continue reading Solar Sails