Human spaceflight in 2021

2021 will be an interesting year for human space flight. Not only is it the sixtieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic first manned spaceflight, but it will be the first time that a privately operated spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station (ISS).  This private spacecraft is not just a one-off but will be… Continue reading Human spaceflight in 2021

Surveying the Cosmos – Part II

In a previous post  I talked about the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a large telescope being built in Chile which will spend 90% of its time surveying most of the sky a total of  1000 times over a 10 year period (in the remaining 10% it will revisit areas of specific interest).  In this… Continue reading Surveying the Cosmos – Part II

Surveying the Cosmos – Part I

In this post I'm going to talk about a new 500 million dollar telescope,  the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), being built at Cerro Pachón in Chile,  and the survey of the cosmos it will  be undertaking over a 10 year period. Cerro Pachón is located in the foothills of the Andes at a latitude… Continue reading Surveying the Cosmos – Part I

SpaceX Starlink Satellites

Update April 2021 - A video containing some of the material in the post is now available on the Explaining Science YouTube channel Many of you will have seen the pictures in 2019 showing long ‘trains’ composed of as many as sixty SpaceX Starlink satellites crossing the sky. A 'train' of SpaceX Starlink satellites just… Continue reading SpaceX Starlink Satellites

American manned spaceflight in 2019

Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in July 2011, America has been unable to put any astronauts into orbit around the Earth. Instead, it has been in the difficult situation of having to rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). This situation may change… Continue reading American manned spaceflight in 2019