Suggest a fix
A government research organisation in China has outlined plans to design and build “ultra-large” spacecraft, potentially miles-wide and assembled piecemeal in space.
The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) has recently published a five-year plan articulating the “urgent need” to invest in studies on space exploration equipment.
This equipment could include enormous crewed spacecraft, orbital telescopes, and even space-based power plants that would be composed of modular components that would form megastructures once in orbit.
Constructing large facilities in space has taken place before, with the International Space Station requiring 40 assembly flights and more than a decade to build.
China, which is effectively banned from participating in the International Space Station by an act of Congress restricting NASA’s cooperation with Beijing, is currently constructing its own crewed station called Tiangong.
US caution regarding China’s space ambitions became law in 2011, through the so-called Wolf Amendment.
Congress banned NASA from using government funds to engage in direct, bilateral cooperation with either the Chinese government or any organisations affiliated with the Chinese government.
The law even prohibits NASA from hosting Chinese delegates at any of its facilities without authorisation from Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which leads on counter-espionage.
The enormous constructions proposed by the NSFC would eclipse the International Space Station considerably, which only measures 357 feet end-to-end, and could take decades and potentially centuries to build.
These constructions are described as “major strategic aerospace equipment for the future use of space resources, exploration of the mysteries of the universe, and long-term habitation in orbit,” by the NSFC.
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have warned that the “rapid development of space technology and the increasing demand for space missions [means] the traditional spacecraft manufacturing, deployment and launch methods have been unable to meet existing needs”.
“In-space assembly technologies can effectively adapt to the assembly of large space structures, improve spacecraft performance, and reduce operating costs,” added Zhihui Xue, a roboticist at the CAS Shenyang Institute of Automation.
Xue’s study added that these technologies would aid in constructing “fixed structures such as space infrastructure, gas stations, space manufacturing facilities, space tourism complexes, and asteroid mining stations spacecraft”.
China’s orbiting Tiangong space station will be roughly a fifth of the size of the International Space Station. Assembly started this year in April, and is expected to be completed after 11 launches in November 2022.
The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) has “guaranteed” the participation of foreign astronauts in the Tiangong programme.
Tampa, Florida (WFLA) — SpaceX made history on Wednesday night when it launched the world’s first all-civil mission to get going from the Space Coast, Florida.
The Inspiration4 mission took off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center around 8:03 pm on Wednesday. The four crew members on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft were launched onto a reusable Falcon 9 rocket and later separated from the spacecraft and landed on the drone.
The mission’s five-hour launch window began at 8:02 EST. The window was very large, as the crew was sent to orbit the Earth rather than the International Space Station, and therefore did not have such strict time constraints.
The crew is set to travel 350 miles above the surface of the Earth, about 100 miles higher than the International Space Station.
“This is important and historic, because it’s the best time humans have been in orbit since the Hubble Space Telescope mission,” said Benjireed, SpaceX’s manned spaceflight director.
The crew will spend three days in orbit to participate in research experiments on human health and performance. We hope that the results of our research will apply not only to future space flight, but also to human health here on Earth.
Inspiration4’s main goal is to provide and inspire support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They want to raise $ 200 million for St. Jude in a three-day mission.
According to SpaceX, each of the four members of the crew was chosen to represent the pillars of a mission of prosperity, generosity, hope and leadership. The Inspiration 4 crew and the pillars they represent are:
SpaceX trained all four crew members as commercial astronauts on Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft. The crew was trained in orbital mechanics, microgravity, weightlessness, other stress tests, emergency preparedness, and spacesuit training.
The mission was funded by Isaacman in a private transaction with SpaceX. Isaacman has also invested $ 100 million towards a funding target for the St. Jude mission.
Inspiration4 Lift Off: SpaceX Launches World’s First All-Citizen Mission in Earth’s Orbit
Source link Inspiration4 Lift Off: SpaceX Launches World’s First All-Citizen Mission in Earth’s Orbit
Researchers have created a winged microchip around the size of a sand grain that may be the smallest flying device yet made, Vice has reported. They’re designed to be carried around by the wind and could be used in numerous applications including disease and air pollution tracking, according to a paper published by Nature. At the same time, they could be made from biodegradable materials to prevent environmental contamination.
The design of the flyers was inspired by spinning seeds from cottonwood and other trees. Those fall slowly by spinning like helicopters so they can be picked up by the wind and spread a long distance from the tree, increasing the range of the species.
The team from Northwest University ran with that idea but made it better, and smaller. “We think we’ve beaten biology… we’ve been able to build structures that fall in a more stable trajectory at slower terminal velocities than equivalent seeds,” said lead Professor John A. Rogers. “The other thing… was that we were able to make these helicopter flyer structures that are much smaller than seeds you would see in the natural world.”
They’re not so small that the aerodynamics starts to break down, though. “All of the advantages of the helicopter design begin to disappear below a certain length scale, so we pushed it all the way, as far as you can go or as physics would allow,” Rogers told Vice. “Below that size scale, everything looks and falls like a sphere.”
The devices are also large enough to carry electronics, sensors and power sources. The team tested multiple versions that could carry payloads like antenna so that they could wireless communicate with a smartphone or each other. Other sensors could monitor things like air acidity, water quality and solar radiation.
The flyers are still concepts right now and not ready to deploy into the atmosphere, but the team plans to expand their findings with different designs. Key to that is the use of biodegradable materials so they wouldn’t persist in the environment.
“We don’t think about these devices… as a permanent monitoring componentry but rather temporary ones that are addressing a particular need that’s of finite time duration,” Rogers said. “That’s the way that we’re envisioning things currently: you monitor for a month and then the devices die out, dissolve, and disappear, and maybe you have to redeploy them.”
NASA is splitting its human spaceflight department into two separate bodies – one centered on big, future-oriented missions to the moon and Mars, the other on the International Space Station and other operations closer to Earth.
The reorganization, announced by NASA chief Bill Nelson on Tuesday, reflects an evolving relationship between private companies, such as SpaceX, that have increasingly commercialised rocket travel and the federal agency that had exercised a US monopoly over spaceflight for decades.
Nelson said the shake-up was also spurred by a recent proliferation of flights and commercial investment in low-Earth orbit even as NASA steps up its development of deep-space aspirations.
“Today is more than organizational change,” Nelson said at a press briefing. “It’s setting the stage for the next 20 years, it’s defining NASA’s future in a growing space economy.”
The move breaks up NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, currently headed by Kathy Leuders, into two separate branches.
Leuders will keep her associate administrator title as head of the new Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, focusing on NASA’s most ambitious, long-term programs, such as plans to return astronauts to the moon under project Artemis, and eventual human exploration of Mars.
A retired deputy associate administrator, James Free, who played key roles in NASA’s space station and commercial crew and cargo programs, will return to the agency as head of the new Space Operations Mission Directorate.
His branch will primarily oversee more routine launch and spaceflight activities, including missions involving the space station and privatization of low-Earth orbit, as well as sustaining lunar operations once those have been established.
“This approach with two areas focused on human spaceflight allows one mission directorate to operate in space while the other builds future space systems,” NASA said in a press release announcing the move.
The announcement came less than a week after SpaceX, which had already flown numerous astronaut missions and cargo payloads to the space station for NASA, launched the first all-civilian crew ever to reach orbit and returned them safely to Earth.
Canada fossil fuel workers want victorious Trudeau to keep retraining pledge
New Zealand’s Ardern says lockdowns can end with high vaccine uptake
Police in Quebec seek man for punching nurse over wife’s COVID-19 shot
BlackBerry beats quarterly revenue expectations on cybersecurity boost
All Aboriginal art is political: you just need to learn how to read it – The Guardian
U.S. social audio app Clubhouse launches ‘wave’ feature for private chats
Mail-in delays and recounts: Canada’s election tallying drags on.
Astronomers Discover an Intermediate-Mass Black Hole as it Destroys a Star – Universe Today