Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spacecraft has already begun carrying research payloads. Scientists are eager go along for the ride if and when Blue Origin starts flying people. Credit: Blue Origin

Suborbital Stowaways

Commercial research flights are taking off. Should humans go along for the ride? The era of commercial suborbital research may finally be upon us. For years, a core group of scientists, from fields ranging fro...
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ULA’s Lunar Vision

Cislunar-1000 1,000 people living and working in cislunar space within 30 years It’s hard not to miss SpaceX’s long-term vision. From Elon Musk’s quips about retiring on Mars to the “Occupy Mars” t-shirts wor...
SpaceX’s “Red Dragon” concept envisions using a Dragon spacecraft with only minor modification to land on the surface
of Mars as a precursor to later human missions.

Red Dragon vs. Red Tape

On April 27, SpaceX announced it was pressing ahead with plans to send a spacecraft to Mars. In a brief announcement — just a few tweets by the company and its chief executive, Elon Musk — SpaceX said it planned to launch a version of its Dragon spacecraft, without a crew, on a Falcon Heavy as soon as 2018 to land on the surface of Mars.
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XS-1: The Government’s Last Shot at Reusable Launch Vehicles

For decades, U.S. government agencies, both civil and military, have sought to develop a reusable launch vehicle (RLV), seeing it as a critical tool for lowering the cost of space access. The space shuttle is the best known such effort, but it’s hardly the only one: the National Aerospace Plane, Delta Clipper, X-33, X-34 and Space Launch Initiative all tried to develop reusable launchers — and all failed.