Recently, Orbital Technologies and Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (RSC Energia) announced that they will launch the world’s First Commercial Space Station (CSS). I guess somewhere near the future, space tourism is going to be the next big thing. The station will be utilized by private citizens, professional crews, and corporate researchers interested in conducting their scientific programs. If everything goes well, CSS will be the world’s first commercially available human spaceflight platform.
As the human aspirations to travel into the orbit are gaining moment, a British engineering firm, Reaction Engines, is close to give them wings. The firm has developed £700m Skylon spaceplane, which unlike conventional plane doesn’t have external engines but will be powered by two internal engines instead. The engines suck hydrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere to send it 18 miles above the ground and out of Earth’s atmosphere.
This is something big from NASA, really big. Engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are putting this All-Terrain, Hex-Limbed, Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) under a series of long-drive tests on long dirt roads. ATHLETE is a half-scale working prototype of NASA’s actual robot under development to transport habitats and other cargo on the surface of the Moon or Mars.
A new space era is dawning in the middle of the New Mexico (USA) desert, with the construction of the first private space port. And the Spaceport America could be just the first in a series of other similar infra-structures, should the investment in the space industry prove to be right. Behind this initiative is Virgin Galactic, belonging to multimillionaire Richard Branson, who invested 300 million dollars in the project.
The next generation of concept artists is paying tribute to the master, Syd Mead, who reinvented cars and city living in his work on Blade Runner, Tron and other films. Here are our favorite entries from CGSociety’s Syd Mead contest.