It Is Heavy And Obama Can’t Cancel It

Obama may have killed the Constellation program, but he can’t stop SpaceX.

Huge Private Rocket Could Send Astronauts to the Moon or Mars

A massive new private rocket envisioned by the commercial spaceflight company SpaceX could do more than just ferry big satellites and spacecraft into orbit. It could even help return astronauts to the moon, the rocket’s builder says.

SpaceX announced plans to build the huge rocket, called the Falcon Heavy, yesterday (April 5). To make the new booster, SpaceX will upgrade its Falcon 9 rockets with twin strap-on boosters and other systems to make them capable of launching larger payloads into space than any other rocket operating today.

But the Falcon Heavy’s increased power could also be put toward traveling beyond low-Earth orbit and out into the solar system, said SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk during a Tuesday press conference.

See also:
SpaceX Unveils Plans for Falcon Heavy, World’s Largest Rocket
SpaceX announces Falcon Heavy: a low-cost, heavy-lifting, 22-story rocket
SpaceX unveils plans for Falcon heavy lift rocket
Space privateers to launch biggest rocket since 70s
SpaceX preps world’s largest rocket. It’s low cost, too
The Tech Behind the New SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket
SpaceX’s ‘Falcon Heavy’ Most Powerful Private Rocket Ever
SpaceX shoots for ‘next big thing’
SpaceX unveils heavy launcher
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation
SpaceX
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation – Falcon Heavy
Falcon Heavy

If the Falcon Heavy becomes operational and performs as expected, this rocket will be able to lift a heavier payload into space than any other rocket ever built, other than the Saturn V behemoth.

/Wernher von Braun would be proud

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NASA Has Money To Burn

Hmm, I wonder why Obama hasn’t canceled this yet? He’s pretty much stripped the rest of NASA bare.

Solar Probe Plus to ‘touch, taste, smell’ sun on $180m NASA mission

NASA has outlined details of its mission to send a probe deep into the sun’s atmosphere.

Set to launch by 2018, the Solar Probe Plus will be protected by a carbon-composite heat shield that can withstand temperatures up to 1400C.

About the size of a small car, the probe will get within 6.5 million kilometres of the sun’s surface.

“For the very first time, we’ll be able to touch, taste and smell our sun,” Lika Guhathakurta, Solar Probe Plus program scientist at NASA headquarters, said.

Last year, NASA invited scientists to submit proposals regarding exactly what the probe should do once it gets there.

According to Dick Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division in Washington, of the 13 proposals reviewed by NASA, five were chosen “specifically designed to solve two key questions of solar physics – why is the sun’s outer atmosphere so much hotter than the sun’s visible surface and what propels the solar wind that affects Earth and our solar system? ”

. . .

NASA has budgeted $US180 million for the mission, but claims the unprecedented analysis will enable it to better understand the sun and improve its ability to predict the severity of solar storms.

See also:
Spacecraft to Fly Into the Sun
NASA Wants to Plunge a Probe Into the Sun
Solar Probe Plus To Plunge Directly Into Sun’s Atmosphere
Solar Probe Plus instruments will brave the sun’s wrath
NASA readies probe for up-close study of sun’s corona
NASA To Launch Spacecraft Into the Sun
SwRI energetic particle instruments selected for Solar Probe Plus mission
Solar Probe Plus: A NASA Mission to Touch the Sun

/so, is it hot enough for you?