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Latest Spaceplanes Stories

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2011-06-29 10:42:19

A spacecraft control flap designed for the super-heated hypersonic fall through Earth's atmosphere has come through testing in the world's largest plasma wind tunnel to be ready for its first flight next year. This flap and its advanced sensors are destined to fly on ESA's Expert "“ the European Experimental Reentry Testbed "“ a blunt-nosed capsule being shot up to the edge of space next spring on a Russian Volna rocket to gather data on atmospheric reentry at 5 km/s. Expert...

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2011-06-22 09:15:00

ESA and Thales Alenia Space Italia announced an agreement Tuesday at the Paris Air & Space Show to begin building the IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle for its mission into space in 2013. Europe's ambition for a spacecraft to return autonomously from low orbit is a cornerstone for a wide range of space applications, including space transportation, exploration and robotic servicing of space infrastructure. This goal will be achieved with IXV, which is the next step from the...

2011-06-20 16:19:00

HAMPTON, Va., June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Decades-old research and testing done by engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center will be recognized Wednesday for its applicability to a future commercial crew space vehicle that could eventually carry astronauts to the International Space Station. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) Sierra Nevada Space Systems, which operates out of Louisville, Colo., is working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement to...

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2011-05-24 09:25:00

The European Space Agency (ESA) has concluded its review of the U.K. spaceplane concept and found nothing keeping it from continuing on, reports BBC News. The Skylon vehicle would be a rocket that operates like an airliner, taking off and landing at a conventional runway. ESA plans the next stage of development to be a ground demonstration of its Sabre engine. The engine is designed to breathe oxygen from the air in the early phases of flight before switching to full rocket mode as the...

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2011-03-07 08:10:27

An experimental military space orbiter, known as the Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), lifted off aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday in a demonstration run that could last as long as nine months. It is the second such craft to be put in orbit under the US military's X-37B program, Reuters is reporting. The Boeing-built X-37B looks like a smaller version of NASA's space shuttle orbiters -- 29 feet long, 14 feet across. The one-third scale shuttles are...

2010-12-21 14:25:00

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA is seeking proposals from researchers interested in testing new technologies during suborbital flights. The agency also is requesting information from commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicle providers and commercial payload integrators about carrying the technology payloads. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO) The selected payloads will fly on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and...

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2010-12-03 08:50:00

The unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle has successfully landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, marking the end of the miniature space shuttle's secret seven month mission for the US Air Force, various media outlets reported on Friday. The landing occurred at the military facility located some 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles at 1:16 am PST, Vandenberg spokesman Jeremy Eggers told the Associated Press (AP). Eggers called the landing "very exciting" and added that the X-37B was...

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2010-12-01 09:15:00

A miniature, unmanned space shuttle could return to Earth as soon as Friday after completing a nine-month classified mission for the Air Force, military officials announced on Tuesday. The space plane, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, will land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Los Angeles sometime between Friday and Monday, Air Force officials said in a statement. The exact time of touchdown will depend on weather conditions and technical factors, they noted. Preparations for the landing began...

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2010-10-22 13:53:39

Virgin Galactic will pass another milestone today in its efforts to bring commercial spaceflight to reality. Billionaire Richard Branson and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will host a ceremony later today marking the completion of the main runway at Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert. Branson told CNN on Friday that Virgin is "getting close" to sending tourists into space. "The mothership has been finished and flying for a while now," he said. "We'll do many, many, many test...

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2010-09-27 09:20:00

Speaking before a business conference in Kuala Lumpur, entrepreneur Richard Branson confirmed that his Virgin Galactic company will be ready to begin commercial space flights within the next 18 months, French news agency AFP reported on Monday. "We just finished building SpaceShipTwo. We are 18 months away from taking people into space," the British billionaire told those attending the conference. According to the AFP, he also noted that the cost of the service would begin at $200,000....