December 23, 2014

New Idea for Tansporting Spacecraft Could Ease Trip to Mars (Source: Space Daily)
Scientists say a new method, called ballistic capture, for transporting robotic rovers, satellites and astronaut-carrying spacecraft to Mars could save space agencies time and money. Currently, the favored method for getting a spacecraft into orbit around Mars is the "Hohmann transfer." After rocketing through the Earth's atmosphere, the craft make a beeline for the Red Planet, barreling through space at high speeds. As it approaches Mars, its thrusters fire in the opposite direction -- slamming on the brakes and swinging the craft into orbit.

Ballistic capture, on the other hand, would allow a more flexible launch window. It would also do away with the fuel-guzzling that Hohmann's high-speed braking requires. Instead of rocketing straight at Mars, a ballistic capture technique would see the spacecraft launched out ahead of Mars' orbital path. It would gradually slow and hold in place, waiting for Mars to swing by -- the Martian gravity pulling the craft into orbit as it approached. Click here. (12/22)

Young Red Dwarf Stars could Host Habitable Worlds (Source: Space Daily)
Red dwarf stars, or M dwarfs, have recently been hailed as the best places to discover alien life. They are by far the most common stars in our galaxy, making up 75 percent of all stars. They are also the longest-lived-they can burn for trillions of years, far longer than the ten-billion-years lifespan of our Sun. What's more, nearly all of them may have a planet in the habitable zone. Click here. (12/22)

India's Heavy-Lift Rocket and Crew Module Milestones (Source: Space Review)
Last week, India achieved two major milestones in a single test flight: the first test of a new, more powerful launch vehicle, and the suborbital test of a spacecraft that could later be used for crewed missions. Ajey Lele describes those achievements and discusses why one is more important than the other. Visit to view the article. (12/22)

Deferred Decision (Source: Space Review)
Last week as supposed to be the week where NASA decided between two options for the robotic portion of its Asteroid Redirect Mission. But as Jeff Foust reports, NASA officials decided they needed more time to evaluate the differences between the two. Visit to view the article. (12/22)

What is Orion's Technological Significance? (Source: Space Review)
The test earlier this month of NASA's Orion spacecraft on the EFT-1 mission was hailed as a major test of many of the spacecraft's key technologies. Anthony Young examines those technologies, not all of which are brand new, that are essential to the spacecraft. Visit to view the article. (12/22)

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