January 1, 2015

Are You Healthy Enough to Fly to Space? (Source: Space.com)
Good news for all you couch potatoes out there: You don't have to be in peak physical condition to make it to space. The vast majority of people who want to fly to suborbital space and back are medically fit to do so, according to researchers at Virgin Galactic, which is developing the commercial spaceliner SpaceShipTwo. Click here. (12/31)

New NASA Pacts Look To Rush Commercial Space Tech to Shelves (Source: Space News)
NASA plans to award unfunded Space Act Agreements to four U.S. companies in a bid to rush new space technologies to the shelves in five years or fewer, the agency announced. NASA solicited proposals for the Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities agreements in March and settled on the winners in December. The goal is to make the technology being developed “commercially available to government and non-government customers within approximately the next five years,” NASA said. Click here. (12/31)

Launch Activity Hits 20-year High in 2014 (Source: Space News)
As is traditionally the case, Russia performed the most launches in 2014, with 32 from Russian-operated launch sites at Baikonur, Plesetsk and Yasny. In addition, four Russian Soyuz rockets launched from French Guiana on missions conducted by Arianespace. Sea Launch, whose multinational nature defies easy national classification, performed one launch in 2014.

The United States carried out 23 launches, 14 of which involved Atlas and Delta rockets manufactured by United Launch Alliance. SpaceX performed six Falcon 9 launches and Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its Antares rocket three times, including a failed launch Oct. 28.

China conducted 16 launches of its Long March and Kuaizhou families of rockets in 2014. Europe launched its Ariane 5 six times and Vega once. Japan and India each carried out four launches, and Israel launched its Shavit rocket once. The high number of launches in 2014, up from 81 in 2013, was helped by a surge of launch activity late in the year. (12/31)

How To Attract More Women To Aerospace (Source: Aviation Week)
At Purdue University, 21% of students majoring in aerospace engineering are female. While that percentage does not seem large, it’s impressive when you consider that only 11% of engineers in the aerospace industry are women. Nevertheless, something clearly needs to be done to bring more women into our field.

I am always surprised that more female students don’t pursue this field. It is exciting, fast-paced and challenging. Grounded in math and science, aerospace engineering is the pinnacle to which everything else is compared. There are plenty of women with more than enough capability to succeed in aerospace, yet they don’t even attempt it. What can we do to change this? Click here. (12/29)

The 2014 Space Review: Is NASA Back From the Dead? (Source: Houston Press)
This wasn't a year to moonwalk about, but 2014 still ended up being a pretty nifty year for that final frontier known as space. It seems like almost everyone got a little piece of the action. If things actually keep moving forward with the space program, we'll look back on that first Orion launch as the start of a new era, maybe the era that takes us to Mars or even just back to the moon (a lot of that will depend on who ends up in the White House in the coming years). Click here. (12/31)

A Resurgence In Space Exploration (Source: Here and Now)
It was a big year on Earth, but enough of that — let’s talk about space! NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel talks to Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins about new spacecrafts, new missions, and space triumphs and failures of 2014. Click here. (12/31)

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