I poked around for an appropriate place to post this video, and finding none, decided a new thread could be useful to contain all Earth-Moon and nearby space related stuff.
Yesterday SpaceX successfully launched their Dragon capsule on another resupply mission to the ISS (the livestreaming of the launch was very well done - lots of live cameras from the booster and 2nd stage, to the point where you could see the Dragon capsule separate and deploy her solar array).
While that was happening, SpaceX also made it's second attempt to do a controlled landing of the Falcon stage 1 onto an unmanned floating platform offshore.
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Thanks to your earlier post and NSA link yesterday CM, and it's bookmarked!!, I was able to watch the launch live. But missed the recovery footage that has to be like finding a marble or postage stamp in the middle of the Canadian hayfields to land on. Quite amazing and still an accomplishment deserving a lot of praise.
A Canadian company best known for building tiny objects suitable for outer space has just earned a US patent on something distinctly grander: a 12-mile-high inflatable space elevator held up not by cables but by pressurized segments, reports fastcoexist.com. That's more than 20 times taller than the world’s current tallest building, the nearly 3,000-foot-tall Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. So why a space elevator? Because rockets (and, presumably, the space tourists inside them) require less force to launch when starting that much closer to the destination. "Landing at 12 miles above sea level will make space flight more like taking a passenger jet," says Thoth Technology CEO Caroline Roberts in a press release.
The inventor says astronauts would reach the top via electrical elevator, from where rockets can launch in a single stage to orbit as well as return to refuel. If this seems far-fetched, it's actually less ambitious than Obayashi Corporation's hope to build a space elevator a quarter of the way to the moon by 2050, reports CNET. Even so, Thoth's ambition still requires building just beyond what is known as the "Armstrong Limit," or "the point at which atmospheric pressure is so low that your bodily fluids would boil off without a protective suit," reports Global Construction Review. The idea is gaining so much traction that Seattle is actually hosting a Space Elevator Conference later this month. (Obayashi plans to construct its space elevator not from Earth but from, well, space.)
I'm surprised this isn't bigger news. NASA has eliminated Boeing and Lockheed-Martin —two industry heavyweights— from the competition for a contract to supply ISS cargo run services, leaving three relative newcomers in the running:
Boeing Company is one of the five companies initially competing for the CRS-2. Boeing's submission included the use of its modified CST-100 Starliner unmanned spacecraft to transport NASA astronauts back and forth the ISS. The news came as another blow to Boeing who also lost in the Pentagon's Long Range Strike Bomber competition, which is believed to be an $80 billion contract.
"We received a letter from NASA and are out of CRS-2. I don't think we'll know the 'why' until our debrief with NASA," wrote Boeing spokeswoman Kelly Kaplan in an email statement.
Industry rumors have been circulating that the submission from Lockheed Martin Space Systems was quietly eliminated. This leaves three companies – Sierra Nevada Corporation, SpaceX and Orbital ATK – in the running for the two remaining contracts that will complete the U.S. spacecraft which will resupply the ISS from 2018 to 2024. Orbital and SpaceX won the original CRS contracts in 2008.