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Space Launch System - in numbers

Discover how engineers are outfitting the world’s most powerful rocket with sensors, cables and other equipment in this 2:40 video.

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15 May, 2018



Blue Origin launches and lands New Shepard rocket

Watch Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space tourism company Blue Origin successfully launch and land a used rocket and capsule.

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02 May, 2018



 

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Your partner goes to the shop, but while at the counter gets confused. They swap the number for feet with the number for inches and buy the wrong length of ribbon. When they return home, you measure the ribbon and realise it's just 5/8 of the length that was required. Can you calculate the length of the ribbon that was requested?

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Virgin Galactic rocket motor milestone

Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline which is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, has selected a polyamide-based fuel grain to power its hybrid rocket motor for the remainder of the test flight program and start of commercial operations. This decision follows numerous ground test firings and is supported by data collected over an extensive development program.

In 2008, Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic’s primary contractor, appointed rocket propulsion specialist, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to develop the basic hybrid rocket motor design for SpaceShipTwo. As a part of the program, Virgin Galactic has been developing two variants of this motor using two types of solid fuel grain: HTPB, a type of rubber (the fuel used in the SpaceShipOne rocket motor) and polyamide, a category of benign thermoplastic using Scaled engineering. Both fuel grains were designed to be interchangeable with the hybrid motor, and both have been tested extensively.

“Of the numerous challenges Virgin Galactic has faced and overcome in our unprecedented mission to create the world’s first spaceline, the greatest engineering challenge has been to develop the world’s largest operational hybrid rocket motor to power SpaceShipTwo and its occupants safely, regularly and efficiently to space,” said Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. “It is a great credit to the work of our partners Scaled and SNC that we have completed this important milestone.”


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