Daily Journals


Take a free course in Space Systems Engineering through NASA and the Saylor Foundation.

“Space Systems Engineering, a new massive open online course or MOOC from NASA and the Saylor Foundation, launches on Monday, March 3, 2014. The six-week, general-audience course is available to the public at no cost and provides a unique opportunity to learn from and alongside NASA’s engineers. Students who participate can earn a free certificate.”

For full text Press Release go here

For course enrollment, visit:

For interviews with NASA scientists, visit:

Upcoming Mars spacecraft will need powerful chutes to slow them down on descent. In previous test wind tunnels were used. The test applies the correct aerodynamic force to a parachute that is too large to fit in any existing wind tunnel.

Unfortunately the parachute does tear but thats why we test.


Everyone is talking about a few photos snapped of a Falcon 9 with landing legs at the McGregor testing facility. No not the Grasshopper. Well perhaps Grasshopper 2 or 1.1 or even F9R. See the comparison to Grasshopper below.


new snapshot shown beside the Grasshopper for comparison


photo credit: Jim Howard

F9 Sprouts Legs (click to enlarge)

F9 Sprouts Legs (click to enlarge)

These are the legs we saw on the floor at the SpaceX facility last year

click to enlarge - image tweeted by Elon Musk

click to enlarge – image tweeted by May 2013 Elon Musk

These are the retractable/extendable legs.

Will an upcoming flight sport the new legs?
Hopefully we will here more from SpaceX on this soon. Stay tuned.


Check out this over at Gizmodo. Someone turned a Quad copter into a launch platform.

Video here:

Masten’s Xombie takes a wild ride using JPL’s G-FOLD divert alogrithm.G-FOLD, which stands for Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance Algorithm, enables a rocket to select an alternate landing site, autonomously. This flight took place at Mohave Air & Space Port in Mojave, Calif. in September of 2013


Amherst, NY, January 21, 2014 –(PR.com)–

“Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is now accepting registration for teams in the fourth annual SEDS University Student Rocketry Challenge (USRC). This competition is open for participation at no cost to SEDS chapters and SEDS members. Universities not currently affiliated with SEDS are welcome to participate. This year, a $1,000 prize is being offered for first place.

The objective of the USRC is to give students the opportunity to design, build, test, and launch a rocket capable of carrying a three pound scientific payload to 10,000 feet. Teams will be judged on completeness of documentation, time to apogee, success of the recovery device, and the nature of the scientific payload. Launches will be conducted individually by teams around the country. Each team is responsible for submitting its own design, documentation, and launch reports to the judging committee. The winners will be announced at SpaceVision 2014, the SEDS national conference. SpaceVision 2014 is being hosted at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

All teams wishing to participate must submit a letter of intent and team roster to usrc@seds.org by February 28th, 2014. Team rosters need not be in their final form by this date.

For more information, please visit seds.org/usrc or contact the program managers at usrc@seds.org.

About SEDS:
The Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is the world’s only independent, fully student-run, nonprofit organization for space advocacy. Founded in 1980 by students frustrated with the stagnation of NASA after Apollo, SEDS has inspired tens of thousands of students to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology. SEDS supports a network of over 30 student chapters across the United States, hosts the largest student-run space conference in the world (SpaceVision), provides students opportunities to develop their leadership skills and professional networks, and inspires others through their involvement in space-related projects. Alumni can be found throughout the space industry in both traditional and “New Space” companies. For more information visit: http://www.seds.org.”


NASA’s year in review includes milestones by Commercial Space, Mars Curiosity Rover and even Voyager 1.

NASA’s Year in Review

NASA has released 17000 more photos to the Apollo archive according to the UKs  Daily Mail

“The archive, released through the Nasa-funded Lunar And Planetary Institute, shows not only the famous photos of Apollo 11 but everyday work for the astronauts as they completed their scheduled tasks in what must be history’s most breathtaking workplace.”
-Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2528936/One-small-click-man-Nasa-releases-17-000-photos-Apollo-program-including-rare-shots-mission-13.html#ixzz2oV4RXCXS

NASA”s Apollo Gallery is here

Great new site that has a nice collection of dynamic SpaceX stats including a next launch countdown clock.


Click here to go to stats site

A Copenhagen Suborbitals Visual Guide

TDS80 capsule exploded view. Image: Kristian von Bengtson

The one thing I have been most impressed by following the progress over at Copenhagen Suborbitals is the amazing documentation of everything they do. In addition Wired magazine over the years has stepped up to being an English speaking proponent of their work and has posted many great articles on their progress. The following article is a step by step guide to building the TDS80 capsule written by KRISTIAN VON BENGTSON the founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals.

Read the Full article here

rb-pumpkin rb-pumpkin2 rb-pumpkin3

The 50% more powerful SpaceX Falcon 9 roared off the pad using the new v1.1engines. Cassiope was successfully placed in orbit.

This was a great day for commercial space. In addition to this successful launch Orbital successfully berths with the ISS.


Cassiope Patch

Cassiope Patch

Launch window: 1600-1800 GMT (12-2 p.m. EDT; 9-11 a.m. PDT)
Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California


You can now follow the daily build notes and information on the XCOR Lynx spaceplane at it’s blog.

“For many weeks and months the XCOR Team has been hard at work on a journey like no other, building Lynx. We would like to share that experience with you, and share what excites and motivates our team in developing Lynx. We will bring you the story daily, a piece at a time, all the way through the flight test program to first commercial flight. Just stay here to follow along. It will be a marathon, not a sprint. But it will be a marathon at Mach speed!” -XCOR Lynx Blog

XCOR Lynx Blog

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