No one without the right clearance knows exactly what the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B spaceplanes do in orbit, but it must be a lot given the cumulative years they’ve spent up there. The vehicles are sparking a resurgence of interest in spaceplanes as a necessary ingredient for expanding society to space. Debra Werner tells the story.
Effective guidelines could protect the satellites that are so important in our daily lives and prevent dangerous on-orbit activities. Dean Bellamy says a U.S. Department of Commerce office should receive the funding and authority to get the rules adopted.
Sending an advance team of robots to the moon before U.S. astronauts arrive in 2024 would provide unprecedented opportunities for joint human-robotic exploration and testing. Gordon Roesler, formerly of DARPA, makes the case.
If all goes as Sierra Nevada Corp. hopes, you’ll soon be hearing a lot more about Dream Chaser, the spacecraft with a history of ups and downs. Amanda Miller toured the new Colorado facility where the first spaceflight version of Dream Chaser will be built.