Commercial Spaceflight

Bending the cost curve

May 1, 2022

SpaceX’s breakthroughs in reusability sprang from the lessons of history. The coming Starship space launch attempt portends an even more profound lowering of launch costs in the years ahead. Phil Moynihan and Eugene Ustinov share their analysis.

Spaceplane catalyst

By Debra Werner

October 1, 2020

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.

Managing space traffic

July 1, 2020

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.

Don’t forget the robots

July 1, 2019

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.

A peek inside The Spaceship Company

By Debra Werner

April 1, 2019

After years of testing and one tragedy, Virgin Galactic plans to start flying tourists to space later this year. Debra Werner captures what the experience will be like.

Dreaming big

By Amanda Miller

July 1, 2018

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.

Meeting millennials

By Amanda Miller

February 1, 2018

Young aerospace professionals' career goals nurtured by love of science

Connection quandry

By Tom Risen

October 31, 2017

The possibility for a larger commercial role in U.S. military and government satcom

Satellite envy

By Keith Button

September 28, 2017

A deep look at one company's plan to go up against satellites with stratospheric balloons

Lunar thriller

By Tom Risen

August 31, 2017

“The Martian” author Andy Weir weaves science with more complex characters living in a city on the moon.

Recycling rockets

By Irene Klotz

August 31, 2017

What it will take for reusable rockets to revolutionize access to space

Strategizing about Mars

By Tom Risen

May 1, 2017

Scientists and policymakers talk about the best path ahead for human space exploration

Green propellant

By Keith Button

March 6, 2017

Experiment could move industry away from longtime propellant

Correcting NASA’s course

By Tom Jones

January 27, 2017

While we should expect a hard look at NASA from his administration, President Donald Trump should give NASA the tools and resources it needs to open space to explorers and commerce.