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Jason's Blog

Human spaceflight, LightSail and other space stories

by Jason Davis

Latest Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about tomorrow's historic SpaceX launch

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/02/17 06:00 CST | 2 comments

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from a former space shuttle launch pad tomorrow morning. Here's a rundown of everything you need to know about the historic event.

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Solar sailing in Japan: 10 questions for LightSail engineer Barbara Plante

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/02/13 06:01 CST | 1 comment

Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye and LightSail systems engineer Barbara Plante recently traveled to Japan for a solar sailing symposium. Our Q&A with Plante discusses everything from CubeSat attitude control systems to robotic giraffes in Tokyo.

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Want NASA to pick your space mission proposal? Two winning scientists share some tips

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/02/09 06:00 CST | 2 comments

NASA is currently accepting proposals for its next New Frontiers-class planetary science mission. What does the agency look for in a winning proposal? The two scientists behind the ORISIS-REx and Psyche missions share some tips.

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Let's talk about this whole Moon vs. Mars thing for human spaceflight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/26 06:01 CST | 27 comments

NASA's current human spaceflight goal is Mars, but the Trump administration could change that to the Moon. Is that a good idea? Here's an in-depth look at the differences in science gain, the arguments for and against a potential commercial market, and whether or not the technological and operational challenges required to reach the Moon apply to Mars.

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Here's what history has to say about when Trump's NASA administrator will take office

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/19 06:04 CST | 4 comments

This Friday, Charles Bolden resigns as NASA administrator after a stint of 2,744 days. Robert Lightfoot, the agency's highest-ranking civil servant, will take over as acting admin. How long will Lightfoot serve? If history serves as a guide, it could be a while.

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Want to build on our LightSail work? Here are some resources to get started

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/13 10:30 CST | 4 comments

The Planetary Society is launching a new webpage showcasing LightSail academic papers, schematics, parts and imagery.

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SpaceX is ready to fly rockets again. An expert talks about the reason a Falcon 9 blew up last year

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/10 06:02 CST | 40 comments

SpaceX says they fixed a problem with the helium pressurization system that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket last year. The company pushes the boundaries of rocket science, creating an occasional jaw-dropping fireball in the process. But will the risk-reward equation change when SpaceX starts flying astronauts?

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NASA is visiting 8 asteroids in 8 years. Here are 8 things to know about the missions

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/04 04:33 CST | 12 comments

NASA announced two new asteroid missions today named Lucy and Psyche that will fill important gaps in our understanding of how the solar system was formed. Here are eight things to know about the two missions.

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A company you've never heard of plans to build the world's first private space station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2017/01/03 06:00 CST | 9 comments

Axiom Space, a recently formed company headed by former ISS program manager Mike Suffredini, plans to send an astronaut to the ISS in 2019 and connect a large multipurpose habitat there in 2020.

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Spaceflight in 2017, part 1: Earth-centric edition

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/29 06:04 CST | 21 comments

Our preview of spaceflight in 2017 starts with highlights of missions and events happening on and around our home planet.

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