We Can Thank Plutonium for Everything We've Learned About Pluto

Our epic journey to Pluto has been filled with cosmic coincidences. Crossing Neptune’s orbit 25 years to the day after Voyager 2. Zipping by Pluto 50 years on the nose after our first Mars encounter. But my favorite serendipitous fact of all has to do with how we’ve powered the entire New Horizons mission—using none… »7/16/15 5:00pm7/16/15 5:00pm

See How SpaceX Astronauts Could Survive a Failed Launch

Two weeks ago, SpaceX successfully tested the launch abort system for its new commercial crew capsule, which is designed to carry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017. The company has just released a first-person view video recorded by cameras mounted on the Dragon capsule, so you can take a virtual… »5/22/15 4:41pm5/22/15 4:41pm

Every Ship That Has Carried Humans Into Space, In One Chart

Space is big, humans are small, and spacecrafts, well, vary more in size than you might think. Redditor Heaney555 has compiled an a chart, to scale, of every rocket, spacecraft, and space station involved in human spaceflight. And man, Saturn V is huuuuuuuge—it's as long as the whole International Space Station. »12/01/14 4:00pm12/01/14 4:00pm

This Graceful Orion Test Flight Is Really Simulating a Launch Disaster

NASA's Orion spacecraft is this generation's moonshot: mankind's first-ever manned spacecraft built to go beyond the moon into deep space. It's equipped with a Launch Abort System that safely lands the craft if a problem occurs during liftoff. This week, NASA drop-tested the system. Falling from 13,000 feet never… »4/25/14 10:00am4/25/14 10:00am

Get lost in these fascinating spacecraft cutaway illustrations

Cross section, cutaway, or x-ray illustrations, call it whatever you want, but they're the best way to understand how things work. They are fascinating. In this new Sploid series we will present some of the best cutaway drawings from around the world. The first collection includes 32 awesome spacecrafts. »2/24/14 1:20pm2/24/14 1:20pm

Super-Bugs Inadvertently Created by Spacecraft Sterilization Protocols

The European Space Agency has been collecting examples of "spacecraft-associated biology" in a small collection housed at the Leibniz-Institut DSMZ in Brunswick, Germany. 298 strains of "extremotolerant" bacteria, isolated from spacecraft-assembly rooms because they managed to survive the incredible methods used to… »11/04/13 1:40pm11/04/13 1:40pm

Hold a Satellite In Your Palm With These Pint-Sized Wood Models

Russia’s radio telescope, Speckt-R, currently holds the record for the largest satellite orbiting Earth, weighing in at around 11,000 pounds. But thanks to the magical product designers at Postlerferguson, you can now fit a Speckt-R on your desk—along with three other iconic unmanned spacecraft. »7/25/13 5:02pm7/25/13 5:02pm