The space tourism company Virgin Galactic appears to be go for its first rocket-powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo — a commercial rocket ship for passenger space travel.
There is a palpable buzz of a possible test flight of SpaceShipTwo on Monday (April 29) at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. The test is rumored to be a 20-second burn of SpaceShipTwo’s novel hybrid rocket motor in flight.
SpaceShipTwo is designed to use the rocket motor to power private launches that will carry six passengers and two pilots to suborbital space and back. So the possible test flight would be a major milestone for the spacecraft and Virgin Galactic.
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Top image: SpaceShipTwo shoots the moon during April 3 test flight at Mojave Air and Space Port. CREDIT: Bill Deaver/Deaver-Wiggins and Associates
Bottom image: For the first time ever, oxidizer flows through SpaceShipTwo’s rocket nozzle in flight, successfully demonstrating key components of the system. The April 12, 2013 test flight was a key milestone in advance of SpaceShipTwo’s first rocket powered flight. CREDIT: MarsScientific.com/Clay Center Observatory/Virgin Galactic
Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.
“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.
The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
Space Shot of the Day: Leonids Meteor Shower
The earth’s sky is open for double feature this week, first with the rare sighting of a total solar eclipse in Australia on Wednesday, and now one of the most spectacular meteor shower’s return for its annual November show. Commonly known as Leonids, reports of the celestial storm have been recorded as early as the 10th century and its most prolific shower in 1833 saw as many as 100,000 meteors per hour. The photograph (shown left) was taken by Fred Aspenak in November 2001.
For a better view, check out the telescopic recording of the shower provided by NASA’s Marshall Center.
Space Shot of the Day is a feature series following the latest developments in planetary science, astrophotography, space exploration, future plans for colonization and all things related to outer space.
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Shinmoedake peak eruption – as seen from Takaharu, a town in Miyazaki prefecture | image: Reuters
We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.
- Terri Swearingen