Category Archives: Science

Virgin Galactic Aims for Orbit

Spaceflight Now
by: Stephen Clark
December 16, 2010

Virgin Galactic Aims for Orbit

DENVER — Already cornering the market for brief up-and-down joyrides for space tourists, Virgin Galactic announced Thursday it has an agreement to sell seats on two lifting body spaceships proposed under NASA’s commercial crew development initiative.

Artist's concept of the Orbital Sciences space plane proposal for NASA's commercial crew transportation program. Credit: Orbital Sciences

Both spacecraft are being designed to rotate government astronauts to and from the International Space Station, but they could serve other markets in low Earth orbit.

Virgin Galactic, founded by wealthy businessman Richard Branson, is supporting spacecraft proposals by Orbital Sciences Corp. and Sierra Nevada Corp., the company said Thursday in a press release.

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Balloon was the First Communication Satellite

SPACE.com
by: Charles Q. Choi
August 19, 2010

1st Communication Satellite: A Giant Space Balloon 50 Years Ago

Echo-1

People on Earth may take for granted today’s high-tech world of cell phones, GPS and the satellites high above the planet that make instantaneous communication possible. But it all began 50 years ago with one giant space balloon.

Echo 1, the world’s first communications satellite capable of relaying signals to other points on Earth, soared 1,000 miles (1,609 km) above the planet after its Aug. 12, 1960 launch, yet relied on humanity’s oldest flight technology — ballooning.

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Redefining Electrical Current Law With the Transistor Laser

Science Daily
May 17, 2010

Redefining Electrical Current Law With the Transistor Laser

While the laws of physics weren’t made to be broken, sometimes they need revision. A major current law has been rewritten thanks to the three-port transistor laser, developed by Milton Feng and Nick Holonyak Jr. at the University of Illinois.

With the transistor laser, researchers can explore the behavior of photons, electrons and semiconductors. The device could shape the future of high-speed signal processing, integrated circuits, optical communications, supercomputing and other applications. However, harnessing these capabilities hinges on a clear understanding of the physics of the device, and data the transistor laser generated did not fit neatly within established circuit laws governing electrical currents.

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