American manned spaceflight in 2019

Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in July 2011, America has been unable to put any astronauts into orbit around the Earth. Instead, it has been in the difficult situation of having to rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). This situation may change… Continue reading American manned spaceflight in 2019

Chinese Moon missions

Like many people, I was very excited to hear the news on 3 January that the Chinese spacecraft, Chang'e 4, had landed as planned in the Von Karman crater on the far side of the Moon. Chang’e 4 in the Von Karman crater. The crater lies in the South Pole-Aitken basin on the far side of… Continue reading Chinese Moon missions

Where does space begin?

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. Many of you will be aware of the recent test flight of the Virgin Space Ship Unity. On 13 December 2018 it reached an altitude of 82.7 km and was widely reported in the media, for example the BBC news website, as reaching ‘the edge of… Continue reading Where does space begin?

New e-book from The Science Geek on Venus

For the last few months I have been writing an e-book on the planet Venus, the planet closest to the Earth in distance, size and internal composition, and the third brightest natural object in our sky after the Sun and the Moon.  The book is now finished and is available to download in Kindle format… Continue reading New e-book from The Science Geek on Venus

The Rare Earth hypothesis

Ever since the pioneering work of Frank Drake (1930-) in 1960, astronomers have been looking for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilisations and have failed to find anything. This could be because Earth-like planets containing complex life forms (such as ourselves) are rare in the Universe and only a series of highly improbable events led to the… Continue reading The Rare Earth hypothesis

American manned spaceflight in 2018?

This post has been superseded by the later post American spaceflight in 2019  As readers of a previous post will know, since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in July 2011, America has been unable to put any astronauts into orbit around the Earth. Instead, it has been reliant on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to… Continue reading American manned spaceflight in 2018?

The early days of the space race

In my previous post I talked about two significant successes for the Soviet Union in 1957: the first artificial satellite in orbit in October and the first living creature, a dog named Laika, in orbit in November. In December of that year the Americans had a humiliating failure when the Vanguard spacecraft exploded in a… Continue reading The early days of the space race