Moon Bound Google Lunar XPRIZE Awards $5.25 Million in Milestone Prizes

The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition designed to inspire young scientists and engineers to build a robot and safely land it on the lunar surface while on a strict budget. (Photo credit: Google Lunar XPRIZE)

The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition designed to inspire young scientists and engineers to build a robot and safely land it on the lunar surface while on a strict budget. (Photo credit: Google Lunar XPRIZE)

A total of $5.25 million in Milestone Prizes was awarded to five teams this week, on […]

'Fire in the Cockpit': Remembering the Sacrifice of Apollo 1

After the first cry from Roger Chaffee (left), even super-fit Ed White (center) was unable to even fully release the first bolt from the command module’s inner hatch before he was overcome by fumes. The most likely origin of the fire was somewhere beneath the seat of Gus Grissom (right). Photo Credit: NASA

Almost […]

'There Is a Santa Claus': The Voyage of Apollo 8 (Part 2)

Hanging in the black sky, five degrees above the lunar horizon and with the terminator crossing Africa, this astonishing view of the Home Planet represented the first occasion on which human eyes glimpsed “Earthrise” from the Moon. It is a timeless image which continues to draw inspiration and wonder. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-six years ago, […]

'Launch Commit': The Voyage of Apollo 8 (Part 1)

Watched by a global audience of millions, and seemingly also by a crescent Moon, the first Saturn V ever trusted with human passengers takes flight on the morning of 21 December 1968. Photo Credit: NASA

Since July 1969, astronaut Mike Collins has achieved fame as “the other one” on the first lunar landing crew. […]

Through a Glass, Darkly: Reflections on EFT-1 and Shadows of Apollo (Part 1)

Stunning panorama of Earth from Orion’s high-apogee mission on Friday, 5 December. No human-capable vehicle has “seen” the Home Planet from this altitude for more than four decades. Photo Credit: NASA

Yesterday, a machine designed to carry humans beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time in more than four decades came screaming back through […]

Ready for the High Jump: NASA's Orion Spacecraft Primed for Maiden Voyage (Part 1)

Orion’s Crew Module, seen here with its heat shield installed, being maneuvered for stacking on the spacecraft’s Service Module. Photo Credit: NASA

After more than a decade of planning and preparation, excitement, and frustration, NASA is ready to launch the first human-capable vehicle for Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) exploration in more than four decades […]

A New Dawn: The Troubled History and Future Promise of NASA's Orion Program (Part 4)

The Orion spacecraft and its Launch Abort System (LAS) for the Exploration pause briefly outside the historic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), during their journey to Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37B. Photo Credit: Talia Landman/AmericaSpace

After more than a decade of planning, preparation, frustration and cancellation, in just 11 days’ time the first human-capable vehicle for […]

A New Dawn: The Troubled History and Future Promise of NASA's Orion Program (Part 3)

The “business end” of the three Common Booster Cores (CBCs) for the Delta IV Heavy are readied for America’s next step towards deep space. Photo Credit: Mike Killian/AmericaSpace

Twelve days now remain before the long-awaited launch of Orion—the first human-capable vehicle for Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) exploration in more than four decades—on its inaugural […]

A New Dawn: The Troubled History and Future Promise of NASA's Orion Program (Part 1)

An artist’s rendering of December’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) test, which will take the Orion capsule 3,600 miles (5,800 km) into space. Image Credit: NASA

For any astronomer, Orion is a relatively straightforward constellation to find in the night sky. Honoring the hunter of ancient Greek myth, its “belt” of three stars—the supergiants Alnitak, […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The Surveyor and the Lonely Man (Part 4)

The Surveyor 3 landing craft, backdropped by the Apollo 12 lunar module Intrepid, as viewed by Pete Conrad and Al Bean at the Ocean of Storms in November 1969. Photo Credit: NASA

Within minutes of arriving on the Moon’s surface, early on 19 November 1969, Apollo 12 astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad began erecting an […]