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Cessna Pilot Captures Stunning Footage of Antares Rocket Explosion: VIDEO

Cesna1

Yesterday, we told you about the unmanned Antares rocket bound for the International Space Station (ISS) that exploded mere seconds after launch. Today, video has surfaced showing the explosion as seen from a Cessna plane flying not far from the launch site. The extraordinary video captures the rockets' brief ascent and fiery explosion that luckily left no one on the ground injured. Said amateur videographer Ed Sealing of his footage,

I took this video of the very unfortunate Orbital Sciences rocket explosion on my iPad Mini. Video was taken in our Cessna 177 Cardinal from an altitude of 3000ft. Sorry for the sound. I'll have a better one up once it's been edited out.

According to USA Today, NASA's investigation into the incident is ongoing:

"It is far too early to know the details of what happened," said Frank Culbertson, Orbital's executive vice president and general manager of its Advanced Programs Group.

"We will not fly until we understand the root cause," he said.

Culbertson said he believes the range-safety staff sent a destruct signal to the rocket after it encountered problems and before it hit the ground, but was not certain. Bill Wrobel, director of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, said crews were letting the fire burn out.

Watch the incredible footage for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP... 

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Unmanned Rocket Bound For International Space Station Explodes: VIDEO

ROCKET

In a stunning new video, an unmanned rocket headed for the International Space Station (ISS) exploded mere seconds after launching. USA Today reports:

The Antares rocket supplied by contractor Orbital Sciences blew up six seconds after liftoff, NASA said.

NASA and Orbital Sciences were gathering data to determine the cause of the failure of the Orbital CRS-3, the space agency said.

"There has been a vehicle anomaly," Orbital Sciences, the contractor supplying the rocket, said on its Twitter feed.

[…]

The Cygnus cargo ship was loaded with 5,000 pounds of gear for the six people living on the space station. It was the fourth Cygnus bound for the orbiting lab; the first flew just over a year ago. 

Among the cargo were more than a dozen student research projects, including an experiment from students at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston to test the performance of pea shoot growth in space. 

NASA is paying the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences and the California-based SpaceX company to keep the space station stocked in the post-shuttle era. This is the first disaster in that effort.

No word yet on when a new mission will be planned to get the necessary cargo to ISS astronauts.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Check Out This Breathtaking View of Earth From the International Space Station: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 2.06.24 PM

As George Clooney's character in Gravity said, "You can't beat the view"

NASA Expedition 38 crew members Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio recorded this incredible footage of Earth from the Cupola - the massive observatory module of the ISS. 

As the planet rotates in view, the astronauts name countries, cities, and landmarks rocketing across the skyline.

See if you spot your home, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NASA Unveils Incredible Star Trek-style Warp Drive Space Ship: PHOTOS

NASA

This week, NASA engineer Harold White and digital artist Mark Rademaker unveiled the IXS Enterprise - a years-in-the-making CGI design concept for a potential warp drive space ship of the future. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto sadly not included. 

The Washington Post reports:

“We wanted to have a decent image of a theory conforming Warp ship to motivate young people to pursue a STEM career,” Rademaker said in an e-mail interview. “It does have some Sci-Fi features that might never transfer to a possible final design, unless we really want to.”

A warp ship such as the IXS Enterprise could allow travel to interstellar space in a matter of weeks rather than, say, centuries. And the science behind why it might be possible is truly mind-boggling.

An over-simplified explanation is that the concept seeks to exploit a “loophole” in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that allows travel faster than the speed of light by expanding space-time behind the object and contracting space-time front of it.

When asked the question on all our minds – “When can I get one of these?” White said that proving that the math behind the model is the first and most important step in the process. 

For now, we'll just have to make do with the awesome photos of the design, which you can check out AFTER THE JUMP...

[photos via Flickr]

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Hubble Telescope Takes Most Colorful Photo Ever of The Evolving Universe

Hubble photograph

And it's full of stars; the picture above is just a segment of the whole thing. The photo, called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image, is a composite of exposures taken by the Hubble Telescope from 2003 to 2012.

The scope of the photograph is simply gargantuan in scale. It captures over 10,000 galaxies, some of which are billions of light years away, extends back to within a few hundred millions of years of the big bang, and is presently regarded as "among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope."

Plus it makes for a great iPad parallax wallpaper.


SpaceX Unveils Reusable ISS 'Taxi' for 7 Astronauts: VIDEO

Musk

Elon Musk last night revealed the new SpaceX reusable craft for seven astronauts which he hopes will ferry them back and forth to the International Space Station one day.

Dragonv2Private companies are vying for contracts from NASA for the taxis, which will hopefully reduce our reliance on Russia's space program.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

TechCrunch writes:

The reason that this is really import,” said Musk, “is that it allows rapid reusability of the spacecraft. You just refill the propellant, and go again… Imagine if aircrafts were thrown away after each flight; no one could afford to fly.””

2_dragonv2SpaceX had previously shown Dragon V1, a smaller, unmanned version of this craft meant primarily for testing and, in a few cases, sending cargo back and forth to the International Space Station. Dragon V2 also has an improved heat shield, allowing it to better protect passengers on their return flight through the atmosphere.

The biggest single change to the design, though, is in the engines: where each of Dragon V1′s engines (the “Draco” engine) could produce about 100 pounds of thrust, each of the Dragon V2′s engines (the aptly dubbed “Super Draco” engines) can produce about 16,000 pounds of thrust. The particularly cool part? SpaceX says they’re actually 3d printing the engines out of a specialized metal alloy (called inconel), as opposed to more traditional manufacturing methods like milling.

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