Recent Reading

My article queue has been space-heavy lately: lots of space history, and a few recent developments which highlight what an exciting time we are in for human spaceflight potential.

“For the Tenth Time”: the story of Soyuz 4 and 5 — Part 1, Part 2: The first Russian orbital docking and EVA transfer mission in 1969, after which Soyuz 5 had a module separation failure which caused a dramatically hard reentry and landing.

Disaster at Xichang: Astrotech safety specialist Bruce Campbell remembers the deadly 1996 launch failure of a Chinese Long March 3B rocket with Intelsat 708, captured on video here.

Timeline of tragedy: The Columbia disaster: Ten years since the Shuttle Columbia disintegrated in the atmosphere due to structural failure on reentry due to wing damage from tank foam. This 2004 article remains stark. Also see William Langewiesche’s “Columbia’s Last Flight” from the Atlantic, Nov 2003.

Secret Space Shuttles: Air and Space Magazine roundup of classified Space Shuttle missions for defense and reconnaisance purposes which remain secret.

The Last Shuttle Flight: Recap of STS-135, the last Space Shuttle mission on board Atlantis.

Elon Musk, SpaceX Founder, Battles Entrenched Rivals Over NASA Contracts: HuffPo piece on Elon Musk and SpaceX as “David” to Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s ULA “Goliath.” Musk is cocky and outspoken, but he has the drive and resources to get amazing results.

More than you probably wanted to know about Curiosity’s SAM instrument: Highly technical and detailed (but still lay-accessible) overview of the Sample Analysis instrument on Mars Rover Curiosity by Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdwalla.