Meet the Astronauts NASA Just Picked to Return Space Launches to U.S. Soil

Krystian Science SpaceJuly is shaping up to be a great month for America. This year we celebrated our independence, U.S.A. won the Women’s World Cup, the U.S. is about to become the first nation to visit Pluto on the 14th, and now, NASA has announced the four astronauts that will usher space travel back to American soil.

Clockwise from top left: Douglas G. Hurley, Sunita L. Williams, Eric A. Boe, and Robert L. Behnken. PHOTOGRAPHER:  BILL STAFFORD/NASA
Clockwise from top left: Douglas G. Hurley, Sunita L. Williams, Eric A. Boe, and Robert L. Behnken.
PHOTOGRAPHER: BILL STAFFORD/NASA

I’d like to introduce you to Robert BehnkenSunita WilliamsEric Boe, and Douglas Hurley. These four astronauts will begin training now with the hopes of launching in 2017.

These distinguished, veteran astronauts are blazing a new trail, a trail that will one day land them in the history books and Americans on the surface of Mars,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a blog post.

Bolden explained that sending commercial flights to space is “all part of our ambitious plan to return space launches to U.S. soil, create good-paying American jobs and advance our goal of sending humans farther into the solar system than ever before.

Since the space shuttle program was retired in 2011, NASA has relied on Russia to take astronauts to the International Space Station, which costs upwards of $76 million dollars a seat.

Instead, NASA has over 350 American companies working across 36 states on their commercial crew initiative. These four brave men and women will fly on commercially owned and operated spacecraft, built by contractors, not NASA – which will take the cost from $76 million to $58 million per astronaut. This means that every dollar the U.S. invests in commercial crew is a dollar we invest in ourselves, not the Russian economy.

Last year NASA awarded contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the ISS. NASA hopes that by outsourcing the missions to low-Earth orbit they can focus on flying to deep space – even Mars!

I can barely contain my excitement!

pumped up

 

Meet the Astronauts NASA Just Picked to Return Space Launches to U.S. Soil

SpaceX Wants YOU to Design the Hyperloop: Competition Eyes the Future of High-Speed Transportation

KS TechnologyThe concept of the Hyperloop, unveiled by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2013, has generated a great deal of interest worldwide.

IMAGE: SpaceX
IMAGE: SpaceX

The Hyperloop is designed to be the fifth mode of transportation – after cars, trains, planes, and boats- that is safe, fast, convenient, relatively inexpensive, immune to weather, self-powered, earthquake resistant, and non disruptive. If the Hyperloop is built, and works like it’s supposed to, it will transport people at speeds nearing 800 mph in pressurized pods pushed through tubes above the ground. We’re talking San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes!

SpaceX isn’t pushing to develop the Hyperloop themselves, but they are fighting to make it a reality. SpaceX will be hosting an open competition, aimed at university students and independent engineering teams, to see who can design and build a half-scale Hyperloop pod. More than 700 entries have already been received.

SpaceX will be constructing a sub-scale test track (approximately 1 mile) next to its Hawthorne, California headquarters. On competition weekend, entrants will operate their pods within this test track.

 All submissions must be received no later than 5pm PDT on Sept. 15, 2015. All pods compete at the SpaceX Hyperloop Test Track in June 2016. Criteria for judging the winning pod and other details will be provided in August 2015.

 

Argo Design

Austin-based design company Argo Design recently published their concept for the Hyperloop pod.

IMAGE: Argo Design
IMAGE: Argo Design

Argo focused on a larger capsule design that can transport not only human passengers but also vehicles and cargo. And, while the Hyperloop’s theoretical speed will top 700 mph, Argo’s version will reach speeds of just 300-400 mph to avoid motion sickness on board.

Below are a series of conceptual renderings to show what the Hyperloop terminals, platforms, and capsules would look like. Very cool stuff! 🚄

SpaceX Wants YOU to Design the Hyperloop: Competition Eyes the Future of High-Speed Transportation