Aerospikes: the Inside-Out Rocket Engines

Ten years ago, NASA launched the first test flights of solid-fuelled rockets with aerospike nozzles. These inside-out rocket engines trade bell-shaped exhaust manifolds for a narrow spike, building the rest of the bell out of air. » 4/01/14 10:46am 4/01/14 10:46am

The Insane History of Rockets at Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Everyone loves a gorgeous rocket launch, but the story of getting from the first sputtering attempts to the modern day marvels is completely unreal. The Jet Propulsion Laboratories took it up a notch, giving mad scientists their epic reputation. » 3/29/14 3:21pm 3/29/14 3:21pm

The First American Rocket Flight Was an Advertising Stunt

Chuck Yeager shattered the sound barrier in the Bell X-1, and the X-15 was perhaps the world's first spaceship. But these fabulous machines hardly sprang into being from nothing. They were the products of a long evolution of rocket-propelled aircraft, whose strangest episode may have come when the very first American… » 1/01/14 8:00am 1/01/14 8:00am

Watch China's Chang'e 3 land on the Moon!

This weekend, China became the third country in history to put a spacecraft on the Moon with the soft-landing touchdown of its Chang'e 3 probe and deployment of the Yutu rover. Here now for your viewing pleasure is the footage of its picturesque lunar arrival. » 12/16/13 8:10am 12/16/13 8:10am

Here's what China's Yutu rover is doing on the Moon

This weekend, the China National Space Administration (国家航天局, or CNSA) landed its Chang'e-3 lander on the Moon, deploying the Yutu rover on a 3-month mission to explore the dark lava plains of Bay of Rainbows, northeast of Mare Imbrium. It will also leave a powerful telescope behind, to watch the stars. » 12/15/13 12:20pm 12/15/13 12:20pm

One of the lesser-known disasters of the nuclear age

In late October of 1960, about 150 families around the Soviet Union got letters notifying them that a loved one had died in a plane crash. It took thirty years for the public to be informed of what actually happened. It's known as the Nedelin Catastrophe, and it's one of the most chilling accidents of the nuclear age. » 11/15/13 4:00pm 11/15/13 4:00pm

Dammit, Grasshopper, stop being so amazing already

SpaceX's Grasshopper is even more impressive than you probably realized – and that's saying something. While previous test flights have demonstrated the reusable launch vehicle's ability to lift hundreds of meters straight into the air before returning gracefully to Earth, yesterday's launch proved the rocket capable… » 8/14/13 1:20pm 8/14/13 1:20pm