1970, The Year We Accidentally Bombed Mexico (Again)

The United States hasn't always had a great relationship with Mexico, but in 1970 things were pretty congenial. Then, in July, an Athena rocket went off course with vials of radioactive material. Some say the resulting impact created the "Mapimi Silent Zone." » 3/06/15 6:00pm 3/06/15 6:00pm

How Humanity Will Conquer Space Without Rockets

Getting out of Earth's gravity well is hard. Conventional rockets are expensive, wasteful, and as we're frequently reminded, very dangerous. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of getting ourselves and all our stuff off this rock. Here's how we'll get from Earth to space in the future. » 12/30/14 11:00am 12/30/14 11:00am

Could We Use Ground-Based Lasers To Propel Rockets Into Space?

A pair of Russian scientists are proposing a radical new propulsion technique that would accelerate a rocket while in flight, by using a ground-based laser. Should it work, it could push aircraft to go beyond Mach 10. » 10/31/14 11:37am 10/31/14 11:37am

The Supersonic Nazi Rocket Concept Designed to Bomb Any City in 1 Hour

When WWII ended, American engineers examined a trove of Nazi concepts for rocket-powered weapons and airplanes. One of the most terrifying was Eugen Sänger's antipodal bomber, a manned supersonic plane designed to reach any city on Earth in one hour. Thank heavens it never worked. » 8/09/14 5:09pm 8/09/14 5:09pm

NASA is WAY Too Excited About Its Next Rocket Launch

NASA exuberantly celebrated the erection of an Antares rocket today in preparation of the upcoming Orb-2 launch. Now my inner 13-year-old can't stop snickering. » 7/11/14 5:35am 7/11/14 5:35am

Liftoff Is All The More Beautiful Over Alabaster Sands

We're loving this image from NASA's annual Student Launch rocketry competition, held this year atop the ivory expanse of Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. » 5/21/14 11:20am 5/21/14 11:20am

The Space Gun Was Conceived 199 Years Ago

In 1815 the British artist Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) published a book of drawings called Q.Q. Esq.'s Journey to the Moon. In spite of the less-than-serious nature of the illustrated story, Burney put some thought into his launch system. » 5/13/14 8:00am 5/13/14 8:00am

How Would You Send A Ship Into Space Without Rocket Fuel?

In response to Russia's rather unorthodox suggestion to NASA — that perhaps it could use giant trampolines in absence of Russia's shuttle to get our astronauts up to the ISS — a more serious question arose: Could a ship really get into space without rocket fuel? » 5/01/14 4:20pm 5/01/14 4:20pm

Russia to NASA: "Try Jumping To ISS On A Trampoline."

After NASA imposed sanctions on cooperating with Russia, a Russian official joked that these sanctions would strand astronauts on the International Space Station. The taunts escalated to instructing NASA to teach its astronauts to use a trampoline to reach orbit. Could it work? » 5/01/14 3:02pm 5/01/14 3:02pm

The Russian Soyuz Spacecraft from Launch to Landing

Since the retirement of the venerable Space Shuttles, NASA astronauts have relied on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to get to the International Space Station. Take a moment to learn about the rocket and modules our astronauts are using until we develop new crew launch vehicle. » 4/23/14 6:39pm 4/23/14 6:39pm

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 Dangerous Origins of Model Rocketry

Today, model rocketry is a popular hobby, with an almost impeccable safety record. But that wasn't always the case. From the late 19th century to the late 1950s, generations of kids were taking their lives (or at least their fingers) into their own hands, setting off unsafe and unsound devices. Here's the daredevil… » 3/18/14 11:17am 3/18/14 11:17am

Today is the 88th anniversary of the first liquid-fueled rocket launch!

A rocket shoots directly into the heart of an Alaskan aurora

Earlier this week, a NASA-funded sounding rocket was hurtled directly into the Northern Lights over Venetie, Alaska. The launch created an absolutely stunning visual feast, one combining fire, ice — and glowing green plasma. » 3/05/14 11:20am 3/05/14 11:20am

Watch a rocket sled attached to a parachute shoot through the desert!

The folks over at JPL's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project have been building a rocket sled — and here it is in action! » 2/03/14 1:46pm 2/03/14 1:46pm

New images of NASA's deep-space rocket reveal an absolute behemoth

Late last year, NASA announced plans to develop its next generation launch system. As the space agency's latest renderings show, this monstrous rocket will truly be able to take us to Mars — and well beyond. » 1/15/14 2:40pm 1/15/14 2:40pm