NASA is making it easier for you to dig through its research

Ever wanted to sort through NASA’s enormous collection of research results, but didn’t have an easy enough way to go about it? NASA has a solution for you, with a new public web portal that the organization hopes will help make checking through its research results simpler.

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SpaceX succesfully launches another satellite, brings home another rocket

At 1:26am ET, SpaceX launched their Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral and, once again, recovered the first stage of that rocket on a drone ship floating in the ocean. More importantly, SpaceX successfully completed the primary mission of today’s launch by inserting their payload, the JCSAT-16 satellite, into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).

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Moon Express becomes first private company to receive permission to go to the Moon

Moon Express has officially become the first private company in the world to receive permission to travel beyond Earth’s orbit. After months of conversations with government officials, the company received the green light from the FAA to venture to the moon in 2017.

“We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity.” Bob Richards, Co-founder and CEO of Moon Express

The announcement marks an important milestone for private companies in the space industry because, so far, all commercial space activities have been limited to operations within Earth’s orbit.

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Virgin Galactic gets its spaceship license

Virgin Galactic is one step closer to making us all space tourists: it just received its operator license from the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST). To get the paperwork, which allows Virgin Galactic to use its ship for commercial operations. THE FAA looked into the vehicle’s system design, safety features and flight trajectory analysis. Virgin Galactic’s Senior VP of Operations Mike Moses said: “The granting of our operator license is an important milestone for Virgin Galactic, as is our first taxi test for our new spaceship. While we still have much work ahead to fully test this spaceship in flight, I am confident that our world-class team is up to the challenge.”

As Moses mentioned, the company also took its SpaceShipTwo (the VSS Unity) for a brief taxi test across the tarmac. There’s still plenty more tests and work to be done — fully-powered, independent flights won’t start until some time next year.