user locations: elvis_crabs - technology

cerro tololo inter-american observatory

from dark energy posted in technology by elvis_crabs

Located high in the mountains of the Atacama Desert of northern Chile (one of the most arid regions in the world), the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory is an array of telescopes and scientific instruments that was founded in 1963 by Chileans and Americans.

Most recently, a phone box-sized Dark Energy Camera (or DECam) has been mounted on the 4m Victor M. Blanco telescope. The purpose of the 570-million-pixel camera is to scan some 300 million galaxies in the coming five years for evidence of dark energy.

The camera is comprised of 62 separate CCDs, the same kind of detector in consumer cameras. By doing some fancy stuff with a computer model and measuring red-shifting of an expanding galaxy paired with echoes of the Big Bang, the DECam should help to isolate and quantify dark energy. Simple as that...

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stratolaunch systems

from space travel, new space posted in technology by elvis_crabs

Founded by the same team that won the Ansari X Prize in 2004, Microsoft gazillionaire Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan started Stratolauch Systems in 2011.

The purpose of Stratolaunch is to create an air launch-to-orbit vehicle for commercial space travel. The company is a joint venture between Scaled Composites (who is creating the carrier aircraft), SpaceX (who is creating the multi-stage launch vehicle, and Dynetics (designing the mating and integration system). Test flight for the aircraft is set for 2015, and test launch of the rocket (a SpaceX Falcon-9) is set for 2016.

Stratolauch Systems, headquartered in Huntsville, AL, does test flights out of the Mojave Air and Spaceport.

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space exploration technologies

from space travel, new space, spacex posted in technology by elvis_crabs

Founded with $100 million by PayPal and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, Space Exploration Technologies (more commonly "SpaceX") has grown from its initial investment size in 2002 to become a company with nearly 1,700 employees and an estimated market value of $1.3 billion dollars (an IPO is possible at the end of 2013).

SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch and return a spacecraft from orbit on December 8 2010, after its Dragon capsule returned from a two-orbit flight.

SpaceX has been specializing in rocket design and manufacture (the "Falcon" series) and capsule design and manufacture (the "Dragon" series). The company will have the first commercial resupply spaceflight to the International Space Station on May 19, 2012.

The company has a launch manifest on their website that gives a hint to the commercial viability to this industry. The US Air Force and NASA are already negotiating contracts with SpaceX.

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mojave air and spaceport

from space travel, spaceport, new space posted in technology by elvis_crabs

Opened as a small airfield serving the gold and silver mining industry in 1935, the Mojave Air and Spaceport (also known as the Civilian Aerospace Test Center) is one of the leading test facilities for the new commercial space flight industry (or "New Space" movement).

Mojave was the first facility to be licensed in the US for horizontal launches of reusable spacecraft, being certified as a spaceport by the FAA on June 17, 2004.

Scaled Composites has their headquarters here. Their spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, won the Ansari X Prize (a $10 million prize) by conducting the first privately funded human sub-orbital flight on June 21, 2004.

Not all companies at Mojave are subsidiaries of massive aerospace companies. Masten Space Systems is startup company with 12 employees that specializes in vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) spacecraft.

Other private spaceflight companies based at Mojave include XCOR Aerospace, Firestar Technologies, and Orbital Sciences Corporation.

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spaceport america

from space travel, spaceport, virgin galactic posted in technology by elvis_crabs

Located about 30 miles east of the town of Truth or Consequences (great name) lies the "world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport"- Spaceport America (formerly known as the Southwest Regional Spaceport).

Yep, I used the word "spaceport". That's fun.

The spaceport was first purposed by a Stanford professor in 1990, and there were a number of politicians that secured funding and encouraged participation by outside commercial interests to solidify the prospects of this ambitious project (this was back when public servants still took pride in completing tasks).

The X Prize Cup was held here in 2003. In 2006, Virgin Galactic announced they would make their headquarters in New Mexico, and the spaceport's name was changed to Spaceport America (f**k yeah!).

While Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant for the spaceport, the plan is for multiple space travel groups to use the facility. Current other tenants include the Rocket Racing League and Microgravity Enterprises, Inc.

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