Reusable Rockets Economize Space Commerce

The hustle-and-bustle of Cape Canaveral came to a sudden halt this week. Engineers and technicians stood silent as SpaceX launched an orbital rocket for the second time. That feat had been elusive; the milestone is a huge leap for space commerce. Over the past five years, SpaceX may have spent as much  More ►

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Space Junk Is Waste-Management Headache

Add “Kessler Syndrome” to your vocabulary. The idea is that colliding satellites or spent-up rocket stages could cause a cascade of havoc, undermining billions in public- and private-sector investment. That scenario, first proposed in 1978, is no longer dubious. NASA currently tracks some 23,000 items  More ►

Satellite-Launch Business in Flux

Arianespace is grabbing orbital headlines this month, much to the chagrin of SpaceX. The French company was assigned a marquee satellite-launch contract by Immarsat, while the US firm wrestles with operational uncertainty. The Elon Musk-backed company was derailed by the explosion of a Falcon9 rocket  More ►

Star-Struck Investors Return to Orbit

The space-tech business is at a standstill until Elon Musk-backed SpaceX sorts out its awkward launch-pad explosion. In September, the private US company was forced to suspend rocket operations, pending completion of a public-private investigation. There is enormous pressure to resolve the matter.  More ►

What Does Iridium Teach Us?

Iridium Communications was an easy target for a black-swan event. In 1998, the type of rocket that was to launch the company’s satellite network exploded at Cape Canaveral, setting back the roll-out indefinitely. And to make matters worse, the advent of inexpensive mobile phones made their core  More ►