Spaceflight Vol 58 No 03 – March 2016

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NASA rejigs Orion/SLS plans
Future plans for sending astronauts beyond Earth orbit rest at present with NASA’s Orion spacecraft, sent on its way by the Space Launch System. But it may take longer than expected to get astronauts flying around the Moon on the first crewed flight, a mission that might not happen before 2023 at the earliest. The Editor explains why.

ISS Operations
Events have conspired to give George Spiteri more than double his usual allocation of pages in this issue. Well, there is little else you can do when the first British ESA astronaut flies to the ISS and completes a successful spacewalk all in his first month! George takes us through the six weeks to mid-January to catch up with an exciting four weeks for Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station.

A plea from the Editor
Spaceflight is going multi-platformed, and if you don’t know what that means the Editor explains all as he outlines the broad and diverse range of news, information and analysis now available, not only in the print magazine but also on the BIS website and in the members-only section where there never was a better reason to join the BIS.

What doomed Mars Polar Lander?
Writing one of the blackest chapters in NASA history, in December 1999 Mars Polar Lander was destroyed when it impacted the surface of the Red Planet. An enquiry determined that the retro-rockets had shut down too early when the landing gear deployed prematurely. Now, space sleuth Joel Powell has uncovered a different and more satisfactory conclusion – from a man who should know!

ESA at Mars
With the European Space Agency little more than a month away from the launch of its ExoMars 2016 mission, Spaceflight reviews the long and chequered history of this flagship programme, first in a two-segment plan to put a roving vehicle on the surface before the end of the decade.

Regular Features

Briefing notes – news shorts from around the world

Satellite Digest – 518 December 2015

Flashback – A regular feature looking back 50 years ago this month

Off the Shelf – Pioneering American Rocketry: The RMI Story – Spaceshots and Snapshots of Projects Mercury & Gemini/Spaceshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo – German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie – Bigelow Aerospace: Colonizing Space One Module at a Time – How We’ll Live on Mars

Obituaries – Fred Durant (1916-2015)

Correspondence – Musings on Imagination

Society News – IS-Italia progress report – Visions of Space: IAAA artists in Somerset

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