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On a sadder note: A tale of two terrorists – one from the present and one from the past

We give our condolences to those who have suffered during the Islamic State-inspired terrorist outrage in London during March. Worryingly, it showed that a religious or sectarian terrorist does not need a Kalashnikov or suicide bomb to kill the innocent …

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On a lighter note: Letter from America from your Washington correspondent

Those of use lucky enough to go the Satellite 2017 conference in Washington DC in March of this year were treated to a day of beautiful summer weather, well – until the cold blew in. Still, there were still some …

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Review: The Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum and its ”real McCoy” Space Shuttle

While most people visiting Washington DC will be aware of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, some will not know that there are actually two museums. For there is a second – one that lies at Chantilly, Virginia, near …

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President Trump’s speech to US Congress: Not much mention of Space but defence spending up

After a media backlash against him, President Donald Trump has apparently toned down his combative political style and made a surprisingly conciliatory address to the US Congress. In a very well received speech, he promised to protect jobs and civil …

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Opinion: Shooting the messenger is not good for you or democracy Mr President

US President Donald Trump has decided to ban certain media groups from White House press conferences. These groups include the BBC, the CNN, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and the New York Times. President Trump subsequently withdrew from the century-0ld …

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Review: Hidden Figures fires fitting NASA rocket at white supremacists

As an astronautics student, your correspondent and his mainly white European post-grad classmates were well and truly trounced in the exam results for the highly mathematical science of spacecraft dynamics and control (Euler can go hang!) by the black kid …

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Falcon 9 launch from former Space Shuttle Pad 39A starts KSC’s “commercial” career but Dragon CRS-10 rendezvous was delayed (Updated)

While its Cape Canaveral Air Station neighbour moved into commercial launches decades ago, the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) was previously solely used for NASA launches, albeit that some Shuttle launches did occasionally carry paying passengers in spacecraft or human form.  …

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ISRO’s PSLV takes record for launch with most satellites aboard

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its Antrix commercial launch provider subsidiary gained kudos for achieving the first orbital launch with more than 100 payload spacecraft aboard. The PSLV-XL rocket launch carried 104 individual satellites, most of which were …

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Syncom designer Harold Rosen passes away

While Arthur C. Clarke came up with the theory of using satellites for communications in a geosynchronous/geostationary position in 1945, actually it was spacecraft designer Harold Rosen who made it a practical reality. As such it is sad to report …

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NASA commemorates 50th year since Apollo 1 fire

It was 50 years ago, on 27 January 1967, that three Apollo astronauts, Virgil (Gus) Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a ground test fire before their planned Apollo 1 flight in February. The fault which caused the …

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Review: La La Land is a lovely little movie but it leaves a bitter-sweet aftertaste

While this column is officially about space we do sometimes stray. Here is a very short review of La La Land (2017) – a new movie which harks back to those favourite musicals of the 1950s. The lead actors, Ryan …

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President Obama – The Verdict: Better than his predecessor but weak on Syria and Space

It is, of course, posterity that gets the final say on whether a U.S. President was any good or not, but as he leaves office we can, at least, make a preliminary comparison of President Barack Obama’s record against that …

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On a sadder note: Last man on the moon, Gene Cernan, passes away at 82

Middle-class Western men tend to die in their early-to-mid eighties. As such, it should not have been a surprise that Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan died on 16 January at the age of 82. Nevertheless, it was a reminder …

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On a sadder note: Brit-born astronaut Piers Sellers passes away

British-born astronaut and environmental specialist, Piers Sellers, has died at the age of 61 from pancreatic cancer. Sellars was born in Crowborough, Sussex, England and was educated at Leeds and Edinburgh Universities. He became a naturalised US citizen in 1991 …

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Review: Star Wars – Rogue One is a rollicking revolutionary story with sardonic droid wit

While the formal Star Wars story has had its beginnings explained in the subsequently-made less-than-good triumvirate of prequels (even if the third of these was not too bad), nevertheless, there was a strand from the very first made Star Wars …

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Analysis: Sky TV likely to fall to Murdoch dynasty…if the regulators let it

Satellite Pay-TV and internet service provider Sky (formerly known as BSkyB) is likely to fall to a GBP£11.7 billion (US$14.2 million) take over bid by its largest shareholder 21st Century Fox, a firm controlled by the family of press and …

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Satellite imagery might be used as basis of war crimes charges over Aleppo

Whatever Russia’s television propaganda mouthpiece RT might say to try to convince otherwise, there has been widespread revulsion in the civilised world over the destruction of the Syrian city of Aleppo which has been mainly caused by a Russian and …

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On a sadder note: God Speed John Glenn…veteran astronaut passes away

On 8 December 2016, NASA and the rest of the USA was mourning the death of one of its astronaut heros – John Glenn – a US Marine fighter pilot of World War II and the Korean War – and …

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On a sadder note: Ewen Whitaker Brit lunar mapmaker to NASA passes away as does near-igniter of Third World War Fidel Castro

Ewan Whitaker, 94, has passed away during October. Whitaker is not widely known but was a key map maker for lunar exploration in the 1960s. In fact, Whitaker was a self taught astronomer who became so skilled that he was …

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IAC 2016 Guadalaraja: Mars missions and new rockets feature…and so does the rain

IAC 2016 Guadalaraja: Mars missions and new rockets feature… and so does the rain

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The annual meeting of the World’s space agencies, engineers and scientists at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, during late …

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