June 11th, 2010

Sy Liebergot

Space News

  • Masten Space Systems, a small company working on vertical takeoff and landing (VTL) rockets, has successfully done a mid-air engine restart during a test flight. They say it's the first time a rocket has been shutdown and relit during flight. Very cool.

  • Not to be outdone, Armadillo Aerospace, another small group working on such rockets (and a sentimental favorite of mine), did a longer fall with rocket engine off. They used a drogue chute and then relit the engine midair. The vectored thrust rocket was able to right itself and then land back on the pad it launched from. Spectacular!

  • Finally, the Japanese Huyabusa probe is returning to Earth, hopefully carrying a sample of material from an asteroid. This would be the first time we've ever had asteroid material (apart from meteorites) to investigate.

Weird News

Someone built a solar-powered shrub 'car'.

This is sort of an electric gokart... built inside a shrub... with solar panels. I'm not sure I totally grasp the purpose for this other than to completely break the brain of anyone who sees this cruising down the road.

And I thought I had weird hobbies!