Watch Blue Origin launch and land a New Shepard rocket on its seventh trip to space

This morning, Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is set to conduct another test launch of its New Shepard rocket, a reusable vehicle designed to take paying tourists to the edge of space and back. Just like New Shepard test flights of the past, no people will be on board this trip, but the rocket will be carrying a dozen research payloads to space for NASA.

Today’s test will mark the 13th launch of the New Shepard program and the seventh overall flight for this particular rocket. But it’s been a long time since the New Shepard fleet has seen any action, with the last test flight (featuring the same rocket launching today) taking place back in December 2019. In April, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, the company had hoped to conduct another New Shepard test launch, despite concerns voiced by employees at the time.

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NASA Astronaut Pulls Out of Boeing Starliner Space Trip

It’s not very often that you hear about an astronaut pulling out of the chance to go to space, but that’s precisely what NASA’s Christopher Ferguson did on Wednesday.

The experienced astronaut announced in a video posted on Twitter that he’s decided not to take his place alongside two colleagues for Boeing’s first crewed test flight of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft next year, citing family commitments.

Ferguson, a three-time Space Shuttle veteran, described the decision as a “difficult” one. Elaborating, he said that 2021 is a “very important” year for his family as he’s made “several important commitments that I simply cannot risk missing.”

I’m taking on a new mission, one that keeps my feet planted here firmly on Earth and prioritizes my most important crew – my family. I’ll still be working hard with the #Starliner team and the @NASA_Astronauts on our crew. pic.twitter.com/PgdhPqwYQS

— Christopher Ferguson (@Astro_Ferg) October

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Take the ultimate road trip with Ed Ruscha

Danny Kwan, left, Ed Ruscha and Bryan Heath in Ruscha's Datsun pickup truck in a 1975 image from the artist's "Streets of Los Angeles" archive. <span class="copyright">(Ed Ruscha / Getty Research Institute)</span>
Danny Kwan, left, Ed Ruscha and Bryan Heath in Ruscha’s Datsun pickup truck in a 1975 image from the artist’s “Streets of Los Angeles” archive. (Ed Ruscha / Getty Research Institute)

Ed Ruscha invites you on the ultimate road trip: Time travel with him, over 42 years, along the full length of Sunset Boulevard from downtown L.A. to the beach.

Step inside the artist’s 1965 magenta pickup truck, with its blue Naugahyde interior and wimpy-sounding horn. Roll down the windows and let the breeze in, as the vehicle whizzes past the legendary Viper Room, called Filthy McNasty’s in the 1970s. To the left, oh, there’s the Cinerama Dome, showing “The Day of the Jackal” in 1973 and “Back to the Future” in 1985; to the right, a Brentwood hillside minus the Getty Center in 1990. End up at Gladstones by the beach for seafood and cocktails in 2007 because, well,

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A trip anywhere in Microsoft Flight Simulator’s virtual world

On a recent cloudy morning in Wolverhampton, England, Wesley Appiah was in his bedroom, reviewing a flight plan to the Canary Islands, cueing up an R&B playlist and greeting his “passengers.”

Appiah, 20, is an accounting and finance student at the University of Warwick, but he’s also an aspiring pilot who streams virtual flights on Twitch, the internet’s most popular destination for video game streaming.

His software of choice is the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, released in August.

“You can go anywhere around the world,” Appiah said, “as long as there’s an airport to fly to.”

Appiah is not exaggerating. In addition to a wide variety of airplanes to pilot, the 2020 simulator offers what is generally agreed to be the most realistic and complete digital representation of the world that has ever been made available to the public. It includes 1.5 billion rendered buildings and enough data to fill

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Make Your Next Pumpkin Patch Visit A Math And Science Field Trip

ACROSS AMERICA — There’s a contest for everything, and pumpkins are no exception. You may be rightfully proud of that enormous pumpkin in your patch, but unless it weighs upward of 2,500 pounds, you’re not flirting with any kind of record.

Turning this year’s pumpkin patch visit on its end — and let’s face it, everything about 2020 is upended — why not give the kids in your coronavirus pandemic classroom a field trip?

Oodles of STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — lessons are possible while trudging around the hills of pumpkins.

Teach them a little about pi — not pumpkin pie, but the mathematical formula to calculate the circumference of a circle — or how to convert pounds to kilograms.

The largest pumpkin ever recorded in the United States was grown by Steve Geddes. The pumpkin that the Boscawen, New Hampshire, man grew in 2018 tipped the

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