Topic: Space Nerds
This place needs a little Space Dementia.
Recently a private company achieved what so far only a few governments have been able to do - launch a spacecraft into orbit and return it safely to the earth. SpaceX launched its Dragon capsule on its Falcon 9 rocket last week and accomplished all its mission objectives without problems.
Why is this important? It marks a milestone in the commercialisation of space travel. More people looking into getting up there, especially into low earth orbit, means NASA and the others get to spend more resources on breakthrough technologies and less on doing stuff they're doing already for way too much money.
Technologies like SKYLON. A British venture (picture me now beaming with pride) that is a Single Stage To Orbit spaceplane, which takes off from a runway, accelarates to hypersonic speeds using air-breathing engines and then switches to a rocket engine (burning oxygen and hydrogen). It then goes into LEO, releasing satellite payloads or other stuff like supplies or personnel to the ISS, and then it goes through reentry and lands on a runway like the shuttle.
And video animation!
And yeah, next year marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's spaceflight. That's 50 years that us lovely animals with opposeable thumbs have been going into space (and 30 years since we've been using the shuttle transportation system). Oh, they grow up so fast.