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Articles, essays, and commentary about all facets of space exploration

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For Starliner, better late than never

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner launched last week on its second uncrewed test flight to the ISS, nearly two and a half years after a truncated first mission. Jeff Foust reports on that launch and docking, and the road ahead for the commercial crew vehicle.

Barnstorming the Moon: the LEM Reconnaissance Module

During the early years of the Apollo program, NASA considered a variety of approaches to scout potential landing sites. Philip Horzempa examines one proposal that would have turned the Lunar Module into a reconnaissance satellite.

How the India and France Space Strategic Dialogue can address multi-dimensional concerns in 2020s

Earlier this month the governments of France and India agreed to start a formal dialogue on space policy issues. Harini Madhusudan examines how this fits into the longer history of space relations between the two countries and what topics they may discuss.

Review: Space Forces

People living in space has been a long-running dream of space advocates that predates the Space Age. Jeff Foust reviews a book that explores the various rationales offered over the years for settling space.

Chinese military thinking on orbits beyond GEO

Military interest in the region of space beyond geostationary Earth orbit, such as cislunar space, is growing. Kristin Burke examines how that region of space is treated in Chinese academic military papers and its implications for space security.

"Times are changing": NASA looks to move beyond the traditional contract

NASA administrator Bill Nelson called traditional cost-plus contracts a "plague" on the agency during a congressional hearing earlier this month. Jeff Foust reports on how the agency is looking to make greater use of fixed-price contracts and competition, and the challenges it faces doing so.

All the myriad worlds

What's your favorite moon in the solar system? (You do have one, right?) Dwayne Day offers his favorite moons, based not just on science but also the stories they tell.

Kosmos 482: questions around a failed Venera lander from 1972 still orbiting Earth (but not for long)

Fifty years ago, the Soviet Union launched a mission to Venus that was stranded in Earth orbit. Marco Langbroek examines what's known about the last element of that mission still in orbit and when it's likely to reenter.

The future of Mars science missions

The planetary science decadal survey final report released last month recommended flagship missions to the outer solar system but also endorsed continued work on Mars Sample Return. Jeff Foust reports other Mars exploration recommendations in the report are still shrouded in uncertainty, such as a radar mapping mission that NASA wants to stop funding.

Anti-satellite weapons: the US has sworn off tests, and Australia should follow suit

The United States announced last month it would not perform destructive direct-ascent ASAT tests and encouraged other nations to join it. Cassandra Steer explains why Australia should join the ASAT testing ban despite a lack of plans by the country's military to develop ASATs.

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