Space Technology

  • Blogs

    November 13, 2014

    Japanese Investor Claims Houston "Space Law" Expert's Private Space Flight Company Was a Scam

    Takafumi "Horiemon" Horie, the Japanese entrepreneur who founded the tech company Livedoor and later spent time in jail for securities fraud, is suing a Houston "space law" attorney, along with a number of related corporations, for allegedly duping him into investing $49 million dollars in a defunc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 7, 2014

    Listen to NASA: 4 Best Houston-centric NASA Audio Moments

    If you're looking for a quick audio overview of NASA's history, the space agency just released about 60 short clips that give us enough historic soundbites and out-of-this-world sounds -- "Earth's Song" is particularly beautiful -- to cover more than 50 years of history on Souncloud. However, whil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2014

    NASA Rocket Explodes After Launch

    Well, it looks like the astronauts will have to wait a little longer for their snacks and supplies. An unmanned NASA rocket exploded shortly after launching on Tuesday evening. The rocket, an unmanned cargo spacecraft that was slated to dock at the International Space Station, exploded roughly six ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 17, 2014

    SpaceX, Boeing to Launch Humans Under NASA's Watch

    For the first time in American history, commercial spaceflight companies will send astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Boeing have been awarded NASA contracts to pursue the technology necessary for sustaining human life in space. Pending certification by NASA, American astrona ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 25, 2014

    SpaceX Rocket Explosion Keeps Space Community on Edge

    A SpaceX rocket exploded in the skies above McGregor, Texas, during a test flight on Saturday. Though a nonchalant Elon Musk waved the mishap with a short tweet acknowledging that "Rockets are tricky," the fact remains that explosions are scary and tend not to reflect well on companies. SpaceX is a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 21, 2014

    NASA Quite Possibly Contaminated Mars

    Ray Bradbury once said that Mars is the future for mankind, so we have to wonder what the the science fiction genius would have to say if he knew that we've already (possibly) managed to contaminate our future with Earth bacteria. Yep, the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet in 2012, and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 14, 2014

    Apollo Astronaut Space Suits For Sale

    There was a point in time - Hair Balls is reasonably sure -- when every kid wanted to be an astronaut when he or she grew up. And why not? They were watching on TV as astronauts were launched into space and walked on the moon. It was the age of the space race and the men (because of course it was al ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 5, 2014

    New NASA Spacesuits Have Been Chosen: Buzz Lightyear Would be Proud

    Last month, NASA asked the people to help pick the design of the next spacesuit. The people have spoken and they have decreed that NASA astronauts should look like chrome versions of Buzz Lightyear. In other words, the astronauts are going to look extremely cool. If they manage to get to Mars whil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 25, 2014

    Remembering the Day Hubble Was Launched

    Mark Carreau covered NASA for the Houston Chronicle for more than 20 years. He started on the day the Challenger exploded - the editor told everyone on the metro desk to write a NASA story - and he stayed on the beat until he was laid off from the Chron a few years ago. Until then, he watched launc ... More >>

  • News

    April 24, 2014

    Houston's Space Problem: Johnson Space Center Has Lost Its Identity and Purpose

    With a rudderless NASA in charge, JSC has been lost in the shuffle.

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2014

    Cover Story: When the NASA Love Is Lost

    SpaceX completed another successful mission toting cargo to the International Space Station on Sunday. The launch was livestreamed from Cape Canaveral, but it was all focused in Florida and Johnson Space Center was never mentioned. There was a time this would have been unthinkable. Check out our co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2014

    Houston Spaceport, Still in Planning Stages, Has Its First Customer

    If you thought trying to get app-based transportation approved here in Houston was tough, it'll be interesting to see how smoothly it goes developing a plan for commercial space flight. Space travel is higher on the list, we think, especially since a project --- a planned public-private partnership ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 3, 2014

    NASA Broke Up With Russia's Space Agency, Now What?

    The United States has ended things between NASA and Russia's space agency. While the U.S. has yet to issue a Taylor Swiftian pop ballad about the breakup, a memo on the split did get leaked. We can't say we didn't see this coming. Things have been, shall we say, tense between the two countries sinc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 28, 2013

    What's in a Space Station Thanksgiving?

    Way up there in outer space, the International Space Station crew is being deprived of the traditional Thanksgiving we're all enjoying -- you know, that complicated dance of balancing gobbling turkey, stuffing, pie and enough booze before someone you're related to brings up either politics or religi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 8, 2013

    Gravity Hits NASA: Shutdown as "Nonessential" NASA Turns 55

    Last week was NASA's 55th birthday. However, the folks over at NASA didn't have a giant cake or some crazy party to celebrate 55 years of the space program. Instead, 97 percent of NASA employees were deemed "nonessential," sent home without pay and told to wait and not work until the government fina ... More >>

  • Film

    August 1, 2013

    Europa Report: A Found-Footage Failure of Form

    Ersatz space doc Europa Report only looks realistic.

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2013

    We Don't Get an Actual Shuttle, but We Get a Chance to Name a Fake One!

    Houston has long maintained a kind of inferiority complex. Even now after publications from coast to coast have proclaimed our surprising hipness, we still get things stuck in our craw. Case in point, not getting a space shuttle for Space Center Houston. Plagued by the insipid overuse of "Houston, w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2013

    NASA's New Astronauts: Half Women, None Alive for the Moon Landing

    There was a generation of kids who grew up idolizing the astronauts. The men of the Mercury missions, the Apollo crews -- the guys who risked everything, put it all on the line to beat the Russians and launch into outer space. John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong -- these guys were national he ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2013

    NASA Budget Cuts Could Hit Johnson Space Center (First No Shuttle, Now This?)

    In recent years, NASA has been hit pretty hard, and another hit may be coming. We're a long ways off from the days when JFK told the nation that the United States would put a man on the moon, and in recent years, what with the Great Recession, space exploration seems to have taken a backseat. Hell, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2013

    The 10th Anniversary Of The Shuttle Columbia Disaster: Worst Hoax Ever

    Today is the 10th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia, which blew apart as it was gliding across Texas to a Florida landing. All seven crew members died, and Texans were poking around the Piney Woods for weeks looking for debris. NASA is keeping a low profile for the anniver ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2012

    Nerd Humor: NASA Gets Clever With "Why the World Didn't End" and Gangnam Style Parody Videos

    Nerds have a sense of humor and when those nerds also have cool toys and a desire to get people more interested in their world, they can come up with some pretty damn clever concoctions. In this case, the nerds in question are at our own Johnson Space Center where they have created a couple of video ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2012

    5 Things The Shuttle Endeavour Needs To Do In Its Houston Layover

    NASA is trying to make a big PR splash with its crosscountry trip, of the retired shuttle Endeavour, including a nose-thumbing stopover of Houston, the city who didn't get a shuttle despite being the home of NASA. See Also: - Retired Shuttles: Houston Even Finished Behind McMinnville, Oregon - Eigh ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2012

    Houston's Consolation Prize: Space Shuttle Endeavour Gets A Conjugal Visit

    A little bit of Houston died last year when Atlantis returned from its final mission and NASA put the breaks on the space shuttle program. The wound was exacerbated by the announcement a few months prior that Houston would not become home to retired shuttle, but that New York and California would. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 30, 2012

    Jose Hernandez: Shuttle Vet Allowed To Call Himself "Astronaut"

    Jose Hernandez flew on the space shuttle in 2009 and worked on the International Space Station, but he's been having a court battle over whether he can refer to himself as an "astronaut." Hernandez, who stirred up some controversy with his immigration stances as an astronaut, retired in 2011 and i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 8, 2012

    Skylab IV Splashed Down on This Day: Five Things the Most Complaining Space Crew Ever Bitched About

    Skylab IV: Not happy campers​Skylab IV splashed down on this day in 1974, ending the last mission to America's first space station. They were glad to get home. The crew of Skylab IV -- William Pogue, Gerald Carr and Edward Gibson -- became famous for the sheer amount of complaining they did. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2011

    A Pendulum In Space: Kids Learn It Ain't The Same

    NASA has posted new videos of International Space Station astronauts doing experiments proposed by schoolkids, and it includes this easy-to-grasp one. Everyone knows how a pendulum acts on Earth. How about in zero gravity? Astronaut Cady Coleman -- who shows again why she made our list of Seven Wil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2011

    Endeavour Crew Stabs Houston in Back (Sorta) Over Getting a Retired Shuttle

    Mike Fincke: What can you expect from a Steeler fan?​Houston, still smarting over missing out on a retired space shuttle, now gets to hear NASA astronauts going on and on about how the decision was a great one. Members of the Endeavour crew were in Los Angeles recently to take part in the Cal ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 4, 2011

    NASA Taking Astronaut Applications: A Job With A Bright Future

    This could be you​Tired of your dead-end job? Get into a profession that's guaranteed to be well-funded for the foreseeable future and beyond: manned space travel!! NASA is once again opening up the application process for astronaut jobs, even though, you know, there are no more shuttle missi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 4, 2011

    Astronaut Suicides: Funny, Tasteless or Both?

    Photos by Neil DeCosta​The end of the space shuttle era affects everyone differently. One group of creatives from Portland, Oregon put together a Web site called Astronaut Suicides, which is pretty much as advertised -- a slide show of an astronaut, faceless behind his spacesuit, reading abou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2011

    An Amateur Lands The Space Shuttle

    Boyd MeierKym in the sim​Be sure to check out our pics from the Atlantis astronauts' homecoming at Johnson Space Center. You often hear the expression "a once in a lifetime experience," and while this may or may not always be true, for those lucky enough to participate in a NASA Tweet-up, not ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 21, 2011

    Shuttle Era Ends: A Look Back At Our Coverage

    Mission patch FAIL​With what we fervently hope is a flawless landing, the last mission of the space shuttle ends this morning when Atlantis touches down in Florida. The final flight evoked a lot of memories, and we tried our best to spark some. In case you missed our varied posts on Atlantis ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 19, 2011

    Atlantis Wake-Up Music So Far: Ranking The Good, The Bad & The Ugly On The Last Shuttle Trip

    What's with all the damn Coldplay?​NASA, always on the lookout for good publicity, has made a cottage industry out of the wake-up music it uses to rouse crews orbiting the earth. They recruit artists to record messages that are played after the song, because the first thing you want to hear ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 8, 2011

    15 Unfamous But Great Space Shuttle Photos

    Even if it's not today, at some point Atlantis will lift off and eventually finish the last of the space shuttle missions. There are plenty of famous, even iconic, NASA photographs of the program; we pulled some highlights of lesser-known ones. 15. Almost a rocket ship This makes the shuttle look ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 7, 2011

    Shuttle Atlantis' Souvenir Load: 22,000 Flags, 10,000 Patches, A Very Small Painting And More

    Atlantis: Last chance for souvenirs​If you're making the last-ever trip on the space shuttle, you want to make it count. And if the list put together by is any indication, this last flight is taking along enough souvenirs to outfit a small army. Almost all the items are put ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 6, 2011

    Shuttle Atlantis: Its 10 Weirdest Mission Patches

    In May, as it prepared to take off, we offered a list of the five coolest mission patches of the shuttle Endeavour. We wish we could do the same for the Atlantis, scheduled tentatively to go up on the last shuttle mission Friday, but it appears the ship did not provide as much inspiration as the En ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 17, 2011

    Cover Story: Austin Fires Back

    Feelings have been hurt​So I'd gotten up at 5 a.m. and spent the day at NASA's Mission Control, where along with about fifty other writers, talking heads and camera crews from Houston, New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, I'd been granted unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the final full- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 17, 2011

    In Run-Up to Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch, NASA Allows Rare Peek Behind Mission Control Curtain

    Photos by Troy Fields​Check out our pictures of the final round of space shuttle simulation training at NASA's Mission Control. Space. If you are anything like me, you've probably started to take it for granted. Save for disasters like the Columbia explosion in 2003, the country as a whole no ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2011

    Cover Story: Air Hockey Reigns Supreme (With Video)

    As the space shuttle program winds down, people will be reflecting on all the contributions to society NASA has made. Among them: Air hockey. The game was developed by NASA contractors, and it remains huge, especially in the Houston area. Our cover story this week, "Hover Boards," examines the ph ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 7, 2011

    The 10 Coolest Shuttle Atlantis Pictures

    Next month will bring the final space shuttle mission ever, and the vehicle that will take that last ride will be the Atlantis. The Atlantis has taken 32 trips to space so far, and like every shuttle, stunning photographs have been part of the deal. Here are 10 of Atlantis' best. 10. Leaving that ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 7, 2011

    ZZ Top Debuts New Song... In Space

    ​The first bit of music from ZZ Top's long-awaited, long-delayed, semi-mythical forthcoming album has leaked... but not anywhere on Earth. Astronaut and friend of ZZ Michael Fossum, currently headed to the International Space Station on a Russian spacecraft, is carrying a copy of "Flyin' High ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 26, 2011

    Shuttle Endeavour in Hi-Def: Its Final Liftoff

    NASA has released hi-def video of the shuttle Endeavour's final liftoff, from cameras mounted at various points on the outside of the vehicle. Your tax dollars at work! Enjoy.

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2011

    Space Shuttle Endeavour: Its Five Coolest Mission Patches

    Monday, barring yet another delay, the space shuttle Endeavour will take off on its 25th and final mission. Each mission gets its own patch, of course, designed with input from the crew. The five coolest mission patches Endeavour has had: 5. STS-49, May 1992 Endeavour's inaugural flight paid tribu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2011

    Space Shuttle Blues: County Commissioner Calls for a Congressional Investigation

    Answers are demanded, even though they're obvious.​You know what the Space Shuttle fiasco needs? Congress getting involved. At least that's the thinking of Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman. He's introducing a resolution at next week's meeting demanding Congress investigate "Nasa's deci ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 13, 2011

    Space Shuttles: Ten Ways Los Angeles and New York Can Show Theirs Off, Dammit

    Bi-wing airplanes...pfft. Try this on for size, Kong.​This week, we learned that Houston, essentially the birthplace of the space shuttle program, will not be given one of the four remaining shuttles. Two of the four cities receiving them are both deserving and appropriate: Washington D.C. (fo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 11, 2011

    Jethro Tull in Space: No Aqualung, Though

    In honor of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic spaceflight, current space station astronaut and noted flute player Cady Coleman joined in an earth-orbit duet with Jethro Tull founder Ian Anderson.

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2011

    Gabrielle Giffords: No Media Appearances If She Goes to Husband's Shuttle Launch

    Expected to go to Florida for shuttle launch.​Staffers for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, recuperating here after her Tucson shooting, say she still plans to attend the April 29 launch of her husband's space shuttle mission. But if she does, there will be no press interviews or public stat ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 29, 2011

    Astronaut Plays Jethro Tull Flute In Space

    Rocks Off has been trying to come up with a "space rock" joke all day, but we can't, so we'll just say this is pretty cool. Today we got an email from Austin nonprofit Dart Music International with a link to the above video, which premiered during SXSW. It's astronaut (and musician) Cady Coleman ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 11, 2011

    The Ultimate Musical Space Shuttle Crew

    ​The first man to ever leave the Earth and venture into space was a Russian cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin, who, if he hadn't died at the young age of 34 in a plane crash he would be 77 years old today. Garagrin was launched into space on April 12, 1961, and orbited once around the planet in 108 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 9, 2011

    Retired Space Shuttles: Will Houston Get Shut Out?

    A space shuttle on display​Discovery has landed safely, ending its last mission of a long and fruitful career. It's expected to spend its retirement at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum branch in Virginia. Two other space shuttles are retiring this year -- the Endeavour and Atlantis -- and 2 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 8, 2011

    Space Cowboys: Big Head Todd Serenades Shuttle Crew

    ​If someone woke Rocks Off up at 2:30 in the morning with a Big Head Todd & the Monsters song, even the band themselves, we might have a few choice words for them. But we suppose it's a little different when you're 220 miles above the Earth. That's what happened earlier today (way earlier tod ... More >>

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