DRAGON RISING: NASA's not flying shuttles any more to the ISS, but SpaceX will deliver its first load of cargo in December. The private company are refining their craft so it can quickly be ready to fly. They want the Falcon 9 rocket to be able to go from hangar to lift-off in less than an hour. It will carry a reusable Dragon CRS-1 capsule.
It's good to see the commercial companies moving things forward. Details on the SpaceX site.
NIGERIAN SPACE: I guess Nigeria found a way to use the millions floating round in locked-in bank accounts: they've just launched two satellites into orbit as part of their space programme. NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X were built in the UK and launched from Russia. Control stations in the UK and Nigeria are monitoring the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency craft. Some Nigerian territories experience extreme weather conditions, often displacing large numbers of people. The satellites will help with planning and resource management. BBC has more.
JOIN THE CROWDS: It could be getting a bit crowded up there in orbit.
Russia has announced plans for a new elite hotel that will house sevn guests in four cabins — in orbit. The Commercial Space Station will open in 2016. Guests will have options, such as whether to sleep horizontally or vertically, and which microwaved meal to eat. Large portholes, cameras and binoculars will be provided. A five day stay will set you back around UK£100,000. The cost to get there is another UK£500,000. I bet they'll have plenty of takers. The Daily Mail has the story and artist impressions.
BOOSTER BIKE: Back here on solid ground the M55 Terminus is a hybrid off-road bicycle. A sturdy frame supports the extra weight of the motor and battery pack. All up the bike weighs around 30 Kg, so you're sure to need a boost while climbing. A sensor handles that, and the motor kicks in if the bike sensors determine you need the assist. The aluminium frame is definitely unusual and is sure to catch the eye. Build up the leg muscles though in case that battery fails. More here.
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LIGHT BIKE: It's hard for drivers to see cyclists, especially at night, and for cyclists it's hard to see the road in the dark. Revolights takes care of both problems brilliantly. The lights — white for front and red for rear — are actually incorporated into the wheel with easy to use clips. The lights flash around the wheel while the bike's stopped but shine solid to front or rear when the bike's moving. They light up the road and make the bike itself impossible to not notice. Absolutely ingenious, these lights are sure to save lives. Details at Kickstarter.
- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz