Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works advanced development unit is building an unmanned vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) air vehicle under a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to demonstrate a cargo UAV capable of carrying interchangeable mission payloads.
Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle
As the era of the Space Shuttle draws to a close, uncertainty hangs over the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) like the pall of smoke after a launch. Only eight more Shuttle flights are planned, to complete the construction of the International Space Station (ISS). After that, there will be a five-year hiatus before the next U.S. astronauts fly from the KSC–on the Ares launch system that is reminiscent of the Saturn/ Apollo era.
Next year will mark the fortieth anniversary of man first setting foot on the Moon. Back in the early 1970s it was all systems go for human exploration of space but somehow the momentum was lost, and other priorities took over. Just maintaining an orbital presence above the Earth has been full of challenges with Space Shuttle failures and delays to the International Space Station.