A reader points me to an Ad Astra Rocket announcement of the results of a PhD research study into the behavior of the magnetic nozzle for the VASIMR electric propulsion system. The results are important for maximizing thrust from the engine: Ad Astra’s Christopher Olsen Presents Groundbreaking VASIMR® Result in PhD Thesis Milestone – Ad Astra Rocket – Feb.2.2013.pdf (pdf).
An Atlas V rocket successfully launched a new communications satellite from Cape Canaveral. The TDRS-K will greatly enhance communications for NASA with its orbital spacecraft, the Hubble telescope and the ISS: ULA Altas V successfully launches with TDRS-K – NASASpaceFlight.com.
Here is a video of the launch:
Kristian von Bengtson of Copenhagen Suborbitals gives an update on what they are working on during these cold winter months: The Hunt for the Center of Pressure and other Work in Progress – Wired Science/Wired.com.
The European SpaceLiner concept looks hopelessly expensive and impractical for point-to-point travel but something like it might work for transport to space once there are large habitats in orbit: Planners for hypersonic SpaceLiner craft propose a 50 year timeline – PhysOrg