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Tim Fernholz

Tim Fernholz covers state, business and society for Quartz.
Results 1-10 of 299

Watch a Space Robot Capture a Runaway Satellite With its Net

September 20, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow What to do about a drifting satellite? When their missions are done, satellites are supposed to trash themselves—either burning up in the atmosphere, or flying into a parking orbit out of everyone else’s way. But older or malfunctioning satellites aren’t always able to take care of themselves. These can become...

The U.S. Now Suspects Russian Microwaves Caused Diplomats’ Brain Injuries

September 12, 2018 U.S. diplomats and spies who suffered mysterious brain injuries in Cuba and China have seen many explanations for their problems: Sound weapons. Mass psychosis. Cicadas. Ultrasonic microphones. And now, according to recent reports, microwave weapons operated by Russian agents. In 2016, U.S. embassy workers in Cuba reported hearing chirping sounds...

A Tiny Hole in the Soyuz Spacecraft Could Be a Huge Headache for NASA

September 8, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Flight controllers monitoring the International Space Station’s atmosphere detected a steady but small drop in pressure on Aug. 29. At the time, the six astronauts onboard were sleeping. Controllers didn’t wake them up right away—the station wouldn’t have run out of air for 18 days. Once awake, the astronauts discovered...

A Tiny Hole in the Soyuz Spacecraft Could Be a Huge Headache for NASA

September 7, 2018 Flight controllers monitoring the International Space Station’s atmosphere detected a steady but small drop in pressure on Aug. 29. At the time, the six astronauts onboard were sleeping. Controllers didn’t wake them up right away—the station wouldn’t have run out of air for 18 days. Once awake, the astronauts discovered...

How Rocket-Makers Ensure 3D Printed Parts Are Strong Enough for Space

August 23, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Some people are skeptical about 3D printing machines like rockets. Their view is that hardware made by precisely spraying hot metal into shape can’t possibly be as strong as hardware assembled using fusion welding. Still, cost-efficiency means most aerospace companies do make use of additive manufacturing in their supply chain....

How Rocket-Makers Ensure 3D-Printed Parts are Strong Enough for Space

August 22, 2018 Some people are skeptical about 3D printing machines like rockets. Their view is that hardware made by precisely spraying hot metal into shape can’t possibly be as strong as hardware assembled using fusion welding. Still, cost-efficiency means most aerospace companies do make use of additive manufacturing in their supply chain....

Why Did Paul Allen Build the World’s Largest Aircraft?

August 21, 2018 Stratolaunch is a very big airplane, but it has never flown. With a 385-foot wing span and two fuselages, the plane dwarves even the US Air Force’s massive C-5. It’s expected to take flight this fall, three years later than Stratolaunch’s main backer, Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, forecast when the...

How A Billion-Dollar Satellite Gets to the Launch Pad

August 17, 2018 The California heat is stifling as we climb the 14-foot ladder into the passenger compartment of the C-5 Galaxy, the largest plane flown by the US Air Force. I had been told to expect a cold flight, and wore four layers of clothing. Now, sweat drips down my face. Everyone...

The US Is Worried That a Russian Satellite Is Really a Weapon

August 17, 2018 When the satellite Cosmos 2519 was launched into space by Russia last year, the world did not know why. Now, a US diplomat warned a global arms control conference in Geneva on Aug. 14 that “we are concerned with what appears to be very abnormal behavior by a declared ‘space...

The U.S. Is Worried That a Russian Satellite Is Really a Weapon

August 17, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When the satellite Cosmos 2519 was launched into space by Russia last year, the world did not know why. Now, a U.S. diplomat warned a global arms control conference in Geneva on Aug. 14 that “we are concerned with what appears to be very abnormal behavior by a declared ‘space...