back to article Varda capsule proves you don't need astronauts for gravity-defying science

Almost drowned out by last night's lunar landing, Varda Space Industries celebrated the re-entry and landing of the capsule from its W-1 mission in the Utah desert. The successful landing was significant for proponents of in-space manufacturing. Materials behave differently when processed in microgravity, and while parabolic …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How did they develop the capsule and heat shield?

    So SpaceX spent a good chunk 'o change on expensive refractory wind tunnel studies and licensed the PICA-X material from NASA.

    Where did this come from out of the blue? Did they just "wing it/oh that looks about right" on the shape? Are they using PICA-X as well?

    No wonder NASA/USAF want a look-see.

    1. Duncan Macdonald

      Re: How did they develop the capsule and heat shield?

      As the capsule is a single use design, an ablative heat shield (as used on every manned mission between Mercury and Apollo) would suffice. The SpaceX requirement for multiple reuse requires a more complex heat shield system.

    2. fishman

      Re: How did they develop the capsule and heat shield?

      When something is "Human Rated" far more testing is required.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    You don't even need to leave the Earth's surface to do gravity-defying science:

    1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Not perfect though, that page lists some problems.

  3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Re-entry licence?

    The eight-month mission duration was twice that initially planned due to problems with the license needed for re-entry.

    What? You need separate licences for going up and coming down? If you're intending to return your spacecraft to Earth I'd have thought a return ticketlicence would have made sense.

  4. Julz


    How much green goo do you need?

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