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Suborbital Science Is Now

15 Mar 2020, 22:24 UTC
Suborbital Science Is Now
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Did you know that space research doesn’t all get done in space? In fact, some very cutting-edge science gets done on vehicles that don’t go all the way into orbit. It’s a realm of experimentation that takes place in what’s called “suborbital space”.

Recently, I was privileged to attend the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. It gathered together about 300 professionals who enable science far above our planet in that suborbital realm. Their experiments take place at heights that allow them to do microgravity experiments and other projects. For many years, most of these flights were in the domain of space agencies such as NASA. However, the suborbital realm is now open to all, something noted by meeting convener Dr. Alan Stern, as well as in a keynote talk given by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. He focused on the amazing discoveries that will be made by suborbital research communities.

NASA Administrator James Bridenstine talking to NSRC attendees about the future of both suborbital and orbital space flight, and how they depend on each other. Image copyright Carolyn Collins Petersen.

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