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China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe has entered orbit around the Moon (Photo: Gregory H. Revera ...

The Beijing Aerospace Control Center reports that China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe successfully entered lunar orbit Friday at 5:53 pm Beijing time.  Read More

Compact at launch, the origami-inspired solar array will expand to 10 times its stored siz...

One big problem when sending things into space is, well, space. Rockets have limited payload capacity and given the costs involved, every inch counts. That's why Brigham Young University researchers have turned to origami as their inspiration. Their folding solar array is designed to be compact at launch and expand to around 10 times its size once it's deployed in outer space.  Read More

Test firing of the BE-3 hydrogen/oxygen rocket engine that took place on Nov. 20, 2013 (Ph...

NASA announced on Tuesday that Blue Origin had successfully test fired its new BE-3 hydrogen/oxygen rocket engine at the company’s West Texas facility in Van Horn. The test, which took place on November 20, was a series of static firings to simulate the engine sequence of an actual suborbital flight from lift off to landing and is part of the development of Blue Origin’s manned Orbital Launch Vehicle for carrying passengers and cargo into low Earth orbit.  Read More

Artist's depiction of the Sunjammer spacecraft leaving Earth orbit

The team of NASA, L’Guarde, and Space Services Inc. are preparing for the Sunjammer space mission that in 2015 will see the first deep space deployment of a solar sail. On September 30, the Sunjammer team completed a milestone when they successfully deployed a quarter panel of the spacecraft’s solar sail.  Read More

The SES-8 satellite lifts-off atop the Falcon 9 rocket

Three’s a charm, they say. On Monday, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) met success with its third attempt at launching the SES-8 satellite into geosynchronous orbit. At 5:41 PM EST, the Orbital Sciences GEOStar-2 commercial telecommunications satellite lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida atop an upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle. This marks SpaceX’s first geostationary transfer mission.  Read More

Illustration of the Yu Tu lunar rover being offloaded from the Chang'e-3 lander (Image: Be...

China's lunar probe Chang'e-3 was placed into an Earth-Moon transfer orbit on Monday by a Long March 3B launch vehicle from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. It has on board a lunar landing module, containing the Yu Tu (Jade Rabbit) lunar rover. If all continues to go well, on December 14 Chang'e-3 will land in Sinus Iridum on the Moon's northern hemisphere. It will be the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon in 37 years.  Read More

An artist's concept of Kepler (Image: NASA)

Last August, it looked as if the NASA's Kepler space telescope was as good as scrap due to the failure of its attitude control system. Now the space agency proposes what it calls the K2 mission concept, which will give the unmanned probe "second light" by using the Sun to regain attitude control and allow Kepler to resume its search for extrasolar planets.  Read More

Artist's impression of MOM (Image: Nesnad/Wikipedia)

After a month spent jockeying about in Earth Orbit, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is finally on its way to the Red Planet. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the unmanned spacecraft fired its main engine on Sunday at 12:49 AM (IST) and completed the firing 22 minutes and 8.89 seconds later, completing the Mars orbit insertion that will see it arrive in orbit around Mars in September of next year.  Read More

An F/A-18 research jet simulated various flight conditions to evaluate the new SLS flight ...

Earlier this month, NASA carried out tests on a new flight system for the Space Launch System (SLS), the heavy lifting rocket that will send the manned Orion spacecraft into deep space. What was unusual about this is that instead of using a rocket for the tests, the space agency used an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet as a stand in as a way to carry out more tests at lower costs.  Read More

The Mars rover is powered by radioactive thermoelectric generator (dark cylinder on rear) ...

NASA has announced the cancellation of the decade-old program to develop a Sterling Radioisotope Generator for deep-space missions. This program was a response to the critical shortage in radioactive isotopes in general, and plutonium-238 in particular, in the US and worldwide. NASA will now be depending on rebuilding a Pu-238 production system, an option that is not without its drawbacks and challenges.  Read More

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