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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo on its way to a record 71,000 ft altitude and Mach 1.4 (Pho...

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo (SS2) continues to inch toward a full suborbital test flight with its third supersonic test carried out Friday morning. The SS2 rocket engine fired for 20 seconds, pushing the suborbital spacecraft to an altitude of 71,000 ft (18 km) and a top speed over Mach 1.4, both of which were new records for SS2. The Reaction Control System, feather re-entry system, and a thermal protection coating were successfully tested during the flight.  Read More

Measurements from Hubble images are into translated into designs that are then 3D printed

Scientists have used 3D printing technology to transform images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope into tactile "pictures" for the blind. Astronomers Carol Christian and Antonella Nota of the Space Telescope Science Institute are experimenting with 3D models as a means of aiding education for people who cannot study visual images.  Read More

ISS receives reprieve to 2024 (Photo: NASA)

The Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) program from 2020 until at least 2024. This is an unfunded statement of intent, which must be both approved and funded by the US Congress. Neither NASA nor the White House have revealed from where the additional US$4 billion per year of funding for this extended operation will come. At present none of the ISS international partners have plans to support such an extension. Is this the best decision for the future of manned space exploration?  Read More

An Antares launch vehicle boosts the Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft on it's way to the...

Orbital Sciences Corporation today successfully launched the first of eight Cygnus cargo supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Orbital's Antares medium-lift rocket (originally called the Taurus II) carried the Cygnus into an initial orbit of 135 x 175 miles (220 x 280 km), inclined at 51.6 degrees relative to the equator. The Cygnus is flying solo now, with full communications and deployed solar arrays, carrying roughly 2,800 lb (1,300 kg) of cargo toward a January 12 rendezvous and docking with the ISS.  Read More

The team targeted the Beta Pictoris system and retrieved direct images of the planet Beta ...

Following almost 10 years of development, the Gemini Observatory has debuted an advanced planet imaging instrument and captured a direct image of exoplanet Beta Pictoris b, signifying a breakthrough in our ability to analyze extrasolar planets. Called the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), the tool uses an advanced optics system with an infrared spectograph to retrieve direct images of young planets orbiting distant stars.  Read More

2013 YP139 showing up as a red dot traveling across the sky (Image: NASA)

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) may have only come back online last September after a 31-month hibernation, but it’s already producing results. According to the space agency, the unmanned spacecraft discovered a never-before-seen asteroid on December 29 – the first discovery of its new mission to seek out potentially hazardous near-Earth objects (NEOs).  Read More

SpaceX has launched a second satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit

Commercial space company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has launched a second satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit. Its Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida and successfully delivered a TV and telecoms satellite for Thai-based communications provider Thaicom into position.  Read More

Photos of Asteroid 2014AA on a collision course with Earth (Photo: NASA)

Earth saw in the New Year with some celestial fireworks as the first asteroid to be discovered this year, 2014AA, likely impacted the Earth between 7 pm Wednesday and 2 pm Thursday GMT.  Read More

The pool of applicants for the Mars One mission has been reduced to 1,058

And then there were 1,058. Mars One, the nonprofit organization that wants to send colonists on a one-way lifetime trip to Mars, announced on Monday that it has narrowed its applicant pool down from 200,000 people to just over a thousand. The applicants were notified by email and Mars One says that the next selection phase in 2014 will reduce the pool still further in the search for the first settlers to go to the Red Planet in 2025.  Read More

Path of asteroid (872) Holda, as seen by NEOWISE, shown as a dotted red line (Image: NASA)

NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) has sent back the first test images from its 16-in (40-cm) telescope and infrared cameras as it is prepared for its new mission. Intended to seek out potentially dangerous asteroids and help in selecting a near-Earth object as part of the space agency’s asteroid retrieval effort, NASA says NEOWISE will be a powerful tool for discovering, cataloging and understanding the asteroids in the inner Solar System.  Read More

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