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International Space Station

Mornings on the International Space Station (ISS) got a bit brighter as the first cup of espresso coffee in space was brewed and drank on the station by Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. To celebrate, Cristoforetti tweeted back to Earth a photo of her imbibing the brew, saying, "'Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised.' Fresh espresso in the new Zero-G cup! To boldly brew…"

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Following the recent loss of the Russian Progress 59 cargo ship, NASA and its partners in the station have agreed to reshuffle future launches based on preliminary investigations by the Russian Federal Space Agency.

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The unmanned Progress 59 (M-27M) cargo spacecraft has burned up somewhere over the central Pacific ocean according to the Russian Federal Space Agency. Launched 10 days ago, it failed to reach the ISS due to a malfunction that prevented mission control from establishing contact shortly after launch.

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Repeated attempts by Russian mission controllers have failed to rescue the stricken Progress 59 cargo spacecraft. It is now expected that the unmanned resupply ship will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere at some point over the next few weeks, resulting in the complete destruction of both the spacecraft and its cargo. Read More
Orbital debris is increasingly becoming a hazard to satellites and other spacecraft, which is why various groups have proposed concepts such as gas clouds, nets and sails for collecting it. While those approaches could capture larger objects, the problem of smaller pieces of debris – which whiz around the Earth like bullets – would remain. That's why an international group of scientists is developing a system that could shoot those bits down with a laser. Read More
Elon Musk's goal of achieving the first powered landing of a reusable booster had a close brush with success today as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket narrowly failed to survive a touchdown on the deck of a drone barge off the US east coast. The third landing attempt by the company came after the launch of the CRS-6 mission, which sent an unmanned Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. Read More
When the Dragon spacecraft is propelled into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket this week on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), it will be carrying an artificial muscle material developed by Lenore Rasmussen and her company RasLabs. In addition to better prosthetic devices, it is hoped the material could find applications in robots on deep space missions. Read More
Friday morning bore witness to a stunning solar eclipse, as our Moon traversed the face of our parent star, blocking its light in a beautiful example of the intricate orbits negotiated by the planets and moons that make up our solar system. For those able to secure a pair of protective glasses and be charmed enough to gaze through cloud-free skies, the sight was a spectacular one – a rare meeting of two celestial bodies that have accompanied each of us through every day and night of our lives. Read More
Though the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spaceplane was kicked out of the running to ferry crew to the ISS, a variation on the craft may still end up visiting the station. As part of its bid to win NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract, SNC has unveiled an unmanned autonomous version of Dream Chaser to carry cargo into orbit. Read More
Most missions to the International Space Station range from 160 to 180 days, but this month Russia and NASA will launch a joint year-long mission designed to more fully test the stress of space travel on the human body. ISS veterans Scott Kelly (US) and Mikhail Kornienko (Russia) have been training for two years for this daunting mission, culminating in departure slated for March 27, 2015, 3:42 p.m. EST. from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome. Read More
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