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Spacecraft

Artist's concept of Kepler carrying out its new K2 mission(Image: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T ...

NASA's Kepler space telescope shows that it still has life in it as its extended mission begins to bear fruit. This week, the space agency announced that the spacecraft detected a new exoplanet, demonstrating that its K2 life extension mission is working. The planet, called, HIP 116454b, is 2.5 times larger in diameter than the Earth and orbits a star 180 light years from Earth in the constellation of Pisces every nine days at a distance that makes it much too hot for it to sustain life.  Read More

The fifth ISS commercial resupply mission has been delayed to no earlier than January 6th ...

SpaceX and NASA announced earlier today that the fifth cargo resupply mission (CRS-5) to the International Space Station scheduled for tomorrow has been once more delayed, this time to no earlier than January 6th.  Read More

NASA has released audio containing the sound of the ionized matter around Voyager 1 'ringi...

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft is currently riding the wave of an interstellar tsunami, as it continues its historic march out of our solar system. The tsunami emanated from our Sun, and was the third such phenomenon of its type to be detected by the robotic pioneer.  Read More

An autonomous spaceport drone ship will act as the landing target for the Falcon 7

On Friday, the Dragon CRS-5 mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket. If the launch is successful, the unmanned Dragon spacecraft will carry supplies and experiments to the ISS, but that part is almost routine. What is unusual is that SpaceX has confirmed that it will not only attempt a powered landing of the Falcon 9 booster, but will do so as a precision landing on a robotic sea barge.  Read More

A Scottish startup is providing a kit to help build a picosatellite on the cheap

A Glasgow-based startup is reducing the cost of access to space by offering "satellite kits" that make it easier for space enthusiasts, high schools and universities alike to build a small but functional satellite for as little as US$6,000 and then, thanks to its very small size, to launch for significantly less than the popular CubeSats.  Read More

Artist's impression of Venus Express making its aerobraking maneuver (Image: ESA/C Carreau...

The European Space Agency's (ESA) eight-year Venus Express mission has come to an end. Having already extended its lifespan to four times that originally planned, the unmanned orbiter has exhausted its fuel during a final attempt to further prolong its usefulness. According to ESA, the spacecraft can no longer hold the correct attitude to maintain communications with Earth and will soon burn up in the Venusian atmosphere.  Read More

ESA’s ‘Soret Coefficient in Crude Oil’ experiment will test diffusion effects in high-pres...

The European Space Agency is shipping crude oil into space. This may seem like a poor market strategy, but there's method behind this petroleum madness. The space agency is sending a set of small, highly-pressurized containers of crude oil into orbit as part of an experiment aimed at learning how oil behaves in deep underground reservoirs.  Read More

ESA ATV Georges Lemaitre captured during its August docking (Photo: ESA/NASA/Roscosmos–O. ...

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Georges Lemaitre captured the International Space Station (ISS) in a new light in August, as it fired up a set of experimental sensors that may form the basis of the next generation of automated docking systems. Such tech will be vital for the increasingly-ambitious missions planned by NASA and its partners to explore the Red Planet and beyond.  Read More

Dione as mapped by the Cassini spacecraft (Image: NASA/JPL/SSI/LPI)

NASA has released global maps of six of the Saturnian moons. The system has been under the intense examination of the Cassini-Huygens mission for the past decade, and the completion of the global maps represents the end of one of the legendary spacecraft's key mission objectives. Almost all of the maps are whole, though there are currently parts of Iapetus unfinished, as well as a region of the north pole of Enceladus set to be filled in some time next year.  Read More

Orion being unloaded from the USS Anchorage after splashing down in the Pacific (Image: NA...

The Orion spacecraft may have taken less than five hours to fly into space and back, but it will take a fortnight for it to return to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, so Lockheed Martin, builder of the capsule, is conducting tests on the fly. As the 19,650 lb (8,913 kg) capsule designed to take astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit was unloaded ashore in San Diego, California from the recovery ship USS Anchorage, Lockheed engineers were waiting to take samples of the heat shield and begin processing the flight recorders.  Read More

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