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Zoomed-in image of Ceres taken on Dec. 1, 2014 with the Dawn spacecraft's framing camera (...

The Dawn spacecraft has lifted the veil on another corner of the Solar System by taking its best image yet of the dwarf planet Ceres. The nine-pixel-wide image was taken from a distance of 740,000 mi (1.2 million km) from Ceres as part of the final calibration of Dawn's science camera as the unmanned probe approaches the 590 mi (950 km) wide planetoid, which it will rendezvous with and orbit in March of next year.  Read More

Artist's impression of Orion re-entering the Earth's atmosphere (Image: NASA)

Another chapter in the history of spaceflight was written today at 8:29am PST, as the EFT-1 mission ended with the splashdown of the Orion capsule in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. Though designed to carry astronauts into deep space, the Orion was unmanned for the flight, which was planned to certify the spacecraft and test critical flight systems.  Read More

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA’s Orion spacecraft mounted atop i...

NASA announced today that the EFT-1 mission launch has been rescheduled for 7:05 am EST on Friday. Officials at NASA, Lockheed Martin, and United Launch Alliance say the problem that finally resulted in the scrubbing of Thursday's launch of the Orion space capsule has been identified. It was a malfunction in liquid hydrogen fill and drain valves on both the port and center common booster cores used for fueling the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy booster, which could not be closed properly before the launch window was exceeded.  Read More

Artist's concept of EFT-1 in flight (Image: NASA)

NASA's return to manned spaceflight was delayed today as the scheduled launch of the Orion EFT-1 mission was cancelled due to a series of mishaps. Originally scheduled to lift off at 7:05 am EST from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy booster, setbacks due to the weather and equipment problems forced mission control to put off the flight beyond the launch window, which ended at 9:44.  Read More

Artist's concept of Haybusa2 taking a surface sample on JU3 (Image: JAXA)

Sometimes it seems as if the history of spaceflight is a long exercise in oneupsmanship with each agency trying to top the others. Case in point is Japan's Hayabusa2 mission, which, following the landing of Philae on on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko last month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed was successfully launched today at 1:22:04 pm JST from the Tanegashima Space Center on a mission to not only land on an asteroid, but to bomb it.  Read More

Artist's concept of Orion adjusting its attitude for re-entry (Image: NASA)

Orion is go for launch. At a press conference today, NASA and aerospace industry officials confirmed that the EFT-1 mission to test the deep-space capsule designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit has been given the final clearance for launch on Thursday morning. The unmanned spacecraft will lift off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy booster on a four-hour flight that will send it 3,600 mi (5,800 km) from Earth before returning to Earth.  Read More

Venus Express carrying out aerobraking maneuver in July (Image: ESA–C. Carreau)

The European Space Agency's Venus Express unmanned probe is being put through a series of maneuvers in hopes that its remaining fuel can push it into a higher orbit. If successful, the orbit change will give the spacecraft a bit more life before it plunges into the Venusian atmosphere it was sent to investigate.  Read More

Artist's impression of the four MMS spacecraft (Image: NASA)

NASA has released a video depicting the initial deployment of an undertaking designed to study a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection. The launch of the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission will see four identical spacecraft deployed from a single Atlas V rocket, set to lift off from cape Canaveral, Florida, no earlier than March next year.  Read More

Rendering of Lunar Mission One lander

Another private space exploration venture is under way with the British-led Lunar Mission One announcing plans to send an unmanned robotic landing module to the South Pole of the Moon. Initially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the non-profit organization hopes to drill ten times deeper into the lunar surface than has ever previously been attempted and use the borehole to store a giant digital time capsule of human knowledge.  Read More

Technicians at Lockheed Martin prepare the InSight Mars lander for propulsion proof and le...

At some point in every project, you stop unpacking the parts and start putting them together. What's true for flat-pack furniture is also true for spacecraft, so Lockheed Martin has begun the Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) phase of NASA's INterior exploration using Seismic investigations, geodesy and heat transport (InSight) Mars lander project. Scheduled to launch in 2016, the unmanned InSight probe will be the first deep-drilling mission sent to the Red Planet.  Read More

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