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Spacecraft

CRS-3 undergoing static firing tests prior to launch

SpaceX’s Dragon CRS-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has once again been scrubbed. On Friday, NASA confirmed that the launch of the unmanned cargo ship has been delayed due to the failure of a tracking radar, which meant that the launch could not meet the minimum public safety requirements.  Read More

Starshade and its space telescope (Image: NASA)

Apparently NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, thinks that what space exploration in the 21st century needs is spacecraft that are a bit more botanical. The center has released a video showing off its starshade spacecraft that opens up like a blossom. Bearing a resemblance to a cosmic sunflower, it’s designed to help astronomers to directly study exoplanets, including taking the first actual pictures of planets beyond our Solar System.  Read More

Dragon is rotated to be mated to Falcon 9

SpaceX has delayed the scheduled launch of the third commercial flight of its unmanned Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch, which was originally scheduled for Sunday, March 16 at 4:41 AM EDT from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, would have been the first mission of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle with its landing legs.  Read More

Fuel depots in space could help make future missions to the Moon more economical says an M...

Getting into space is an expensive business where every little bit of extra weight, which includes the fuel powering the spacecraft, can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a mission. A team of researchers at MIT proposes establishing gas stations in space as a possible way to help cut the cost of future missions to the Moon.  Read More

Five finalists have been selected for the Google Lunar XPrize competition (Photo: NASA/JPL...

Five international teams are moving forward from a field of 33 proposals with the goal of performing a robotic landing on the moon, followed by a short drive and high-quality video mooncast, all as part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition to incentivize a new novel, low-cost era of lunar exploration.  Read More

The GPM Core Observatory is launched aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima S...

The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory was launched last Thursday aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket that blasted off from Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan. Weighing in at 4-ton, the GPM is the largest spacecraft ever built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and will help provide a more detailed picture of the Earth's precipitation to assist climate scientists and help improve forecasting of extreme weather events.  Read More

Netting a satellite (Image: ESA)

With the film Gravity hoovering up awards for its portrayal of astronauts dodging colliding satellites, now seems a good time to talk about the very real threat posed by space debris. It’s small wonder, then, that ESA’s Clean Space initiative is looking at developing a satellite that can rendezvous with space debris and render it harmless by netting it like fish. The proposal is just one of the ideas to be discussed as part of a symposium this May focusing on the space agency's e.DeOrbit mission.  Read More

Chris Ferguson (center) at the simulator controls

The commander of the last Space Shuttle mission recently returned to space, but never left the ground. No, this isn’t one of those annoying lateral thinking puzzles. Chris Ferguson, commander of the STS-135 Atlantis mission in 2011 and currently director of Crew and Mission Operations at Boeing, went on a virtual flight to the International Space Station (ISS) in a ground-based simulator as part of NASA’s testing requirements for Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft.  Read More

The image is a mosaic of the best shots from various missions (Image: USGS Astrogeology Sc...

NASA scientists have produced the first global geological map of Jupiter's largest moon Ganymede by combining images from over twenty years of observation by the Voyager spacecraft and the Galileo orbiter.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Kepler space telescope (Image: NASA)

Last year, it looked as though the Kepler space probe had nothing to look forward to but the scrap heap. After the failure of two of its reaction wheels, the unmanned spacecraft was incapable of maintaining the precision pointing needed to hunt planets beyond the Solar System. Now, however, NASA’s Kepler team has demonstrated that space telescope can still detect exoplanets thanks the K2 mission concept maneuver.  Read More

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