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Timeline for Akatsuki's second attempt at orbit insertion

Emily Lakdawalla • December 04, 2015

This is it: Akatsuki's final chance at Venus orbit insertion. The rocket firing should begin on December 7 at 08:51 Japan time (December 6 23:51 UT / 15:51 PST) and last for 20 minutes. It will take two days for JAXA to determine whether the orbit has been changed enough for Akatsuki to stay at Venus.

Bad Weather Fizzles Cygnus Launch Attempt (Again)

Jason Davis • December 04, 2015

A second launch attempt of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft bound for the ISS was scrubbed this evening, forcing ground controllers to schedule a third try Saturday at at 5:10 p.m. EST (22:10 UTC).

Back from the Brink: Akatsuki Returns to Venus

Ralph Lorenz • December 04, 2015

Perhaps forgotten by the general public in the West, a long-lost spacecraft is set to enter orbit around our sister planet in December, picking up where ESA’s Venus Express left off when its operations ended last year.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Reality Bites but Opportunity Climbs to "Treasure Trove"

A.J.S. Rayl • December 03, 2015

Opportunity faced the challenges of winter as well as technological issues in November, but pressed on, hiking up hill and into a geological treasure trove that may well present the scientists with the evidence they need to solve the clay mineral mystery of Marathon Valley.

Dawn Journal: Descent to LAMO

Marc Rayman • December 02, 2015

Dawn's Chief Engineer and Mission Director Marc Rayman previews what's in store as the spacecraft moves into its final mapping orbit around dwarf planet Ceres.

Preview: Cygnus to Resume ISS Cargo Runs with Help from Atlas V Rocket

Jason Davis • December 02, 2015

Orbital ATK is returning its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to service on Thursday. This time, the ride to orbit will be a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Hayabusa2 views Earth and the Moon on approach to December 3 flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • December 01, 2015

I just love photos of Earth from planetary missions -- especially if they manage to get Earth and Moon in the same shot, as Hayabusa2 did on November 26.

NASA Orders First Official SpaceX Crew Flight to ISS

Jason Davis • November 23, 2015

NASA placed its first official order for a SpaceX Crew Dragon to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the agency announced Friday.

Two JAXA mission updates: Akatsuki Venus orbit entry and PROCYON Earth flyby coming up!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2015

Akatsuki is finally approaching its second attempt to enter Venus orbit, on December 7; let's all wish JAXA the best of luck! And PROCYON, whose ion engines have failed, is still an otherwise perfectly functional spacecraft that is taking photos of Earth and the Moon as it approaches for a flyby.

Curiosity update, sols 1109-1165: Drilling at Big Sky and Greenhorn, onward to Bagnold Dunes

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2015

Since my last update, Curiosity drilled two new holes, at Big Sky and Greenhorn, and is now approaching Bagnold Dunes.

OSIRIS-REx Progressing Through Environmental Testing

Dante Lauretta • November 16, 2015

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues to make steady progress toward launch in September 2016. Environmental testing is now underway to ensure the spacecraft is ready for the many conditions it will experience over its mission.

In Pictures: Orion, SLS Hardware on the Move

Jason Davis • November 06, 2015

November is shaping up to be a busy month for Orion and Space Launch System hardware. A human-rated flight engine is in the test stand at Stennis Space Center, and a version of Orion's service module is getting ready to cross the Atlantic.

ESA mission updates

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2015

There have been several important pieces of news about European missions in the last month: Rosetta's fate has been determined; ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's launch is slightly delayed; and they have selected a landing site for the ExoMars rover.

On Station's 15th Anniversary, A Look at Astronaut Utilization

Jason Davis • November 04, 2015

An analysis by The Planetary Society shows that in the post-space shuttle era, NASA astronauts spend roughly 33 percent less time aboard the International Space Station than their Russian counterparts.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Hits Winter Slopes at Marathon Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • November 04, 2015

Opportunity hit the slopes of her seventh winter haven on the south side of Marathon Valley in October as the mission entered the 130th month of what was initially slated to be a 90-day tour.

Dawn Journal: A Bounty of Data

Marc Rayman • October 30, 2015

Dawn has completed another successful campaign to acquire a wealth of data in its exploration of dwarf planet Ceres, providing our clearest and most complete view ever of this world.

Enhanced Cygnus Arrives at KSC ahead of Atlas V-powered Cargo Run

Jason Davis • October 20, 2015

Orbital ATK is a month-and-a-half away from resuming cargo runs to the International Space Station.

Mars Orbiter Mission update: A year at Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • October 06, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, there was a flurry of rumor that ISRO was ready to announce some results from its Mars Orbiter Mission's methane sensor. The Indian space agency held a press event for the one-year-in-orbit anniversary of Mars Orbiter Mission and released a book containing mission photos, but did not unveil any new scientific results.

Hayabusa2's target asteroid has a name!

Emily Lakdawalla • October 05, 2015

JAXA announced today the results of the naming contest for Hayabusa2. The target of the sample-return mission, formerly known as 1999 JU3 and still numbered 162173, is now named 162173 Ryugu.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Rocks on Ancient Water During Walkabout

A.J.S. Rayl • October 02, 2015

Opportunity continued her walkabout around Marathon Valley in September and sent home more evidence of significant water alteration and, perhaps, an ancient environment inviting enough for the emergence of life.

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