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Blog Archive


Russian Resupply Ship Spins Out Of Control after Reaching Orbit

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/28 01:37 CDT | 1 comments

An International Space Station-bound cargo craft is spinning out of control in Earth orbit following an afternoon launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Rosetta update: Two close flybys of an increasingly active comet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/21 03:07 CDT | 6 comments

In the two months since I last checked up on the Rosetta mission, the comet has heated up, displaying more and more jet activity. Rosetta completed very close flybys on February 14 and March 28, taking amazing photos. But comet dust is making navigation difficult, so the mission is now keeping a respectful distance from the comet and replanning its future path.

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Development of the OSIRIS-REx Sampling System: TAGSAM and the SRC

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/04/21 04:55 CDT

The OSIRIS-REx team has been busy assembling and testing the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) and the Sample Return Capsule (SRC).

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Dragon Launches to Station, but Falcon Doesn't Stick Landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/14 03:53 CDT | 5 comments

SpaceX's ISS-bound Dragon spacecraft is in orbit, but the drone ship landing of the company's Falcon 9 rocket was unsuccessful.

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PROCYON update: Asteroid 2000 DP107 target selected, ion engine stopped

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/13 12:15 CDT | 3 comments

PROCYON (PRoximate Object Close flYby with Optical Navigation) is a microsatellite that launched on December 3 as a secondary payload with Hayabusa2. The mission has now selected their asteroid flyby target -- a binary asteroid named 2000 DP107 -- but is reporting a problem with their ion engines.

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LightSail Launch Delayed until at least May 20

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/13 10:40 CDT

The Planetary Society’s LightSail spacecraft will have to wait at least two more weeks before setting sail on its maiden voyage.

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Curiosity update, sols 896-949: Telegraph Peak, Garden City, and concern about the drill

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/10 07:37 CDT | 1 comments

Since I last wrote about Curiosity drilling at Pink Cliffs, the rover has visited and studied two major sites, drilling at one of them. It has also suffered a short in the drill percussion mechanism that presents serious enough risk to warrant a moratorium on drill use until engineers develop a plan to continue to operate it safely.

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To Recover First Stage, Just Read the Instructions

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/04/10 04:01 CDT | 2 comments

SpaceX is gearing up for a second attempt to land the spent first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3978 - April 3, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/04/09 10:55 CDT

Larry Crumpler gives an update on Opportunity's exploration of Mars as it approaches the entrance to Marathon Valley.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finishes First Marathon on Another Planet and Roves On
Sols 3946 - 3976

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/04/02 09:37 CDT

On March 24, 2015, after spending several weeks investigating some new rock types along the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity roved past 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles) and put the first off-Earth marathon in her rear view mirror, driving the Mars Exploration Rovers mission back into the space history books.

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OSIRIS-REx Begins ATLO (Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations)

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/04/02 12:49 CDT

The OSIRIS-REx mission passed another major milestone. We now have approval to build the spacecraft.

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Dawn Journal: Preparing to Photograph Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2015/04/01 08:58 CDT | 11 comments

Dawn's Chief Engineer and Mission Director, Marc Rayman, explains why we haven't seen any new images of Ceres—and when we can expect them.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3971 - March 26, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/03/28 07:47 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity reaches a marathon milestone—in more ways than one. Larry Crumpler reports on the current status of the seemingly unstoppable Mars rover.

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In Pictures: One-Year ISS Mission Begins

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/03/28 12:04 CDT | 1 comments

The one-year ISS mission of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko began with an early morning launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

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LPSC 2015: MESSENGER's low-altitude campaign at Mercury

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/03/25 07:55 CDT | 3 comments

At last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the MESSENGER team held a press briefing to share results from the recent few months of incredibly low-altitude flight over Mercury's surface. The mission will last only about five weeks more.

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Meet NASA's Winning Asteroid Redirect Spacecraft, and the Asteroid It May Visit

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/03/25 05:52 CDT | 6 comments

NASA has decided to pluck a small boulder off a large asteroid, instead of bagging an entire asteroid outright, the agency announced Wednesday.

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One-Year ISS Mission Preview: 28 Experiments, 4 Expeditions and 2 Crew Members

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/03/25 10:13 CDT

This Friday, astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will embark for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station.

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In Pictures: Expedition 42 Crew Returns to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/03/12 07:46 CDT

Three International Space Station crew members are back on Earth today following a morning Soyuz landing on the snowy steppes of Kazakhstan.

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What to expect when you're expecting a flyby: Planning your July around New Horizons' Pluto pictures

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/03/10 07:06 CDT | 18 comments

As New Horizons approaches Pluto, when will the images get good? In this explainer, I tell you what images will be coming down from Pluto, when. Mark your calendars!

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LightSail Arrives in Florida; More Launch Details Revealed

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/03/09 04:32 CDT | 4 comments

A cadre of CubeSats including The Planetary Society’s LightSail spacecraft completed a cross-country journey to Florida, where they await installation aboard an Atlas V rocket.

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