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OSIRIS-REx Completes Mechanical Environmental Testing

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/12/18 08:03 CST | 2 comments

The OSIRIS-REx team successfully and safely completed sine vibration (sine vibe) testing on the spacecraft prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. The sine vibe tests are designed to verify the system performs as expected after being exposed to flight-like low frequency vibration input.

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New Crew Arrives at ISS following Docking Drama

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/15 07:41 CST | 1 comments

Following a picture-perfect launch and some last minute docking drama, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko arrived safely to the International Space Station today.

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Expedition 45 Crew Makes Nighttime Landing in Kazakhstan

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/11 10:10 CST

Three International Space Station crewmembers are safely back on Earth following a post-sunset Soyuz touchdown in Kazakhstan.

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Akatsuki's new orbit, first images, and science plans

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/09 06:30 CST | 9 comments

JAXA had a press briefing today to confirm the successful arrival of Akatsuki into Venus orbit. It's been a long time coming: today's announcement came twelve years to the day after Japan had to abandon efforts to put Nozomi into Mars orbit. They released lovely images and discussed future plans.

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Live from Sagamihara: Akatsuki in Orbit, Day 1

Posted by Sanjay Limaye on 2015/12/08 10:29 CST

One day after closest approach, Akatsuki is now speeding away from Venus at 4.09 kilometers per second and is 180,000 kilometers from the planet. In his last report from Sagamihara, Sanjay Limaye gets some updates on the new orbiter's trajectory.

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SpaceX, Partners Prepare for Falcon Return-to-Flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/08 09:23 CST

SpaceX is preparing to return its Falcon rocket to service after the loss of a mission in June 2015. A backlog of payloads, including an ISS-bound Dragon cargo craft, await.

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Live from Sagamihara: Akatsuki Orbit Insertion Success!

Posted by Sanjay Limaye on 2015/12/07 10:16 CST | 7 comments

The Akatsuki team achieved something that no mission as done before – put a spacecraft into orbit around a planet using only the attitude control thrusters. An event that one could not even conceive or propose!

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After Weather Cooperates, Atlas Rocket Launches Cygnus Cargo Craft to ISS

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/06 05:28 CST

It took four tries for the weather to cooperate, but on Sunday afternoon, a Cygnus cargo spacecraft loaded with 3.3 metric tons of critical crew supplies launched toward the International Space Station.

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Live from Sagamihara: Akatsuki Orbit Insertion - Second Try

Posted by Sanjay Limaye on 2015/12/06 09:44 CST | 1 comments

Venus researcher Sanjay Limaye reports from the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) in Sagamihara on the status of Akatsuki's second Venus orbit insertion attempt.

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Timeline for Akatsuki's second attempt at orbit insertion

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/04 06:31 CST | 5 comments

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.

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Bad Weather Fizzles Cygnus Launch Attempt (Again)

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/04 05:40 CST

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).

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Back from the Brink: Akatsuki Returns to Venus

Posted by Ralph Lorenz on 2015/12/04 01:08 CST | 2 comments

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.

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Dawn Journal: Descent to LAMO

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2015/12/02 12:02 CST | 12 comments

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.

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

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/02 05:04 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/01 07:26 CST | 1 comments

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.

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NASA Orders First Official SpaceX Crew Flight to ISS

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/23 05:13 CST | 4 comments

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

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/19 05:51 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/16 01:31 CST | 4 comments

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

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OSIRIS-REx Progressing Through Environmental Testing

Posted by Dante Lauretta on 2015/11/16 07:49 CST | 3 comments

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.

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In Pictures: Orion, SLS Hardware on the Move

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/06 11:53 CST

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.

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