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Blog Archive


SpaceX Set for Sunday Sea Satellite Launch, Booster Recovery Attempt

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/12 12:42 CST | 2 comments

SpaceX is set to launch a sea level-monitoring satellite from the California coast this Sunday, while attempting to land the rocket's spent first stage on a floating drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finishes Another Record Year, Approaches 12th Anniversary
Sols 4214–4244

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/01/08 11:04 CST | 2 comments

Perched on the southern wall of Marathon Valley at Endeavour Crater, Opportunity braved temperatures descending well below -100° F in December to work the winter science campaign and home in on the remnants of ancient clays.

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Curiosity update, sols 1166-1217: First reconnaissance of Bagnold dunes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/01/07 08:09 CST | 4 comments

In the six weeks since my last detailed Curiosity update, the rover has driven to, on, and around a couple of active barchan sand dunes on Mars. They are now searching for a site to scoop and sample sand on the western edge of Namib dune.

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Dawn Journal: Science on Ceres

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2016/01/01 07:02 CST | 15 comments

The Dawn mission is developing humankind’s most intimate portrait ever of a dwarf planet. Mission Director and Chief Engineer Marc Rayman returns with his monthly update on the mission's progress.

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Planetary Exploration Timelines: A Look Ahead to 2016

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/31 04:04 CST | 19 comments

How many planetary exploration missions are there, and where are they? These days, it's hard to keep track, because there are so many. I plan to begin the new year by taking stock of active missions, figuring out what each has set out to do and accomplished so far, but first I want to step back to consider the spread of missions across the solar system as a whole.

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Preview: 2016 aboard the International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/30 01:13 CST | 1 comments

A look ahead to see what's in store for the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard humanity's orbital outpost.

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ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli lander travel safely to Baikonur

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/28 03:14 CST | 3 comments

Europe's second mission to Mars has begun its journey from its birthplace in Cannes to its planned arrival at Mars on October 19. Since December 17 we've been able to watch every step of its journey via Twitter.

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InSight's Problems: Possible Impacts

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/12/23 08:57 CST | 4 comments

Van Kane details the potential repercussions of the launch delay of InSight Mars lander on the rest of NASA's Discovery mission program.

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NASA's Next Mars Mission Delayed for Two Years
One of its main scientific instruments could not maintain a vacuum

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/12/22 04:46 CST | 1 comments

A problem with the French space agency's seismometer instrument will delay NASA's InSight Mars lander by two years.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Returns to Flight, Sticks Landing at Cape Canaveral

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/21 08:43 CST | 2 comments

SpaceX returned its Falcon 9 rocket to flight with flair tonight, successfully deploying 11 communications satellites after returning the rocket's first stage to Cape Canaveral for an upright landing.

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Spacewalkers Unstick Cart ahead of Cargo Ship Arrival

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/21 12:05 CST

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra successfully completed a spacewalk to free a stuck Mobile Transporter cart outside the International Space Station.

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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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