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.
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.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/12/03 06:51 CST
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.
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.
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 placed its first official order for a SpaceX Crew Dragon to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the agency announced Friday.
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.
Since my last update, Curiosity drilled two new holes, at Big Sky and Greenhorn, and is now approaching Bagnold Dunes.
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.
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.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/04 07:15 CST
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.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/04 11:47 CST
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.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/11/04 07:00 CST
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.
Orbital ATK is a month-and-a-half away from resuming cargo runs to the International Space Station.
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.
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.
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.