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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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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Reality Bites but Opportunity Climbs to "Treasure Trove"
Sols 4183–4213

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.

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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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#MarsWalk

Posted by Merc Boyan on 2015/12/01 12:04 CST

The Planetary Society's Creative Director, Merc Boyan, sets out on a journey to help promote space exploration.

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Orion Service Module Faces Roller Coaster of a Ride in Sandusky

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/01 06:04 CST

The Orion European Service Module test article has arrived at NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, where it's being prepared for acoustic and vibration testing.

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Fall issue of The Planetary Report is Here!

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2015/11/30 10:03 CST

At last! The fall issue of The Planetary Report is off the press—or ready for Planetary Society members to download now.

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Favorite Astro Plots #3: The rate of lunar cratering

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/30 07:03 CST

The third entry in my series of blog posts about Favorite Astro Plots contains one of the biggest discoveries from the Apollo program -- as well as one of the biggest questions in planetary science. The chart was nominated by planetary scientist Barbara Cohen. It has to do with the ages of surfaces on the Moon.

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How Can We Write About Science When People Are Dying?

Posted by Nadia Drake on 2015/11/25 05:42 CST | 6 comments

Stories about exploration and wonder can be powerful antidotes to seemingly endless suffering and destruction.

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In Pictures: LightSail Cameras Prepped for Flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/25 01:13 CST | 2 comments

LightSail's flight cameras are being prepped for installation after receiving a software upgrade and checkout from their manufacturer.

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Blue Origin Lands Spent Suborbital Rocket Stage in Texas

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/24 10:24 CST | 5 comments

Secretive spaceflight company Blue Origin flew its New Shepard launch vehicle to the edge of space, deployed a suborbital spacecraft and returned the spent booster rocket to Earth for an upright landing.

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2015 Reviews of childrens' books about space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/24 10:13 CST | 4 comments

Continuing an annual tradition, Emily Lakdawalla reviews children's books about space -- what's out there, how we explore, and why. Many of the books on this list aren't just for kids!

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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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Surveyor Digitization Project Hints at Long-Lost Lunar Treasures

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/23 10:36 CST | 9 comments

A project to digitize more than 90,000 images taken by NASA’s five Surveyor spacecraft in the 1960s has revealed early hints of never-before-seen treasures captured by America’s first robotic lunar landers.

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