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ExoMars Domino Effect

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/30 08:10 CDT | 1 comments

A difficult but necessary decision by ESA and Roskosmos to postpone the launch of the ExoMars rover from 2018 to 2020 raises a question about the fate of other planetary exploration programs in the pipelines of both space agencies.

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BEAM expanded and pressurized: Your news, commentary and tweet roundup

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/28 11:18 CDT

BEAM is expanded and pressurized! The International Space Station's newest module, which will serve as a technology demonstrator for in-space expandable habitats, was fully filled with air this afternoon.

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Three-peat! SpaceX sticks another drone ship landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/27 06:03 CDT | 6 comments

SpaceX continued its impressive string of first stage recoveries today, sticking a Falcon 9 drone ship landing during the successful launch of THAICOM 8, a communications satellite.

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With retry scheduled tomorrow, NASA and Bigelow say BEAM will work—it's just a question of when

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/27 03:44 CDT

NASA will try again tomorrow to expand BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module. During a press teleconference this afternoon, officials said they were confident the module was going to expand—it's just a question of when.

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Lunar Farside Landing Plans

Posted by Phil Stooke on 2016/05/27 06:48 CDT

Phil Stooke describes a research trip to the Regional Planetary Image Facility at the USGS in Flagstaff, where he discovered Jack Schmitt's proposed plans for a farside landing site for Apollo 17.

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Three bright planets: Portraits from the Pyrenees

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/26 02:40 CDT | 1 comments

It's a great time to go outdoors and look at planets. I have three glorious planetary portraits to share today, sent to me by amateur astronomer Jean-Luc Dauvergne.

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Space station module expansion called off after BEAM doesn't budge

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/26 10:58 CDT | 1 comments

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace weren't able to get the space station's newest module up and running this morning. Another attempt could come as early as Friday.

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New work with 35-year-old data: Voyagers at Ganymede and Saturn

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/25 04:44 CDT | 8 comments

The Voyager data set is a gift to Earth that keeps on giving. This week, I've seen three great new images processed from this old data set.

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Tomorrow morning, watch a new space module inflate—er, expand

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/25 01:03 CDT | 2 comments

NASA is set to fill a new space station module called BEAM with air Thursday morning. But does BEAM inflate, or expand?

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The House Makes its Counteroffer on NASA’s Budget
NASA gets another boost in funding, as does Planetary Science and Europa

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/05/24 01:22 CDT | 7 comments

Commerce, Justice, and Science—the House of Representatives’ subcommittee that oversees NASA spending—just released details on how they would fund the space agency in 2017. Overall, the news for the space program is very good.

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Mostly smooth sailing in San Luis Obispo: LightSail 2 completes day-in-the-life test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/24 02:41 CDT | 3 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft breezed through a major systems test today, demonstrating the CubeSat can successfully deploy its antenna and solar panels, communicate with the ground, and unfurl its 32-square-meter solar sails in space.

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OSIRIS-REx shipped to Florida for September launch

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/23 07:53 CDT | 1 comments

OSIRIS-REx's long journey to an asteroid has begun. The spacecraft departed Colorado on Friday, May 20, travelling aboard an Air Force C-17 to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

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Shuttle tank caps 41-day journey with trip through streets of Los Angeles

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/22 01:51 CDT | 1 comments

After a 41-day journey marked by stormy seas, a trip through the Panama Canal and a rescue off the Baja California coast, the last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank has arrived at its new home here in Los Angeles.

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On LightSail 1 launch anniversary, team prepares successor craft for day-in-the-life test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/20 06:32 CDT | 1 comments

One year ago today, LightSail 1 rode an Atlas V rocket into space. Now, the program stands on the brink of another major milestone, as engineers prepare for a full systems test of LightSail 2, a successor CubeSat that will attempt the first controlled solar sail flight in low-Earth orbit.

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Akatsuki begins a productive science mission at Venus

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/19 06:02 CDT | 4 comments

Japan's Akatsuki Venus orbiter is well into its science mission, and has already produced surprising science results. The mission, originally planned to last two years, could last as many as five, monitoring Venus' atmosphere over the long term.

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Lockheed Proposes to have Humans Orbiting Mars by 2028
Their new concept shares core values with the Society's report from last year

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/05/19 05:30 CDT | 7 comments

Lockheed Martin proposed a system to send humans to orbit Mars in the year 2028—a concept that shares many core values with The Planetary Society's report, Humans Orbiting Mars, we released last year.

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Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: The Eye of Sauron

Posted by Adam Block on 2016/05/18 12:46 CDT

Astrophotographer Adam Block shares his latest image, this time of a menacing spiral galaxy.

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ExoMars Rover Seeks Exit From Dire Straits

Posted by Anatoly Zak on 2016/05/17 06:16 CDT | 3 comments

The European Space Agency and Roskosmos have admitted the inevitable—the launch of the joint ExoMars-2018 project will have to be postponed for two years to 2020.

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Pictures and video: After dramatic sea rescue, shuttle tank berths safely in San Diego

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/16 12:31 CDT

Two-and-a-half days after a dramatic sea rescue, the tugboat crew hauling a space shuttle fuel tank to California bid farewell to some unexpected passengers last night in San Diego.

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Tugboat hauling shuttle tank to California rescues passengers of sunk fishing vessel

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/13 07:26 CDT

The crew of the tugboat hauling the last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank to California reports they have rescued four passengers from a fishing boat that sunk off the coast of Mexico.

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