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Orion Scrub Report: Sticky Hydrogen Valves

Jason Davis • December 04, 2014

Windy weather and stuck liquid hydrogen valves forced a one-day delay of the maiden voyage of NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

The New Horizons science mission to the Pluto-Charon system is about to begin

Emily Lakdawalla • December 03, 2014 • 7

It's been a long journey, but it's nearly over: New Horizons is just about ready to begin its science mission to Pluto, Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. I'll remind you of New Horizons' capabilities and simulate how Pluto will appear in optical navigation images.

Orion L-1 Report: Go for Launch

Jason Davis • December 03, 2014

The stage is set for NASA’s Orion spacecraft to launch on a two-orbit, four-hour shakedown cruise tomorrow morning. Patrick Air Force Base’s 45th Weather Squadron changed their forecast of an on-time launch to 70 percent—up from the 40 percent chances that marked the start of the week.

Hayabusa2 launches toward asteroid rendezvous

Emily Lakdawalla • December 03, 2014 • 4

Hayabusa2 successfully launched on December 3, 2014 at 04:22 UTC, and embarked on its interplanetary journey about two hours later. During the launch, cameras captured video of the spacecraft fairing separation.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves from Wdowiak Ridge into Network of Fractures

A.J.S. Rayl • December 03, 2014 • 1

Last month, the Earth's longest-lived and most traveled robot on another planet drove into a network of fractures the likes of which the scientists had never seen before on Mars and wound up working there through the end of the month – and then something not completely unexpected happened.

Orion L-2 Report: The Old Gives Way to the New

Jason Davis • December 02, 2014

With less than two days before Orion's maiden voyage, NASA and United Launch Alliance are cautiously optimistic the flight will launch Thursday as scheduled.

Reviews of space-themed books for kids (2014)

Emily Lakdawalla • December 02, 2014

It's that time of year again! I have a pile of great space-themed books for kids of all ages to recommend, both fiction and nonfiction.

Hayabusa2 is about to launch! [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • December 02, 2014

Hayabusa2's H-IIA rocket has just reached its launchpad! Japan's next asteroid sample return mission was supposed to launch this weekend, but weather has not been good at the Tanegashima launch site and it has been delayed four days already. If the weather holds, it will launch December 3 at 04:22 UT (13:22 JST, or December 2 at 20:22, PT). UPDATED to add links to live webcasts.

Selecting the Next Creative Idea for Exploring the Solar System

Van Kane • December 01, 2014

With the release of the official Announcement of Opportunity (AO) early in November, NASA has officially begun the competition to select its next low cost ($450M) Discovery program planetary mission. Because planetary scientists are free to propose missions to any destination in the solar system other than the sun and Earth, these competitions bring out the creativity in the planetary science program.

Your Timeline of Events for Orion's Maiden Voyage

Jason Davis • December 01, 2014

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready to embark on its maiden voyage this Thursday. Here is a timeline of events.

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