Archive for the ‘Spacecraft’ Category

Where Is Elon Musk’s Space Tesla Actually Going?


(Atlantic Science) – Marina Koren:

The payload of SpaceX‘s recently launched rocket overshot its planned orbit near Mars. …

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SpaceX Tesla Roadster Starman


A Long-Lost NASA Spacecraft Rises From the Dead


(Atlantic Science) – Marina Koren:

After 13 years of silence, scientists hear a mission calling home. …

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Aurora borealis and IMAGE spacecraft

Falcon 9 Launch and Landing


(APoD) – A composite of three consecutive exposures, this night skyscape by John Kraus follows the January 7 launch and first stage landing of a Falcon 9 rocket …


John Kraus: Falcon 9 Launch and Landing

Solar System Exploration in 2018


(Planetary Blogs) – Emily Lakdawalla:

2018 is shaping up to be a very busy year in space exploration, with most of the action happening relatively close to Earth. There will be three launches to the Moon and one each toward Mars and Mercury. Two spacecraft will rendezvous with near-Earth asteroids and prepare to descend for samples. We’ll see the most distant ever planetary encounter with a tiny Kuiper belt object. And fifteen other spacecraft remain active in science missions at Venus, the Moon, Mars, Ceres, and Jupiter. …

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Solar system missions in 2018

SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over California


(APoD) – The photogenic launch plume from a SpaceX rocket launch created quite a spectacle over parts of southern California and Arizona.

A Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered to low Earth orbit ten Iridium NEXT satellites that are part of a developing global communications network. …

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SpaceX launch 2017-12-22

Why NASA’s Kepler Mission Is Toast


(Starts With A Bang!) – Ethan Siegel:

All of Kepler’s major discoveries are in the past.

There are great advances to come, but Kepler has already seen almost all of what it’s going to, and practically all of the great science we’d hoped for has already been extracted. It’s time for the next step. It’s no longer satisfying to speculate about what could be out there. It’s time to know. …

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Kepler-90 planets

An Orbital Moon Station Is Our Gateway to Mars


(Discover Blogs::The Crux) – David Rothery:

The dream of a human habitat in orbit about the moon came a step closer on Sept. 27, when NASA and the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) signed up to a common vision for future human exploration. The project, a follow-up to the International Space Station (ISS), involves a facility placed in orbit somewhere between the Earth and the moon – a region known as cis-lunar space. Seen as a stepping-stone on the way to deeper space exploration, it has been dubbed the Deep Space Gateway, DSG. …

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Deep Space Gateway and NASA Orion craft

Last Days of Cassini


(Discover Blogs::Out There) – Corey S. Powell:

As Cassini’s program manager and a veteran of the mission since 1993, Earl H. Maize of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a unique perspective on the last days of this remarkable spacecraft. There is no other comparable mission on the drawing boards; given current political realities, there may not be another like it in our lifetimes. And yet, Cassini is a beginning as well as an end. Maize notes that omnibus missions like Cassini allow more targeted follow-ups, like the upcoming Europa Clipper and (here’s hoping) future visits to the moons Enceladus and Titan.

I spoke with Maize just ahead of Cassini’s heroic final plunge. He offered an insider’s view of how it all ended. …

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Enceladus setting behind Saturn 2017-09-13

Cassini Must Die


(FTB Pharyngula) – PZ Myers:

The Cassini probe is being ordered to destroy itself by crashing into Saturn. It seems harsh. You’ve sent a tourist to an exotic location to go crazy taking vacation snaps, and then instead of a return trip, you reward them with a request to send more pictures of their suicide. I guess it is a spectacular way to go. …

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Cassini spacecraft at Saturn

Voyager’s “Cosmic Map” of Earth’s Location is Hopelessly Wrong


(Starts With A Bang!) – Ethan Siegel:

The pulsar map to Earth was perfect when it was launched. By time aliens get it, it’ll be completely useless. …

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Voyager golden record