Space News for May 14, 1999

Hubble Finds Gravitational Lens

The Hubble Space Telescope has found a series of gravitational lenses – caused when the gravity of a massive object focuses the light of an object behind it. The lenses can take the shape of strange patterns, arcs, rings and crosses, and can be used by astronomers to calculate universe parameters.

Astronomy Now

Chinese Planning Manned Launch

The Chinese Space Agency is planning to join other countries in sending astronauts into orbit. Official announcements claim that development of its space program is well ahead of schedule, with an unmanned launch as early as next year, with a manned launch shortly after.

BBC News
Space Chronicle

Mars Express Budget Approved

A five-year budget for an unmanned probe to Mars has been approved by European Governments. Equipped with a series of scientific instruments, the spacecraft will help determine if Mars has water – and with it, the possibility of life.

BBC News

[email protected] Will be Ready Monday For Windows/Mac

It’s been over a month since the UNIX version of [email protected] was released to an initial group of 12,000 volunteers. Now Windows and Mac users will be able to join the search when the software is released on these platforms Monday.

[email protected] Home Page
MSNBC

Space News for May 13, 1999

Winds on Jupiter Go Supersonic

Astronomers have been investigating the clouds on Jupiter and have discovered a number of unique features: storms circling the poles reach supersonic speeds and a giant plasmasheet created from the interaction between Jupiter and Io.

Astronomy Now
BBC News
SpaceViews

Shuttle Tank Damaged by Hail

A heavy hailstorm over the weekend damaged an insulation cover on the Space Shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank. Although the damage can be repaired, there are several gouges in areas unreachable while the Shuttle is on the launch pad. NASA may have to delay the launch.

CNN Space
MSNBC
Space Chronicle

Alien Messages Could be Timed to Galactic Events

Astronomers from the SETI Institute believe that aliens trying to contact us may time their message with some kind of dramatic cosmic event, such as a supernova or gamma ray burst. They’re keeping their radio telescopes tuned to the location, just after such an event.

Fox News

Air Force Pronounces Milstar Officially Dead

After almost two weeks of effort to repair Milstar’s botched orbit, Air Force officials have thrown in the towel. The spacecraft was raised to a stable altitude of 2,781 miles, the fuel was drained, and it was turned off. $800 million down the drain.

Space Online

SpaceViews

Space News for May 12, 1999

Air Force Satellite Launch Delayed by Rain

Still trying to get this launch thing right, the Air Force officials have delayed their latest Titan IV launch due to rain. It seems that water leaked into the protective canopy of the rocket, and dampened the spacecraft. The launch will be delayed until May 23rd at the earliest.

BBC News
CNN Space
MSNBC
SpaceViews

Clinton Approves Chinese Satellite Launch

Clinton has approved an upcoming launch for the Iridium network by the Chinese Space Agency. Officials have accused China of using space technology to improve the accuracy of its nuclear missle systems. This launch will contain US-built fuel and separation systems.

CNN Space

Amateur Launch Planned

An amateur rocketry association, JP Aerospace, is planning the world’s first amateur space launch. The rocket will be launched from a balloon already floating at an altitude of 20 miles. If it can reach an altitude of 60 miles, it will cross the official threshold of space.

SpaceViews

Clinton Requests Report on Launch Failures

President Clinton has requested an in-depth inquiry into the recent string of launch failures. The request, presented by White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, detailed the failures that occurred over the last week. It’s possible that the request could translate into higher space budgets next year.

Space Daily

Space News for May 11, 1999

Net Vote Targets Hubble

Visitors to the Hubble Space Telescope were invited to vote on what they’d like the telescope to photograph next. The vote’s in, and the target was the “polar ring” galaxy NGC 4650A. Photos of the galaxy were posted to the Hubble website.

Hubble Website
BBC News

China Launches Two New Satellites

Chinese authorities confirmed the launch of two science satellites from the northern province of Shanxi. The Fengyun 1 weather satellite and the Experiment 5 scientific survey satellite were lofted on a Chinese-built Long March 4B rocket.

CNN Space
SpaceViews

NASA Ignores Safety Requirements

NASA is planning to waive its own safety requirements, and will launch the new Russian-built service module. The module was built without adequate meteorite protection, but NASA can’t wait the three years it will take to complete the shielding, and will risk crewmembers sleeping unprotected.

Fox News

NASA Looking for New Telescope Ideas

NASA has asked the space industry to help design a new space-based telescope. This initial contract for the Next Generation Space Telescope is for $12 million, and will feature a mirror capable of gathering 10 times the light of Hubble. NASA has kept the overall specifications open, and is hoping for revolutionary ideas from its potential suppliers.

Space Daily

Space News for May 10, 1999

Incorrect Software Could Have Caused Milstar Failure

A new report from Aviation Week and Space Technology proposes that faulty software loaded onto the Titan IV rocked caused the recent launch failure of the Air Force’s Milstar satellite.

Space Today
SpaceViews

Brown Dwarfs Could Have Weather

Astronomers believe they’ve found evidence that brown dwarfs have weather conditions, such as clouds and wind. In detecting the change in brightness over these short hours on these failed stars, astronomers believe they’re seeing changing cloud patterns.

SpaceViews

Software Will Allow Galileo to Make Callisto Flyby

NASA engineers have upgraded Galileo’s software to enable it to make a close flyby to Callisto, Jupiter’s moon. Previous attempts to visit Europa were disrupted when glitches in the software forced the spacecraft into safe mode, blinding it as it flew past the moon.

SpaceViews

Balloon to Catch Halley’s Comet Particles

NASA scientists are planning to launch a high-altitude weather balloon to catch particles of Halley’s Comet. The balloon will rise to an altitude of 120,000 ft and deploy its xerogel dust collector, which will capture the particles as they enter the atmosphere.

NASA Science News

Space News for May 7, 1999

Children Will Pilot Rover on Mars

Mars Surveyor 2001 will contain a rover piloted by a group of children on Earth. Over 100 children will be selected for this project, some of whom will be able to pilot the rover, and others who’ll design micro-experiments attached to the outside of the rover.

Fox News
MSNBC
Space Central
SpaceViews

Pink Black Holes Discovered

Australian astronomers have discovered a strange category of black holes which appear pink in telescopes. What’s causing this pink glow is unknown, but the astronomers suspect it has something to do with the violent effect black holes have on nearby stars as they suck streams of gas away.

BBC News
Fox News
Space Central

Controllers Attempting to Recover Orion 3

Stuck in the wrong orbit, Orion 3 is next to useless, and may re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. Ground controllers are attempting to raise the satellite, and put it into a stable (although still useless) orbit. Investigations also continue to determine why the launch failed.

CNN Space
Fox News
MSNBC
Space Central

Russian Service Module Gets a New Name

The Russian Service Module for the International Space Station was recently renamed to Zvezda, which is Russian for “star”. This follows the tradition of colorful names for all the ISS modules, and so Zvezda joins renamed Unity, Zarya, and Kibo.

SpaceViews

Space News for May 6, 1999

Another Asteroid Belt Could be Close

British Astronomers feel that there’s a possibility that there’s another asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Earth. Possibly ejected from the more stable belt between Mars and Jupiter, these could pose a significant threat to our planet.

ABC News
BBC News
EXN
MSNBC

Space Central
SpaceViews

Lockheed Martin Orders Inquiry into Launch Failures

Hot on the heels of the official US Air Force investigation into the recent rash of launch failures, Lockheed CEO Peter Teets has ordered wide-ranging review of the company’s launch programs. The names of dozen members of the investigation group will be announced next week.

Space Daily
SpaceViews

Why Isn’t the Universe Anti-Matter?

Scientists around the world are planning a group of experiments to better determine the nature of anti-matter. Particle accelerators in California, Chicago, and Japan will each perform experiments to investigate the key differences between matter and anti-matter, which could answer why the universe is mostly made of matter, and not the reverse.

BBC News

All US Rockets Grounded

After a terrible string of launch failures – six failures in nine months – the US space industry has undertaken a detailed investigation to learn what could be causing the problems. The failures have cost US taxpayers billions of dollars. No further launches will happen until the investigations are complete.

BBC News
CNN Space
MSNBC

Space News for May 5, 1999

Space Station Relations Improve

Despite a difference of opinion regarding Yugoslavia, Russia is completely onside with the development of the International Space Station – it just lacks the money. Although it suffered a year-long delay, the station’s living quarters are now complete, and will be launched into space this fall.

ABC News

Mercury Salvage Crew Loses Submarine

Rough Atlantic seas snapped a cable to the Mercury salvage team’s remote-controlled submarine, sending it to the bottom with the capsule. Plans are now underway to rescue the submarine first before continuing the salvage of the capsule.

BBC News
CNN Space
Fox News

Dark Globule Found in Milky Way

Astronomers have discovered an extremely dark region of the Milky Way where there are no visible stars. It’s likely to be a dark cloud of gas and dust which astronomers have termed “dark globules”. This particular region is known as Barnard 68.

BBC News

Delta III Launches Incorrectly

The third launch mishap in less than a month, the Orion 3 satellite was placed into an incorrect orbit by the upper stage of its Delta III rocket. This launch was delayed 5 times, and the previous launch ended in disaster when the rocket exploded shortly after takeoff.

CNN Space
Fox News

MSNBC
Space Online
Space Daily
SpaceViews

Space News for May 4, 1999

Insurance too Expensive for Russian Module

Although it’s completed the newest component of the International Space Station, Russia can’t afford the $125,000 it will cost to insure it, and plans to launch without insurance. Perhaps not so wise considering the recent rash of mislaunches.

CNN Space

Mexican Satellite Failure

Mexican satellite Solidaridad I developed a problem stopping pager service for clients of the telecommunications company. Pager traffic has been transferred to other satellites while engineers fix the problem.

CNN Space

Getting to Mars on Anti-Matter

NASA scientists are considering this Star Trek fuel for the first manned mission to Mars. Although such a journey is many years away, the scientists believe they’ll have a working system within 2 years. With anti-matter, a single gram of fuel would provide the same boost as 23 Space Shuttle tanks.

Fox News

Moonbase Sites Considered

Searching for the best spot for a future moon base, ESA researchers believe that a spot near the moon’s south pole is ripe for colonization. Potentially located near patches of comet ice, and under near continual sunlight, the spot is a relative oasis.

MSNBC
Space Central

Space News for May 3, 1999

Mercury Capsule Found!

A Florida salvage operation has found the prize they were searching for: Gus Grissom’s Mercury space capsule. The Liberty Bell 7 was found 3 miles under the ocean, 300 miles off shore. The salvagers will return within a few weeks to raise the capsule to the surface.

Texan Considers Caribbean Spaceport

Texas entrepreneur, Andy Beal, is investigating the potential of developing a remote Caribbean island into a new spaceport, capable of launching rockets as large as the Ariane 5. The plans are controversial; however, as the island is a key nesting ground for Caribbean seabirds.

CNN Space

Titan Mishaps Affecting Other Launches

Because of the three Titan IVB launch disasters, the Air Force has postponed the launch of the Delta III as well. This is because both rockets share the same upper stage engine system, which caused satellites to be placed into incorrect orbits.

Space Daily

Landsat Pictures Arrive

Only newly-launched, Landsat 7 is already delivering high-resolution images of our planet. The satellite has twice the resolution of its predecessors, and will be able to map changes in the environment with great detail.

NASA Space Science News