Space News for April 8, 1999

Moon to Eclipse Aldebaran

Astronomers are preparing for April 18th, when the moon will pass in front of Aldebaran, one of the brightest stars in the sky. The Midwestern US will be late evening for the occultation, making it dark enough to see without a telescope.

ABC News

Spiral Star Found

Probably caused by the gravitational interaction of two stars orbiting closely, astronomers have found a spiral-shaped star called Wolf-Rayet 104. The star burns much hotter than average and ejects a spiral stream of superheated dust around it.

ABC News
Astronomy Now
BBC News
Fox News
MSNBC

FUSE Satellite Readied for Launch

The Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) has been transferred to NASA’s Hanger AE at Cape Canaveral for prelaunch preparations. Expected to launch on May 20th, the satellite will help answer questions about the origin of the universe by examining the presence of hydrogen and deuterium.

FUSE Home Page
Astronomy Now

Final Titan Launch

Lockheed Martin is preparing to launch its final Titan IV rocket from Cape Canaveral on April 9th. The rocket will carry an Air Force early warning satellite into space, after which the launch facility will be deactivated, and prepared for Lockheed’s newer Atlas V rocket.

Astronomy Now
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Space News for April 7, 1999

Delta 3 Launch Scrubbed

After three attempts to launch the Boeing Delta 3 rocket carrying the Orion 3 satellite, engineers were unable to get the rocket off the ground (three’s the unlucky number it seems). Officials will set a new launch date and time depending on when the facility is available again.

Boeing Press Release
Astronomy Now
MSNBC
SpaceViews

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Deep Space 1 Working Perfectly

Able to determine its location from anywhere in the solar system, and powered by an ion engine, Deep Space 1 is performing its mission “extremely well” in the opinion of its engineers. Launched in October 1998, the purpose of the spacecraft is to test 12 new spacefaring technologies.

CNN Space
MSNBC
NASA’s Deep Space 1

[email protected]
SpaceViews
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[email protected] Now Available for Unix

The three year-long wait is over, and [email protected] is now available for Unix computers. As of today, 1,400 people have already downloaded the software designed to help share computing processing analyzing SETI radio signals. Windows and Mac are still coming…

MSNBC

[email protected]

Space Station Manager Resigns

Randy Brinkley, manager of the International Space Station for the past 5 years, has announced his resignation from NASA. A space industry veteran, and manager of several shuttle missions, Brinkley will leave NASA later this month to take a position with a private sector firm.

Fox News
Space Central

Space Online
SpaceViews

Space News for April 6, 1999

Hubble Captures Tarantula Nebula

The Hubble team has released its latest photo of the heavens. This time the space telescope shows fantastic views of the Tarantula Nebula, created by exploded supernovae, and found inside the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Astronomy Now
explorezone.com

NASA’s Aid to Russia Could Impact Space Station

NASA is planning to buy a second Soyuz spacecraft ($64 million) to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Critics are concerned that this money will jeopardize much-need research funds for experiments on the station.

Fox Space

US Policy Makes Student Launch Impossible

Unable to afford the $4.5 million fee to launch a satellite, Doctoral student Michael Swartwout, accepted a free launch with a Russian university. But US policy classifies the satellite as munitions, and won’t allow it to leave the country.

Fox Space

High Winds Delay Delta 3 Launch

Boeing delayed launch of the Delta 3 at the last minute because of high winds in Cape Canaveral. Still gun-shy from its previous launch disaster, and with the potential of toxic material drifting over populated areas, Boeing wasn’t taking any chances, and rescheduled the launch for Tuesday.

MSNBC Space
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SpaceViews

Space News for April 5, 1999

Viking Location Wrong All Along

Astronomers have incorrectly reported Viking Lander 1’s location on Mars’ surface for over 20 years. Recent information from the Mars Pathfinder mission have enabled a more accurate landing position, 4.5 km away from its previously accepted location.

Astronomy Now

Russia Resupplies Aging Mir

Filled with fuel, food, water and other scientific equipment (including 18 live lizards), a Progress M-41 supply ship launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on Friday. Private investors are considering maintaining the space station when it’s officially abandoned.

Fox Space
MSNBC Space
Space Central
Space Today
SpaceViews

[email protected] Nearly Ready, But Only for Unix

After three years of development, and over 300,000 people waiting to download the software, [email protected] – software which allows personal computers around the world to assist in detecting extrasolar life – is nearly ready… but only for Unix. Windows and Mac should be ready by the end of the month.

[email protected] Site
MSNBC Space

Indian Satellite Launches on Ariane

Arianespace launched an Indian Insat SE telecommunications and weather satellite on Friday. This is India’s 6th satellite, and marked the 44th successful launch of an Ariane 42P rocket.

Astronomy Now
MSNBC Space

Space News for April 2, 1999

Hardy Bacteria Proves Life Has Few Limits

In order to understand how life could exist on other worlds in our Solar System, scientists are studying the limits of life on Earth. Many creatures are thriving in environments which are similar to those found on other worlds, such as Europa and Mars.

CNN Space

NASA Readies Landsat 7 for Launch

Capable of producing extremely high-quality images of the Earth, the Landsat 7 satellite is designed to monitor environmental changes, from urban growth to deforestation. The satellite is set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on April 15th.

CNN Space

Capturing Meteorites in Flight

Similar to the Stardust’s aerogel used to catch comet debris, earthbound NASA engineers are using a weather balloon and xerogel micrometeorite collector to capture leonid meteorites as they hurtle through our atmosphere.

NASA Space Science News
explorezone.com

Orion 3 will Launch on Boeing Delta 3

Second time’s the charm. After an aborted inaugural flight carrying the Galaxy X satellite, the new Boeing Delta 3 is ready to try again – this time with the Orion 3 satellite from Loral Space & Communications.

Astronomy Now
CNN Space
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Space News for April 1, 1999

Mir Cosmonaut Contacts Students

To help announce the opening of a new program to connect 2,000 schools through the Internet, Russian cosmonaut, Viktor Afanasyez radioed a message of congratulations from Mir as it passed overhead.

BBC News

A Rare Second Blue Moon to Occur Wednesday

Today marks an astronomical rarity – the second blue moon of the year. Blue moons look no different from regular full moons, but happen when the moon is full twice in the same month. Two blue moons in a year happens only four times a century.

NASA Space Science News
CNN Space
Space Online

EU Considers Financing Satellite Navigation System

The European Union is considering developing its own network of navigational satellites, called Galileo. By developing this network, they hope to relive their dependence on American and Russian technology. The system is expected to cost 2.9 billion euros, and will be complete by 2008.

CNN Space

Launch Facilities Meet to Discuss Capacity

Aging equipment, packed schedules, and inefficient infrastructure were just some of the problems identified at the recent House Science Committee meetings held earlier this week. In some cases, launch sites are using technology that dates back to the early 1950s.

SpaceViews

Space News for March 31, 1999

Comets an Unlikely Source for Earth’s Water

New data gathered by Caltech offers evidence against the long-standing theory that the Earth’s water was delivered by comets over eons. Were this the case, our oceans would contain more deuterium (or heavy water), which is prevalent in comet Hale-Bopp – and likely all comets.

Astronomy Now
CNN Space

ESA Focuses Attention on Mars

The European Space Agency has signed a contract with Matra Marconi Space to send an unmanned probe to Mars. Equipped with sensors to detect hidden water underneath the surface of the planet, it’s expected the spacecraft will launch in 2003.

BBC News
SpaceViews

Hydrogen Peroxide on Europa’s Surface

Galileo has returned images of Hydrogen peroxide on the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. It’s believed that particles from Jupiter collide with the moon and constantly form Hydrogen peroxide – this is caused by a process called radiolysis.

Astronomy Now
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Reporter Gets a Ride on the Vomit Comet

CNN Reporter, Miles O’Brien, gets the opportunity to see what it’s like to be an astronaut-in-training aboard NASA’s Vomit Comet. The aircraft flies in parabolic arcs, allowing passengers to experience 30 seconds of weightlessness.

CNN Space

Space News for March 30, 1999

Hubble Views Stormy Uranus

New views of Uranus by the Hubble Space Telescope have shown the planet to be colourful and stormy. A timelapse movie created from Hubble’s images shows moons circling, rings wobbling, and storms raging across the surface of the distant planet.

Astronomy Now
ABC News
BBC News

CNN Space
exoScience
Space Central
NASA Space Science News

Mars Surveyor Deploys High-Gain Antenna

Although the Mars Surveyor has already sent back stunning images from the surface of the Red Planet, communication with the probe is about to improve, as it deploys its high-gain antenna. Using this and its other instruments, the spacecraft is mapping the surface of the planet, determining potential future landings sites.

Astronomy Now
CNN Space
MSNBC
Space Online
SpaceViews

Sea Launch Satellite Achieves High Orbit

With a successful test launch of a dummy satellite to an orbit of 23,000 miles above the Earth, the Sea Launch is primed to begin commercial operations.

CNN Space

Six Month Delay Between Shuttle Launches

Because of Russian delays and a stalled telescope, NASA engineers will have to wait a total of 167 days between its last Space Shuttle launch and the next, scheduled for May 20th. There’s only been one longer delay, 975 days, after the Challenger accident in 1986.

CNN Space
MSNBC
Fox News

Space News for March 29, 1999

Sea Launch Successful

The ocean-based Sea Launch, designed to launch rockets from the mid-Pacific, had its first successful test on Saturday – a Russian Zenit-3SL rocket equipped with a dummy satellite. The rocket lifted from the launch pad, and flew up to an altitude of 1,200 miles where it separated from the satellite.

ABC News
Astronomy Now
BBC News

CNN
MSNBC
Houston Chronicle
Florida Today
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Astronomers Discover Asteroid with Moon

Astronomers have discovered a tiny moon orbiting the asteroid 45 Eugenia. Given the romantic name of S/1998 (45) 1, the moon is guessed to be no larger than 10 km long, and orbits the larger asteroid every 4.7 days.

SpaceViews
BBC News

MIT Students Develop Business Plan for Mars Trip

Using the Internet to coordinate their activities, a group of MIT students have developed a business plan for an expedition to Mars. The students are taking part in a competition sponsored by NASA, who plans to incorporate the strategies into its own Mars mission.

ThinkMars Website
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NASA Plans Russian Hardware Purchases

NASA plans to spend $100 million of this year’s operating budget to purchase hardware from Russian manufacturers. The bulk of this money will be invested into Soyuz space station, which will serve as a crew return vehicle until the X-38’s larger implementation is completed.

SpaceViews

Space News for March 26, 1999

Huge Gamma Ray Burst Detected

Astronomers recently observed the largest explosion ever witnessed. Thought to be caused by the birth of a black hole, or the collision of two neutron stars, energy from the explosion traveled nine billion light years, and was visible by the naked eye.

ABC News
BBC News
NASA Gamma Ray Bursts Information

CNN Space
FOX News
MSNBC
Space Central

Chilean Telescope Facility is Now Operational

Taking advantage of the clear skies over Northern Chile, the first optical telescope at the Paranal Observatory facility has captured amazing images of space. Over the next few years, the facility will have a total of four high-powered telescopes linked electronically.

European Southern Observatory
BBC News

NASA Tests How to Extract Oxygen from Mars Atmosphere

In preparation for a manned flight to Mars, NASA scientists are testing a device to extract oxygen from the hostile Martian atmosphere. Once the technology has been perfected, astronauts will be able to prepare the air they need, without bringing it from the Earth.

NASA Press Release

SpaceViews

Air Force Tests Ammonia-Fueled Engine

The Air Force recently tested the ESEX, a new high-powered electric propulsion system over the Pacific Ocean. Designed to maneuver satellites in orbit, the arcjet produced a third of a pound of thrust for just over two minutes.

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