Space News for July 14, 1999

Progress May Launch to Mir After All

Kazakhstan officials are considering allowing a Progress supply shuttle to reach the beleaguered Mir spacestation. They had originally cancelled all flights from the Baikonur cosmodrome due to a satellite crash, but appeals from the Russian government have caused them to reconsider their position. These supplies are need to keep Mir from reentering orbit uncontrollably.

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Russia Considered Launching Nuclear Bomb at Moon

Once it was clear they were going to lose the space race, Russian officials considered launching a nuclear missile at the moon, to allow scientists around the world to photograph it. As the 30th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing approaches, new insights into the Russian side of the race are made available to the public.

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Asteroid Threat Reduced to Zero

Although initial calculations showed a slight possibility that asteroid 1999 AN10 could crash into the Earth in 2028, this chance has now been reduced to zero. These recalculations come thanks to previously unknown 44-year old photographs of the asteroid, giving astronomers more information to calculate the asteroid’s trajectory.

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Chinese Manned Flight Becomes Distinct Possibility

The Chinese government has embarked on a serious and public program to develop manned spaceflight missions. Although they had hoped to place a man in orbit by October, recent delays with their rocket systems have pushed this back 12-18 months.

Space Chronicle

New Space Station Supply Vessel in Development

DaimlerCrysler Aerospace and French aerospace company Aerospatiale Matra Lanceurs have signed a contract to develop a supply vessel for the International Space Station. Designed to transfer supplies to the station, and to remove trash, the Automated Transfer Vessel (ATV) will be built by 2003.

SpaceDaily

Space News for July 13, 1999

Mobile Phones and Satellites Interfere with Radio Telescopes

An international conference in Vienna has highlighted a new fear among radio astronomers, that their sensitive equipment will be drowned out by Earth-based radio equipment, such as mobile phones and communications satellites.

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Teledisc Announces New Contracts

Recent fundraising efforts of $1.5 billion have allowed Teledisc to announce a new set of contracts with Motorola and International Launch Services to launch a constellation of new satellites.

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Launch Ban Continues to Jeopardize Mir

With the recent ban of all launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Mir is in jeopardy of coming back to Earth sooner than expected. A Progress supply shuttle, planned to launch on Wednesday, is carrying vital equipment to help mothball Mir, as well as resupply the crew. Without this resupply, Mir’s descent won’t be controlled, and it could crash almost anywhere.

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Space News for July 12, 1999

Nixon was Prepared for Grim Moon Landing Speech

Almost 30 years ago, the Apollo moon landing was a complete success, but Nixon was ready with an alternate speech in case astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin never made it from the surface. After a courtesy call to the astronauts’ wives, the speech was to be delivered to the American public.

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Mir Leaking Air

Cosmonauts on board Mir have realized that their island in space is starting to lose its atmosphere. Air pressure on the spacestation has been steadily dropping, and so far the crew has been unable to find the source of the leak. Russian space officials say that the station has adequate air, and the crew is in no danger.

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Another Successful Launch for Globalstar

The latest batch of Globalstar satellites have made it to orbit, bringing the communications consortium’s total to 28 satellites. This latest group was launched on board a Boeing Delta II rocket after a two-day delay due to high wind.

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Space News for July 9, 1999

Mir May Suffer from Launch Ban

Mir cosmonauts may have to return home early if the launch ban at the Baikonur Cosmodrome isn’t lifted. A Progress supply ship was originally scheduled to link with Mir and resupply the spacestation, but the recent launch ban due to a Russian satellite crash may place the entire mission in jeopardy.

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NASA Approves New Comet Mission

Named Deep Impact, a new NASA spacecraft will meet with comet Tempel 1 in July, 2005. Once the probe catches up with the comet, it will fire a 1,100-pound copper bullet at the nucleus, blasting out an enormous crater. It will then close within 300 miles of the surface to survey the damage.

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X-38 Tests Continue

The International Space Station’s X-38 Crew Return Vehicle prototype was tested again at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, California. Designed to ensure the crew of the ISS can safely return to Earth in case of an emergency, the X-38 was test-dropped from an altitude of 31,500 feet. More tests from higher altitudes are planned.

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Astronaut Dies in Motorcycle Crash

Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr., the third person to walk on the surface of the moon, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Thursday. He was riding with his friends when he crashed going around a turn, and died later in the hospital.

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Space News for July 8, 1999

Impact Created Chesapeake Bay 35 Million Years Ago

Researchers have confirmed that Chesapeake Bay, on the Eastern Coast of the United States, was created when a massive object 2-3 miles across slammed into the Earth 35 million years ago. The impact was so powerful that it carved out a crater 56 miles across, and sent 2000 feet tsunami hurtling across the ocean.

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Meteor Explodes over New Zealand

A meteor the size of car exploded over a remote part of New Zealand’s North Island on Thursday. The object cast an eerie blue glow, generated a sonic boom detectable by seismic equipment, and rained fragments over the landscape. There were no reports of injuries.

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Chandra Launch Date and Time Confirmed

NASA officials have cleared the Chandra X-Ray Observatory for launch on board the space shuttle Columbia on July 20th at 12:36am. Chandra will be the most powerful X-ray telescope ever launched.

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New Information Gathered on Solar Winds

New measurements from satellites have determined that particles from the sun hurtle away from the star at twice the velocity previously thought. Moving at two million miles an hour, the particles ride a magnetic wave that emanates from the sun.

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Space News for July 7, 1999

Satellite Crash Halts Launches from Cosmodrome

Yesterday’s crash of a Russian military satellite has caused the Russian space officials to temporarily delay all launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome until they can determine what happened. Launched on board a Proton-K booster, the satellite crashed in eastern Russia, including a 200kg chunk in villager’s garden.

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Next Globalstar Satellites Prepared for Launch

The next four Globalstar satellites are being prepared for launch Thursday on board a Boeing Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Station. The network already has 24 satellites in orbit, and officials say they’re operational, and ready to begin transmitting.

Florida Today

NASA Engineers Working on Space Station Patch

Recently discovered micrometeorite damage to the Hubble Space Telescope has proven how vulnerable the much larger International Space Station will be to punctures. NASA is investigating technologies that will allow astronauts to quickly repair punctures and ensure the ISS maintains its pressure.

Space Daily

Space News for July 6, 1999

[email protected] Hacked

The [email protected] website was hacked over the weekend with the homepage replaced with a picture of TV’s Alf. The hacked page was up for about 5 hours before it was returned to normal.

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Surveyor Finds Dust Devils on Mars

The Mars Global Surveyor has found a number of unusual features on Mars including what appear to be dust devils, and sweeping sand that fills in craters. The dust devils can rise 8 km high, and leave tracks in the sand that looks as if it was caused by a vehicle driving across the landscape.

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Russian Satellite Disappears from Radar

Shortly after takeoff, and Russian military satellite stopped responding to signals from mission control in Khrunichev, and quickly all communications signals from the satellite were lost. It’s suspected that the satellite probably fell from orbit into the Altai region of Siberia.

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Space Frontier Foundation Wants ISS Handed Over to Private Sector

The Space Frontier Foundation recently released a policy statement regarding its opinion on the future of the International Space Station – that it should be handed over to private sector management as soon as possible. This paper makes recommendations well beyond the space commercialization plans NASA has already been considering.

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Space News for July 5, 1999

Hubble Views Globular Star Cluster

The Hubble Space Telescope was recently directed at the M80 globular star cluster, located 28,000 light years from earth, and containing hundreds of thousands of stars. It appears that large stars regularly collide within the cluster.

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[email protected] Releases Update

Nearing 750,000 users, [email protected] has just released a minor upgrade to its software. The upgrade fixes a few bugs, and problems with some firewalls. Volunteers on the project have donated a total of 20,000 years of computing time, and it’s expected the number of downloads will cross 1,000,000 within a month.

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NASA Explains Recent Failed Space Station Maneuver

In a letter to Congress, NASA administrator Dan Goldin explained that the recent attempt to maneuver the International Space Station around a piece of space junk failed because of faulty parameters uploaded from mission control.

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Space News for July 2, 1999

ESA Unveils Comet Landing Mission

As NASA cancels one comet landing mission, the European Space Agency announces another – the Rosetta. Planned for launch in January 2003, the Rosetta will speed up to catch comet Wirtanen and then land on its icy surface. Instruments will then watch what happens to the comet as it approaches the sun.

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Salvagers Attempt to Raise the Liberty Bell

Resting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, under 15,000 feet of water, the Gus Grisson’s Liberty Bell 7 may soon resurface. A salvage team, led by Curt Newport, and financed by the Discovery Channel will spend the next 12 days attempting to raise the space capsule with the help of underwater robots.

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New Clues to Arizona Meteor Crater

A recent study has learned that Meteor Crater in Arizona was probably caused when a 100 foot iron asteroid struck the Earth at 45,000 miles an hour. Researcher Elisabetta Pierazzo and her co-authors used math models and chemical analysis to determine that 85% of the asteroid melted upon impact, with the remaining fragments sprayed around the crater.

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NASA Tests X-34 Engine

NASA tested the Fastrac rocket engine in preparation for the first powered flight of the experimental X-34 spaceplane. The engine was tested at full power for 155 seconds, and generated 60,000 pounds of thrust.

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Space News for July 1, 1999

Images of Mars Captured by Hubble

Thanks to Mars’ closest approach to the Earth in over 8 years, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to take a set of detailed images of the Red Planet. Hubble captured the images when Mars was only 87 million km away, and was able to resolve details on the surface on 12 km across.

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Planets Without Stars Could Still Contain Life

Planetary scientist David Stevenson believes that Earth-sized planets ejected from early solar systems could still contain life, huddled around volcanic vents similar to our own oceans. Unfortunately, these planets would be almost impossible to detect.

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Rock Crystal Could Have Been Oldest Telescope

Professor Giovanni Pettinato of the University of Rome believes that a rock crystal called the Nimrud lens found in 1850 by archaeologist Sir John Layard could have been used for an ancient telescope. The ancient Assyrians astronomers were renowned for their understanding of the skies, and this lens could have contributed to their knowledge.

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China Closes in on Manned Space Flight

China is continuing its ambitious plans to put two men into space by the end of the year 2000. This is just the first part of their overall manned space program, which will launch an independent space station and achieve a lunar landing early in the next millenium.

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