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.

explorezone.com

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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Space Chronicle
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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.

MSNBC

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.

Astronomy Now
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Florida Today

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.

Astronomy Now
BBC News

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.

CNN Space

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.

Space Central

Space Online

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.

Space Frontiers Paper
SpaceViews

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.

Astronomy Now
BBC News

[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.

[email protected]
MSNBC

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 Central

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.

SpaceDaily

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.

Astronomy Now
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explorezone.com

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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Houston Chronicle

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.

BBC News

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.

CNN Space

Space News for June 30, 1999

Galileo Begins Encounter with Callisto

Galileo is about to begin the tenth encounter of its Europa Mission – a close flyby of Callisto, one of Jupiter’s largest moons. Over the course of the next 4 1/2 days, the spacecraft will fly within 1047 kilometers of the moon’s surface.

Astronomy Now

Cosmonaut Proposes Shares of Mir

Prominent cosmonaut Vitaly Sevastyanov has proposed a new way to save Mir – by selling shares in the space station to other countries or foreign investors. Outside investors could use the station to send astronauts or research missions.

CNN Space

X-34 Model Test Successful

A 58 foot model of the futuristic X-34 rocket-plane was tested Tuesday above NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California. The flight was used as a demonstration of many of the technologies that will be used in future reusable launch vehicles.

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exoScience
SpaceViews

NASA Cancels Champollion

Champollion ST4 was designed to land on the surface of a comet and study its composition, but now it appears the project won’t be going anywhere. Recent project overruns, and emergency repairs to Hubble have forced NASA to cut the mission from its plans. The probe would have launched in 2003, and landed in 2005.

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Houston Chronicle

Space Online
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Space News for June 29, 1999

Chandra Loaded Onto Columbia

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory was loaded onto the Space Shuttle Columbia on Sunday, in preparation for its July 20th launch. Costing over $2.5 billion, NASA will be watching the launch carefully, as the observatory uses the same upper stage booster that caused at least one Air Force launch failure.

Astronomy Now

NASA Prepares Nanorover for Asteroid Mission

Similar to the Mars Pathfinder rover, but only the size of a paperback novel, the MUSES rover is designed for an upcoming Japanese asteroid encounter mission. The rover will hop around in the asteroid’s weak gravity, automatically righting itself if it falls upside down.

CNN Space

Possible Planet is Probably Just a Star

When it was first discovered last year, astronomers thought they might have their first visual glimpse of a planet orbiting another star system. Further data indicates, however, that the object, called TMR-1C is probably just another, dimmer star.

SpaceDaily

SpaceViews

Scientists Search for Clues in Tunguska

Something struck central Siberia in 1908 with the force of 1,000 Hiroshima nuclear bombs. It leveled 2,200 square kilometers of forest, and the explosion was visible hundreds of kilometers away. There are still many mysteries about what actually happened there almost 100 years ago, and a group of scientists are now attempting to unlock its secrets.

BBC News

Space News for June 28, 1999

Gemini Continues to Impress

The Gemini North telescope has lived up to the high expectations of its builders. New images unveiled at a recent ceremony in Hawaii displayed the telescope’s amazing resolution power. Gemini South is currently being constructed in Chile.

Astronomy Now
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Space Chronicle
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Next Mars Landers May Walk Instead of Roll

Although it was able to provide useful new data, the Mars Pathfinder Rover was restricted by the fact that it had wheels. A prototype “walking” robot has been built at the University of Arizona, which will be able to move across very difficult terrain – they’re being considered for future Mars missions.

BBC News

Cassini Gravity Boosted by Venus

Cassini has made its second successful flyby of Venus, and in doing so, picked up the speed it needs to make the next leg of its journey to Saturn. Cassini flew within 600 km of the planet, and is now speeding towards its next encounters: Earth in two months, and then Jupiter in late 2000.

CNN Space
explorezone.com
SpaceViews

Mir May be Saved by a Movie

Film director Yuri Kara has come up with a unique plan to help save the doomed Mir spacestation – he plans to shoot a movie on board, called The Mark of Cassandra. Russian actor Vladimir Steklov has already started his cosmonaut training.

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Space News for June 25, 1999

First Female Mission Commander Prepares for Launch

Air Force Col. Eileen Collins will be the first woman to command a space mission when the Space Shuttle Columbia launches on June 20th. Eileen’s mission will be to safely launch the much-delayed Chandra X-Ray observatory.

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FUSE Launch Successful

NASA’s Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) was successfully launched into orbit on board a Delta II rocket. The rocket launched approximately 11:44 a.m. and the satellite was deployed from the rocket approximately 76 minutes later. FUSE will help unlock the secrets of the Big Bang.

Astronomy Now
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SpaceViews

Space Daily

Space Tourism Could be Around the Corner

If you’ve been hoping to travel in space, you might get your chance sooner than you think. A recent study released by NASA and the private Space Transportation Association reports that one-third of American adults would like to spend two weeks in space, and would pay $5,000. Plans for space hotels are in the works.

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Roton Ground Test Successful

Rotary Rocket Company has announced he first successful ground test of its Roton Atmospheric Test Vehicle (ATV), and preparations for its first flight test in the near future.

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