Space News for April 14, 1999

Scientists Discover Medium-Sized Black Holes

Astronomers have discovered several examples of medium-sized black holes located in nearby galaxies – probably between 10 and 100,000 times the mass of our sun – possibly caused by the aggregation of many smaller black holes.

ABC News
Astronomy Now
CNN Space

Another Possibility for Universe’s Missing Mass

Still on the hunt to find the universe’s missing mass, astronomers have used the NASA Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer peek into the hidden hearts of of distant galaxy clusters. They’ve found huge clouds of hot gas sucked into the center of these clusters – sometimes causing gravitational collapse of the whole cluster.

BBC News

European Eutelsat Launches

Carried aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS rocket, the Eutelsat W3 satellite was placed into geostationary orbit Monday night. The launch was a complete success, a relief considering the rash of recent launch accidents.

CNN Space
Spaceviews

Controversial Paper Warns of Possible Asteroid Impact

Newly discovered asteroid 1999 AN10 has caused quite a stir in the astronomy community, as a recent paper warns that it could strike the Earth in 2039. Although the rock crosses the Earth’s path twice a year, gravitational effects could push it into a collision course… or not, depending on who you ask.

Published Study
ABC News
BBC News
explorezone.com
SpaceViews

Space News for April 13, 1999

Hypernova Remnants Discovered

Considered mere supernovas until recently, astronomers have discovered the remnants of two massive hypernovas in nearby galaxy M101 – each explosion is estimated to have been 100 times more powerful than the average supernova.

ABC News
BBC News
exoScience
Space Central

Hubble Sprinkled by Space Debris

Analysis of the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission’s video footage has revealed that the telescope has suffered nearly 800 micrometeorite and space debris impacts since it was launched nearly 10 years ago.

Astronomy Now

Air Force Attempting Satellite Rescue

Air Force controllers are attempting to rein in the Defense Support Program satellite – still locked in a lopsided orbit after its launch on Friday. It appears that an upper-stage motor malfunctioned on the Titan IV rocket, placing the satellite into an incorrect orbit.

CNN Space
Spacer.com

Mir’s Future Uncertain

Unable to afford the $250 million annual maintenance fees, Boris Yeltsin is uncertain about the future of the aging Mir space station. If additional funds can be found, space officials say that the station could stay up for another 3 years, but it’s possible it will be scuttled as early as August.

MSNBC

Space News for April 12, 1999

Military Satellite in Incorrect Orbit

Military officials have confirmed that the Defense Support Program satellite entered an incorrect orbit after its launch on a Titan IV on Friday. This foul-up follows the previous ill-fated Titan IV launch that exploded in August. Engineers are attempting to reposition the satellite.

ABC News
Astronomy Now
BBC News

CNN Space
Fox News
MSNBC
SpaceViews

NASA Considers All-Female Crews

While only 25% of NASA’s current astronauts are women, the space agency is considering the benefits of an all-female crew – including research into bone loss and radiation. Others see it just as a media ploy.

ABC News
CNN Space
Space Central
MSNBC

Mir Space Walk to Patch Holes

Still damaged from a collision with a cargo ship in 1997, Mir crewmembers are planning a spacewalk to repair several holes in the Spektr module with a “space patch kit”. The spacewalkers will also deploy and retrieve other experiments attached to the outside of the space station.

BBC News
CNN Space

Russia Working on Service Module for Space Station

Construction of the International Space Station will move into its third phase when the Russian Service Module is transferred to the Baikonur cosmodrome next month. Engineers will then require eight months at the site to prepare the station module for launch.

MSNBC

SpaceViews

Space News for April 9, 1999

Stardust Passes Mars Probes

The Stardust spacecraft has passed the slower moving Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander spacecraft on the same trajectory to reach the Red Planet. While the other two probes will enter into Mars orbit, Stardust will continue on to meet up with Comet Wild 2.

Astronomy Now

US Lays Groundwork for Missile Defense System

US Space Command has allocated $1.8 billion to begin the development of an advanced missile defense network located in Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center. The contract is expected to be awarded in early 2000, and will take cover 15 years of development.

CNN Space

ESA will Upgrade Ariane 5 Payload Capacity

In order to compete effectively against its international competitors, the European Space Agency is planning to upgrade the Ariane 5 rocket. The improvements will eventually allow the rocket to carry 11 tons of payload into orbit.

CNN Space

Comet Mission Under Budget Threat

Budget pressures at NASA could force cancellation of an ambitious expedition to land a spacecraft onto a comet – a mission called Space Technology 4. The project is in jeopardy because of launch delays of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope.

SpaceViews

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

Spacer.com

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
Spacer.com

[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
Spacer.com
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
Spacer.com

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