Space News for May 24, 1999

VentureStar Looks for Government Backing
Lockheed Martin has gone to Congress to find funding for its VentureStar reusable space vehicle project, after failing to get any backing from Wall Street investors. Too expensive for Lockheed Martin to develop on its own, the company needs to find billions from a variety of government and commercial financing sources.

Space Daily.

Skywatchers View Regulus Occultation
The moon passed in front of another bright star in the sky – this time it was Regulus, in the constellation of Leo. These eclipses, called occultations can be used by astronomers to help chart lunar features, such as craters and mountains.

Astronomy Now
explorezone.com

Military Titan Launch Successful
After a string of failures, the US Air Force was finally able to loft a satellite on a Titan IVB rocket. Carrying a top secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, the rocket lifted off from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California on Saturday.

Astronomy Now
BBC News

MSNBC
Space Daily
SpaceViews

Encounter 2000 Prepares Interstellar Message
Instead of merely listening for incoming messages, a commercial project called Encounter 2000 has decided to send its message out to the stars. In addition to general information about humanity, and our understanding of mathematics, logic, and chemistry, the company is allowing private citizens the opportunity to tag their own message on the end… for a price.

Encounter 2000 Website
BBC News

SpaceViews

Space News for May 21, 1999

Astronauts Get Grumpy in Space
Researchers studying Mir astronauts and cosmonauts have learned a tremendous amount about humans react to the confines of space. Tensions flare, rivalries erupt, and the crew tends to blame Mission Control for almost any problem. They’re working to help counteract the negative effects of space travel, and learn how to avoid personality conflicts before they start.

ABC News
Space Chronicle

[email protected] Borrows 600 Years of Computing Time

In only a week, [email protected] has become the world’s largest experiment in distributed computing, with more than 300,000 participants. This massive network has already racked up 600 years of computing time for the searchers, with a Michigan Tech University Group contributing a year by itself.

MSNBC

Hollywood Helps Design Next Spacesuit
NASA has turned to renowned costume designer Chris Gilman to help them create their next generation space suit because of his experience developing realistic movie replicas. Gilman’s objective was to improve the suit’s visibility, increase mobility, and be easier to get on an off.

exn

Russia Allows Mir to Stay Aloft with Private Funding
Although government funding for the ancient space station has dried up, Russia has agreed to keep Mir aloft if private funding can be found in time. Estimates for the annual operations range between $100 million and $250 million; although, it’s unclear exactly who’ll provide the private funding.

MSNBC

Space News for May 20, 1999

New Moon Discovered for Uranus

While examining old photographs from Voyager, an astronomer has discovered a new moon orbiting Uranus. Only 25 miles across, the moon, currently has the boring name of 1986 U10, but it will soon be given a Shakespearean character name – a tradition for Uranus’ moons.

ABC News
Astronomy Now
CNN Space
explorezone.com

TERRIERS Satellite Runs Out of Juice

The student-built TERRIERS satellite has drained its battery since it was launched on Tuesday. This is because the satellite wasn’t able to orient its solar panels in the direction of the sun to recharge. Engineers are attempting to recover it before declaring the launch a write-off.

Astronomy Now
CNN Space
MSNBC

Hubble Catches Giant Storm on Mars

The Hubble Space Telescope has recently captured images of a giant storm raging across the surface of Mars. Over 1,000 miles across, the storm is surprisingly Earthlike, in composition, unlike the dust storms discovered by the Viking orbiter over 20 years ago.

Astronomy Now
CNN Space
explorezone.com
Fox News
MSNBC

Asteroid 1999 AN10 will Come Very Close in 2027

Although it was recently announced that asteroid 1999 AN10 may strike the Earth in 2039, astronomers have been calculating and recalculating its trajectory. Recent data suggests that 1999 AN10 will streak past the Earth as close as 38,000 miles in 2027, but it’s still unclear if gravitational effect of the Earth will cause the later impact.

BBC News

Space News for May 19, 1999

NASA Announces New Astrobiology Group

NASA has set up a new astrobiology institute to assist in the search for exterrestrial life. They’re not necessarily looking for space aliens, just any form of life off our planet – even single celled organisms would be well worth the effort.

CNN Space
Fox News

Bad Weather May Delay Shuttle Launch

Space Shuttle Discovery may remain on the pad, and miss its current launch window because of poor weather. Originally scheduled for launch on Thursday, the Shuttle was already pelted by a severe hailstorm, and had to be repaired. This will be the first Shuttle launch in over 5 months.

Space Chronicle

Deep Space 1 Tests Interrupted

Software anomalies unexpectedly interrupted tests of Deep Space 1’s automated capabilities. Although NASA engineers consider the tests to be largely successful, they plan to conduct more to complete the experiment.

Space Daily

SpaceViews

NASA Budget Approved… Almost

The US House of Representatives has approved NASA’s three-year operating budget with a couple of exceptions: the TransHab module, and Vice President Al Gore’s Triana space probe – both of which were denied funding by the House.

Space Daily
SpaceViews

Space News for May 18, 1999

Student Satellite to Launch

Built by the students of Boston University, the TERRIERS satellite – named for the school’s mascot, and designed to measure changes in the ionosphere – will launch early in the morning from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. The total cost for the mission, including launch is $12.3 million.

Astronomy Now
Space Daily

Artificial Intelligence Tested on Deep Space 1

NASA engineers have had the opportunity to test a powerful new piece of software on the Deep Space 1 mission. Called Remote Agent, the software allows the spacecraft to function completely on its own without human intervention, completing course corrections, detailed mission plans, and self-diagnosis.

Astronomy Now
SpaceViews

Aliens Probably Won’t Look Like E.T.

Scientists believe that life exists outside our planet, but it probably doesn’t look anything like we’ve imagined in science fiction. Mars and Europa are two worlds in our Solar System which are candidates for life, with the closest analogy being colonies of bacteria, such as those found in deep sea vents.

CNN Space
MSNBC

Iridium’s Financial Situation Worsens

The financial picture for Iridium is starting to look bleak. Current financing agreements require the company to gather a total of 27,000 subscribers by the end of May; however, it looks like they’ll fall well short of that mark. Shortages of the required satellite phones have contributed to the company’s financial difficulties.

SpaceViews

Space News for May 17, 1999

[email protected] Released for Windows/Mac

Want to take part in the search for intelligent life in the universe? Well, now everybody can. [email protected], software designed to hook up thousands of computers together to form a virtual supercomputer, is now ready for Windows and Mac computers.

[email protected] download page
ABC News
BBC News
explorezone.com

exoscience
Fox News
MSNBC
SpaceViews

Space Shuttle Removed for Repairs

Engineers are pulling the Space Shuttle Discovery off the launchpad, and taking it back to the hanger for repairs to the outer foam insulation on the fuel tank. A recent hailstorm gouged 150 holes in the insulation layer, many of which inaccessible to fix while the Shuttle remains on the pad.

ABC News
BBC News
Fox News
MSNBC

Mir Considered by Western Investors

Looking to keep Mir up in space for as long as possible, officials from Energiya space corporation are planning to meet with a group of interested Western investors. In order to keep the station aloft, they’ll need at least $250 million in investment before August.

CNN Space
Fox News

House Panels Looking to Axe Gore’s Satellite

Looking to trim down NASA’s budget, the Republican-controlled House Science Committee wants to axe Al Gore’s Triana project. The satellite was planned to broadcast a continuous view of the Earth, and which would be available on the Internet.

Space Chronicle
Space Daily

SpaceViews

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