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STS-41G crew film
The October 1984 flight of space shuttle Challenger featured a diverse set of accomplishments. The Earth Radiation Budget Satellite environmental spacecraft was deployed and a planet-mapping radar was tested. The seven-person crew was led by Bob Crippen and included the first Canadian in space, Marc Garneau, and the first time two women, Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan, had flown aboard one flight. Sullivan and Dave Leestma also conducted a spacewalk to demonstrate techniques for refueling satellites. The crew narrates this post-flight film of STS-41G.

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STS-37 anniversary
On April 5, 1991, space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Kennedy Space Center carrying the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory -- NASA's second Great Observatory. Launch occurred at 9:23 a.m. from pad 39B.

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Crew news conference
The combined Expedition 12 and 13 crews, along with visiting Brazilian astronaut Marcos Pontes, hold this in-flight news conference with reporters in Houston, Cape Canaveral and Moscow on April 3. The crews are handing over duties during this week-long handover before Expedition 12 returns to Earth from the space station.

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Soyuz docking
The Russian Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft carrying the Expedition 13 resident crew successfully docks to the Zarya module of the International Space Station under automated control.

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Next station crew
Full coverage of the Expedition 13 crew's launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to begin a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

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Solar eclipse from ISS
External cameras on the International Space Station captured this incredible footage of the March 29 solar eclipse. The station flew through the eclipse over the Middle East as the moon passed in front of the sun and cast its shadow on the Earth.

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Total solar eclipse
A total solar eclipse occurred March 29. This video from Side, Turkey shows the period of totality when the moon slid between the Earth and Sun. The eclipse revealed the Sun's glowing outer halo of million-degree gas, called the solar corona.

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Dawn mission reborn
In early March, NASA cancelled its Dawn mission built to orbit two of the solar system's largest asteroids using ion engine propulsion. Technical problems and cost overruns were blamed. But in this news conference from March 27, agency officials announce NASA's decision to reverse the cancellation and restart the mission.

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Searching through the rubble of supernova remnants
ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 7, 2006

A study of supernova remnants - material blown out into space during death throes of giant stars - has shown that a bubble of gas enveloping our Solar System is being shoved backwards by the debris of another, more recent, supernova.

Over the last few million years, several stars have exploded within the Milky Way and they have left behind bubbles of expanding, hot gas that radiate low-energy X-rays. The Solar System sits within one of these shells, known as the "Local Hot Bubble". A study using data from the XMM-Newton Space Telescope has shown that the "Loop 1 Superbubble", the remnants of some more recent supernova explosions, is expanding faster than the Local Hot Bubble and is compressing an area of cool dense gas, known as the Wall, that lies between the two shells. Although astronomers have known for some time that the Local Hot Bubble has an hourglass shape, pressure and density measurements from this new study provide evidence that Loop 1's compression of the Wall is causing the hourglass's "waist".

"The X-ray radiation from the bubbles is very faint. In order to see them, we've had to remove all the light from stars, nebulae and cosmic rays the images, leaving only the weak X-ray signal. It's the astronomical equivalent of looking at an aquarium, ignoring the fish and looking only at the water," said Michelle Supper, who is presenting the results at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Leicester.

"We've taken long-exposure images of ten small areas of sky in the direction of the Loop 1 Superbubble, then removed all the bright objects and studied what's left. Each structure emits a unique X-ray signal, like a fingerprint, that reflects its temperature and chemical composition. This means that, when we come to analyse the images, we can tell which bits of radiation originated from Loop 1, the Wall or the Local Hot Bubble," Supper explained.

Together with Dr Richard Willingale, also from the University of Leicester, Supper developed mathematical models to represent each of the structures and then produced a geometrical model from which she could work out the distances to the structure boundaries and the pressure and density of the interstellar plasma within the structures.

Loop 1 is thought to be expanding because it is being inflated by winds originating from a group of stars known as the Scorpius-Centaurus Association. Supper's measurements of physical properties of the Wall showed that its density increases fourfold, reaching a peak near the most indented region of the Local Hot Bubble. The pressures also peak around this point, indicating that the Wall is pushing into the bubble at in this region. The chemical analysis showed that the highest concentrations of gases are found at the centre of the Loop 1 Superbubble and levels decrease dramatically in the expanding shell of the bubble.

"Not many astronomers are looking at these structures at present but this study has shown there are many more mysteries to solve!" adds Supper. "We found that X-ray emissions in an area near the galactic plane are much higher in energy than expected but we don't know yet whether we've discovered a new X-ray source or whether its an extension of the very high energy radiation coming from the centre of the galaxy. We hope that this study will also give us an insight into the distribution of the Galactic Halo, a mysterious X-ray signal that can be detected faintly above and below the disc of the Milky Way."

The Local Hot Bubble is a cool, old supernova remnant that envelopes the solar system and much more besides. It is not spherical, more like the shape of a bent hourglass or a peanut shell. The edge of the bubble is at least 91 light years away in the Northern fields, rising to 358 light years in the Southern fields.

The Loop 1 Superbubble is a big, young, hot supernova remnant that is located approximately 684 light years away from the Sun and is about 895 light years in diameter.

XMM-Newton was launched in December 1999 and is operated by the European Space Agency. It is the biggest scientific satellite ever built in Europe.

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STS-134 Patch

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The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
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Final Shuttle Mission Patch

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The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!
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Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
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STS-133 Patch

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The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!
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Anniversary Shuttle Patch

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This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.
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Mercury anniversary

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Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.
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Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
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Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
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Expedition 21
The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.
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Hubble Patch
The official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle's last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase.
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