The massive U.S. Navy communications satellite launched from Cape Canaveral two weeks ago has completed prescribed maneuvers to reach geosynchronous orbit and successfully unfurled its umbrella-like antenna reflectors.
Fresh imagery from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft reveal the icy dwarf planet Ceres in new detail, showing surface features coming into focus as the probe nears insertion into orbit for a comprehensive survey of the unexplored world.
A NASA spacecraft under construction for launch in 2016 to retrieve samples from asteroid Bennu could benefit from an extra load of fuel, allowing an extended stay at the asteroid or a return to Earth a year early.
“We had a terrific ride into space aboard the United Launch Alliance’s Delta 2 vehicle. They deposited us exactly where we wanted to be with with accuracy and precision,” said Kent Kellogg, NASA’s SMAP project manager.
Engineers have put the finishing touches on a prototype spaceship representing a leap in European space technology, aiming for liftoff Feb. 11 for a flight 260 miles into space and back to Earth for a pinpoint splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
The Obama administration has requested more than $1.2 billion from congressional appropriators next year to meet NASA’s funding commitments for Boeing and SpaceX’s commercial crew ferry spacecraft, and anything less could delay flights of the capsules past 2017.