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Back to the Moon!
NASA unveils the agency's blueprint for building the future spacecraft and launch vehicles needed for mankind's return to the lunar surface in the next decade.

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Distant space explosion
Astronomers announce the detection by NASA's Swift satellite of the most distant explosion yet, a gamma-ray burst from the edge of the visible universe, during this media teleconference held Monday, September 12. (54min 01sec file)

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Hill-climbing Mars rover
The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has reached the summit of Husband Hill, returning a spectacular panorama from the hilltop in the vast Gusev Crater. Scientists held a news conference Sept. 1 to reveal the panorama and give an update on the twin rover mission.

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Planes track Discovery
To gain a new perspective on space shuttle Discovery's ascent and gather additional imagery for the return to flight mission, NASA dispatched a pair of high-flying WB-57 aircraft equipped with sharp video cameras in their noses.

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Hurricane Rita forces closure of Johnson Space Center
Posted: September 21, 2005

With the powerful Hurricane Rita posing an ominous threat for a potential impact in the coming days, Houston's Johnson Space Center is shutting down and giving control of the International Space Station to Russian engineers.

The historic NASA site serves as the astronauts' home base and lead center for the space shuttle and station programs. Workers are being dismissed today to begin preparing their houses and property for the approaching Category 4 storm.

As of this morning, Rita was packing 140 mph sustained winds as it churned across the Gulf of Mexico. The official forecast track predicted a landfall south and west of the Houston area on Saturday morning. However, the margin of error in the track remained wide.

The Russian mission control, located outside Moscow, will assume primary authority over the International Space Station while JSC remains closed.

The station is staffed by Expedition 11 commander Sergei Krikalev and science officer John Phillips.

JSC was forced to close during a hurricane in 2002, delaying the launch of space shuttle Atlantis to the station.