Spaceflight Now Home

Spaceflight Now +

Premium video content for our Spaceflight Now Plus subscribers.

Expedition 15
The Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Expedition 15 cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, along with tourist Charles Simonyi, fly to the space station following launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

 Full coverage

STS-61: Fixing Hubble
One of the most daunting yet crucial human spaceflights occurred in December 1993 as the crew of shuttle Endeavour embarked on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The observatory had been launched three-and-a-half years earlier with a crippling vision flaw. Two teams of spacewalkers carried out five EVAs to install corrective optics and other equipment to fix the telescope's problems. The astronauts take you through the mission in this post-flight film.


STS-51: Satellite technology launch
Narrating a highlights film from their STS-51 mission, the shuttle astronauts from Discovery's September 1993 flight describe launching the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite with its Transfer Orbit Stage plus the deployment and retrieval of the Shuttle Pallet Satellite carrying the German ORFEUS ultraviolet telescope. TV and IMAX cameras on the SPAS craft provide stunning views of the shuttle. A spacewalk also occurs to test tools and procedures for the upcoming first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.


The Flight of Apollo 7
This documentary looks back at Apollo 7, the first manned flight of the Apollo program. Apollo 7 was designated as the essential engineering test of the spacecraft before the ambitious lunar missions could be attempted.


Running the Boston Marathon in space
NASA astronaut Suni Williams will run the Boston Marathon on a treadmill aboard the International Space Station. To preview the event, Williams, an accomplished marathoner, and Expedition 14 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria talk with The Boston Globe and the New England Sports Network.


Exercising on ISS
International Space Station Expedition 14 commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineer Suni Williams give a show-and-tell about the exercise equipment and routines aboard the orbiting complex.


Become a subscriber
More video

Chinese rocket puts up navigational spacecraft

Posted: April 14, 2007

China launched its second satellite in less than three days Friday when a Long March 3A rocket successfully delivered a navigation craft into orbit.

Liftoff of China's fifth navigation satellite was at 2011 GMT Friday (4:11 p.m. EDT) from the Xichang launch center in southwest China's Sichuan province, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The unannounced launch was in the early morning hours of Saturday, local time.

The three-stage Long March 3A rocket left its payload in an egg-shaped transfer orbit with an inclination of 55 degrees. The spacecraft will soon use its propulsion system to circularize the orbit at an altitude of about 13,000 miles.

Chinese media reports said the satellite is part of the nation's Compass space-based navigation system, which aims to provide precise location, velocity and timing information to users.

State media did not name the satellite launched Friday, but earlier members of the Compass constellation were called Beidou, which means Big Dipper when translated in English.

The system is similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System and other navigation satellite fleets in development by Russia and the European Union.

The Compass system will consist of five satellites orbiting in the geostationary belt some 22,000 miles above Earth, and 30 more craft circling the planet in a medium orbit, according to earlier Xinhua reports.

Previous Beidou satellites were placed in geostationary orbit, but Friday's launch delivered the first Compass satellite to medium Earth orbit.

More satellites will join the Compass fleet in the next few years, and officials expect the system will provide navigation data to China and neighboring countries by next year. Subsequent launches will then expand the system's coverage globally, Xinhua said.

Friday's launch was the third of the year for China. The newest Beidou satellite was put in space in February, and a marine surveying spacecraft was orbited Wednesday.