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Two shuttles sighted

Stunning aerial views of shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour perched atop launch pads 39A and 39B on Sept. 20.

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Endeavour to pad 39B

Space shuttle Endeavour made the journey from Kennedy Space Center to pad 39B in the predawn hours of Sept. 19.

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MAVEN to Mars

NASA has selected the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, or MAVEN, for launch to the Red Planet.


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Shenzhou spacecraft completes orbital maneuver

Posted: September 25, 2008

China's Shenzhou 7 spaceship fired its engines late Thursday to reach a circular 215-mile-high orbit, where the craft will circle Earth until at least Sunday, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The burn occurred at about 2005 GMT (4:05 p.m. EDT) Thursday, or early Friday morning in China. The firing raised the perigee, or low point, of Shenzhou 7's orbit from an altitude of about 124 miles to 215 miles.

The ship's Long March 2F booster deployed the spacecraft in an egg-shaped orbit about 10 minutes after launch, which took place at 1310 GMT (9:10 a.m. EDT).

The circularization burn was about seven hours after blastoff. The circular orbit helps line up landing opportunities beginning Sunday evening, Chinese time.

The three-man crew wrapped up their first day in space shortly after the orbit-raising maneuver. They will be awakened later Friday to begin day two of their mission, which may include the first spacewalk in the history of China's space program.

Read our full launch story here.