Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: February 20, 2000  0115 GMT
Galileo approaches Jovian moon Io for close visit
Galileo's intrepid flight controllers take the spacecraft back to Io in the next few days as part of the second encounter of the Galileo Millennium Mission, the extension to the probes's mission at Jupiter.
U.S.-developed engine ready for Japanese shuttle
Aerojet has successfully completed verification testing of its HOPE-X Orbital Maneuvering Engine (OME), qualifying it for operation as the main propulsion for the Japanese National Space Development Agency's HOPE-X vehicle.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
XMM-Newton spies Earth -- An unexpected spin-off from the XMM-Newton commissioning phase, the spacecraft has snapped a picture of mother Earth.
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Most distant object in Universe found -- (BBC) A newly discovered quasar deep in the constellation Cetus the Whale is by far the most distant single object ever found in our Universe.

Space weather industry targets sun storms -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) This year should be one of the worst for solar storms -- surges of charged particles that knock out satellites, power grids and even garage door openers -- but a whole new industry has popped up to try to prevent the worst disruptions.

High response to ESA call for ideas for new flexi-missions -- (ESA) At the beginning of October 1999, ESA issued a call for ideas for the next flexi-missions (F2 and F3). A large number of proposals have been received and are being evaluated.

Saturday: February 19, 2000  0150 GMT
Earth radar mapping mission gets extension
NASA officials decided on Friday to add an extra nine hours to shuttle Endeavour's radar mapping work to cover more of the planet. Read the latest in our Mission Status Center.
Onset of titanic collision lights up supernova ring
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is giving astronomers a ringside seat to a never-before-seen, violent, celestial "main attraction" unfolding in a galaxy 169,000 light years away.
Hubble image
STARSHINE reenters
The STARSHINE educational satellite plunged back into Earth's atmosphere on Friday, burning up after eight months in space. The craft was covered with 878 polish mirrors so students around the world could track the "disco ball."
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Snoopy still flying with NASA to push safety -- (The Huntsville Times) A NASA committee is looking for ways to honor the late "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles Schulz. The "Peanuts" character Snoopy is the mascot of NASA's "Silver Snoopy" astronaut-safety program.

Need shelter on Mars? Grow trees, scientist says -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) - Trees that can grow their own protective greenhouses and computers smart enough to figure out things for themselves are some of the tools that will help future space explorers settle Mars, scientists predicted on Friday.

Iridium suitors outline competing offers -- (L.A. Times) Cellular telephone pioneer Craig McCaw is taking a new approach in his bid for Iridium, proposing to buy the satellite phone company via a bankruptcy court auction instead of trying to settle with creditors.

Friday: February 18, 2000  0330 GMT
MirCorp signs commercial lease of space station Mir
A new era of space commercialization began Thursday with a private company's authorization to lease the Russian Mir manned space station to users and individuals worldwide.
Low fuel concerns go away aboard shuttle Endeavour
Efforts to conserve fuel by Endeavour have worked and NASA officials said Thursday the shuttle will be able to complete a full-duration mission to map the Earth with radar. Read the latest in our Mission Status Center.
Ariane 4 rocket launches Japan's Superbird 4
An Arianespace Ariane 4 rocket successfully launched the Japanese Superbird 4 communications satellite Thursday evening after a one-day delay due to weather. It marked the 53rd consecutive success for Ariane 4.
V127 liftoff
NEAR gets close up look at asteroid Eros
Only a few days into the first close-up study of an asteroid, data from NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission indicate that 433 Eros is no ordinary space rock.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
NASA to send shuttle on additional ISS mission -- The U.S. space agency on Thursday decided to split the next space shuttle mission to the International Space Station into two flights. One will occur before the Zvezda launch this summer, the other after the module's arrival at ISS.
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Flaw found in Mars lander's design -- (AP/Yahoo!) A flaw in the design of NASA's Mars Polar Lander could have caused its engines to cut off prematurely while the $165 million spacecraft was descending to the surface, engineers said Thursday.

Mars lander is given up for dead -- for 2nd time -- (San Francisco Chronicle) The long radio search for messages from the lost Mars Polar Lander ended yesterday when NASA officials announced that the faint radio signals they have tried to track apparently came from some unknown source on Earth.

Thursday: February 17, 2000  1600 GMT
Weather delays Ariane 4
Thick clouds scrubbed Wednesday night's launch of an Arianespace Ariane 4 rocket carrying the Japanese Superbird 4 communications satellite. Liftoff has been rescheduled for Thursday. Follow the countdown and launch in our Mission Status Center.
Ariane 4
Mysterious signals from Earth, not Mars Lander
NASA scientists say the signal detected by a radio telescope at Stanford University on Jan. 4 is probably of terrestrial origin and not from Mars Polar Lander.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
NEAR delivers a scientific sneak peek -- The NEAR team has a whole year to study Eros, but its first peek at the data from NEAR's orbit around the asteroid offers an exciting glimpse of what lies ahead.
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Mir space station set to orbit as hotel for rich -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) It would be the ultimate tourist destination -- the Russian Mir space station decked out as a luxurious resort orbiting 125 miles from Earth.

NASA head chided on missed deadlines -- (AP/Yahoo!) An angry congressman scolded the head of NASA on Wednesday for the agency's failure to launch a component of the International Space Station on schedule.

Wednesday: February 16, 2000  0427 GMT
Ariane 4 rocket poised to launch tonight
The Japanese Superbird 4 communications satellite is scheduled for launch into space aboard an Arianespace Ariane 4 rocket on tonight. Follow the countdown and launch in our Mission Status Center.
Superbird 4
STARSHINE comes home
The Student-Tracked Atmospheric Research Satellite for Heuristic International Networking Equipment (STARSHINE) will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in a fiery blaze of glory after nine months in orbit on Feb. 18 or 19.
Intersputnik to launch two new Express-A satellites
Intersputnik's strategic plan to modernize its telecommunications services will gain new momentum with the service introduction of two new Express-A-series satellites starting in April.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Endeavour saves fuel to finish mapping mission -- Space shuttle engineers have implemented steps to conserve propellant aboard Endeavour. The efforts are being taken to ensure the shuttle will have enough fuel to complete the ongoing Earth radar mapping mission.

NASA begins building next mission to study comets -- NASA's Comet Nucleus Tour, or CONTOUR, mission this month took a giant step closer to its launch when the project received approval to begin building the spacecraft.

X-43A vehicle tested -- NASA's X-43A hypersonic air-breathing vehicle recently underwent controlled radio frequency testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Edwards, Calif., in the Benefield Anechoic Facility (BAF).
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Private company to help keep Mir alive -- (AP/Yahoo!) A Bermuda-registered company said Tuesday it has reached an agreement to lease Russia's Mir space station in a last-ditch effort to keep the orbiting platform alive.
Tuesday: February 15, 2000  0400 GMT
NASA hopes mapping mission will go the distance
Space agency officials say it is too soon to tell what impact a faulty thruster will have on the Earth radar mapping mission aboard shuttle Endeavour. Follow the flight in our Mission Status Center.
SRTM image
NEAR snaps view of Eros
Shortly after entering orbit around the asteroid 433 Eros on Monday, the NEAR spacecraft took a series of images. Scientists have released one showing a crater on the asteroid. Read about Monday's orbit insertion in our Mission Status Center.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Rocketdyne, Mitsubishi to develop new rocket engine -- The Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power business of The Boeing Company and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. have announced a long-term joint effort to design and develop a new liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen upper-stage engine.

Cassini snaps pictures of asteroid Masursky -- New images taken by the camera onboard the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft are giving scientists the first size estimates on asteroid 2685 Masursky and preliminary evidence that it may have different material properties than previously believed.

Smallest satellites in orbit end successful mission -- The Aerospace Corporation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on February 10 successfully concluded their pioneering mission to fly the smallest satellites ever placed into orbit.

This week on Galileo -- Galileo this weekend will fly past Io for the fourth time since arriving at Jupiter in December 1995. This Io flyby will be the closest-ever, with the spacecraft dipping to only 124 miles above the fiery surface.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Russia finds booster rocket that reentered atmosphere -- (AP/Yahoo!) Russian search teams found an experimental booster rocket that was launched into space and came back to Earth last week, but a dummy satellite along for the ride was still missing, the Interfax news agency said Monday.
Monday: February 14, 2000  1605 GMT
NEAR orbits Eros!
The NEAR spacecraft became the first space probe to orbit an asteroid today. The craft will spend the next year studying the rock for clues about the early history of the solar system. Read about the orbit insertion in our Mission Status Center.
Suspected thruster leak threatens mapping mission
A problem has arisen aboard space shuttle Endeavour that could shorten the duration of the Earth radar mapping mission currently underway. Follow the flight in our Mission Status Center.
New Zealand
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CU science project designed to orbit Earth -- (Denver Post) University of Colorado students, part of an all-student team that designed and built the Citizen Explorer 1 satellite, are preparing the craft for launch. It will measure atmospheric ozone and ultraviolet radiation.

Restoration efforts on space capsule don't clean up mystery -- (L.A. Times) The salt and corrosion come off with diligent scrubbing. So, bolt by bolt and cable by cable, the famed Liberty Bell space capsule is being cleaned up. But all the scouring has not yet rubbed away the mystery that clings to the Liberty Bell. Or the tarnish that stains a hero's reputation.

Astronomer aims to restore telescope -- (AP/Yahoo!) Astronomer Juris Zagars is a man with a mission: to get one of the former Soviet Union's most powerful telescopes, fallen into disrepair and forgotten by almost everyone else, back searching the heavens.

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Earlier news
Feb. 7-13: Shuttle Endeavour launches on radar mission; Astro-E X-ray observatory lost in Japanese launch failure; Proton rocket returns; Delta completes Globalstar constellation.

Jan. 31-Feb. 6: Endeavour launch delayed by hardware and weather problems; International search underway for possible Mars lander signals; Atlas rocket launches Spanish satellite; Progress cargo ship sent to Mir.

Jan. 24-30: Ariane 4 rocket lifts Galaxy 10R; Endeavour prepped for launch; whisper may have came from Mars lander; OSP Minotaur rocket launches; inflatable reentry capsule to be tested; Proton to resume flights.

Jan. 17-23: First Atlas rocket of 2000 launches; NASA's HETE 2 satellite grounded for more testing; NASA ends efforts to contact Mars lander; SLC-3 West pad demolished at Vandenberg.

More news  See our weekly archive of space news.

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