Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: March 5, 2000  0400 GMT
Return to 'Giant's Footprint' decades after Mariner 7
As we head into the 21st Century, it seems hard to believe that human beings have been sending spacecraft toward Mars for more than three decades already. The "Giant's Footprint" seen by Mariner 7 in 1969 was recently imaged again by Mars Global Surveyor.
Station controllers use camera to see loose crane
One of the television cameras aboard the International Space Station was activated this week to allow engineers to view the small crane mounted on the side of Zarya. It was determined the crane is not in its proper position.
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New NASA laboratory ready to test sudden impacts -- NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is experimenting with ballistics inside a new impact facility.
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McCaw abandons Iridium bailout plan -- (The Washington Post) Wireless magnate Craig McCaw is abandoning plans to expand his budding satellite empire with a bailout of Iridium LLC, the bankrupt operator of a space-based mobile phone network.

Boeing's missing tanks not explosive -- (The Huntsville Times) Missing gas tanks from the International Space Station are not explosive or a danger to the public, a spokesman says. Huntsville workers for Boeing accidentally threw away the two $375,000 tanks last month and later found a piece of their protective covering in the Huntsville landfill.
Saturday: March 4, 2000  0440 GMT
NEAR nudges closer to asteroid Eros in maneuver
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft successfully completed a 22-second engine burn Friday to put NEAR into a near-circular orbit around asteroid Eros. The spacecraft is now operating approximately 124 miles from the center of the asteroid.
'Shepherd' Uranian moons found after 14 years
One day before the space shuttle Challenger tragedy, Voyager 2 scientists proudly announced the discovery of two small moons around the planet Uranus. And in the 14 years since their detection, astronomers have been unable to find them. Until now.
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Earth to have 'down under' space link with Rosetta -- In order to maintain the vital link with its comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft in the depths of the outer Solar System, the European Space Agency has recently signed an agreement with the Australian government to build a second Deep Space ground station down under.
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Russia sets new date for space launch -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) Russia will launch a new mission to the aging Mir space station on April 3, three days later than originally planned, a spokeswoman for Mission Control said Friday.

Workers seek space station parts -- (AP/Yahoo!) Boeing Co. workers unsuccessfully combed a Huntsville landfill looking for two mistakenly discarded parts of the international space station valued at $750,000.

Ride to christen airship -- (AP/Yahoo!) Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, is following in the footsteps of Amelia Earhart. Ride will christen the Spirit of Goodyear airship on March 15 and climb aboard for the first official ride. The airship replaces the Spirit of Akron, which crashed in October.
Friday: March 3, 2000  0712 GMT
Air-launched rocket possible for Boeing family
A new air-launch system under development by The Boeing Company and Thiokol Propulsion could increase U.S. military tactical responsiveness and expand Boeing civil and commercial launch capabilities.
Boeing building new launch pad for 21st century
At a Florida launch site where humans made crucial strides toward the moon 30 years ago, The Boeing Company today is transforming the hallowed grounds into a gateway to Earth orbit for futuristic rockets.
Delta 4 family
Hubble snaps close-up view of reflection nebula in Orion
Just weeks after NASA astronauts repaired the Hubble Space Telescope in December 1999, the Hubble Heritage Project took a picture of NGC 1999, a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion.
Reflection nebula
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NEAR prepares for busy science orbit around Eros -- An engine firing today will nudge NASA's NEAR space probe closer to 433 Eros, giving the spacecraft its best scientific look at the asteroid so far.
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Galileo spacecraft may be crashed -- (AP/Yahoo!) A NASA spacecraft exploring Jupiter and its moons may be deliberately crashed to avoid any chance that it could strike and contaminate the moon Europa, where scientists believe simple life forms may exist.

Russia's Putin backs Mir, international space lab -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) Acting President Vladimir Putin said Thursday Russia would work to get an International Space Station into orbit but should not see this as the death knell for its own aging Mir space lab.

NASA is trying to save telescope, 30 Alabama jobs -- (The Huntsville Times) NASA is still looking at ways to save a problem-plagued satellite telescope. Thirty Huntsville jobs could be at risk if the telescope must be destroyed. NASA may kill the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory by driving it into the ocean rather than risk having the 17-ton orbiting telescope fall back to Earth in a populated area. But NASA scientists are also evaluating ways to safely operate Compton even if its problems continue.

Satellite privatization bill OK'd -- (AP/Yahoo!) The Senate passed legislation Thursday night aimed at privatizing the world communications satellite network and ending Comsat's monopoly in giving U.S. companies access to it. The measure could potentially bring down long-distance calling rates by allowing telephone companies to bypass Comsat and get direct access to the global satellite consortium Intelsat.
Thursday: March 2, 2000  0357 GMT
Taurus launch remains on hold due to inhabited island
A Taurus rocket launch remains blocked over safety concerns with a tiny tropical island in the South Pacific Ocean and the U.S. Air Force doesn't know when the peculiar problem will be resolved, officials said Wednesday.
Chandra observatory maps cosmic pressure fronts
A colossal cosmic "weather system" produced by the collision of two giant clusters of galaxies has been imaged by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. For the first time, the pressure fronts in the system can be traced in detail.
Abell 2142
Eros' sculptured surface
As NASA's NEAR spacecraft orbits around the asteroid 433 Eros, a series of images have shown small landforms on the rock's surface. Many parts of the asteroid have "grooves" probably caused by fracturing of the asteroid's subsurface.
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Martian meteorites reveal clues to planet's atmosphere -- Detailed measurements of sulfur isotopes in five Martian meteorites have enabled researchers at the University of California, San Diego to determine that the abundant sulfur on the surface of Mars is due largely to chemical reactions in the Red Planet's atmosphere that are similar to those that occur in Earth's atmosphere.

Debating the Sun's role in global warming on Earth -- The leading hypothesis in climate science is that most of the warming during the 20th Century was due to manmade gases, enhancing the natural greenhouse effect that reduces heat loss into space. Behind the scenes, and especially among space scientists, there is renewed attention to natural changes in climate due to the Sun.
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NASA studies object found on beach -- (Corpus Christi Caller-Times) An official from NASA that inspected a dome-shaped object that washed up on a Mustang Island beach in Texas says it is probably a nose cone from an Ariane 5 rocket booster.

European mission open to offers -- (BBC) Here is your chance to put a name to one of the most important European space missions of the year. The European Space Agency is launching a competition to find the most suitable names for its four Cluster II space weather satellites.
Wednesday: March 1, 2000  0741 GMT
Island safety threat keeps rocket launch up in the air
The U.S. Air Force is keeping alive hopes to launch an Orbital Sciences Taurus rocket on Saturday if last-minute diplomacy resolves a safety concern with an island in the South Pacific.
Taurus logo
NEAR reveals Eros' bland butterscotch colors
A series of images taken by the NEAR space probe show the Eros asteroid has a subtle butterscotch color that would appear to the unaided human eye.
ACeS' Garuda 1 telephone satellite takes orbital slot
Garuda-1, the first satellite that will serve the geo-based mobile telephone communications market in Asia, reached its final orbital location.
Garuda art
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A step forward in European satellite navigation systems -- The European Space Agency, the European Commission and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), are together making concrete progress in the development of a Global Positioning and Navigation Satellite System, dubbed GNSS.
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NASA coming to see dome found on beach -- (Corpus Christi Caller-Times) A piece of what could be a French spacecraft that disappeared Saturday from Mustang Island's shore in Texas is now on its way to becoming a makeshift hot tub at a Port Aransas mobile home park.

Sombrero in space stuns astronomers -- (BBC) A dramatic new image of the Sombrero Galaxy has been obtained by the third large telescope to be commissioned at the Paranal Observatory in the Andes.

Tuesday: February 29, 2000  0344 GMT
NASA slips launch of IMAGE
NASA has put the launch of its IMAGE satellite on hold while engineers determine if suspect parts are installed aboard the space weather observatory. Liftoff had been set for March 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
First ICO satellite to fly aboard Sea Launch in March
ICO Global Communications announced Monday that the first spacecraft in its series of mobile communications satellites is scheduled for launch aboard a Sea Launch vehicle on March 12.
NEAR sees Eros' eastern and western hemispheres
The NEAR spacecraft orbiting asteroid Eros has obtained a sequence of image mosaics showing the stark beauty of the rock's two opposite hemispheres.
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Galileo shares recent Io encounter with Earth -- Galileo continues to return data from a historic encounter with Jupiter's volcanic moon Io last week. The third flyby since October 1999, the spacecraft flew within 123 miles of Io's surface, the closest yet of the encounters.

Proton rocket launch of Express-6A satellite delayed -- The launch of a Russian telecommunications satellite has been delayed until March 29 due to technical problems, news reports said Monday.
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V-2 plant survivors publicize their story -- (The Huntsville Times) V-2 factory workers who live in America are forming a loose-knit group to share their memories. They don't want the V-2 to go down in history as just a brilliant product the Nazis devised that was later put to good use by America.

Museum sues Indians over meteorite ownership -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) The American Museum of Natural History sued an American Indian group Monday to block its claim to the 15.5-ton Willamette Meteorite, one of the museum's oldest treasures and a centerpiece of its newly opened planetarium.

Monday: February 28, 2000  0600 GMT
New millennium concept: Rockets like auto engines
Rocket engines that work much like an automobile engine are being developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Pulse detonation rocket engines offer a lightweight, low-cost alternative for space transportation.
KOMPSAT starts sending science data to Earth
Eight weeks after its launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Korean Multipurpose Satellite (KOMPSAT) has started sending science data to its ground station in Taejon, Korea.
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Astronomers find supernova remnant being created -- For the first time in history, scientists are now able to see the details of a supernova remnant in the making. Astronomers from Columbia have discovered a new brightening of the circumstellar ring around a supernova, indicating that supernova ejecta have finally begun to collide with a shell of gas blown out by the star earlier in its lifetime.

Space movie filmed at Edwards Air Force Base -- "Race to Space," a Tri-Star movie, recently completed filming at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The movie is loosely based on the early U.S. space program and Project Mercury.
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NASA wants to identify beached item on Texas island, but it's gone -- (Corpus Christi Caller-Times) NASA officials want to confirm what they think is part of an Ariane 5 rocket booster that washed ashore on Mustang Island, but it was removed from the beach and county officials and the U.S. Coast Guard weren't sure Saturday where it had gone.

Stanford study contradicts others -- (AP/Yahoo!) A group of physicists said their Stanford University experiment to detect so-called "dark matter" particles that hold the universe together could contradict earlier findings by an Italian team. Physicists have long theorized that "dark matter" particles could account for much of the universe's mass.

Russia completes space simulation -- (AP/Yahoo!) Russia completed an experiment simulating a long-term space mission aboard the International Space Station on Sunday.

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Earlier news
Feb. 21-27: Safety of Pacific Island grounds U.S. rocket launch; Shuttle Endeavour comes home; Galileo completes encounter with Io; NEAR moves closer to Eros.

Feb. 14-20: NEAR enters orbit around asteroid Eros; Mir leased commercially; Endeavour radar mapping mission continues; Ariane 4 rocket launches Japanese TV satellite.

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.

More news  See our weekly archive of space news.

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