Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: March 26, 2000  0730 GMT
Space weather satellite launched by Boeing rocket
A NASA satellite built to see Earth's invisible magnetosphere was trucked into orbit on Saturday by a Boeing Delta 2 rocket. The IMAGE probe will serve as a new pair of eyes in space to study the solar wind and its affect on the planet.
Saturday: March 25, 2000  2140 GMT
Delta 2 rocket lofts IMAGE
NASA's IMAGE spacecraft was successfully launched into orbit Saturday by a Boeing Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The satellite will be used to study the space weather environment around Earth.
Launch pad
Shuttle Atlantis moved to launch pad
The space shuttle Atlantis was hauled to its seaside launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center today in readiness for next month's mission to make repairs to the fledgling International Space Station. A new target launch date for Atlantis will be set next week.
Gamma Ray Observatory headed for fiery death
NASA's $760 million Compton Gamma Ray Observatory - crippled by old age and a threat to people around the world when it eventually falls out of orbit - will be ordered to make a kamikaze plunge back to Earth on June 3, ending a successful nine-year mission to study the most explosive objects in the universe.
Friday: March 24, 2000  0600 GMT
Sea Launch names team to investigate recent failure
Late last week, Boeing received a Technical Assistance Agreement from the U.S. Department of State. This license enables the Sea Launch Failure Review Oversight Board to begin assessing the data and understanding the root cause of the March 12 launch failure.
Evolution of life advanced by comet showers?
A team of Berkeley researchers analyzing the history of impact cratering on the moon has reported a surprising increase in the frequency of impacts over the past 400 million years. Those impacts may have played a central role in the evolution of life on Earth.
Lunar spherule
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Integral's ground control system successfully tested -- Experts at the European Space Operations Center at Darmstadt are running a thorough and systematic series of tests on Integral, ESA's gamma-ray observatory. On 21 March 2000 the Integral team successfully completed the first phase of the so-called System Validation Tests. This proved that the Mission Operations Center will be able to control and monitor the spacecraft.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
NASA test damages HESSI satellite -- (AP/Yahoo!) A $75 million NASA spacecraft designed to study solar flares was heavily damaged when engineers mistakenly shook it 10 times harder than intended during a preflight test. The shaking cracked at least two of four solar panels on the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, and tests were planned to find internal damage. Launch, which had been scheduled for July, will be pushed back at least to January.

Russian cosmonauts ready for return to aging Mir -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) All systems are go for cosmonauts to return to the abandoned Mir space station in two weeks, officials said Wednesday, but its record-holding last inhabitant said the new crew should prepare for the unexpected.
Thursday: March 23, 2000  0530 GMT
Landing gear problem could have doomed Mars probe
A landing gear deployment glitch that may have led to the premature shut down of the Mars Polar Lander's descent engines last December remains one of NASA's top candidates for explaining the loss of the ill-fated spacecraft, agency sources said Wednesday.
Mars lander
New class of gamma ray objects found in Milky Way
The exotic world of gamma-ray astronomy has taken yet another surprising turn with the revelation that half the previously unidentified high-energy gamma ray sources in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, actually comprise a new class of mysterious objects.
Black hole
Boeing to launch NASA space observatory Saturday
A Boeing Delta 2 rocket is undergoing final preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for liftoff on Saturday. The three-stage rocket will place NASA's IMAGE space probe into orbit to study how solar storms affect Earth.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Engineers tackle real-life 'Mission' to fix spacecraft -- When a spacecraft in the new movie "Mission to Mars" is caught in a fierce meteoroid storm, the beleaguered crew rallies to patch the damaged hull, and thrilling movie music swells over the hiss of escaping air. A NASA team is working on a real-life hull-puncture repair kit.
Wednesday: March 22, 2000  0356 GMT
Ariane 5 doubly successful with two satellites launched
The Ariane 505 rocket launched into the night on Tuesday, placing a pair of communications satellites in space to serve Asia. The flight marked the second commercial launch for Europe's Ariane 5 booster.
Extraterrestrial gases found in buckyballs
Extraterrestrial gases, including helium, are trapped in "buckyball" molecules in a layer of sedimentary clay found in many places on Earth, according to a paper to be published March 28, 2000, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The history behind Cape Canaveral's changing name
On February 4, the U.S. Air Force renamed Cape Canaveral Air Station as Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Of course, that wasn't the first time the installation had been designated an Air Force station. Historian Mark Cleary explores the past names of the Cape.
Cape Canaveral
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
This week on Galileo -- Data playback from NASA's Galileo probe is interrupted once this week as the spacecraft flies the outbound leg of its orbit around Jupiter. This week's playback schedule includes observations performed by Galileo's instruments during the spacecraft's close flyby of Io last month.
Tuesday: March 21, 2000  0510 GMT
Russia qualifies new rocket upper stage successfully
A new Russian rocket that will launch a series of European science probes over the next few years passed its final examination on Monday with a successful test flight.
Chandra X-ray telescope finds rare type of black hole
A team of astronomers from England and France have reported strong evidence for the existence of a rare type of black hole, called a Type 2 quasar. Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, they have discovered a powerful source of X-rays that appears to be a giant black hole hidden from optical telescopes by a veil of obscuring material.
Chandra image
Ariane 5 to launch tonight
The second commercial launch of Europe's Ariane 5 rocket is on tap for Tuesday night. The heavy-lift launcher will carry the AsiaStar radio broadcasting satellite and India's Insat 3B telecommunications spacecraft into Earth orbit.
Ariane 5
Shuttle Atlantis attached to tank and boosters
Space shuttle Atlantis was attached to its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters over the weekend in preparation for its upcoming mission to make repairs and replace ailing components aboard the 16-month-old International Space Station.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Scientists get the 'key' to XMM-Newton observatory -- The XMM-Newton space observatory has formally been handed over to the science team that will be operating it for the years to come. ESA management has declared that the commissioning of the spacecraft and the instruments is completed. Calibration of the science instruments can now start and science observations should begin in June.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Russia starts Mir's computer -- (AP/Yahoo!) Russian mission control on Monday switched on the main computer aboard the long-dormant space station Mir, ahead of next month's planned return of cosmonauts to the station.

Alan Shepard honored by colleagues, family -- (Florida Today) On Monday, original astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, former U.S. Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) and Wally Schirra were among the crowd attending the unveiling of a statue of Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space. The statue was unveiled at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which Shepard helped establish in 1990.
Monday: March 20, 2000  2115 GMT
Soyuz rocket tests new Fregat upper stage
A crucial test launch has been reported a success today for a Russian rocket that will carry a quartet of European satellites into space this summer to study how the solar wind affects Earth. A Soyuz rocket lifted off on schedule at 1828 GMT (1:28 p.m. EST) today sporting the new Fregat upper stage for a 90-minute dress rehearsal. Check back later for further details.
Khrunichev finds problem with Proton rocket engine
Russian space officials have postponed the next Proton rocket launch after a problem with found with one of the booster's engines. The Proton fleet suffered two failures last year due to poor workmanship that left debris inside engines.
Diet of gas and dust makes black holes put on weight
Astronomers at the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham have uncovered the first direct evidence that the extremely massive black holes lurking at the centres of galaxies have gradually put on weight by consuming a steady diet of gas and stars.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Rocket ship of future still grounded by problems -- (Orlando Sentinel) Nobody thought building the prototype for a revolutionary new spaceship was going to be easy. But few suspected that four years after winning a $941 million contract from NASA, Lockheed Martin's troubled X-33 project might still be another two years from flying. In fact, there is growing concern about whether the wedge-shaped experimental craft will ever fly.

NASA pulls back from Mars -- (BBC) The United States is to abandon its ambitious plans to bring back rocks from the surface of Mars before the end of the decade. It is a decision that could set back hopes of an astronaut landing on the Red Planet by many years.

Iridium phone collapse hits French Pacific rower -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) The impending collapse of the global $5 billion Iridium mobile telephone network will isolate a French rower attempting a solo crossing of the Pacific. Jo Le Guen is 45 days and nearly 1,500 miles into a 5,600 miles voyage from New Zealand to Cape Horn in South America, and concerned that the collapse will rob him of his main tool for navigation and weather reports.

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Earlier news
March 13-19: Sea Launch failure blamed on second stage; Iridium ends service; 'Rocketcam' sees Globalstar satellites flying in space; Atlantis launch delayed; New prediction of asteroid's damage from Earth strike.

March 6-12: Sea Launch mission for ICO fails; Taurus launches MTI satellite; Looking inside Mars; Hubble surveys dying stars; More views of Eros; Atlantis antenna damaged.

Feb. 28-March 5: Boeing looks at air-launched rocket; New Boeing and Lockheed Martin launch pads; Images released from Chandra, Hubble, Mars Global Surveyor and NEAR.

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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