Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: April 2, 2000  0535 GMT
NASA's NEAR Shoemaker sees asteroid Eros at sunset
Asteroid Eros' irregular shape gives rise to some stunning vistas at the time of sunrise or sunset. On March 6, the imager on the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft caught this view.
Loral to build replacement MTSAT satellite for Japan
Space Systems/Loral has won a contract to build MTSAT-1R, an advanced multi-functional satellite for air traffic control and weather observation, for Japan's Ministry of Transport. Delivery is scheduled for 2002.
Saturday: April 1, 2000  0320 GMT
Air-breathing rocket engines finish test series
Taking another step toward making future space transportation more like today's air travel, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and its industry partners have completed a series of successful tests on air-breathing rocket engines.
Cluster 2 mission reviewed, problem discussed
The European Space Agency this week held its flight review for this summer's launch of four Cluster 2 satellites. The review board recommended the spacecraft not be shipped to Baikonur Cosmodrome until an investigation into the onboard propulsion system is completed.
Cluster 2
Massive iceberg peels from Antarctic
Weather satellites have captured a massive iceberg peeling off of Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf. The iceberg is estimated to be 11,000 square kilometers in size.
Friday: March 31, 2000  0114 GMT
NASA's X-38 crew rescue craft tests road to Earth
The path a future space "lifeboat" would take returning from orbit was successfully navigated Thursday as NASA's X-38 prototype crew return vehicle completed its fifth atmospheric test flight at the Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.
Sun's heartbeat may help unravel solar cycle mystery
Like blood pulsing in an artery, newly discovered currents of gas beat deep inside the Sun, speeding and slackening every 16 months. The solar "heartbeat" throbs in the same region of the Sun suspected of driving the 11-year cycle of solar eruptions. Scientists are hopeful that this pulse can help them unravel the origin and operation of the solar cycle.
Forty years after the first weather satellite saw Earth
April 1 marks the anniversary of the launch of the world's first weather satellite. With today's advanced technology, and with satellite images of clouds on television weather forecasts, it may be difficult to remember when there were no weather satellites.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
NASA's International Space Station status report -- The next space shuttle visit to the International Space Station has been set to begin at about 4:15 p.m. Eastern time on April 24 to perform life-extension maintenance tasks on the Zarya module, and to deliver supplies to the inside and outside of the station for use by future crews.
Thursday: March 30, 2000  1759 GMT
Planet hunters on trail of worlds smaller than Saturn
Astronomers have crossed an important threshold in planet detection, with the discovery of two planets that may be smaller in mass than Saturn. Of the 30 extrasolar planets around Sun-like stars detected previously, all have been the size of Jupiter or larger. The existence of these Saturn-sized candidates suggests that many stars harbor smaller planets.
Planet art
Space station lifeboat makes test flight
NASA conducted a drop test of its space station lifeboat, the X-38, at about 1700 GMT today. Test vehicle 132 was released from a B-52 carrier jet above Dryden Flight Research Facility. The test was delayed a month due to an electronics problem. More details later.
X-38 test
Sea Launch malfunction blamed on software glitch
Investigators have determined a ground software error before liftoff doomed the Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket during a botched flight earlier this month that destroyed the first ICO mobile communications satellite.
Sea Launch
Astronaut injury delays next space shuttle launch
NASA will delay shuttle Atlantis' upcoming launch to the International Space Station until April 24 to allow the ship's commander more time to recover from a sprained ankle.
Atlas 3 rocket's premiere launch delayed one month
The maiden flight of Lockheed Martin's new Atlas 3A rocket has been postponed from April 14 to mid-May because of concerns with the European satellite it will carry into space.
Atlas 3
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
New Mars management and flight projects offices created -- A new office devoted to management of future Mars missions is being formed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, along with another new office that will oversee the implementation of space science flight projects, JPL Director Dr. Edward C. Stone announced Wednesday.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
NASA chief takes Mars mission blame -- (AP/Yahoo!) NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin took full responsibility Wednesday for last year's botched Mars missions, a day after reports were released blaming the failures on mismanagement, unrealistic expectations and not enough money.

Cosmonauts fly to launch pad for Mir mission -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) Two cosmonauts flew from Moscow to Russia's cosmodrome at Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Wednesday to prepare for a planned April 4 mission to the aging Mir space station, Mission Control said.
Wednesday: March 29, 2000  0020 GMT
NASA orders sweeping changes after Mars failures
In the wake of two costly - and embarrassing - failures last year, NASA is restructuring its Mars exploration program, indefinitely delaying a planned 2001 landing mission amid sweeping management changes to improve communications, oversight and engineering expertise.
'Feeding' mechanism discovered for black holes
Astronomers at Ohio State University used an innovative imaging technique to discover swirling masses of interstellar dust spiraling into the center of nearby galaxies. The researchers believe this interstellar dust is feeding supermassive black holes.
Privately-backed human flight planned to Mir station
A privately financed manned space flight to reactivate the Mir station and open it for commercial use will blast off on April 4, delivering its cosmonaut crew to the orbital facility two days later.
Asteroid Eros pictured in clear color from space probe
A new image from NASA's NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft shows the asteroid Eros in high resolution color. The new picture brings out a whole class of surface details that were either invisible or at the margin of visibility in the earlier images.
Tuesday: March 28, 2000  0737 GMT
NEAR Shoemaker provides movie of asteroid Eros
NASA's NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft has taken the first of several planned "flyover movies" of the asteroid Eros. This movie shows the "saddle" region of the space rock from a range of 127 miles.
Telescope sees red light flowing from galaxy
The Subaru Telescope in Japan has captured image of the irregular M82 galaxy. The view shows a red light extending from the galaxy due to ionized hydrogen gas it is emitting.
Long-distance fuel delivery to boost Cluster 2 satellites
A lot of down-to-Earth preparations have to take place before the ambitious Cluster 2 mission to study the magnetosphere can be launched into space this summer. One of the most difficult stages was completed last weekend when a high security cargo of explosive fuel arrived under armed guard at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Cluster 2
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
This week on Galileo -- Galileo continues to return valuable science data stored on its onboard tape recorder. The data were acquired during the spacecraft's 123-mile altitude flyby of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io on February 22.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Japanese space program stuck on launch pad -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) Not long ago, the biggest challenge for Japan's space program was turning dreams into profits in a coldly competitive world. Now, with two failed launches in four months giving cost-conscious bureaucrats an excuse to withdraw funds, parts of the program are fighting not to be grounded permanently.

European Space Agency to seek space station bids -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) The European Space Agency said on Monday it would seek bids by the end of the year to build the European component of the International Space Station.
Monday: March 27, 2000  0527 GMT
Report: Streamlined rocket launches won't hurt safety
Safety procedures at two national space launch sites can be streamlined through new technology and better use of safety analysis techniques without endangering the public, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council.
NASA, partners reset space station assembly schedule
As space shuttle Atlantis is prepared for launch to the International Space Station next month, the official near term assembly sequence has been adjusted during a recent Control Board meeting.
Powerful jets stretch supernova remnant bubble
Two jets of high-speed particles from what appears to be either a black hole or neutron star are shooting off in opposite directions and punching their way into the supernova remnant that surrounds them, stretching what was once a spherical shell of shimmering gas into an egg-shaped remnant.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Space station warranty to expire -- (AP/Yahoo!) NASA's space station warranty runs out this week, and the agency is no closer to finishing the project than it was when the first two pieces rocketed into orbit in 1998. After almost 500 days aloft, the station has no occupants, no experiments, no firm assembly plans. Instead, it's a barren two-roomer with bad batteries, noisy equipment and poor ventilation.

Photos show Mars' terrain too rugged for NASA's landers -- (Houston Chronicle) Most terrain of scientific interest on Mars is too rugged for the small landing craft NASA has been sending, extensive new photographs indicate. For more than two years, planetary geologist Ken Edgett has been among the first experts to examine the steady stream of photography dispatched to Earth by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, a small camera-equipped probe that has been circling the Red Planet since September 1997.

Lab that damaged NASA satellite defended -- (AP/Exite) An equipment malfunction or software glitch probably caused the mishap that cracked a satellite's solar panels during preflight testing, the mission's project manager said Friday. The 850-pound spacecraft was undergoing a test Tuesday to ensure it could withstand launch when a vibration table at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory applied 10 times more force than was intended.

Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed directly to your desktop (free of charge).

Your e-mail address:


Earlier news
March 20-26: Delta 2 launches NASA's IMAGE spacecraft; Gamma Ray Observatory to be deorbited; Ariane 5 launches two satellites; Landing gear probe could have doomed Mars probe; Soyuz tests Fregat upper stage.

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.

More news  See our weekly archive of space news.

Contact us
If you have a comment or question for Spaceflight Now, just send us an e-mail.