Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: December 24, 2000  0140 GMT
Santa becomes test pilot at Florida's shuttle landing site
Not only does Santa Claus know when you are sleeping or awake -- bad or good, he also knows with pinpoint accuracy the exact location of each planned delivery stop. With newly-installed GPS on his sleigh, Santa plans to fly by the Kennedy Space Center to test his space-age equipment.
Observations confirm the Universe was hotter in past
A fundamental prediction of the Big Bang theory has finally been verified. For the first time, an actual measurement has been made of the temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation, at a time when the Universe was only about 2.5 billion years old.
Saturday: December 23, 2000  0502 GMT
Scientists delighted by first images from EO-1 satellite
Scientists have seen the first images from NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft launched last month and now flying in formation with the Landsat 7 satellite. Researchers say they are excited with the performance of the instruments on the EO-1 technology demonstrator.
EO-1 image
Spacehab research module to fly on '02 shuttle mission
A commercial Spacehab Research Double Module will be flown aboard a space shuttle in 2002 for a NASA science flight. Spacehab is marketing a portion of space in the module to commercial users, including other national space agencies.
Friday: December 22, 2000  0551 GMT
Cassini's pointing system problem appears fixed
A glitch with the pointing system aboard NASA's Cassini space probe appeared to be resolved on Thursday, giving scientists optimism the craft could resume observations of the planet Jupiter during next Saturday's flyby. Cassini is on a 2.2-billion mile, seven-year interplanetary trek to Saturn.
NASA releases Jupiter family portrait with moons
One moment in an ancient, orbital dance is caught in this color picture taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on December 7, just as two of Jupiter's four major moons, Europa and Callisto, were nearly perfectly aligned with each other and the center of the planet.
Jupiter and moons
Redocking of station cargo ship will be tricky affair
Russian flight controllers - and ultimately, cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko - will have overall control authority during the upcoming redocking of a Progress supply to the international space station Tuesday. U.S flight controllers will only provide oversight and make a video conferencing system available.
Space telescope renamed for British astronomer
Astronomers from around the world met in Toledo, Spain, earlier this month to discuss new scientific objectives for Europe's next-generation infrared space observatory. By the time the workshop was over, the telescope had a new name and redefined mission goals.
Thursday: December 21, 2000  0523 GMT
Problem hits Cassini just days before Jupiter flyby
The Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft suspended its observations of Jupiter on Wednesday because of troubles with its pointing system, ending the much-anticipated picture-taking and research as the probe heads to a close encounter with the giant gas planet next week.
Io casts shadow on Jupiter in Cassini's best image yet
Jupiter's four largest satellites, including Io, the golden ornament in front of Jupiter in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, have fascinated Earthlings ever since Galileo Galilei discovered them in 1610 in one of his first astronomical uses of the telescope.
NASA revives Pluto mission
Bowing to pressure from both the scientific community and the general public, NASA gave new life Wednesday to prospects for a Pluto mission, saying it would solicit proposals for a revised mission to the outermost planet in our solar system.
Landing site selected for Beagle 2 mission to Mars
The European Space Agency's Mars Express lander, Beagle 2, will land on Isidis Planitia, a large flat region that overlies the boundary between the ancient highlands and the northern plains of the Red Planet. The region appears to be a sedimentary basin where traces of life could have been preserved.
Beagle 2
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Chinese navigation satellite launched into space -- China launched the "Beidou" navigation satellite today aboard a Long March 3A rocket from the Xichang space center in the southwest province of Sichuan, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Wednesday: December 20, 2000  0637 GMT
Booster repairs to delay next shuttle launch
NASA officials are implementing plans to repair solid rocket booster cabling on space shuttle Atlantis. But rollout to pad 39A has slipped to no earlier than January 2 and launch, originally targeted for January 18, is expected to slip two to four days as a result.
Inside VAB
U.S., Russia approve cargo ship redocking to station
NASA's mission management team Tuesday formally approved a Russian proposal to redock the Progress M1-4 cargo vehicle to the international space station on Dec. 26. The primary goal of the maneuver is to test a software patch designed to correct an automatic guidance system problem that forced a manual docking last month.

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Ariane 5 hoists cargos for Europe, U.S. and Japan
Arianespace punctuated its 2000 launch season Tuesday with the successful flight of the eighth Ariane 5 rocket, lofting a pair of communications spacecraft to serve the United Kingdom and North America and testing an experimental Japanese antenna design.
Ariane 5
Newly launched amateur radio satellite in trouble
A team of volunteer satellite engineers is working to restore contact with the AMSAT-OSCAR 40 amateur radio satellite that has been silent since an attempted orbital maneuver last week.
Phase 3D
Europe will build new Vega rocket for debut in 2005
The European Space Agency announced Tuesday that it will go ahead with development of a small, solid-fueled rocket called Vega. The booster will be capable of launching light-weight satellites starting in late 2005.
Tuesday: December 19, 2000  0457 GMT
Intricate structures seen in Jupiter's polar region
The familiar banded appearance of Jupiter at low and middle latitudes gradually gives way to a more mottled appearance at high latitudes in this striking true color image taken last week by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
Most distant spacecraft may reach shock zone soon
A NASA spacecraft headed out of the solar system at a speed that would streak from New York to Los Angeles in less than four minutes could reach the first main feature of the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space within three years.
Voyager 1
Ariane 5 launch to close out 2000 for Arianespace
The European Ariane 508 rocket is sitting on its South American launch pad and awaiting liftoff with two communications satellites and an experimental technology demonstration tonight at 0026 GMT (7:26 p.m. EST). We will have comprehensive live launch coverage.
Ariane 5
Andromeda galaxy comes alive with detailed spying
The Andromeda galaxy, only 2.6 million light years away, is an ideal field of study for X-ray astronomy. XMM-Newton has observed its galactic center, revealing many new point sources and the probable presence of a very hot diffuse gas which contributes to the overal X-ray luminosity.
No official decision yet on shuttle booster repair
NASA officials have yet to select a plan to repair solid rocket booster cabling on space shuttle Atlantis. The repair plan chosen will impact the shuttle's scheduled January 18 launch date on a mission to deliver the Destiny research module to the international space station.
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DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Soyuz picked to launch European weather satellites -- EUMETSAT has signed a contract with Starsem for the launch of its Metop polar orbiting satellites. The launch of the first satellite of three in the Metop series, part of the EUMETSAT Polar System, is planned for 2005.

Monday: December 18, 2000  0501 GMT
Booster repairs threaten to delay next shuttle launch
Launch of the shuttle Atlantis next month on the next space station assembly mission faces a potentially significant delay because of work required to fix a crumbling electrical cable in the shuttle's booster separation system.
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Details emerge as Iridium's transfer of power wraps up
The new company pumping life into the once-defunct Iridium satellite telephone system plans to relaunch the global communications service within the next couple of months. Plans also call for seven more spacecraft to be launched into the constellation.

Hubble poster
The Hubble Space Telescope's majestic view of the Eskimo Nebula. This spectacular poster is available now from the Astronomy Now Store.

Earlier news
Dec. 11-17: Ocean believed hidden on Jupiter's moon Ganymede; Shuttle returns to Earth; China pledges development of manned space program; New report offers evidence of primitive life on Mars; More pictures from Cassini of Jovian system.

Dec. 4-10: Astronauts spread solar wings of international space station; Evidence of ancient Martian lakes, shallow seas found; Four more moons discovered orbiting Saturn; U.S. military buys airtime on Iridium; Atlas rocket launches classified cargo.

Nov. 27-Dec. 3: Shuttle Endeavour launches to space station rendezvous; XMM-Newton spacecraft finds most distant quasar; Sirius 3 radio satellite launched; Hubble spies extraordinary and powerful active galaxy; Frosty craters of Mars.

Nov. 20-26: Jupiter: the movie; Delta launches three satellites; Launch failure for QuickBird 1; Daring high wire act to mount space station arrays; China lifts veil on its secret space program; U.S. Galaxy 7 TV satellite lost.

Nov. 13-19: Cosmonaut docks cargo ship in dramatic fashion; Russia decides to dump Mir; Iridium system saved; Hot stars of Orion cluster uncovered in the making; Ariane 5 launch.

Nov. 6-12: Solar storm warning for ISS; Delta 2 launches GPS 2R-6; Solar system family portrait; Cassini watches Jupiter; Chandra telescope catches a galactic football.

More news  See our weekly archive of space news.

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