Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: January 21, 2001  0245 GMT
Titan 2 rocket set for another launch try Sunday
The U.S. Air Force is prepaing to make a second attempt to launch a military weather satellite aboard a converted Titan 2 rocket booster from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Liftoff is set for 1358 GMT (8:58 a.m. EST) Sunday, one day after faulty ground equipment caused a spacecraft commanding problem and aborted countdown.
First photos released from new Earth imaging satellite
A commercial satellite launched last month to snap high-resolution images of Earth has beamed back a sample of its picture-taking ability, including views of France, Turkey, Cyprus and South Korea.
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Public can again request shuttle launch passes -- Written requests for vehicle passes to view Space Shuttle launches within the restricted perimeter of Kennedy Space Center are once again being accepted. These passes grant visitors permission to drive through several designated guard stations to a public viewing site on the causeway between KSC and Cape Canaveral.

Studying Earth from space shows rainfall extremes -- Researchers at NASA and the University of Maryland studying changes in tropical precipitation patterns, have noted a higher frequency of El Ninos and La Ninas over the last 21 years.
Saturday: January 20, 2001  0220 GMT
Titan 2 rocket poised to launch weather satellite
The final hours of the countdown are underway at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California as a U.S. military weather satellite nears liftoff just before dawn Saturday aboard a refurbished Titan 2 rocket booster.
Russians set new launch date for Mir's deorbiting tug
RKK Energia officials currently plan to make another attempt to launch the Progress M1-5 cargo ship toward Mir on January 24, if mission controllers in Korolev can reboot the main computer onboard the station in time.
Shuttle rolls off pad
Space shuttle Atlantis made a six-hour trek from launch pad 39A to Kennedy Space Center's 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building on Friday. The rollback was ordered so workers can inspect solid rocket booster cabling. Atlantis' launch has been postponed until at least February 6.
International team building next explorer to study Sun
Our Sun is a violent star and is capable of producing explosive flares and hurling clouds of matter toward Earth -- activities that in the past have interfered with satellite communications and electric power transmission grids on Earth. To learn more, scientists from Japan, the U.S. and U.K. are working together to a new solar satellite.
Friday: January 19, 2001  0344 GMT
Remarkable new views captured of Orion Nebula
Orion the Hunter is perhaps the best known constellation in the sky, well placed in the evening at this time of the year for observers in both the northern and southern hemispheres, and instantly recognizable. The new pictures captured by astronomers are a must see!
Nuclear engine promises to slash travel times to Mars
A novel type of nuclear reactor could cut make it possible for spacecraft to travel from the Earth to Mars in as little as two weeks, one Israeli researcher has found. A little-known isotope of an artificially produced element could power future robotic or human spacecraft far more efficiently than chemical or other nuclear propulsion sources.
Space station crew faces tough schedule
An 18-day delay for the next space station assembly mission has thrown a wrench into the on-board crew's timeline, compressing an already busy schedule of work that must be completed before arrival of their replacements in early March, officials said Thursday.
Expedition One
Titan rocket to launch weather satellite Saturday
The 26-hour countdown is scheduled to begin this morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California leading to Saturday's launch of a U.S. military weather satellite aboard a refurbished Titan 2 rocket booster.
Stardust looks down on Moon's north pole
Just after NASA's Stardust spacecraft successfully flew by the Earth on Monday to use the planet's gravity to change its orbit, the comet-bound probe took a series of images of the Moon to calibrate its onboard camera.
Leonids rose to occasion, despite bad weather
Read about the adventures and results of European astronomers as they attempted to image the Leonids meteors by splitting up into teams and working from different locations to create stereo observations.
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Cassini space probe journeys into Jupiter's magnetosphere -- Data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows that the craft recent was inside Jupiter's magnetosphere at the same time the Galileo probe flew within the vast surrounding environment of charged particles moving under the influence of the planet's magnetic field. This marks the first time humankind has placed two spacecraft within the magnetosphere of an outer planet at the same time.
Thursday: January 18, 2001  0659 GMT
Launch of Progress freighter to Mir scrubbed
Orientation troubles aboard the abandoned Russian space station Mir forced officials to scrub today's planned launch of an unmanned freighter that will ultimately deorbit the outpost in March.
Ice may have formed Martian channels
Some channels on the surface of Mars believed to have been formed by running water may have instead been carved by streams of ice. Channels in one region of Mars share a number of key characteristics with those created by ice streams that flow beneath Antarctica's surface and empty into the surrounding oceans.
U.S. weather satellite launch bumped to Saturday
A vintage Titan 2 rocket built in the 1960s is poised for a $430 million launch before sunrise Saturday from Central California carrying a crucial replacement global weather satellite for the U.S. military. The liftoff was delayed 24 hours so workers could replace a faulty cabling used in pre-flight rocket testing.
Titan 2
Cassini probe fails to find lightning on Venus
Space physicist Donald Gurnett says that a search for lightning on Venus in 1998 and 1999 using the Cassini spacecraft failed to detect high-frequency radio waves commonly associated with lightning. The possible existence of lightning at Venus has long been controversial.
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Globalstar acts to assure funds for further operations -- Globalstar has announced that, in order to have sufficient funds available for the continued progress of its marketing and service activities, it has suspended indefinitely principal and interest payments on all of its funded debt and dividend payments on its preferred stock.

Experimental European satellite switches rockets -- Europe has officially dropped a previous agreement with Japan to launch the Artemis experimental communications satellite aboard the unproven H-2A rocket in favor of using an Ariane 5 booster.
Wednesday: January 17, 2001  0320 GMT
NASA's shuttle chief defends rollback decision
Launch of the next space shuttle mission has been delayed from Friday to no earlier than Feb. 6. NASA's shuttle program manager said in the end, the launch team had little choice after problems surfaced with wiring. "I guard against the phenomena of 'go fever' like it was the plague. And you have to be very sensitive as you get closer to launch."
China's Shenzhou 2 capsule returns to Earth safely
The Shenzhou 2 spacecraft returned safely to Earth Tuesday, touching down in China's inner Mongolian region at 1122 GMT after making 108 orbits. The mission paves the way for a future manned mission by the Chinese.
Shenzhou 2
Individual stars spotted in Andromeda's bulge
An individual team, including an astronomer of Observatoire de Paris, has recently observed for the first time individual stars in a very dense -- but very interesting -- zone of an external galaxy, enabling for the first time an eagerly awaited comparison with the corresponding zone (bulge) of our Milky Way galaxy.
Space tug poised for launch to Russia's Mir station
The Progress M1-5 cargo ship, the last spacecraft to visit Russian Mir space station, rolled out to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Tuesday. Blastoff is scheduled for Thursday.
NASA opens 2nd generation reusable rocket program
NASA has created a new program office to lead its effort to enable development of a new reusable launch vehicle for flight in 2010 that will be dramatically safer and less expensive than today's rockets.
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The Eastern U.S. keeps its cool while the world warms -- Much of the Earth has warmed over the last half-century, but the eastern half of the United States has shown a cooling trend. NASA-funded research indicates cooler temperatures in the eastern U.S. are caused by an increase in sun-shielding clouds produced by warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific.
Tuesday: January 16, 2001  0439 GMT
Wiring checks delay shuttle Atlantis launch to February
On the eve of shuttle Atlantis' countdown to launch Friday, NASA managers on Monday instead ordered engineers to haul the spacecraft back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for work to test suspect wiring in the ship's booster separation system.

More mission coverage here:

Most detailed view into dark cloud unveiled
Astronomers have just taken an important step towards answering the fundamental question of which processes are responsible for transforming a dark and diffuse interstellar cloud of gas and dust into a much denser, shining object.
Stardust sling-shots past Earth on course to comet
Officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California say that Stardust is now on course to Comet Wild 2, where it will collect dust samples for return to Earth. That word comes after a close encounter with Earth early Monday, marking the completion of the craft's first solar orbit since its launch in 1999.
A shocking time for Cluster
Studies of near-Earth space will never be the same again. For the first time in the history of space exploration, identical instruments on four spacecraft have begun to return simultaneous measurements of a region of space known as the bow shock.
Cluster 2
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Galileo keeps probing Jovian magnetosphere -- This week finds Galileo completing week 12 of a 14-week-long survey of the Jovian magnetosphere. Playback of data stored during the spacecraft's December 2000 passage through the Jupiter system is not scheduled to start until early next month.
Monday: January 15, 2001  0453 GMT
Supernova may control the center of our galaxy
Scientists using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered that an apparent supernova remnant in the center of our galaxy might help regulate a nearby supermassive black hole and that such relationships between supernova remnants and black holes might be common throughout the universe.
Mars orbiter checks out landing site for future probe
The European Space Agency has announced the selection of a landing site for the British Mars lander, Beagle 2, that will be carried to the red planet aboard ESA's Mars Express orbiter in 2003. Newly released images from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor shows the landing zone.
Beagle 2
British, Chinese satellites head for space rendezvous
A tiny British-built spacecraft is achieving a variety of firsts in the nanosatellite technology field. SNAP-1 will finish off this series of ground-breaking accomplishments in the next few months as it approaches a rendezvous with another satellite.

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
Jan. 8-14: Bizarre new planets puzzle astronomers; Hubble finally may have proof black holes do exist; Chinese capsule launched on second unmanned test; More moons found around Jupiter; Report: U.S. needs stronger defense role in space; Sea Launch aborts liftoff; Ariane 4 success.

Jan. 1-7: Hubble: X marks the spot of star formation glow; Planets orbiting other stars could be more plentiful; NASA mulls options for future low-cost explorer; Black holes in distant galaxies measured; Atlantis rolled to launch pad.

Dec. 25-31: Cassini and Galileo space probes double-team Jupiter; Brief loss of contact raises fears about Mir; Surprise switch for Mir emergency crew; Cargo ship redocks to international space station; Contact restored with new amateur radio satellite; Six Russian satellites lost as rocket fails; Out-of-this-world holiday greetings from ISS crew.

Dec. 18-24: Problem hits Cassini's pointing system; NASA revives Pluto mission; Landing site selected for Beagle 2 mission to Mars; Booster repairs delay next shuttle launch; Ariane 5 hoists cargos for Europe, U.S. and Japan; Europe will build new Vega rocket.

More news  See our weekly archive of space news.

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