Sunday: December 22, 2002  0235 GMT
Elusive young stars can't hide from 'Michelle'
U.K. astronomers have pinpointed for the first time hundreds of newborn stars inside their dusty cocoons, with the help of "Michelle" - one of the most ambitious and technically complicated ground-based instruments ever built. Michelle is a youngster too: it has just celebrated its first birthday on the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope in Hawaii.
Saturday: December 21, 2002  0200 GMT
A tiny galaxy is born
New detailed images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show a "late-blooming" galaxy, a small, distorted system of gas and stars that still appears to be in the process of development, even though most of its galactic cousins are believed to have started forming billions of years ago.
Six satellite cargos ride Dnepr booster to space
A converted Russian ballistic missile was launched into orbit Friday with a cluster of six satellites for a variety of organizations around the world. The Dnepr booster blasted out of its silo and began its trip to space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at approximately 1700 GMT.
Friday: December 19, 2002  0304 GMT
Young star cluster aglow with mysterious cloud
Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered a mysterious cloud of high-energy electrons enveloping a young cluster of stars. The extremely high-energy particles could cause dramatic changes in the chemistry of the disks that will eventually form planets around stars in the cluster.
Hale to replace Halsell in key KSC post
Astronaut James Halsell, shuttle launch integration manager at the Kennedy Space Center and the person who gives the final "go" for launch in the last few minutes of a countdown, is returning to the Johnson Space Center in Houston in the next few weeks to begin training for his sixth shuttle flight. He will be replaced by Wayne Hale, a widely respected JSC ascent-and-entry flight director who brings a wealth of soft-spoken experience to the job.
No signal from CONTOUR
Mission operators put out a call to the Comet Nucleus Tour spacecraft - the first of two scheduled attempts to contact the NASA satellite this week - but CONTOUR remains silent.
Thursday: December 19, 2002  0431 GMT
Clouds discovered at south pole of Saturn's moon Titan
Teams of astronomers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered methane clouds near the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, resolving a fierce debate about whether clouds exist amid the haze of the moon's atmosphere.
Creepy crawlers may unravel web of planetary mysteries
Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have created a micro robot reminiscent of the childhood character Charlotte from "Charlotte's Web." Dubbed "spider-bot" for its spider-like appearance, this itsy-bitsy, high-tech critter may one day chart the terrain on other planets and explore smaller bodies, such as comets, asteroids or the Moon.
Titan 2 off till January
Dogged by continued bad weather at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Titan 2 rocket and the Coriolis military satellite cargo were set for a fourth consecutive launch attempt Wednesday. But a technical concern with the spacecraft prompted a scrub until January.
Wednesday: December 18, 2002  0407 GMT
Titan 2 to make fourth try
Dogged by continued bad weather at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Titan 2 rocket and its Coriolis military satellite cargo will make a fourth consecutive launch attempt on Wednesday. Liftoff is set for 1418 GMT (9:18 a.m. EST).
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
Second Delta 4 rocket erected on the launch pad
Less than a month after the successful inaugural flight, the second Boeing Delta 4 rocket is now standing on the launch pad for a February blastoff carrying a military spacecraft to bolster the U.S. national security communications network.
Second Atlas 5 rocket rolls out for rehearsal
Sporting what its Swiss maker calls the world's largest lightweight composite payload fairing unveiled to date, Lockheed Martin's second Atlas 5 rocket was moved from its assembly building to the open-air launch pad at Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 Tuesday morning. The rocket will undergo a full countdown dress rehearsal Wednesday, then return to its hangar on Thursday. Lockheed Martin is using the test as a pathfinder exercise for the new nose cone, which is to launch on the third Atlas 5 mission in May.
Workhorse Ariane 4 rocket flies its next to last mission
Amidst its latest troubles with the Ariane 5 rocket, Arianespace came one step closer to phasing out its Ariane 4 predecessor Tuesday night as the venerable rocket continued its streak of successful launches.
Controllers get Galileo spacecraft working again
NASA's Galileo spacecraft has begun transmitting high-priority scientific information that was collected and stored on its tape recorder during the orbiter's early-November dash by Jupiter, which brought it closer to the planet than ever before.
Next Delta 2 launch pushed in the new year
A technical concern has forced Boeing to postpone Thursday's planned launch of NASA's ICESAT and CHIPSAT science spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. While performing pre-flight testing, a glitch was uncovered with a box that sends the signal to jettison the Delta 2 rocket's payload shroud during launch. The work to replace the unit will delay the mission to January 8.
Tuesday: December 17, 2002  0531 GMT
Bad weather continues to plague Titan 2 launch
The Air Force and Lockheed Martin launch team are preparing for a third consecutive day of attempting to get the Titan 2 rocket and Coriolis spacecraft off the ground. The next try will come at 1418 GMT (9:18 a.m. EST) Tuesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, weather permitting.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
Ariane 4 to fly Tuesday
As investigators begin searching for clues into last week's Ariane 5 rocket failure, the penultimate flight of the Ariane 4 booster is set to launch Tuesday at 2304 GMT (6:04 p.m. EST).
More Sun-like stars may have planetary systems
If David Weintraub and Jeff Bary are right, there may be a lot more planets circling stars like the Sun than current models of star and planet formation predict.
New theory accounts for binaries in Kuiper belt
In the last few years, researchers have discovered more than 500 objects in the Kuiper belt, a gigantic outer ring in the outskirts of the solar system, beyond the orbit of Neptune. Of these, seven so far have turned out to be binaries -- two objects that orbit each other. The surprise is that these binaries all seem to be pairs of widely separated objects of similar size.
Monday: December 16, 2002  0200 GMT
Titan 2 launch scrubbed
Sunday's launch attempt was scrubbed after the prediction of bad weather became reality and a technical concern was noted with the ordnance system used to deploy the Coriolis spacecraft from the Titan 2 rocket.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
New model for Jovian satellite formation
A new model describing the origin of the four large moons of Jupiter -- the so-called Galilean satellites -- can reconcile the moons' major properties with the formation of the satellites from a disk of gas and small particles orbiting Jupiter during the very end stages of the planet's growth. This model may represent a breakthrough in understanding how the large satellites of Jupiter formed.
Atlas 5 solid rocket motor completes third test firing
Lockheed Martin's Atlas 5 500 series launch vehicle is one step closer to first launch next year with the third test firing of the solid rocket motor built by Aerojet. The full-scale, 67-foot Atlas 5 solid rocket motor performed a full-duration burn for 95 seconds at Aerojet's massive test stand near Sacramento.
News Archive
Dec. 9-15: New Ariane 5 fails; International observatory put into orbit to study Earth; Morgan named to upcoming shuttle mission; Chandra reveals pileup on cosmic speedway; NEAR Shoemaker's silent treatment; Hubble watches galaxies in a destructive dance.

Dec. 2-8: Endeavour shuttles station residents back to Earth; Hubble precisely measures distant planet's true mass; NASA communications relay craft rides Atlas into space; Saturn's moon Titan may hold clues to origin of life; Double bubble in neighboring galaxy.

Nov. 25-Dec. 1: Russian Proton mission fails; Go for a ride on Endeavour; New station crew takes over; Station grows with addition of another truss; Ariane 5 launch aborted.

Nov. 18-24: Boeing's Delta 4 rocket debuts successfully; Endeavour launches to continue building station; Fast-flying black hole yields clues to supernova origin; Two supermassive black holes found in same galaxy.

More news  See our weekly archive of space news.

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