Sunday: November 16, 2003  0120 GMT
Europe's first step towards Mars sample return
What is the next best thing to humans landing on Mars and exploring the wonders of the Red Planet? The answer: touching, imaging and analysing carefully preserved samples of Martian rock in a state-of-the-art laboratory on Earth.
NASA names leaders for new safety center
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe has announced the team that will lead the new NASA Engineering and Safety Center. The NESC is an independent organization, chartered in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, which will coordinate and conduct robust engineering testing and safety assessments to support critical NASA projects and programs.
IN OTHER NEWS  Additional stories making news today
KSC develops Earth-friendly fire suppression agent -- Fire usually doesn't come to mind when thinking of preserving the ozone layer and preventing global warming. However, at NASA-Kennedy Space Center those objectives were ever-present in the development of a new fire suppression agent.

James Webb Space Telescope contract -- NASA has issued a change order, effective November 10, to the James Webb Space Telescope Near Infrared Camera contract with the University of Arizona. The change implements a re-plan to the instrument program to reflect the planned launch date of August 2011, and changes to the NIRCam detector subsystem, design and development requirements.
Saturday: November 15, 2003  0252 GMT
Nascent star is forming Jupiter-like planet
University of Arizona astronomers have used a new technique called nulling interferometry to probe a dust disk around a young nearby star for the first time. They not only confirmed that the young star does have a protoplanetary disk -- the stuff from which solar systems are born -- but discovered a gap in the disk, which is strong evidence of a forming planet.
China puts communications satellite into orbit
China has successfully launched a communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit using a Long March 3A rocket. The Zhongxing 20 spacecraft lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan Province of southwest China.
Friday: November 14, 2003  0422 GMT
Images give new insight into Mars' ancient rivers
Newly seen details in a fan-shaped apron of debris on Mars may help settle a decades-long debate about whether the planet had long-lasting rivers instead of just brief, intense floods.
Radar shows no evidence of thick ice at lunar poles
Despite evidence from two space probes in the 1990s, radar astronomers say they can find no signs of thick ice at the moon's poles. If there is water at the lunar poles, the researchers say, it is widely scattered and permanently frozen inside the dust layers, something akin to terrestrial permafrost.
Cassini captures Jupiter in close-up portrait
Jupiter, our solar system's most massive planet, has been captured in the most detailed global color view ever seen, courtesy of NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Cassini acquired the view during its closet approach to the gas giant while en route to its final destination, Saturn.
IN OTHER NEWS  Additional stories making news today
Lockheed Martin to execute study for GOES-R weather satellite -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $2.5 million contract by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to execute an End-to-End Architecture Study of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) program.
Thursday: November 13, 2003  0329 GMT
Common origin for cosmic explosions, astronomers say
A Fourth of July fireworks display features bright explosions that light the sky with different colors, yet all have the same cause. They just put their explosive energy into different colors of light. Similarly, astronomers have discovered, a variety of bright cosmic explosions all have the same origin and the same amount of total energy.
Pleiades in rare interstellar three-body collision
The naked-eye Pleiades star cluster has long been known to professional and amateur astronomers for the striking visible nebulosity that envelopes the cluster's brightest stars, scattering their light like fog around a streetlamp.
IN OTHER NEWS  Additional stories making news today
NASA names new Stennis Space Center director -- NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced Wednesday the appointment of U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Q. Donaldson, V as the director of Stennis Space Center effective January 5. "Admiral Donaldson is an experienced leader and manager," Administrator O'Keefe said. "He comes to us with a great background in communications, propulsion, Earth observation sciences and remote sensing."

NASA names Stennis Space Center deputy director -- David Throckmorton has been named deputy director of the Stennis Space Center effective December 1. Throckmorton was the Marshall Space Flight Center engineering directorate deputy director. He led a large, multidisciplinary workforce engaged in engineering design, analyses, development, and test in support of the broad array of NASA space flight programs.

Rudolphi named NASA space shuttle propulsion manager -- Michael Rudolphi has been named manager of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center effective December 1. In his new position, Rudolphi assumes responsibility for the manufacture, assembly and operation of the primary space shuttle propulsion elements: the main engines, external tank, solid rocket boosters and reusable solid rocket motors.
Wednesday: November 12, 2003  0140 GMT
Rosetta ready to land on a larger comet
With the launch of the European Space Agency's comet chaser scheduled for February 2004, the Rosetta team has been racing to meet a new challenge - a change of target. Earlier this year, scientists had to replace comet 46P/Wirtanen with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko when the launch was postponed by rocket troubles.
New view of Milky Way in gamma rays
Europe's gamma-ray observatory Integral is making excellent progress, mapping the galaxy at key gamma-ray wavelengths. It is now poised to give astronomers their truest picture yet of recent changes in the Milky Way's chemical composition. At the same time, it has confirmed an 'antimatter' mystery at the center of the galaxy.
IN OTHER NEWS  Additional stories making news today
Loral Skynet puts new Telstar satellite into service -- The Telstar 13 has successfully completed its in-orbit testing and is in operation at its 121 degrees West longitude orbital slot. It was carried into space by a Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket in August. Pending regulatory approval, Loral has agreed to sell the spacecraft, along with four other North American telecommunications satellites to Intelsat.
Tuesday: November 11, 2003  0324 GMT
Skylab residents call International Space Station
In a chat Monday between space station residents of today and yesteryear, the Expedition 8 crew aboard the International Space Station talked about their orbiting home with two astronauts who lived on Skylab three decades ago.
Spaceflight Now Plus
Video coverage for subscribers only:

Deep Space Network gears up for interplanetary boom
NASA's Deep Space Network has completed a number of upgrades to help support the fleet of more than two dozen spacecraft touring the solar system. Among the missions supported by the network are the Mars Exploration Rovers that will land in January; Stardust that will collect comet dust in January; the Cassini-Huygens mission to probe the rings and moons of Saturn beginning in July; and Genesis which is collecting solar wind particles for return to Earth in September.
European, Russian space agencies sign up for flights
Two unmanned Russian Foton capsule flights have been purchased to carry European Space Agency science experiments into space. The recoverable capsules are launched on Soyuz rockets and returned to Earth with the aid of a parachute system after about 15 days.
Monday: November 10, 2003  0246 GMT
First image from 'gigantic' new infrared camera
Astronomers from the University of Hawaii have released the first image from a gigantic new infrared camera recently mounted on the 2.2-meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. The galaxy imaged, NGC 891, is in the constellation Andromeda at a distance of about 10 million light years. It is of particular scientific interest because it is very similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy but is seen almost exactly edge-on.
Astronomers break ground for unique telescope
Scientists and dignitaries from North America, Europe, and Chile have broke ground on what will be the world's largest, most sensitive radio telescope operating at millimeter wavelengths.
News Archive
Nov. 3-9: Solar storms continue to pummel Earth; Biggest solar X-ray flare ever classified as X28; NASA increases return-to-flight shuttle crew to seven; Budget ax falls on planet finder, Mercury lander; Voyager approaching solar system's outer limits.

Oct. 27-Nov. 2: Russian capsule safely ferries station crew to Earth; Experimental Japanese satellite launched into space; Hope of salvaging ADEOS 2 satellite fades; Megastar-birth cluster is biggest, hottest ever seen; Infrared flares seen from black hole at galactic center.

Oct. 20-26: Sun erupts with intense activity; New station residents arrive at their orbiting home; Earth monitoring satellite goes silent; Five-segment shuttle solid rocket booster test fired.

Oct. 13-19: CHINA ORBITS MAN; New crew launches to International Space Station; Military weather satellite finally escapes grasp of hard luck; India successfully launches remote sensing satellite; CONTOUR mishap board completes investigation.

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.