Spaceflight Now Home


Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.

Spaceflight Now +

Premium video content for our Spaceflight Now Plus subscribers.

History Flashback
This retrospective looks to the daring inaugural flight of space shuttle Endeavour in May 1992 as three spacewalking astronauts rescued the wayward Intelsat communications satellite.
 Full report

Rover looks into crater
The spectacular high-resolution, color panorama from the Mars rover Opportunity at the edge of Endurance Crater is presented with expert narration by Steve Squyres, the mission's lead scientist. (2min 08sec file)
 Play video

The Columbia Hills
Explore the Columbia Hills at Gusev Crater where Spirit is headed in this computer-generated movie using imagery from orbit. Expert narration by Amy Knudson, science team collaborator. (3min 11sec file)
 Play video

Thursday's Mars briefing
The Mars rover Opportunity's arrival at Endurance Crater and Spirit's trek to the Columbia Hills are topics in this news conference from May 6. (42min 12sec file)
 Play video

Tale of Soyuz ride
Expedition 8 commander Mike Foale describes what it is like to land in a Soyuz capsule and reflects on his half-year mission aboard the International Space Station in this post-flight interview. (23min 37sec file)
 Play video
 More clips

Become a subscriber
More video

Sunday: May 16, 2004  0422 GMT
European satellite sees Great Wall of China
The European Space Agency's Proba satellite shows a winding segment of the 7240-km long Great Wall of China situated just northeast of Beijing. The Great Wall's relative visibility or otherwise from orbit has inspired much recent debate.
Gravity Probe B continues toward science operations
All spacecraft subsystems are functioning properly on Gravity Probe B, a NASA experiment to test two predictions of Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, as preparations continue for next month's transition into the science phase of the mission. Gravity Probe B has successfully achieved several important milestones over the past week.
Saturday: May 15, 2004  0405 GMT
Theory clues may be visible in Big Bang aftermath
Scientists studying the Big Bang say that it is possible that string theory may one day be tested experimentally via measurements of the Big Bang's afterglow. The string theory attempts to unify the physics of gravity and the atom.
Instrument en route to one comet observes another
The Alice ultraviolet imaging spectrometer, one of three NASA instruments aboard the European Space Agency Rosetta comet orbiter, has successfully passed its space checkout. The test led to observations of a nearby comet called C/2002 T7 (LINEAR).
Friday: May 14, 2004  0408 GMT
'Smoking gun' evidence of giant meteor collision
Evidence is mounting that 251 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs dominated the Earth, a meteor the size of Mount Everest smashed into what is now northern Australia, heaving rock halfway around the globe, triggering mass volcanic eruptions, and wiping out all but about ten percent of the species on the planet.
Latest Cassini image shows bands of clouds and lace
As Cassini nears its rendezvous with Saturn, new detail in the banded clouds of the planet's atmosphere are becoming visible. Cassini began the journey to the ringed world of Saturn nearly seven years ago and is now less than two months away from orbit insertion on June 30.
IN OTHER NEWS  Additional stories making news today
Mars Exploration Rover updates -- The Mars rover Opportunity has spent the past several days exploring around the rim of Endurance Crater, giving scientists different views of the landscape. Meanwhile, Spirit has surpassed the one-mile mark on its odometer as the craft continues toward the Columbia Hills.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Private manned rocket soars 211,400 feet -- (AP) A privately developed manned rocket soared to 211,400 feet over California on Thursday, marking the third and highest powered flight of the reusable launch vehicle, the builders said.

Florida Space Authority eyes X Prize -- (AP) The Florida Space Authority is ready to step back into the race to host the first privately funded manned space flight if New Mexico's winning plan falters, officials said.

Thursday: May 13, 2004  0331 GMT
New launch added to this year's Atlas 5 schedule
Lockheed Martin's next-generation Atlas 5 rocket has received two orders this week -- both for commercial communications satellite launches -- including one that is slated to occur before year's end.
Australian satellites to fly on Soyuz and Ariane 5
The inaugural flight of a Russian Soyuz rocket from South America will carry an Australian telecommunications satellite in a deal that also includes a sister spacecraft flying aboard an Ariane 5 booster, launch marketer Arianespace announced Wednesday.
IN OTHER NEWS  Additional stories making news today
International Space Station managers selected -- Two International Space Station managers are taking on new positions in the program. Michael Suffredini has been named ISS deputy program manager and Mark Geyer will replace Suffredini as mission operations integration manager for the ISS Program.

Talone receives presidential award for leadership -- NASA Kennedy Space Center's John J. "Tip" Talone Jr. was awarded the prestigious rank of Distinguished Executive in a ceremony on the grounds of the White House.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
New Zenit rocket engine successfully tested -- (RIA Novosti) The new Sea Launch Zenit RD-171M rocket engine has successfully undergone its first test firing, a spokesman for the Energomash scientific-production association, Vladimir Sudakov, said at the ILA-2004 aerospace exhibition.
Wednesday: May 12, 2004  0541 GMT
Boeing manager charged in trade secrets case
A former Boeing Company engineer was charged Tuesday in two separate conspiracies involving the theft of trade secrets from rival Lockheed Martin Corporation, which was competing with Boeing to secure an Air Force rocket contract.
Dying star sculpts rungs of gas and dust
A new image, taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveals startling new details of one of the most unusual nebulae known in our Milky Way. Cataloged as HD 44179, this nebula is more commonly called the "Red Rectangle" because of its unique shape and color as seen with ground-based telescopes.
Spitzer shares the wealth
Like a philanthropist donating a prized collection to a museum, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has opened a virtual vault rich with scientific data. The Spitzer Science Archive now provides astronomers access to the infrared telescope's data well before the mission's one-year anniversary in space.
Tuesday: May 11, 2004  0534 GMT
Giant galaxy's violent past comes into focus
Long-exposure images of the giant elliptical galaxy M87 by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, together with radio observations, have provided spectacular evidence of repetitive outbursts from the vicinity of the galaxy's supermassive black hole. Magnetized rings, bubbles, plumes and jets ranging in size from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand light years point to ongoing violent activity for hundreds of millions of years.
XMM-Newton detects X-ray 'solar cycle' in distant star
For years, astronomers have wondered whether stars similar to the Sun go through periodic cycles of enhanced X-ray activity, like those often causing troubles to telephone and power lines here on Earth. Europe's X-ray observatory XMM-Newton has now revealed for the first time a cyclic behaviour in the X-ray radiation emitted by a star similar to the Sun.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
New Bush space speech planned -- (United Press International) President George W. Bush plans to make a major speech early this summer defending his plan for a new U.S. space exploration initiative, administration sources told United Press International.

Russian says Mars mission is realistic -- (AP) Russia's new space agency chief said Monday that a manned mission to Mars in the near future is realistic provided funding is adequate, and appeared to express support for an ambitious plan to visit the planet within a decade, the Interfax news agency reported.

IN OTHER NEWS  Additional stories making news today
NASA to name supercomputer after Columbia astronaut -- NASA will dedicate a new supercomputer this week to honor the memory of astronaut Kalpana "KC" Chawla, one of the seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, lost Feb. 1, 2003. The dedication ceremony will be held May 12 at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Gravity Probe B update -- Gravity Probe B - a NASA experiment to test two predictions of Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity - continues to perform well. Launched April 20 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., the spacecraft remains in its science mission orbit within the plane of its guide star, IM Pegasi, and program managers are expecting a smooth and successful transition into the science phase of the mission.
Monday: May 10, 2004  0423 GMT
The Eventual Eleven: Meet the astronaut class of '04
They are the faces of the next era of U.S. space exploration. Selected by NASA as the 2004 class of astronaut candidates, these nine men and two women will wait years before getting the opportunity to fly into space. But their work will help prepare for humankind's return to the moon and push to Mars.
News Archive
May 3-9: Opportunity rover poised on rim of 'spectacular' crater; Study may cast doubt on '96 report of past Mars life; Two extremely hot exoplanets caught in transit; New satellite for DirecTV users launched from sea.

April 26-May 2: Soyuz capsule brings Expedition 8 crew back to Earth; All future shuttle missions geared to space station; Rocket options examined for moon-Mars initiative; Astronaut Hall of Fame inducts 2004 class; Hubble telescope shows demise in ice and fire; Mars Express radar deployment postponed.

April 19-25: Soyuz delivers Expedition 9 residents to space station; NASA mulls new problem with station gyroscopes; Spacecraft launched to test Albert Einstein's theories; Intermediate mass black hole mystery resolved; Researcher predicts Jupiter spots will disappear.

April 12-18: Hubble observes planetoid Sedna as mystery deepens; Invisible giants exposed in new Spitzer image; Japanese Superbird soars to space atop Atlas launcher; Cassini spots Saturn moons; Mars rover finds rock like meteorites on Earth; SOHO sees its 750th comet.

April 5-11: Mars rovers have missions extended through Sept.; Successful X-43A mission proves scramjets work; Saturn moon casts 'once-in-a-lifetime' shadow; Cassini watches as two storms merge on Saturn; Stars appear as grains of sand in nearby galaxy.

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.