Spaceflight Now: Breaking News
Sunday: December 5, 1999  1927 GMT
All quiet on Martian front
The first opportunity to communicate with NASA's Mars Polar Lander through the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor satellite has been unsuccessful. Meanwhile, the twin Deep Space 2 microprobes still have not been heard from either. Visit Astronomy Now's Mission Status Center for the latest on the effort to make contact.
MPL's planned landing
New millennium promises advances in space travel
The leaders of NASA's advanced space transportation activity have a vision for the opening century of the third millennium: human settlements on other planets within 100 years.
Air-breathing rocket
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
New eyes to pop-up for spy satellites and telescopes -- Researchers here at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate and their partners in industry and academia are working on a pop-up design to deploy the telescope mirrors of a large space-based optical system known as the Ultra-Lightweight Imaging Technology Experiments program, or UltraLITE.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Where do I sign up? -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) European Space Agency scientists are looking for volunteers willing to spend three months in bed to help them study the physiological effects of weightlessness.
Shanghai appears convinced of UFO visit -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) Shanghai appeared convinced on Friday that an unidentified flying object had visited China's commercial capital.
Saturday: December 4, 1999  2030 GMT
Ground controllers await signal from Polar Lander
Controllers and scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are still awaiting signals from the Mars Polar Lander and the twin Deep Space Two probes which were supposed to have arrived near the Martian south pole on Friday. Visit Astronomy Now's Mission Status Center for the latest on the effort to make contact.
Scientists wait
Pegasus rocket launches carrying seven satellites
A Pegasus XL rocket successfully launched seven data relay satellites for the ORBCOMM communications network today. ORBCOMM now has 35 satellites in space.
More trouble for shuttle's Hubble repair flight
Less than a day after NASA finally set a date for the launch of shuttle Discovery on a mission to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, a new problem has cropped up that could force another delay.
Friday: December 3, 1999  1651 GMT
Still no word from Mars Polar Lander
There has been no word from the Mars Polar Lander probe, which if all went according to plan, should be on the surface of the Red Planet not far from the south pole. Ground controllers continue seek signals from the craft. Visit Astronomy Now's Mission Status Center for the latest on the effort to make contact.
MPL landing
Ariane 4 rocket launches French spy satellites
Arianespace launched an Ariane 40 rocket carrying two military reconnaissance satellites for the French Ministry of Defence today at 1622 GMT (1122 EST). See our reports about the final countdown and launch.
V124 on the pad
International Space Station boosts its orbit higher
The International Space Station's altitude was raised by an average of 10 statute miles Wednesday following two thruster firings using jets on the Zarya module. The result of the orbit-raising burns placed the station in a 245 by 238 statute mile orbit in preparation for the arrival of the Zvezda service module early next year.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Satellite sees ozone hole in European stratosphere -- On Tuesday the European Space Agency's ERS-2 remote sensing satellite detected abnormally low ozone levels over north western Europe. Above the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Scandinavia ozone levels were nearly as low as those normally found in the Antarctic. Individual point measurements made from the ground in the Netherlands confirm that local values were almost 2/3 of the normal level at this time of year.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Cosmonauts to spend 110 days in trial space lab -- (Reuters/Yahoo!) Four volunteer cosmonauts will spend 110 days in a laboratory on Earth under conditions similar to those in orbit to see how they cope with living in space, Itar-Tass news agency reported Thursday.

What next, Leonids? -- (NASA Space Sciences News) The Leonids of 1999 didn't disappoint astronomers who were looking for a show. Observations from the Middle East to Europe reported a beautiful shower of meteors, with the peak of activity centered on 02:05 UT on Thursday, November 18 as the Earth passed through the debris stream of comet Tempel-Tuttle.

Thursday: December 2, 1999  2100 GMT
Discovery's mission to fix Hubble delayed two days
NASA officials on Thursday announced another delay for space shuttle Discovery's long-awaiting mission to restore the Hubble Space Telescope to working order.
STS-103 patch
Titan 4 failures blamed on engineering, workmanship
A comprehensive review of spacelift operations has ended, with the Air Force taking action to improve the way it conducts its missions and assure continued access to space.
Titan explosion
Shuttle Endeavour rolls into assembly building
NASA's shuttle Endeavour made a quarter-mile trip from its processing hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center today. The move is a major milestone for Endeavour, which is being prepared for launch on Jan. 13 for an 11-day radar mission to map the Earth's surface. Tonight in the VAB, workers will attach Endeavour to an external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters. Rollout to launch pad 39A is scheduled for Tuesday.
STS-99 patch
Pegasus rocket to launch seven satellites on Saturday
An air-launched Pegasus XL rocket is being readied to carry seven data relay satellites into space on Saturday for the ORBCOMM communications network.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Hubble reveals swarm of glittering stars -- NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has peered at a small area within the Large Magellanic Cloud to provide the deepest color picture ever obtained in that satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way.  [Astronomy Now]

New U.S. Air Force weather satellite readied for launch -- A Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Block 5D-3 spacecraft, built under contract for the U.S. Air Force by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, is being prepared for launch Dec. 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., aboard a Titan 2 launch vehicle.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Legislators may shrink board of space center -- (Huntsville Times) A legislative panel charged with oversight of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will meet next week to decide whether to launch some changes or keep the center's board structure as is.
Liberty Bell 7 yields cup, cigarette, possible clues to why it sank -- (CNN) First, out came the Mercury dimes, stashed 38 years ago aboard Liberty Bell 7. Then came Gus Grissom's survival knife and post-flight checklist, his grease-pencil marks still a vivid black.

NASA's ups, downs don't shake space tourism -- (Orlando Sentinel) Katie Turner's interest in space didn't start with the Mercury missions that pioneered manned space flight or even the Apollo 11 flight that put Neil Armstrong on the moon.

Wednesday: December 1, 1999  2231 GMT
SOHO sun-watching probe encounters new trouble
The joint U.S.-European solar probe SOHO lapsed back into an emergency safe mode Wednesday as controllers were trying to right the $1 billion craft.
NASA to name the day for Hubble fix-it mission
NASA officials will meet today to select a launch date for the shuttle Discovery's much-needed mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Mars Polar Lander on course for touchdown
Flight controllers successfully trimmed the trajectory of the Mars Polar Lander putting it on course for its touchdown this Friday at the Red Planet's south pole.
   FULL STORY  [Astronomy Now]
Mars Polar Lander
Ariane 4 to launch European spy satellites
Arianespace plans to launch an Ariane 40 rocket carrying two military reconnaissance satellites for the French Ministry of Defence on Friday. Follow the progress of final pre-flight preparations and the launch with Spaceflight Now.
DAILY BRIEFING  Other stories making news today
Ball Aerospace wins NASA contract to build Mars spacecraft -- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has been selected for a contract from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to build a spacecraft that will travel to Mars. The craft will be the first in a series under the Mars Micromissions program.

Radar snapshots reveal quake movement in sharp detail -- New spaceborne radar data of California's October 16 7.1 magnitude earthquake near the desert town of Twentynine Palms show ground movement with millimeter precision four days after the temblor.

Lockheed Martin ships U.S. Air Force satellite to Cape -- An Air Force Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) spacecraft with significant performance upgrades was recently shipped by prime contractor Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space to Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., for a launch tentatively scheduled in January.

First of 7 new PanAmSat satellites shipped for launch -- PanAmSat's Galaxy 11 satellite has arrived in Kourou, French Guiana, in preparation for a late December launch aboard an Ariane 4 rocket. The satellite will be the first Hughes-built HS 702 spacecraft launched.
NEWSWIRE  Links to news across the internet
Communications crunch in space -- (Wired News) NASA's Deep Space Network is having a tough time connecting with the plethora of missions in outer space.

Mir space station is Y2K compliant -- (AP/Yahoo!) A Russian space officials say the Mir space station would not suffer any computer failures from the Y2K bug.

Boeing lays off 44 workers -- (Florida Today) Uncertainty surrounding future Delta 3 rocket launches will cost 44 Boeing employees their jobs at Cape Canaveral in the next two months.

Contact us
If you have a comment or question for Spaceflight Now, just send us an e-mail.

Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed directly to your desktop (free of charge).

Your e-mail address: