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|31 December 1999 - Happy New Year!!! The
awaits - what will the future
Track NASA's Y2K status here.
The pads are quiet, so it's party
Russian Mission Control ready for Y2K;
missiles to stay put.
Florida Today ranks their Top Ten space stories.
Arianespace looks back on
their triumphant year.
When you're watching the Rose
Parade tomorrow morning, look for a float
honoring NASA! (Pasadena is the home of JPL).
also have a float.
Thanks to all our readers for a great "launch" year!! We
have a whole new millennium to explore!!! See you on the other side...
|21 December - STS-103 crew prepping for Hubble repairs - check the
STS-103 Page for the latest scoop.|
Has anyone seen the new Powerstreet commercial with Bob Vila and Buzz
Aldrin? In the TV ad for the on-line brokerage, Buzz is shown floating around the screen
(as if space-walking, but wearing street clothes). As Buzz reaches out and grabs a floating hand-held computer,
he exclaims "Gotcha!" while Bob, in the foreground, discusses their contrasting stock-trading styles. Bob claims that "you don't have to be a
rocket scientist to use" the service, and Buzz (who, with a PhD. from
MIT, actually is a rocket scientist) retorts, "Speak for yourself, Bob!".
Two more rockets were launched today: An Orbital
Sciences Taurus T4 lofted two
satellites into orbit (one for the Korean government, one for JPL)
early this morning, and an Ariane 44L rocket
launched a communications
satellite this evening
- Ariane's tenth launch this year.
Today In Space History - Tuesday marks the
31st anniversary of the
Apollo 8 launch (21
Dec 1968). AS8
was the first manned moon
mission, sending three astronauts into
lunar orbit (the first manned Apollo flight was an Earth
orbit mission). This marked the first time in history that humans had
left the Earth's orbit, and the first time anyone would see
another planetary body close up, with their own eyes. Mission Fact sheet
Crew info here;
Image collection here.
Apollo 8 was the first manned flight of the
V rocket, and carried a "test
article" instead of a real Lunar Module. Before launch, the
Apollo 8 crew met aviation pioneer Charles
Lindbergh. This mission was also the first to lift off from KSC's Launch Complex 39, the home of all future manned NASA flights
(Apollo 7 and all the Mercury and Gemini missions launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station).
|18 December - 11:55PM EST - Terra, the flagship
of the Earth Observing System, has successfully
entered orbit over 400 miles above our planet. We should have an
update from NASA tomorrow. Check out Florida
Today's countdown journal. Congratulations, NASA! Now, let's get
that Shuttle going...|
|18 December - 2:30PM EST - FLASH!! Atlas rocket successfully launched!!
Terra is currently in its first orbit, the solar array is deployed,
and we are awaiting confirmation of its antennas to be deployed.|
By the way, CNN hasn't even posted this on their site yet. You saw it here first! CNN rocks, anyway.
|18 December - Earth Observing System satellite Terra will
launch from California's Vandenberg AFB this morning. High
winds may delay the flight until the end of the launch window -
10:57AM PST (1:57PM EST). Terra will be the first in a series of 10
orbiting spacecraft meant to monitor the Earth's environment.|
|17 December - 9PM EST - FLASH!! Both of today's scheduled
launches postponed until Saturday!! Terra
satellite going up 1:33PM EST tomorrow. Shuttle
going up 8:21PM tomorrow (see Shuttle page).
Latest International Space Station status...
|5 December - 2:50PM EST - Things are looking
grim. No contact from the second antenna. Next press
conference at 3PM EST.|
Mars exploration is featured on the Dec 6th issue of Newsweek.
5 December - 12:40AM EST - Still no contact with MPL. Forty-five minutes from now, the orbiting Mars
Global Surveyor will pass over the MPL site and possibly be able to
lock onto a signal. Possible reasons for the silence up to now
include the lander being in "safe mode" with frozen
batteries, or a need to recharge them from the solar panels - which
means that more Martian daylight may wake the lander up (even though
one Martian night/day cycle has already passed). NASA scientists
were planning for several contingencies such as misdirected
antennas, and have not given up hope, and have described the team's
mood as "upbeat". Let's hope that nothing bad happened
during descent (like a parachute malfunction, an improper detachment
of the "cruise ring", or a hazard on the surface - like an
overly steep crater wall or large rocks). We're keeping our fingers
|25 November -
Happy Thanksgiving! News From Space will return to
its regular schedule in mid-to-late December. Watch for a major site
overhaul early next year!
Check the Shuttle Page for This Week In Space History.
|18 November - Discovery crew
ready to deal with gyroscope failure. Follow the latest STS-103 status
at the Shuttle Page!|
14 October - Historic Launch
Complex 41 was demolished
today at Cape
Canaveral, to make way for a new Atlas
V launch site. The 34-year-old launch
pad was the starting
point for many military satellite
launches, and saw the liftoff
of NASA's remarkable
Viking and Voyager missions. Blast off, indeed!|
2 satellites with Brazil.
Lunar Prospector smash-up reveals no
water - its moon-mapping
mission was completed, so scientists had a plan: intentionally
crash the probe into the lunar
surface, in an area thought to contain water
deposited by comet impacts over billions of years, and kept frozen
in the perpetual shadow
of craters near the moon's south pole. Mission directors had
hoped that the collision
would eject a plume
of water vapor visible from Earth. There is still the
possibility of water, but a new search would be required. The icy
resource would prove invaluable towards starting a lunar
colony, providing a fuel source and possible drinking water for
colonists. The report on the July 31st crash was presented
New deep-space missions announced.
ESA (European Space Agency) reports that all the junk
in orbit is a threat
to spacecraft. An unlucky collision with a large- enough
fragment would be enough to destroy the Hubble telescope, or even
the Space Shuttle!
Rutgers University enters partnership
in South African Large Telescope (SALT)
- The New Jersey
university is pledging
$3.4 million towards the $32
million observatory, which will be the second-largest
telescope in the world when it is completed in 2004.
German, French aerospace companies announce
merger to form EADS - to be world's third-largest defense firm.
Today In Space History: Chuck
Yeager, piloting a Bell
X-1 rocketplane, becomes the first
human to break the sound barrier. Yeager's amazing Mach
1 flight (14
Oct 1947) paved
the way for future aviation and space feats,
culminating in the lunar landings and today's Shuttle program. So,
who cares if you never made it into space, General - hats
off to you - you really have The
Right Stuff!! Chuck
is THE MAN!!!
|3 October - This Week In Space History - Mercury
8 launch (3 Oct 1962) - Wally Schirra's "Sigma 7" capsule;
STS-51-J Shuttle mission (3 Oct 1985); STS-41-G Shuttle mission (5
Oct 1984); and STS-41 Shuttle mission (6 Oct 1990). Stay tuned for
full articles! Also: 40th
anniversary of Luna
3. The Soviet
lunar probe made the first-ever
photos of the far
side of the moon.
The mission was launched 4
October 1959 and snapped its historic
photos 3 days later.|
To keep going back in the timeline, check the
Space News Archive.
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