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bullet31 December 1999 -  Happy New Year!!!   The next millennium awaits - what will the future bring?

Track NASA's Y2K status here. The pads are quiet, so it's party time!

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). Boeing will 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...


bullet30 December - Could bacteria from Mars withstand a trip to earth on a meteorite?

MSNBC looks back on their top stories of 1999.

The 1000-ft Arecibo radiotelescope in Puerto Rico is used for six weeks a year in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Online petition urges a manned mission to Mars by 2015. Add your signature here!


bullet29 December - European Mars mission to learn from Polar Lander mistakes.

Will solar storms complicate Y2K? [see also 13 November].

U.S. and Russia to share missile data to avert Y2K accident.

What was the biggest scientific achievement of the 20th century?

Kennedy Space Center reviews 1999 accomplishments.

bullet27 December - Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center! Follow the latest on STS-103 at the STS-103 Page!

Are failed Mars missions part of "Faster, Better, Cheaper"?

What's next for the Hubble Space Telescope?


bullet 26 December - STS-103 crew prepares to come home tomorrow.

New rocket engine tested for the X-33 at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The Aerospike engine has a very different design than the Shuttle's SSME engines.


bullet 25 December -  Merry Christmas!!!  Did you know? STS-103 pilot Scott Kelly (from the same NJ town as your faithful editor!) has a twin brother who is also in the Astronaut Corps? This makes the Kellys the only astronaut siblings! The shuttle crew released HST back to orbit today.

Santa Claus, in an exclusive interview with NASA, describes his plans for interplanetary Christmas deliveries. (hmmm, I've been trying to get on the Big Guy's appointment calendar for months - I guess you have to know the right elves...)


bullet 24 December - Santa's sleigh - the ultimate Re-usable Launch Vehicle!

NASA selects Orbital's air-launched Pegasus rocket for two missions in 2002.

Today In Space History - The crew of Apollo 8, in lunar orbit, read passages from the Bible's Book of Genesis on Christmas Eve 1968. It was one of the most memorable and moving television broadcasts from space. The televised images were the first time the entire Earth could be seen by people on the ground, and it was a powerful reminder of the fragility of our planet, the only home we have.


bullet 23 December - Terra Satellite computer glitch should not threaten its Earth mission.

Was the Star of Bethlehem really a star?

NASA and Boeing agree to modify Space Station contract.

What are the odds of a disaster on the International Space Station?


bullet 22 December - The orbiting Mars Global Surveyor is attempting to photograph the south polar region of the Red Planet, to find clues to the fate of the still-silent Mars Polar Lander. The lander itself is too small to be imaged successfully (it would appear as a small dot), but scientists are hoping to spot other evidence, like an impact crater, the jettisoned aeroshell, or its large parachute.

Will Russians pay more taxes to keep Mir alive?

Europe's XMM telescope reaches functional orbit.

Arecibo Observatory Y2K-compliant, thanks to Julian dates.

The cremated remains of 36 more people were launched into a 45-year orbit, thanks to Houston-based Celestis, Inc. (But won't it be tough to visit grandpa??)


bullet21 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 here; Crew info here; Image collection here. Apollo 8 was the first manned flight of the Saturn 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).


bullet20 December - Shuttle crew gets set to take care of business...

Hey, how 'bout that millennium moon, eh?

The market is heating up for commercial space launches.

Kennedy Space Center announces personnel reorganization.


bullet19 December - Shuttle launch tonight!

NASA issues a press release on the successful Terra satellite launch. The spacecraft will study the Earth's environment from orbit.


bullet18 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...
bullet18 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.
bullet18 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.


bullet17 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...


bullet 16 December - 8PM EST - FLASH!! Shuttle launch delayed one more day!! (See Shuttle Page).

Both of the "double-header" flights have been pushed back 24 hours, as the Terra satellite mission was postponed due to a safety-related shutdown by onboard computers, just seconds before liftoff. The new launch will be Friday at 1:33 PM EST.

16 December - NASA will use the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor to try locating evidence of the failed Mars Polar Lander on the surface. The lander is too small to be seen from orbit, but scientists are hoping to spot the large parachute near the target area.

NASA will have a "double-header" launch today, as the Terra Earth Observation satellite is scheduled to lift off from California's Vandenberg AFB around 1PM EST. Shuttle Discovery will launch from Florida's KSC around 9PM tonight.


bullet14 December - CBS reports on China's entry into the space race...


bullet11 December - Today In Space History: The doomed Mars Climate Observer was launched a year ago from Cape Canaveral's Pad 17A aboard a Delta II rocket. The spacecraft lifted off successfully, but probably burned up in the Martian atmosphere or crashed to the surface. The loss was later determined to be a miscalculation in measurements - NASA's metric units, and the contractor's imperial (English) units. [Source: Exploring Mars]


bullet10 December - Russian "Zvezda" component of International Space Station nearly flight-certified.

Largest European satellite launched - the XMM X-Ray observatory (bigger than Chandra!) went up on an Ariane 5 rocket. It was the first commercial launch for the heavy-lift booster.


bullet9 December - What killed the Mars Polar Lander? (Hey, it's not officially dead yet!) NASA chief vows scrutiny of Mars program.

President Clinton defended NASA, and, recalling far worse space tragedies of the past, maintained that "America didn't quit ... and I don't think we should quit now." How about some budget dollars, then?!?!?

European Space Agency will launch XMM orbiting X-ray observatory atop a new Ariane 5 heavy-lift rocket this Friday. Portugal announced today that they would become the 15th member of ESA.

China will build a fourth space center. (Good! We need a worthy adversary for a new space race!)

What would a manned Mars base be like?

Japan cancelling their H-2 rocket program to concentrate on lower-cost booster.


bullet8 December - More attempts to contact MPL prove fruitless. European mission will learn from U.S. mistakes.

Russia claims that Y2K bug won't launch their nukes.


bullet7 December - Just about every realistic possibility has been exhausted in the efforts to hear a signal from Mars Polar Lander. NASA will be re-evaluating the entire Mars program. Out of 25 U.S. or Russian Mars missions since 1962, only 10 have been successful. They don't call this stuff rocket science for nothin'! Maybe "faster, better, cheaper" needs to be reconsidered.

Excellent editorial on the state of the U.S. space program in light of China's apparent readiness to put a human in space, in FLATODAY.

More top news at the ever-independent and always-skeptical NASA Watch...


bullet 6 December - 8:00PM EST - Scientists are becoming increasingly pessimistic about MPL, but have not given up hope that the probe is safe on the Martian surface and temporarily unreachable. The subsurface microprobes are probably a lost cause by now, since they were designed with a limited lifespan and their batteries have most likely run out. The next listening window for MPL comes at 3AM EST Tuesday. The failure of this mission would be a terrible disappointment, but this business of space exploration is extremely complex, and we should not be deterred by the occasional bump in the road. Even though $165 million may seem like a lot of money to the average person, it is very little compared to the billion-dollar Viking missions of the 70's. The low cost of these flights is the reason we are able to make so many of them. There will be other opportunities!
bullet6 December - 2:00AM EST - After a third day of silence, the JPL team is wondering what happened to the Mars Polar Lander. If it is not heard from by Tuesday, it means we have to assume it did not land successfully.

This Week In Space History - Tuesday marks the 27th anniversary of the Apollo 17 launch (7 Dec 1972). AS17 was the last lunar landing, and the last manned flight of the Saturn V rocket. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. Mission commander Gene Cernan became the last man to walk on the moon (until...???).

"Americaís challenge of today has forged manís destiny of tomorrow".
- Gene Cernan, last man on the moon


bullet5 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.

bullet 5 December - 10:45AM EST - NASA is "less confident" after the continued lack of radio contact from the lander or the two microprobes in the soil. The next window of opportunity will be this afternoon at 1:50 EST. This listening attempt will use a different antenna and relay via the Mars Global Surveyor already in orbit, so there is still some hope. Also, some onboard self-repair routines could kick in this Thursday. RealVideo feed from mission control at
bullet 5 December - 2:50AM EST - MPL silent for second night. With each listening window that passes, the confidence level slowly decreases. Next briefing at 10:45AM EST. Stay tuned to NASA TV!
bullet 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 crossed!!!


bullet4 December - NASA believes that MPL landed successfully, despite the lack of contact from the lander or its two microprobes. Others are not so hopeful. Check out the Mars Mission Status Center on Astronomy Now! 
The JPL team will listen for signals every two hours. Next window: 8:30PM Pacific Time.
Get the latest Windows Media Player and watch live coverage on Nasa TV!

European spy satellite is launched on Ariane 4 rocket. It was the 50th consecutive launch success for the French company's booster.


bullet 3 December -  Happy Hanukkah!  No word from the Mars Polar Lander yet. It was due to touch down today, but JPL has yet to hear from the spacecraft, which was launched in January 1998, or the subsurface microprobes that were along for the ride. Here is a fact sheet from JPL on the windows of opportunity they will have for establishing contact - (requires free Adobe Acrobat reader).

Computerworld gives us the skinny on how NASA is ready for all the Mars web traffic with their new heavy-duty sites, and

China promises to put a person in space within a year, after their first successful unmanned orbital launch last month.


bullet 2 December - The Mars Polar Lander is due to touch down on the surface of the Red Planet tomorrow (Friday) afternoon! In-depth coverage from CNN, CBS, and MSNBC. The lander will be the first spacecraft to transmit sounds from another planet! Check the NASA TV schedule and tune in on the web!

Liberty Bell 7 slowly gives up its secrets and may finally answer the question of Gus Grissom and the exploding hatch!


bullet28 November - This Week In Space History - Wow! five Shuttle anniversaries (moved to the Shuttle page) plus another Gemini mission!
This Saturday marks the 34th anniversary of the Gemini 7 launch (4 Dec 1965). GT-VII was the 10th U.S. manned spaceflight. Astronauts Borman and Lovell would later lead Apollo missions (8 and 13), but not land on the lunar surface. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info (and detailed history) here; Image collection here. Gemini 6 would launch 11 days later and rendezvous with Gemini 7, which set a space endurance record. [Source: NASA KSC]

Today is the 35th anniversary (28 Nov 1964) of the launch of Mariner 4, the first spacecraft to return close-up pictures of another planet (Mars). Mariner 4 approached the Red Planet in July 1965 and took 22 pictures (recorded on tape and transmitted over 4 days!) during its flyby. [Source: NASA Mars site]


bullet25 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.


bullet20 November - FLASH! China launches unmanned space capsule - they could put astronauts in orbit next year, only the third nation on earth with this capability!


bullet19 November - Boeing racks up $2 billion in orders for their Delta IV heavy-lift rocket.


bullet18 November - Discovery crew ready to deal with gyroscope failure. Follow the latest STS-103 status at the Shuttle Page!


bullet16 November - Sandia Laboratories announces their micromirror technology may be part of the Next Generation Space Telescope - the future successor to Hubble.


bullet15 November - FLASH! Japanese rocket launch is aborted - booster ordered to self-destruct seconds into flight. The failure of the unmanned satellite launch is a major setback for the Japanese space program. Keep trying, guys!

Well, it was bound to happen - the Hubble Space Telescope had another one of its last 3 operational gyroscopes fail, forcing the giant orbital observatory into "Safe Mode", which will keep it in a stable orbit but shut down its scientific capability until the next servicing mission arrives next month.

If you have the cash, an overnight stay in orbit may be in your future!

China readies major rocket launch - can manned missions be far behind?

USAF tests Minuteman 3 missile.

More on the historic discovery of a planet outside our solar system.

Mercury makes rare crossing in front of our sun.

Mars microprobes to be named after Antarctic explorers.

Keep your eyes peeled for those Leonid meteor showers! Peak viewing will start tomorrow night.

Today In Space History - Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin splashed down in Gemini XII this day in 1966, bringing their mission and the entire Gemini program to a successful close.


bullet14 November - Japanese satellite launch tomorrow - see it live on NASDA's website (Requires free RealPlayer).

European rocket launches American satellite. - An Ariane 4 booster put a communications satellite into orbit yesterday.

More talk of space hotels...

Leonid meteor showers return this week. The annual sky show should peak this Wednesday and Thursday night. We may see the meteorites strike the lunar surface!

This Week In Space History - Three Shuttle anniversaries, a Skylab mission, plus an Apollo anniversary!
This Tuesday will be the 26th anniversary of the launch of Skylab III. (The official NASA designation was Skylab 4, counting the station's unmanned launch, but it was the 3rd manned flight). Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection hereSkylab was America's first space station. Its launch in May 1973 was the final flight of the mighty Saturn V rocket (The manned flights were Apollo CSMs boosted by Saturn 1Bs). Skylab's orbit decayed over the years after that final mission (16 November 1973), and the station burned up in the atmosphere in July 1979.

Today also marks the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 12 launch (14 Nov 1969). AS12 was the second lunar landing, and the last U.S. space flight of the sixties. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. The crew splashed down in the Pacific 10 days after launch (24 Nov 69). Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad became the third human to walk on the moon on 19 November 1969. He died tragically 30 years later, in a motorcycle accident this summer (July 1999), after a long and successful career as an astronaut and in the U.S. Navy. Conrad is survived by his crewmates, Alan Bean and Richard Gordon.


bullet13 November - UC Berkeley planet hunters make first visual confirmation of a planet outside our solar system!

ESA approves British Mars lander, the Beagle 2 (see Aug 1st story).

Why is the Sun getting spotty? And will solar flares cause more trouble than the Y2K bug?

Check out the latest Shuttle news...


bullet12 November - Europe will be sending an unmanned spacecraft to the moon! The SMART-1 lunar orbiter will use an advanced propulsion system.

How's the restoration of Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 capsule going?

Sandia Labs simulates neutron star emissions!

What was the ball of fire seen over Florida skies this week?

New supernova discovered by automated telescope.


bullet11 November - It's Veteran's Day (Rememberance Day for our friends in Canada/UK/Australia/NZ). Fly your flag and give thanks to those who gave so much for our freedom!! 

Will the government be able to predict solar storms? NOAA plans to rate solar storms which may disrupt communications and electrical power here on Earth.

Several space-related articles appear in the November issue of Popular Mechanics.

NASA boss Dan Goldin reaches a milestone of his own this month - he will become the longest continuously serving NASA Administrator in the agency's history. NASA Watch estimates that Goldin will break Apollo-era chief James Webb's 7.5-year record on 21 November (my birthday!).


bullet10 November - NASA released a report today, on what caused the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter. The $125 million space probe was lost or disabled (probably burned up in the Martian atmosphere) in September. Read the NASA report here (requires free Adobe Acrobat reader).

Hubble Telescope observes star births and deaths in the Trifid Nebula.

Scientists are making craters (this apparently involves shooting stuff at buckets of dirt - for this I went to college??) to simulate what happens in asteroid collisions.


bullet9 November - Mars Polar Lander may need to warm up its frozen fuel lines so that its braking rockets will function properly. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Priceless 9.5-ton telescope mirror makes its way from Arizona to Chile. It will take over 3 weeks to arrive at its destination in the Andes mountains.

Will the feud between Russia and Kazakhstan mean delays in the International Space Station?

More X-33 news (see 4 Nov).

John Glenn reflected on his life on NBC's "Today" show.


bullet7 November - John Glenn will be visiting 14 cities, autographing copies of his new autobiography.

KSC working on a 6-ft (2 meter) tall rocket designed to launch from the surface of Mars!

Did a giant asteroid impact 65 million years ago send deadly tsunamis ("tidal waves") racing across the Atlantic?

Get ready for the annual Leonids Meteor Shower next week! Will satellites face damage from the cometary remnants?

Russians joining competition to win $10 million X Prize for commercial suborbital flight.

This Week In Space History - Wow! four Shuttle anniversaries (moved to the Shuttle page) plus a Gemini mission!
This Thursday marks the 33rd anniversary of the Gemini 12 launch (11 Nov 1966). GT-XII was the 16th U.S. manned spaceflight, and the last of the Gemini series. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. Pilot Buzz Aldrin docked Gemini with the Agena target vehicle "by hand" after the radar system failed. Three years later, Aldrin would become the second human to set foot on the moon (A long way from Jersey!). Mission commander Jim Lovell already had Gemini 7 under his belt. He would later become one of the first three men to leave the Earth's orbit (Apollo 8, in 1968) and would head up Apollo 13 in 1970.


bullet 6 November - NASA is in a hurry to get Shuttle Discovery up to the Hubble Space Telescope, which is in urgent need of repair - if HST loses one more gyroscope, its guidance system will fail, and the telescope would shut down!

Hawaiian volcano may have a "twin" on Jupiter's moon Io. The volcano, dubbed Prometheus, has a structure and behavior similar to that of Earth's Kilauea volcano, but is several times larger.

Who will build the Interplanetary Internet?

A South-Pole-based microwave telescope has detected ripples in the cosmic background radiation that is the "echo" from the Big Bang.

Ikonos satellite produces hi-res photos of San Fran area from orbit.

Russian living quarters for International Space Station to be launched in February 2000.


bullet 4 November - A crack developed in the starboard fuel tank of the X-33 reusable launch vehicle while undergoing tests at NASA's Alabama facility.

Hollywood will be churning out the Mars flicks next year!

For the first time, a planet has been discovered orbiting a double star!

Orbiting Mars probe captures photos of Martian solar eclipse.


bullet2 November - Challenger auction update: eBay has pulled the "heatshield" from its Space memorabilia section - NASA and the U.S. Coast Guard are investigating the incident. Federal law prohibits ownership of Challenger wreckage.

Was John Glenn such a "Boy Scout" that his fellow Mercury astronauts didn't want him to be the first American in space? 

Officials from Russia and Kazakhstan will investigate the failure of a Proton rocket on 29 Oct. The Kazaks claim that the latest mishap is harming ties between the former Soviet neighbors.

The first phone call was made into Florida's new (321) area code. The new area code for the Space Coast conjures up images of a countdown to liftoff.

Updates from the Galileo mission to Jupiter...


bullet1 November - Some creep is trying to auction a piece of Challenger wreckage on eBay! The collectSPACE site broke the story - lots of scoop at NASAwatch, too. 

November will be a busy month for stargazers.

Did you know that December's Mars Polar Lander mission will have a microphone on board? We will be able to hear live sounds from the Martian surface!! Testing, 1-2-3...


bullet31 October -  Happy Halloween! 

High-tech balloons that can float in the stratosphere for 100 days will be used in NASA space research!

Shuttle wing damage called "not serious" - March mission remains on schedule.

Apollo 12 - 30th Anniversary gala to take place next Friday (5 Nov 99) in Phoenix, Arizona. Proceeds will benefit the NSS's Center for Lunar Research.

Companies designing space resort for low Earth orbit! Does room service come in a little squeeze tube?

"Teaching With Space" Conference to take place 28 Jan 2000 in Denver, CO.

This Week In Space History - STS-66 Shuttle mission (3 Nov 1994). Stay tuned for full article!


bullet30 October - Mars Polar Lander course correction deemed a success

Wing flaps of Shuttle Atlantis inadvertently damaged by NASA technicians! In other Shuttle news, Discovery is set to roll out to Pad 39B next Sunday, 7 Nov for its STS-103 flight.

Monday's Lear Jet crash (which claimed the life of golfer Payne Stewart) was similar to a 1988 crash which killed astronaut candidate Susan Reynolds.

Contract awarded to analyze Lunar Prospector data.

Despite yesterday's Proton rocket explosion, NASA remains confident in the Russian launcher.

Scientists think dusty rings may foretell the formation of distant solar systems.

Space chimps to retire to (where else?!?) Florida.

Creative Accounting in GPS News...


bullet29 October - A Russian Proton rocket exploded on launch, prompting Kazakhstan to ban launches from its Baikonur Cosmodrome for the second time this year (see Aug 1st story). Further launches are on hold, pending an investigation.

Shuttle Discovery move to KSC Vehicle Assembly Building delayed.

Australian satellite to be launched by Europe's Arianespace company.

DoD developing robot to refuel satellites.


bullet27 October - New York native Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a Shuttle mission, received the state's highest honor, the Empire State Freedom Medal.

NASA decides to keep original Mars Polar Lander site (see 23 Oct). 

International Space Station orbit adjusted to avoid space junk. Without the increase in altitude, the ISS would have narrowly missed a spent Pegasus rocket. The last time such a move was attempted (in June), the guidance system shut down, and the station avoided a collision by only 7km. Evasive maneuvers, Mr. Sulu!

NASA recommends funding upgrades to the Shuttle fleet - postpones decision on Shuttle successor until 2005.

Radiotelescopes detect a black hole in galaxy M87!

Marshall Space Center looks to the future.

Black holes may help prove the existence of gravity waves.

Hubble telescope spots hot blue stars in distant galaxy M32.

Virgin Islands may not welcome rocket factory. [top]


bullet25 October - Biologists warn that zero gravity may prove problematic to raising children in space.

International Space Business Assembly set for 2 Nov - 4 Nov in Washington DC.

Chandra space telescope observes X-ray jet emitting from nearby galaxy.

NASA to hold "Technology 2009" conference 1 Nov - 3 Nov 1999, in Miami Beach, FL.


bullet24 October - Ukraine announces second Sea Launch of a satellite will take place in January 2000.

Mars Lander team focusing on task ahead.

China intends missions to the Moon and to Mars - will they be manned flights?

Gamma-ray bursts may be a "window" to the earliest history of the universe.

This Week In Space History - The 29th of October marks the 1st anniversary of John Glenn's return to space in STS-95 (not to mention the first Spaniard in space, Pedro Duque!) , and the 12th anniversary of STS-61-A Shuttle mission (30 Oct 1985). Stay tuned for full articles!


bullet23 October - Jupiter makes its closest approach to Earth this weekend. It's been a dozen years since the giant planet has appeared so bright in our sky.

In other Jupiter news, NASA has released photos from the the Galileo spacecraft's closest flyby (only 417 miles/617 km) of its moon Io.

The target site for the Mars Polar Lander may be rougher than first thought - a new landing site may need to be chosen.

The Brazilian Space Agency, which launched a pair a satellites from China last week, is asking for NASA's help in rescuing the SACI-1 bird, which appears to be lost.

U.S. military satellite observes Russian missile strike!

Mars Climate Orbiter inquiry presents initial findings.


bullet21 October - ABC News covered the Mars Week Conference at MIT earlier this month. "Think Mars" and return to the pioneering spirit of our founders!

Former astronauts to travel to Antarctica to search for life at Earth's south pole. Jim Lovell and Owen Garriott will be part of a team heading south this January (the austral summer) for a project to look for microbial life in samples of ancient ice. If life can survive under these conditions, could it exist in the frosty cold of Mars?

The moon is not not as dead as we thought! Weak volcanic activity and outgassing is identified by ground observations as well as the Clementine probe.

NASA will work with British scientists on 2003 Swift mission to study gamma-ray bursts.

Russian & U.S. astronauts in training for next International Space Station mission.

Earth-based telescope observe clouds on Neptune.

Contact lost with joint Brazil/China satellite (see Oct 14th story).


bullet19 October - Does the CIA have a secret satellite base in Australia? 


bullet17 October - Hurricane Irene takes it easy on the Cape.

Commercial spaceport may wind up in Texas.

NASA budget is passed by House.

Interview with NASA astrophysicist heading up Gamma Ray Burst project. 

This Week In Space History - Four Shuttle launch anniversaries: STS-34 (18 Oct 1989); STS-58 Shuttle (18 Oct 1993); STS-73 Shuttle (20 Oct 1995); and STS-52 Shuttle (22 Oct 1992). Stay tuned for full articles!
Ten years ago (18 Oct 1989), the Galileo spaceprobe, bound for Jupiter and its moons & rings, was launched from Shuttle Atlantis. The main spacecraft launched a smaller probe into the Jovian atmosphere in July 1995, and the main spacecraft continues to return photos and data to this day.


bullet16 October - Two crews in training for final Mir mission to guide the Russian space station into the ocean! Some people want to keep Mir alive.

NASA budget awaits presidential signature.

Comm satellites? How about comm planes? (See also 13 Oct).

Sunspot Cycle update from NASA Space Science News.


bullet 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!

China launches 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 yesterday.

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!!!


bullet 13 October - Mir space station is leaking air and losing altitude!

Could the potential water on Jupiter's moon Europa support microbial life?

NASA-developed unmanned aircraft to be built and marketed by private industry.

Where will the world's largest radio telescope be built?

Chandra orbiting X-Ray telescope images mystery star.

Australians retire satellite base.

Ikonos imaging satellite can photograph objects as small as a card table from orbit! [Top]


bullet12 October - Galileo spacecraft survives a "hot date" with volcanic moon Io - the aging spacecraft passed within 380 miles of the Jovian satellite Sunday night, surviving intense radiation that had scientists fearing the probe's destruction. Way to go, JPL!!

Mars Lander due for routine (let's hope so!) course correction next week.


bullet10 October - The first successful sea-launched satellite went great! The multinational consortium launched the Ukrainian-built Zenit rocket last night from a platform (a former oil rig) in the Pacific ocean, near the equator, 1400 miles (2253 km) off the coast of Hawaii. The booster was test-launched in March with a dummy payload.

This Wednesday - Shuttle webcast from KSC!

The new space race - in Asia!!

Backyard astronomers - bust out the telescope! Five planets visible this month.

On TV - The History Channel premieres "History's Mysteries - Asteroids" tomorrow (Monday 8PM ET). 
PBS is showing "Voyage To The Milky Way" on Tuesday 12 Oct and 19 Oct. Check local listings.

This Week In Space History - The 31st anniversary of the Apollo 7 launch (11 Oct 1968). Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This orbital mission was the first manned flight of the moon program, and featured the first live TV broadcast from space. The three-man crew rocketed into space atop a Saturn 1B and would splash down nearly 11 days later. This would be the last launch from Pad 34 (site of the Apollo 1 tragedy).


bullet9 October - The first truss segment for the International Space Station was delivered to Florida aboard NASA's "Super Guppy" cargo plane.

Galileo mission to Jupiter will rendezvous with its moon Io this weekend!

China reveals plans for manned space program!! (See also stories from 5 Oct and 1 Aug)

Heart tissue bioengineered in simulated space environment???

Inspection 99 coming next month at the Johnson Space Center.

More analysis of the Mars Climate Orbiter loss.


bullet8 October - GPS Launch news!

An asteroid with a moon of its own?? Asteroid Eugenia is found to have a small orbiting companion.

Next Mars mission (the Polar Lander) is due for a December 3rd landing - and it doesn't have the mismatched English/metric measurement glitch that doomed the Climate Orbiter.

Next ISS mission won't fly until next year due to delays on both the American and Russian sides. 


bullet7 October - Has Planet X been discovered??? Indirect evidence of a 10th planet in a three-trillion-mile orbit around the sun! (Sorry, Pluto - you may be only the second-farthest planet now!) The mystery planet may be larger than Jupiter, and take millions of years to orbit the sun. An 11th object, a brown dwarf, may also be out there.

Shuttle launch date set - see Shuttle page.

Mars Climate Observer investigation names leaderCheer up, guys - at least the next mission won't have the same problem - and you still have public support!

NASA testing virtual reality system for commercial pilots.


bullet6 October - First "backbone" segment of International Space Station leaves NASA's Huntsville, Alabama facility for KSC

Historic launch pad (LC41) to be demolished to make room for new Atlas V complex.

Hubble Space Telescope snaps clues about origin of spiral galaxies.


bullet5 October - China planning a new space base!

Check the Washington Post Sky Watch.

October is Mars Month at the Kansas Cosmosphere.

ESA designing "window on the world" for ISS.

September launch summary in October's issue of SPACEWARN.


bullet4 October - Missile interceptor passes key test. Russian military opposed!

Was the Red Planet ever a Wet Planet? (see also 2 Oct).

Aircraft exec donates $60 million to Air & Space museum!

Today In Space History: 
The USSR's launch of Sputnik I, the world's first artificial satellite, took place 42 years ago today (4 Oct 1957). The launch stunned the world and sparked the space race that would find the U.S. and the Soviet Union competing for national prestige and technological firsts for decades to come.
Check the Florida Today archives (halfway down page) for more info. Listen to the NPR report (You'll need the free RealAudio player).


bullet3 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.


bullet2 October -  An unmanned NASA experimental airplane crash-landed on a California highway yesterday.

The crushing pressures within Uranus and Neptune may make them great diamond factories! [Ed. Note: I remember reading about this possibility years ago in Arthur C. Clarke's 2061: Odyssey Three].

Pioneer 10 deep-space probe still making discoveries after 27 years in space. It is the first man-made object to leave the solar system.

No evidence of ancient shorelines on Mars.

Acid discovered on Jupiter moon could serve as food for microbes!

Shuttle Discovery slated for November launch.

Pizza Hut to sponsor part of Russian launch for the International Space Station?!?!? Their 30-foot-high logo (that's 9 meters, Lockheed!) will grace the Proton rocket that will boost the ISS living quarters into orbit.

When will we ever go metric???


bullet1 October - NASA blames human error for Mars Climate Observer loss. The mission failed due to confusion between English and metric units of measure used in course calculations. Lots more space agency dirt can be found at NASA Watch.

Tomorrow's California rocket launch may be visible from several western states!

The U.S. Space Command will take over information operations for all American military forces.

Lunar tourism? Where do we sign up???

Russian module for International Space Station delayed.

If Venus is Earth's "Sister Planet", why is its atmosphere so deadly?

Today In Space History: 41 years ago today (1 Oct 1958), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created. Happy Birthday, NASA!


To keep going back in the timeline, check the Space News Archive.

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