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open up in one new browser window. For best viewing, size the two web
browsers so that they don't take up the entire screen - this way, you will be
able to go back and forth to all the stories without losing your place.
22 February - 7:30PM EST - Shuttle Endeavour is back on the ground at Kennedy
Space Center! It was the second landing attempt, the first one having been
waved off due to high cross-winds at the Shuttle Landing Facility. The
landing took place at 6:22PM EST, after the pilots were given the go-ahead
for a de-orbit burn, firing the on-board engines to slow them down for
re-entry from their 150-mile high flight. The crew
have disembarked from the orbiter, and gave Endeavour the once-over,
joined in their inspection by throngs of NASA personnel. The spacecraft
has been "safed" (no danger of exploding propellant or noxious
chemicals), and the 6 astronauts will head for the Astronaut Quarters for
a thorough physical exam. Bad weather had threatened
to send Endeavour to back-up landing sites in California or New Mexico,
improved enough to allow a return
Follow the current mission status from NASA JSC
and CBS News.
The NEAR probe continues its approach of the asteroid Eros (that's right, named after the "love god"!).
It is set to orbit the oddly-shaped asteroid tomorrow (Valentine's Day -
these guys don't miss a trick, do they?)
The main office building at KSC was evacuated
yesterday, as employees called in to report "suspicious-looking
people" in the building. They turned out to be legitimate NASA
employees. Better safe than blown to bits, we always say.
10 February - Japan's
beleaguered space program suffered another setback as their Astro-E space telescope,
which was to use a cryogenically cooled sensor to detect X-ray photons,
failed to reach orbit aboard its M-V (M-5) booster. The satellite
probably burned up in Earth's atmosphere after the solid-fueled rocket's
first stage malfunctioned, sending the spacecraft off course.
Europe's new XMM satellite, an X-ray telescope even larger than
Chandra, continues to send super images to scientists on Earth, some of
which suggest that the universe
is hotter than previously thought.
China wants a global
treaty to ban space-based weapons, in response to recent U.S. tests
of anti-missile technology.
Russia tested an advanced
launch vehicle today, but it is still missing in the Ural mountains
after its return to Earth. The "Fregat" rocket component is
re-usable, and is capable of stopping and re-starting its engines
several times during flight. The revolutionary design can be integrated
into current Russian rocket models.
After four years in space, the SOHO space telescope, designed to
observe the Sun from Earth orbit, has made over 100
Close call? Yesterday's story
of a potential Earth collision in 2022 turned out to be a false alarm,
as updated course calculations showed that the asteroid, 2000 BF19, will
our planet by 3.5 million miles (actually, that's a pretty narrow
margin in the grand scheme of things!)
The missing Mars Polar Lander continues to elude
the efforts of radio-astronomers around the world to locate the
probe. After NASA had declared the lander "officially dead" in
January, scientists at Stanford University thought they picked up a
faint signal from the spacecraft earlier this month, prompting a renewed
Today also marks the fifth anniversary of the STS-63 Shuttle mission, where
Eileen Collins became the first
woman to pilot a Space
She would go on to command 1999's STS-93
mission to deploy the Chandra X-ray telescope. [source: AP]
27 January - The JAWSAT satellite was launched successfully last night from
California. The launch is significant because the rocket used was made
partially of "recycled"
Minuteman II missiles. It's good to see a weapon of war being converted
to peaceful scientific use!
15 January - Last night's JAWSAT rocket launch
was scrubbed when low voltage was detected in the on-board batteries.
It was to have been the first space launch of the new millennium, but it
has been re-scheduled for 22 January.
1 January 2000 - Happy New
Year Again!!! Can you believe it's "The
Year 2000"? (Why didn't we used to say, "The Year 1978"?
oh, well). So where's my George Jetson flying car? Where's my moonbase???
Hey, I'm just happy to be here.