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Space News April-May 2000...

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Atlantis lifts off in a spectacular pre-dawn launch. Image courtesy NASA TV.

Atlantis has landed at Kennedy Space Center!

STS-101 Crew Patch


31 May 2000 - Last week's Atlas III launch had a cool new feature - the RocketCam! Check out the rocket's-eye view here. The American booster, which launched a European comm sat last Wednesday, sports Russian-made engines - ironic, since the Atlas series was first built as a Cold-War ICBM.

How are new U.S. State Department regulations putting a damper on satellite research?

Can a sea-based missile defense system be developed?

Planet Pluto article in CNN Science Briefs...

Is asteroid Eros just a solar-system leftover?

The Atlantis crew returned to Houston yesterday, and were greeted by hundreds of well-wishers.

Now that Atlantis' STS-101 flight is over, what's on tap for future Shuttle missions?



30 May 2000 - Lots of back-slapping all around for the success of the Atlantis mission to the International Space Station. The Shuttle landed early Monday morning at KSC, after cross-winds were determined to be at safe levels. It was the 14th night landing in the 98-flight Shuttle Program.

How did life survive on Earth through the Ice Age?

More short stories at MSNBC. (including Sunday's Minuteman rocket launch)...

Boeing delivers upgraded X-40 experimental spaceplane to NASA.

Now that the first two modules of the ISS are back in good working order, will our Russian partners be ready with the third?



29 May 2000 - 3AM - Atlantis is back on the ground!! More details to follow. New mission photos here!

NASA reports:

The STS-101 crew completed a successful mission to service and supply the International Space Station. After a flawless docking with the station, a five-day stay and undocking, Commander James Halsell landed Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center at 1:20 a.m. CDT Monday. During the mission, Atlantis logged 6.6 million kilometers (4.1 million miles).

Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.

Today is Memorial Day. As you enjoy your holiday, please take a moment to reflect on all the sacrifices made by all the fallen heroes on all the battlefields, so that we could have the liberty we treasure.



28 May 2000 - Tomorrow's scheduled Shuttle landing is threatened by predicted high winds at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The STS-101 mission may be extended by up to three days if weather does not co-operate. Alternate landing sites could come into play on Wednesday. See Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

Check the Fox News photo-essays on the Atlantis space-walk, Endeavour's Shuttle Radar Mapping Mission, as well as Apollo 13...

Good column about the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (an orbiting telescope that NASA plans to bring down in a controlled crash) here
Editor's Rant: It was designed to be repaired on orbit - there are 2 X-Ray satellites   (Chandra and ESA's XMM), but nothing else to observe in the gamma-ray spectrum - why not fix CGRO????

International Space Station: Joint venture, or orbiting rip-off?



27 May 2000 - The crew of space shuttle Atlantis is making preparations for a Monday landing, after a successful mission to repair and replenish the International Space Station. The shuttle undocked from the station yesterday, and the crew is taking a breather today. Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

NASA states:

Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 6:03 p.m. CDT Friday. The station is now ready for the addition of the Zvezda Service Module, to be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan between July 8-14.

Russia's Mir space station may attract more commercial investment...

NASA releases new library of Mars Global Surveyor images...

Think you could use a quarter-million bucks? That's the amount of the CATS (Cheap Access To Space) Prize. Read about some of the alternative rocket technologies competing for the reward.



26 May 2000 - Atlantis crew will undock from Space Station tonight at 7:03PM EDT! Last night, the astronauts sealed up the station, after leaving it well stocked and fully powered for its first residents this fall. Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

NASA states:

At 3:04 a.m. CDT, the STS-101 astronauts completed their stay inside the International Space Station when they closed the last station hatch. While on the station, the crew completed all of their scheduled tasks, which included performing maintenance work, delivering supplies and raising the orbit of the station. The crew was in the station for three days, eight hours and one minute. Later today, Atlantis is scheduled to undock from the station at 6:03 p.m. Landing is scheduled for 1:20 a.m. CDT Monday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Note: CDT (Houston time) is one hour earlier than EDT (Florida time). See the Houston Chronicle's mission archive of photos and videos here!

The Russian-made crew module, "Zvezda", is ready for launch this July. The ISS component will launch aboard a Proton rocket from Baikonur.



25 May 2000 - Shuttle crew leaves the International Space Station tonight! NASA reports:

The seven STS-101 astronauts spend their final full day docked to the International Space Station as they prepare for undocking Friday evening.

Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-101. Thursday at 11:26 p.m. CDT the crew is scheduled to begin leaving the space station when it exits Zarya. The NASA TV schedule is available online.

Everything remains on schedule for undocking on Friday evening at 6:07 p.m. CDT. The station is now primed and ready to receive the next major piece of the station, the Zvezda Service Module, when it is launched between July 8-14.

Note: The station egress will begin Thursday night/Friday morning at 12:26AM EDT. The final hatch closings should occur between 2:30AM and 3AM EDT. Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

The astronauts were successful in making all repairs, transferring supplies for future crews, and boosting the orbit of the space station.

Today In Space History: 39 years ago today (25 May 1961), President John F. Kennedy addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress and made the bold commitment to land a man on the moon before the decade was out. The historic speech spurred America to kick the space race into high gear. Sadly, JFK would not live to see the dream accomplished in 1969...



24 May 2000 - Astronauts continue their work aboard the International Space Station, performing maintenance and moving supplies from Shuttle Atlantis to the station, in preparation for permanent occupancy later this year. NASA reports:

The STS-101 astronauts will spend their second day inside the station as they continue the maintenance work and supply transfer activities that began Monday. During their first day, Atlantis' crew moved 870 pounds of supplies and equipment inside the station. At 7:01 p.m. CDT, the first of three planned station reboost maneuvers began.

Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

Atlas III finally gets off the ground! After four aborted attempts, the unmanned rocket at long last lifted off from Cape Canaveral, carrying a comm satellite.



23 May 2000 - SETI@home, the computer program that sifts through radio data searching for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life, has reached its 2 millionth user, just in time for its first anniversary. To find out more about this distributed computing project (free download!) visit the SETI@home site.

Air quality deemed satisfactory aboard ISS. Stay tuned for more Shuttle/Space Station news! Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

British rocket biker plans to take it up from the track and out into space(!!!)



22 May 2000 - Last night's space-walk went extremely well, with astronauts Jim Voss and Jeff Williams spending over six hours outside the International Space Station, orbiting 206 miles above the Earth. They worked on the two external cranes, repaired an antenna, and installed handrails for future crews. Tonight, astronaut Helms and cosmonaut Usachev have entered the station to begin work on the ventilation system and begin replacement of the batteries which collect power from the solar arrays. NASA reports:

Commander Jim Halsell and his crew entered the International Space Station at 7:03 p.m. CDT Monday. They have begun their maintenance tasks, which include replacing four batteries, three current converters and two current converter controllers. Also, three fire extinguishers, 10 smoke detectors and four cooling fans will be replaced. The shuttle and the station both continue to operate with no significant problems.

Atlantis is set to separate from the ISS Friday and return to KSC on Monday (Memorial Day!). Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

NASA selling out??? The U.S. space agency is rumored to be developing commercial uses for the International Space Station. I guess we can expect all that tax money back, huh?

Galileo probe does Ganymede fly-by: remote spacecraft continues to deliver the scientific goods as it swoops over another satellite of Jupiter (the solar system's largest moon!)

Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.



21 May 2000 - 5:30PM EDT - After last night's spot-on docking, the crew of Shuttle Atlantis is preparing for tonight's space-walk, scheduled for shortly before 11PM EDT. See this morning's Mission Control Status here; tonight's will be here. Watch NASA TV for live video coverage of the EVA.

In other news: The unmanned Atlas III rocket launch that was scrubbed Saturday will be rescheduled for no earlier than Tuesday, 23 May, with a launch window from 5:38 - 7:58PM Eastern Daylight Time.


21 May - 1:28AM EDT - Atlantis reports that there are no leaks in the docking collar. The crew is preparing their tools, and depressurizing the Shuttle cabin to 10.2 PSI, for tomorrow's EVA. There is a Mission Status Briefing scheduled for about an hour from now (2:30 AM EDT). Watch NASA TV for live video coverage.


21 May 2000 - 12:50AM EDT - The crew of STS-101 has performed a perfect rendezvous and docking maneuver with the vacant ISS. Commander Jim Halsell has acknowledged the great support they received from Mission Control at Houston. They will now perform leak checks in preparation for entry into the space station tomorrow evening.


21 May - 12:35AM EDT - Atlantis has docked with the International Space Station! Docking occurred on time at 12:31 AM EDT, as the combined spacecraft flew at a height of 209 statute miles over the Ukraine. The docking ring is being retracted so that a "hard mate" can occur between the Orbiter and the ISS.

In other news: Atlas rocket scrubbed for fourth time! The booster, due to launch a European comm satellite, was nearly prevented from launching by, of all things, a celebrity fishing tournament (!!!), but in the end, an anomalous reading from the flight control system kept the rocket grounded. The next chance for the Russian-engined American rocket? Sunday evening.



20 May 2000 - Shuttle docks with ISS tonight!

NASA reports:

The seven astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis spent most of their day preparing for upcoming mission events. At 7 a.m. CDT Saturday, Atlantis was located 692 kilometers (430 statute miles) behind the space station. Commander Jim Halsell and Pilot Scott Horowitz fired the shuttle’s engines to adjust the rate at which Atlantis was catching up with the station. This morning the crew will begin its sleep period at 8:11 a.m. CDT and wake up at 4:11 p.m. CDT to begin rendezvous activities. The International Space Station continued to orbit the Earth Saturday morning as it awaited the arrival of STS-101. Atlantis is scheduled to dock with the station at 11:31 CDT tonight. Docking will occur over Eastern Ukraine near the Ukranian border with Russia. The docking coordinates are 49 degrees 76 minutes north latitude and 38 degrees 20 minutes east longitude. Atlantis' seven-member crew will deliver supplies and equipment and perform repairs on the station.

Note: The docking is scheduled for Sunday morning at half-past midnight on the East coast. This mission, only the second Shuttle docking with the ISS, will perform repairs on battery and comm systems, install external handrails, and stow about 1 ton of supplies for future Station occupants. Part of their cargo includes an (unlit) Olympic torch and a flag which will help kick off this year's Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. This crew is slated to return to Earth on 29 May 2000. Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.

Today is Armed Forces Day (U.S.). Did you know that the Shuttle crew currently in orbit features 3 Air Force and 2 Army personnel? Here's a big salute from us to everyone in uniform!

Hellish Io: Galileo probe reveals volcanoes and geysers on Jupiter's moon.

NASA conference examines the future of air and space flight...

Russia plans to put their space station on hiatus: Mir to be vacated for the summer to conserve funds.



19 May 2000 - 10PM EDT - Atlantis is in orbit, on its way to a Saturday night rendezvous with the vacant International Space Station. The pre-dawn liftoff from Florida's Kennedy Space Center was the 23rd night launch of the program. The crew is made up of 4 American men, 2 American women, and one Russian man. Check Mission Control's morning and evening status reports.


19 May - 7:15AM EDT - NASA spokesmen at KSC confirmed the excellent condition of Atlantis, noting some minor issues, but overall calling the launch of the newly-modified spacecraft "flawless". They discussed future launches this year (3 more are expected). Since the launch took place late in the crew's workday (but pretty early in ours!), the crew is scheduled for sleep only four hours from now.


19 May - 7:00AM EDT - The STS-101 crew is making preparations to transform Atlantis from a launch vehicle into an orbiting platform, for tomorrow's docking with the ISS. They are getting ready to open the payload bay doors, and are firing the Orbital Maneuvering System  engines to circularize their orbit.


19 May - 6:20AM EDT - Atlantis is in orbit! A beautiful sunrise launch at KSC went flawlessly. Mission Control has confirmed External Tank separation, and all systems are performing as expected.


19 May - Launch Day! Shuttle Atlantis is set to fly at 6:12AM EDT today. Latest KSC status here; follow the launch live at Florida Today, and CBS News. Watch live video on NASA TV! (Check schedule here). Check back with us for launch coverage and mission analysis!



18 May 2000 - Atlantis countdown continues: The Space Shuttle is set to launch early Friday morning from Kennedy Space Center, on its 10-day mission to re-supply the vacant International Space Station and boost its sagging orbit, decayed by high solar activity and friction with the Earth's atmosphere. CNN correspondent Miles O'Brien gives an excellent analysis of the whole ISS saga.

NASA reports:

The launch team continues preparations for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on Friday. Weather forecasters indicate a 100-percent chance of favorable weather for launch Friday and a 90-percent chance of favorable weather Saturday, May 20. At the launch pad this morning, workers completed final efforts to stow the flight crew's equipment aboard Atlantis. Operations to load the external tank begin tonight as early as 7:47 CDT. When Atlantis launches, the International Space Station will be flying over Turkey, northeast of Ankara near the Black Sea.

Latest KSC status here; Watch live video on NASA TV! (Check schedule here).

Atlas III launch scrubbed for third time -- Officials are not sure when the next launch opportunity will be for the unmanned rocket.

X-33 engine sets endurance record: an experimental rocket engine was fired for 290 seconds at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The X-33 spacecraft may one day replace the current-generation Shuttle fleet.

National Academy of Sciences recommends priorities for astronomy research.

A comet which passed though our solar system 3 years ago (but not spotted at the time) has been discovered via old photos. 

NASA awards banquet tonight, Dan Goldin to present...

Cold War, Hot Moon: Did the U.S. consider exploding a nuclear device on the lunar surface in the 1950's? Scientists involved in the project have come out about the Air-Force-sponsored plan to create a show of force to the Soviets, who were then winning the space race. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and the project was abandoned. A young Carl Sagan was one of the scientists who argued against it (do you think he said it would be "lunacy"? Get it?? Sorry...)



17 May 2000 - Yesterday's second failed attempt to launch the EUTELSAT communications satellite (aboard the new Atlas III rocket) is pushing back the launch of Shuttle Atlantis by one more day. The new date - this Friday, 19 May 2000 at 6:12AM EDT.

NASA reports:

Early Wednesday morning, launch controllers at Kennedy Space Center added 23 ˝ hours to the launch countdown for STS-101 at the T minus 11 hour built-in hold. Atlantis and its seven-member crew are now scheduled to lift off at 5:12 a.m. CDT Friday, May 19. Thursday, the Rotating Service Structure will move away from the orbiter at about 9 a.m. CDT, and refueling of the external tank will begin Thursday night at about 7:47 CDT. Weather forecasters are saying that there is only a 10 percent chance of weather delaying the launch on Friday.
More details in today's Shuttle Status Report. This mission will prepare for the docking of the Russian-built crew quarters for the ISS. NASA is concerned about safety issues with the "Zvezda" module.



16 May 2000 - A problem at a radar-tracking station in Bermuda yesterday caused a delay in the launch of the new Lockheed Atlas III rocket. It is the first American rocket to be built with Russian-made engines. They have until Wednesday to launch the booster, with its payload of a European comm satellite. 

Today's morning and evening Shuttle Status Reports, from NASA...

Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, author of the new book "The Return," will be on a live chat at CNN today, 4:30-5 p.m. EDT.



15 May 2000 - NASA has started the countdown for the launch of Shuttle Atlantis. They tried 3 times last month, but were thwarted by high winds at the launch pad, and at emergency landing sites. NASA reports:

At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., the countdown for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis began at 8:30 a.m. CDT Monday at the T minus 43 hour mark. Meanwhile, preparations for the launch continued on schedule. Sunday night, Atlantis' seven-member crew arrived at KSC. Weather forecasters are predicting only a 10 percent chance of unacceptable weather for Thursday's launch, which is scheduled for 5:38 a.m. CDT.

NASA is weighing options for future unmanned missions to Mars. One choice could be to use an airbag system similar to the one used on 1997's successful Pathfinder mission.

Today In Space History: 37 years ago today (15 May 1963), astronaut Gordon Cooper was launched into Earth orbit aboard Mercury 9, the last of the series. The flight took Cooper around the globe 22 times, and featured the first use of a TV camera in space, as well as the first controlled re-entry.



14 May 2000 - Wrap up this week's space news at Florida Today.

Today In Space History: 50 years ago today, Wernher von Braun and his team of German rocket scientists arrived in Huntsville, Alabama, at the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal. They were tasked with improving the WW2-era V-2 rockets and adapt them for military, and scientific use. Their work would eventually lead to manned rockets and the historic moon landings. The site is now NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.



13 May 2000 - Chandra, the orbiting X-Ray telescope launched last year, has imaged a blast wave from a supernova - the first time such an event has been captured so soon after a star explodes.

"Vomit Comet" makes one more trip: NASA's original aircraft for high-speed climbs & dives (to simulate weightlessness) was known as the "Vomit Comet". The KC-135 Zero-G Trainer was in use from 1973 to 1995. Now retired, it will be on permanent location at Houston's Johnson Space Center.



12 May 2000 - Cosmonauts Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kaleri, aboard the Russian space station Mir, have completed a five-hour space-walk to seal off tiny areas of damage on the station's hull. The cracks were closed up with an experimental "super glue". During the EVA (the first ever to be commercially financed!), the Russian crew found blackened wires leading to a solar panel - evidence of a short-circuit.

UCLA and Australia's Newcastle University are co-operating on a sensor for a science sat that will measure Earth's magnetic fields.

NASA says that the Russian-built service module of the International Space Station, is ready to fly. The "Zvezda" module will be the third component of the ISS (not Mir!), and is to be launched this summer aboard a Proton rocket.

More quick space news from MSNBC...



11 May 2000 - Space-based missile defense systems received preliminary funding approval from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

The U.S. Air Force launched a new GPS satellite yesterday, from Cape Canaveral.



10 May - Check NASA's latest Shuttle status report. Atlantis is due to launch next Thursday (18 May 2000) to perform repairs on the International Space Station.

The Australian National University is opening a new optics lab to search for "hidden bodies" and gravitational waves - theories postulated by Albert Einstein in the 1910's.



9 May - Looking to get to the moon, but can't be bothered with all that pesky training? Do you get "space-helmet hair"? Here's an easier way - just wait until you're dead, and have your cremated remains buried in lunar soil, courtesy of Celestis, Inc. (only $12,500!). Final frontier, indeed...

Latest International Space Station status report here.



8 May 2000 - More extrasolar planets discovered? Astronomers in Switzerland, working remotely through a Chilean observatory, have discovered evidence that may lead to the observation of up to eight planets orbiting distant stars. The gravitational influence they exert on their stars indicates that these worlds may be several times the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

A Boeing Titan IV rocket launched a military satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (not NASA, folks!) today. It was the first successful launch of the beleaguered rocket since 3 failed attempts over the past 2 years grounded the heavy-lift booster.



7 May 2000 - The two cosmonauts aboard the Russian space station Mir are prepping for a space-walk this week, in order to seal a leak in the hull and stop the slow loss of oxygen. Private investors are hoping to turn the 14-year-old orbiting facility into a space hotel.

Imagine a dog bone the size of New Jersey - that's what asteroid Kleopatra is like. it's the first asteroid from the main belt between Mars and Jupiter,to be radar-mapped by NASA.

Wrap up this week's space news at Florida Today.



6 May 2000 - Sea Launch to try again: After a rocket carrying comm satellites exploded in March, the international consortium, whose goal is to have a sustainable rocket base on a floating platform in the Pacific, announced that they will make another launch attempt this July.

Love Bug bites NASA: Johnson Space Center hit by computer virus, email disabled.

Will Iran launch its own telecomm satellites? An Iranian government spokesman says that his country will orbit two small satellites this year - one made with Russia's help.



5 May - Tonight's planetary alignment, where the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all appear close together in the sky, is the subject of wild speculation about ecological disasters (tidal waves, etc) here on Earth. GET A CLUE! The combined gravitational effect of every planet in our solar system still is only a fraction compared with the effects of the Sun and Moon, which are there every day. I'm going back to my bunker now. Earthbound observers won't get to see the show - the Sun is blocking the view. A similar event in 2002 will be visible.

Yesterday's Space Day event featured talks from former astronauts John Glenn and Sally Ride. Senator Glenn summed up aviation history as he spoke at the National Air & Space Museum, and Dr. Ride described weightlessness and getting along with her Shuttle crewmates.

Latest Shuttle Status report from NASA KSC...



4 May - Happy Space Day! MSNBC and ABC will each be doing a live webcast today from noon to 3PM EDT. NASA chief Dan Goldin will join former astronauts John Glenn (first American in orbit/oldest man in space) and Dr. Sally Ride (first American woman in space) in a live program from the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum. Also appearing will be Dr. Bernard Harris Jr. (first African-American to walk in space) and Capt. Bill Shepherd, slated to command the first ISS crew. [see also 2 May 2000].

Did you know? 5 planets, and the Moon, will be aligned Friday night in what astronomers call a "conjunction". Some doofs think that this will bring tidal waves or other disasters. Hey, we're still stocking up for the galaxy collision in 3 billion years - can't deal with this right now! 

A new weather satellite is in orbit after launching from Cape Canaveral yesterday. 



3 May - Tomorrow's Space Day event is primarily meant to inspire young people about the prospect of living and working in space. Hey kids - put away those Pokemon cards, and study that math and science!



2 May - Space Day 2000 is coming! What's Space Day? Well, it's "a global celebration dedicated to the extraordinary achievements, benefits, and opportunities in the exploration and use of space". This Thursday, (4 May 2000), there will be a live event at the National Air & Space Museum, featuring astronauts John Glenn and Sally Ride, with a live webcast from noon to 3PM EDT. There will be other events around the web - ABC News is having a live chat tomorrow (Wednesday) with author Andrew Chaikin at 4PM EDT. They will offer live Space Day coverage on Thursday at noon. Note: You will need to download a free version of RealPlayer ( in order to interact with the Webcast participants, and have a 28.8 modem or faster connection.

Is a superhot solar flare heading towards the Earth?



30 April 2000 - Wrap up this week's space news at Florida Today.

Latest International Space Station status report here.



29 April - Only 3 billion years until our galaxy collides with Andromeda! Stock up on canned food now!!

An unmanned supply ship docked with Russia's Mir space station Saturday, bringing two tons of supplies, fuel and oxygen to the pair of cosmonauts who have been aboard since April 6th. It was the world's first privately-financed re-supply mission. 



28 April - New launch date for Atlantis' mission to the International Space Station: May 18th! The flight was postponed due to bad weather conditions 3 days in a row.

Yesterday's International Space Station status report here.



27 April - Third time's a charm? Nope! Shuttle Atlantis was unable to launch for its ISS Assembly Mission for the third time in a row yesterday. Weather was the reason, but not the weather in Florida - this time, it was unfavorable conditions at all three of the emergency landing areas in Spain and Morocco (in case they have to abort the mission before reaching orbit). The next launch opportunity will come early next month (May 11th?). Will Atlantis stay on the launchpad until then? 

If at first you don't succeed... keep nagging! Many astronauts made it into the program through persistence. STS-101 pilot Scott Horowitz recalls that he applied seven times to NASA before he was accepted to the elite astronaut corps - so remember that tenacity pays off!



26 April - Today's Atlantis countdown will mark the first time in Shuttle history that three back-to-back launch attempts have been made. STS-101 is due to launch today at 3:27PM EDT, with a five-minute launch window. The crew, composed of 6 Americans and 1 Russian, will fly to the dormant International Space Station to deliver supplies, replace failed batteries, install a new crane, and make preparations for the addition of a Russian-made crew module later this year. Atlantis will use its thrusters to boost the sagging orbit of the ISS. Latest KSC status here; follow the launch live at Florida Today, and CBS News. Watch live video on NASA TV! (Check schedule here).



25 April - SHUTTLE UPDATE: Atlantis launch scrubbed again today (Tuesday) due to high crosswinds at the Cape. NASA managers had decided to fuel up the ship for a shot at an afternoon launch today, at an early morning meeting. Another attempt will be made tomorrow (Wednesday - 3:27PM EDT), with a 90% probability of favorable conditions expected. Tomorrow will be the last opportunity until May, due to scheduled military and commercial rocket launches at Cape Canaveral. Follow the morning and evening mission status from NASA JSC & KSCFlorida Today, and CBS News. KSC has some STS-101 photos online.

Russia launched a "Progress" resupply ship to the Mir Space Station today.

25 April - Shuttle Atlantis, carrying a U.S./Russian crew, is set to launch today at 3:52PM EDT. Check KSC's  morning and evening Shuttle status reports. NASA officials will meet early this morning to see if the weather reports will warrant the re-fueling of the giant external tank. With only a 20% chance of favorable conditions, they may decide to wait until Wednesday.  Watch live video on NASA TV! (Check schedule here).

On TV tonight: Nova (on PBS) will show "Stationed In The Stars," an episode dedicated to the ISS. Check your local listings.



24 April - SHUTTLE UPDATE: Atlantis launch scrubbed for today due to high crosswinds at the Cape. Another attempt will be made tomorrow (Tuesday), but the weather doesn't look good for then, either. If Tuesday's weather doesn't cooperate, then Wednesday will be the last opportunity until May, due to scheduled military and commercial rocket launches at Cape Canaveral.

24 April - Shuttle Atlantis set to launch today at 4:15PM EDT. Its new "glass cockpit" will give the crew a safer trip, thanks to updated electronics.  Watch live video on NASA TV! (Check schedule here).



23 April -  Happy Easter!  - Shuttle Atlantis is on launchpad 39A at KSC, ready for a 10-day flight to rendezvous with the International Space Station. This mission marks the maiden flight of the Shuttle's new "Glass Cockpit" - a modernized instrument panel replacing the original interior. Read all about it in this report (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). NASA states: "As preparations continued for Monday's scheduled launch of Atlantis, the flight crew for STS-101 arrived at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility Friday afternoon. The external tank purge activities have concluded, and the orbiter aft compartment closeouts were scheduled to finish Friday. The launch countdown is slated to begin at 6 p.m. CDT Friday at the T-43 hour mark. Weather forecasters indicate a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch at 3:15 p.m. CDT on Monday".

Today's launch window is only 5 minutes. Follow the current mission status from NASA JSC & KSCFlorida Today, and CBS News. Check Mission Control's  Shuttle status reports, and the latest ISS status report.

Happy 10th Birthday to the amazing Hubble Space Telescope! After a decade in Earth orbit, the space-based observatory continues to provide scientists (and us normal folk) with fascinating views of the vast universe we live in.


To keep going back in the timeline, check the Space News Archive for Jan - Feb 2000Oct - Dec 1999, and before.

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