Space News July 2000...Note: The links below will
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Evidence of liquid water flowing on Mars!
Space Station docking!
31 July 2000 - A private
U.S. company is trying to build
a space port in the South American country of Guyana,
but there's one snag - neighboring Venezuela
is also claiming the territory.
Latest Shuttle Status Report here.
continue for the launch of STS-106 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The
payload bay doors on Space Shuttle Atlantis are closed as workers get
ready for Atlantis' roll out of the Orbiter Processing Facility and
transfer to the Vehicle Assembly Building on Aug. 7. Beginning Tuesday,
Atlantis will undergo pressure testing, and weight and center of gravity
tests will occur on Thursday. The orbiter is scheduled to be moved to
Launch Pad 39B on Aug. 14 and slated for liftoff on Sept. 8.
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
Today In Space History: 36 years ago today (31 July 1964), the lunar probe
Ranger 7 returned close-up pictures
of the Moon's surface. The Ranger series was designed to crash-land
on the Moon, beaming images back to Earth until the moment of impact.
The seventh Ranger mission was the first to successfully return photos
of the lunar surface - scoping it out for the astronauts that would follow a
few years later.
Today is also the 31st anniversary of the Mariner 6
flyby of Mars.
27 July 2000 - NASA has selected a Mars Rover mission for 2003, choosing the wheeled lander over a competing proposal for a high-resolution orbiter.
The guys at Devon Island (waaay up in the Arctic)
have finished building their
living quarters. What are they
doing so close to the North Pole - trying to beat the summer heat? No, they
(the Mars Society, that is) are trying to simulate conditions that people
would face on a manned expedition to Mars - and the barren Canadian
wilderness is the closest
thing we have to the Red
Planet (minus the Moosehead). NASA is running a similar
25 July 2000 - UPDATE 11PM - The Space Station docking was a
The crew quarters is the third component of the
ISS to fly, and the first
entirely Russian contribution to the 16-nation project. The Station, now
weighing in at 60 tons, is orbiting the Earth 229 miles above
us - you can try spotting
it from the ground! Tonight's ISS Status Report here.
The International Space Station and the Zvezda Service Module have completed
docking procedures, which began Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. CDT, or Wednesday at 00:45
GMT. Within a few days, flight controllers will switch space station attitude
control from the Zarya Control Module to Zvezda. The next visitor to the space
station will be a Progress resupply vehicle in August. Then, Space Shuttle
Atlantis, which is scheduled to launch Sept. 8, will visit the station, and its
seven-member crew will outfit Zvezda in preparation for the Station's first
And you thought they just made Tang: A sensor using NASA technology can remotely monitor your car's
Falling rock zone: Don't you just hate when meteorites fall from the sky
25 July 2000 - Space Station docking tonight at 8:44PM EDT! Latest ISS Status Report here.
With all of its scheduled rendezvous maneuvers completed, the Zvezda Service Module awaits the
arrival of the International Space Station. Docking is scheduled for Tuesday at
7:44 p.m. CDT, or Wednesday at 00:44 GMT. Watch streaming
video on NASA TV to see continuing
coverage of the Zvezda Service Module activities.
24 July 2000 - Space Station docking tomorrow - details
to follow... NASA reports:
Flight controllers completed the Zvezda Service Module's final rendezvous
and correction burns over the weekend in preparation for docking with the
International Space Station. With the completion of the burns, Zvezda is now
the passive vehicle as it awaits the arrival of the station. Russian flight
controllers also deployed the Zarya Control Module's docking probe and
verified that it is in the right position. The station and Zvezda are
scheduled to dock Tuesday at 7:44 p.m. CDT, or Wednesday at 00:44 GMT.
Rover or Orbiter? NASA has temporarily put
off announcing a decision for the next mission to Mars.
Today In Space History: Fifty years ago today
(24 July 1950), the first rocket launch took place from Cape Canaveral,
Florida (the center was then known as the Long
Range Proving Ground Base).
From those humble
beginnings, thousands of space voyages have started there. What people
commonly refer to as "The Cape" is
now actually two separate
facilities - one civilian (NASA's Kennedy Space
Center, on Merrit Island, where the Space
Shuttle and the moon rockets launch from), and one military (Patrick Air
Force Base, on Cape Canaveral proper, where unmanned rockets launch from - and the site of Mercury,
Gemini, and early Apollo launches). NASA recalls:
Fifty years ago today, the first successful rocket launches took
place at Cape Canaveral, then a bare-bones facility in the sandbars off
the Florida coast. The first rockets launched from the Cape were a
combination of captured German V-2 missiles and high-altitude rockets
developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.
...The first launch from mosquito-infested Cape Canaveral occurred on July 24, 1950, at 9:28 a.m.,
when the Army launched Bumper WAC 8 from Complex 3... [It] took place with
about 50 launch crew members and 20 reporters looking on...
Five days later engineers at the Cape successfully launched their
second rocket, which flew at nine times the speed of sound, a new speed
record for a human-made object...
[In the half-century since Bumper
8], 3,245 launches have been conducted from the Eastern Range...
Tomorrow we will watch the docking of the Russian-made service module to
the orbiting International Space Station. We've come a long way in 50 years.
Happy Birthday to "Spaceport
USA!" Also: on this day in 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts
splashed down to complete the first lunar landing mission. And: on
this day in 1975, the American astronauts from the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
made the last manned splashdown of the space program, bringing a successful
close to the first international space mission.
[See also 9 July 2000].
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
21 July 2000 - Latest ISS Status Report here.
The docking of Zvezda will set the stage for the arrival of the station's first
permanent crew. The three-member crew is scheduled to launch Oct. 30 on Flight
2R and arrive at the station two days later. The launch vehicle will be a
Russian Soyuz rocket. The crew consists of Commander
Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander
Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer
NASA is holding off on announcing the type of (unmanned)
mission they will send to Mars in 2003.
goes on at a simulated Mars base in the Arctic.
Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here. NASA states:
At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., preparations continue for Sept. 8's scheduled
launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-106. Currently, technicians are testing
Atlantis' ground control interface logic system and onboard operations recorder.
Also, the seven STS-106 astronauts are participating in Crew Equipment Interface
Test activities at Kennedy Space Center. The test activities are scheduled to
last through the weekend. The STS-106 crew will deliver supplies to the
International Space Station and perform a space walk while at the station.
19 July 2000 - Latest ISS Status Report here.
Systems checkouts on the Zvezda Service Module are
coming to an end as its rendezvous and docking with the International
Space Station approaches. Docking is scheduled for Tuesday, July 25 at
7:53 p.m. CDT, or Wednesday, July 26 at 00:53 GMT, as the two spacecraft
fly above the Russian Federation. Flight controllers completed another
rendezvous maneuver for Zvezda Wednesday night. The next two rendezvous
burns are scheduled for Friday night. Also on Friday night, a docking
test, which includes conducting a capture test using Zvezda's docking
mechanism, will be performed.
How has man's perception of the universe changed over the centuries?
17 July 2000 - Latest Shuttle Status Report here;
Latest ISS Status Report here.
With launch of the Zvezda Service Module complete and docking scheduled for July
25, the STS-106 astronauts are redoubling their efforts to prepare for the next
human visit to the International Space Station.
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
16 July 2000 - Latest ISS Status Report here. NASA states:
Friday morning, flight controllers performed the first two major rendezvous
burns for the Zvezda Service Module as it continued its journey to the
International Space Station. After analyzing the data from the two burns,
flight controllers decided to cancel the correction burn that was scheduled
for Saturday. This weekend, the "Regul" telemetry system will go
through a thorough check out. Zvezda's rendezvous and docking with the
International Space Station is scheduled for July 25 at 7:46 p.m. CDT, or
July 26 at 00:46 GMT.
Zvezda's orbital burn went
smoothly, setting the stage for this month's docking with the other two modules.
Today In Space History: Thirty-one years ago today (16 July 1969),
Apollo 11, the first
lunar landing mission, launched from Kennedy Space
Center's Pad 39A, on
its way to make history 4 days later.
Mission Fact sheet here;
Crew info here;
Image collection here.
And... one year ago today, launch
preparations began on this very website! Happy Birthday, NewsFromSpace!
12 July 2000 1:10AM EDT - The "nerve center" of the
International Space Station, "Zvezda" (Russian for
"star") has been launched aboard a Proton
rocket (with a Pizza Hut ad
on the side!). The unmanned
module is slated to dock with the station's other two modules two weeks from
now, and host a crew this fall. The launch is reported to be "flawless", with the climb to
orbit "without incident". The 95-foot solar arrays are being
deployed. There will be a news conference on NASA
TV at 2:30AM EDT. NASA states:
The International Space Station and Zvezda are scheduled to rendezvous
and dock July 25 at 7:46 p.m. CDT, or July 26 at 00:46 GMT. Zvezda will be
the passive vehicle for a rendezvous with the already-orbiting station,
which is comprised of the Zarya Control Module and the Unity module. As the
passive "target" vehicle, Zvezda will maintain a station-keeping
orbit as Zarya performs the rendezvous and docking under control from the
ground using Kurs, the Russian automated rendezvous and docking system.
Here's some food for thought on backyard astronomy.
9 July 2000 - What caused the test of the National Missile Defense system to fail? The
system has many complex
components, but the showstopper was a basic staging
problem. The "kill vehicle" never got the chance to do its thing,
because it never received the signal to separate from the booster stage. The
payload fell into the Pacific ocean without even getting out of its protective
fairing. Video here. [See also 8 July 2000].
NASA has "rescued"
a space probe that had "lost its way": Deep
Space 1, the probe that was on its way to rendezvous with a comet, was
in trouble when its star tracker device went dead, rendering the spacecraft
blind. Engineers on the ground wrote
and uploaded new software to use a different on-board camera to orient
the probe, and now the mission is back on track! Nice save, guys!
Maybe we could put the folks who saved Deep Space 1 (see above) to
straighten out the accounting system at NASA. It seems they made a $590
million bookkeeping error in their 1999 financial report, though the
agency claims that the miscalculation
was only in over-reporting a 1998
did not affect operations or spending of funds. We could use an extra
half-billion in our checkbook! The government
has also criticized
NASA for calling the robotic arm on the Mars Polar Lander a success,
even though MPL crashed and the arm was never deployed outside of lab tests.
This Week In Space History: As we approach the launch of the crew
module for the International Space Station, a multinational project of
unprecedented proportions (and expense!), it is fitting that we celebrate
the 25th anniversary (15
July 1975) of the Apollo-
Soyuz Test Project, the world's first multinational
space project. The U.S. and the Soviet Union, bitter rivals in the midst of
the Cold War, proved that cooperation in space could lead to cooperation
back on the ground. Mission Facts here
Crew info here
Image collections here,
here, and here.
This would be the last flight of an Apollo
capsule, the last flight of a Saturn
rocket, and the last
splashdown of the American space program. The next manned mission, six
years later, would be aboard the re-usable Space Shuttle.
8 July 2000 - Missile test
fails! A booster malfunction apparently caused the kill vehicle to miss the
target, an ICBM with a dummy warhead. The modified Minuteman II missile was
launched shortly after midnight last night (Saturday morning), with the
interceptor launching around 12:40AM EDT from the Marshall Islands. A problem
with the Minuteman's battery system caused a delay in the launch, which
was scheduled for 10PM EDT. More
investigation is needed, but initial reports say that the
second stage on
the interceptor failed to separate, causing it to miss the target.
strongly opposes the system, said that the failure is proof
that the system is unworkable. President Clinton will decide
over the coming weeks on whether
to implement the system under its original 2005
due date. This was the third test of the system - the first one (in October
1999) was successful, but the next two had
[See also 7 July,
20 January 2000].
If airplanes can carry "black boxes" to analyze mishaps, why can't
the same for satellites?
The Zvezda ("Star") module of the ISS has been mated to the Proton rocket
which will launch it to orbit from
central Asia, to dock automatically (no
crew will be aboard until this
fall) with the other 2 Station components
about 240 miles above the
Earth. The U.S. and Russia are investigating
a minor problem with a recent Proton
shot, to make sure that the Zvezda
launch will go smoothly on 12 July.
7 July 2000 - Missile test tonight! A modified MinuteMan
II will launch from Vandenberg
AFB in California
and 2AM ET, acting as a target. The kill
vehicle will launch 20 minutes later from the U.S.
Army's Kwajalein Missile
Range in the Marshall
Islands. If all goes well, the target
will be destroyed 144 miles above the Pacific Ocean at a combined speed
of 15000MPH. Greenpeace
the launch, and some scientists claim that the technology
advanced enough to provide an effective
shield. Could this plunge the
world into a new arms race?
Will China or Russia
build up their arsenals to overcome the system? Video report here.
[See also 6 July, 20 January 2000].
Russia is set to launch the long-awaited crew module for the
International Space Station this coming
The Zvezda Service Module is
scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 4:56 GMT
July 12, or 11:56 p.m. CDT July 11. Workers completed fueling of the Service
Module's launch vehicle, a Russian Proton rocket, Thursday morning. Mating
of Zvezda to the Proton rocket will occur Friday, and rollout to the launch
pad is scheduled for Saturday, July 8. Zvezda is slated to rendezvous and
dock with the International Space Station on July 25. Meanwhile, the space
station continues to orbit the Earth with no significant problems.
A jet of
superhot gas coming from galaxy
M87, likened to a "searchlight"
beaming from its center, is probably the result of a black hole and the
magnetic fields surrounding it, say researchers
working with the Hubble
Space Telescope. Even though a black hole's gravity is so
strong that not even light can escape, disks of swirling matter surround
them, throwing off massive amounts of matter
and radiation - that's the only way they can be spotted.
2 July 2000 - Latest Shuttle Status Report here.
At Kennedy Space Center,
Fla., preparations continue for the launch of STS-106. Space Shuttle
Atlantis and its seven-member crew are scheduled to lift off Sept. 8 for the
fourth flight to the International Space Station. This week, technicians
completed transformer replacement on the left-hand orbiter maneuvering
system pod and finished valve cycling tests. Meanwhile, testing of the
space-to-space orbiter radio system continues and workers are preparing for
the installation of Atlantis' engines, which is slated to begin Wednesday,
More on Russia's readiness to launch
Zvezda, the International Space Station's living quarters.
The module is scheduled to lift off aboard a Proton rocket on 12
What are Gamma-Ray
bursts, and are they indicators of stellar births?
How do different
cultures view the universe?
To keep going back in the timeline, check the
Space News Archive for June 2000, Apr - May 2000, Jan - Feb 2000,
Oct - Dec 1999,