Space News August 2000...Note: The links below will
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Twin Mars rovers for 2003!
Space Station docking!
31 August 2000 - NASA is getting ready for the next mission to the
ISS. Station Status report
here. NASA states:
International Space Station flight controllers are making final
preparations for the arrival of STS-106 and its seven-member crew. On
Tuesday, Sept. 5, controllers will conduct a final rehearsal of station
activities before the docking which is scheduled for Sept. 10. Atlantis is
scheduled to launch on Sept. 8. While at the station, the STS-106
astronauts and cosmonauts will deliver supplies, unload the Progress
vehicle, outfit Zvezda and a perform a space walk in preparation for the
Expedition 1 crew.
Shuttle provisions continue for next week's Atlantis
launch to the ISS, as well as October's Discovery
flight and Endeavour's
November flight. Latest KSC Shuttle Status here.
Launch preparations for STS-106, a mission to prepare the space station for the
arrival of its first crew, are on track. Workers complete solid rocket
booster closeouts on Atlantis.
Water, water, everywhere - but can it be found in interstellar
defended its Missile Defense plan to the recent U.N.
Conference on Disarmament.
30 August 2000 - A U.S. government
report claims that Shuttle safety
may be threatened by staff cuts at NASA.
Senator John McCain commissioned
last year, after the Shuttle fleet was grounded due to wiring problems. The
report cites the loss
of seasoned engineers and an increasing workload. Download or view the report
here (requires Adobe
NASA Flight Readiness Review confirms next Shuttle
launch: Press Release here.
NASA officials announced Friday, Sept. 8 as the launch date for
Space Shuttle Atlantis. The launch window for STS-106 is less than five
minutes and is set to open at 7:45 a.m. CDT at Kennedy Space Center, or
KSC, in Florida. The STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts will spend 11 days
in orbit and will open the doors to the International Space Station's
newest component, the Zvezda Service Module. Atlantis is scheduled to land
at KSC on Sept. 19 at 2:54 a.m. CDT. Meanwhile, STS-106 mission
preparations continue at KSC.
NASA also promises clean,
safe spacesuits for this
mission, after last month's
revelation that an oily residue in the oxygen system posed a fire hazard.
A new, polar-orbiting weather
satellite is due to be launched
on 20 September.
Today In Space History - Today brings two Shuttle
anniversary of STS-8
shuttle mission - Mission Fact sheet here
- Crew info here. Colonel
Guy Bluford became the
African-American in space on this mission - this was also the
first time a Shuttle was launched and landed at night.
Today is also the 16th
anniversary of STS-41-D
shuttle mission. Mission Fact sheet here
- Crew info here.
This was Discovery's maiden flight.
28 August 2000 - Russia is set to launch a military satellite today.
A different Russian launch, for commercial satellites, is facing repeated
What spacecraft has observed
200 comets? It's SOHO!
The late Robert
Gilruth, whose efforts for NASA helped
America reach the moon, was honored at Houston's Johnson Space Center.
NASA feature - The Past as Prelude: Apollo-Soyuz 25 Years Later
Decades before work began on the International Space Station, a rendezvous 140 miles
above the Atlantic Ocean saw then-confrontational nations, who were locked
in the middle of the Cold War, make history as partners. It was 25 years ago
that Tom Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald "Deke" Slayton
astronauts docked with the Soviet Union's Soyuz to forge the framework for
future partnerships in space with Russia and other nations. On the
anniversary week of that mission, Brand, who now is deputy director of
aerospace projects at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, CA, retold the
tale of that historic mission. (Full Story)
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
25 August 2000 - How can zero-gravity conditions help with the
production of antibiotics? Read here!
Latest Shuttle Status Report here. NASA states:
Kennedy Space Center is no longer in any "Hurricane Condition" as a
result of Hurricane Debby taking a more westerly turn overnight and being
downgraded to a tropical wave. Shuttle managers will monitor tropical
weather activity as work at the pad continues on schedule. Prelaunch
hypergolic propellant loading operations continue today [Thursday]. Preparations are
also under way for a scheduled hot fire of Auxiliary Power Unit No. 1 on
UPI: US to discuss N.Korean missile proposal.
UPI: Russia delays launch of satellites.
24 August 2000 - Latest ISS Status Report here. NASA states:
International Space Station flight controllers resumed the
transfer of propellants this week
from tanks aboard the Progress cargo supply craft to tanks aboard the
station's Zvezda module and made other preparations for the planned
arrival of the Space Shuttle Atlantis early next month. One set of fuel
and oxidizer tanks aboard Zvezda is now full following the unloading of
propellants from the cargo craft. Propellants will be transferred from the
Progress tanks to a second set of tanks on Zvezda this week. The transfer
of propellants was interrupted last week due to a sensor problem that was
NASA managers have decided that Hurricane Debby is not a big enough threat to Space Shuttle operations,
and are leaving Atlantis on the
launchpad. Shuttle Atlantis is due to lift off
on 8 Sep 2000 on mission STS-106 to the
observatories pose a mystery...
22 August 2000 - Here's more info on last week's
successful launch of a "secret" recon satellite.
Latest Shuttle Status report here. NASA states:
Tuesday, Kennedy Space Center began taking precautions to weather any effects
Debby. A decision to rollback Atlantis will not be made
before Wednesday. Meanwhile, preparations for Sept. 8's launch continue.
Technicians mated the SPACEHAB payload to Atlantis. The payload interface verification
testing and Helium Signature Test continue. Prelaunch fuel loading is slated
to begin Wednesday.
A Boeing Delta III
rocket is sending a "simulated
payload" into space tonight (Wednesday
morning, actually) at 4AM EDT
to test booster operations. The new model's two missions have both ended in
failure, and Boeing is out to prove
the reliability of Delta III, the largest rocket they make. Weather at
Cape Canaveral may delay
the launch (and may force the Shuttle
to be removed from its launchpad until things blow over).
21 August 2000 - The world's
largest steerable dish antenna will be dedicated this week. The National
Radio Astronomy Observatoryís newest radio telescope
is taller than the Statue of Liberty!
form billions of years earlier than previously thought?
A cold war relic - a Minuteman
ICBM launch site in North Dakota - has been demolished according to
Latest Shuttle Status report here. NASA states:
At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., the seven-member STS-106 crew completed the
Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test in preparation for Sept. 8's scheduled
launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts
returned to Houston, Texas, on Friday. Workers installed the SPACEHAB
payload into Atlantis' payload bay on Thursday. Technicians will perform
routine payload testing Tuesday, and prelaunch fuel loading will begin
Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery was rolled from OPF bay 1 over to OPF bay 3 on August 21 to allow workers to begin
planned modifications inside bay 1.
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
Today In Space History - 35th
anniversary of the Gemini
5 launch. On 21 August 1965, astronauts Gordon
Cooper (who became the first astronaut to have orbited the
earth in two separate missions) and Charles
"Pete" Conrad roared
atop a Titan
II rocket from Pad
19 at Cape Canaveral (then known as Cape Kennedy).
Gemini-Titan 5 (GT-5) was the third manned
flight of Project
Gemini, an important string of missions that took the early
triumphs of the Mercury series and advanced the state of the art in
space travel with achievements like the first U.S. spacewalk, first
U.S. rendezvous between 2 ships, and more. Gemini
would later lead up to the historic Apollo moon landings. Click here
for NASA's Gemini 5 photo archive. Here's
a shot from Wright-Patterson
Hey, did you notice the Air Force markings on there (instead of
NASA)? That capsule was probably built for the Manned
Orbiting Laboratory, a military
space-station project that was cancelled in 1969.
18 August 2000 - The advanced propulsion system on the Deep Space 1
probe has been going strong for a record-setting 200 days.
NASA's Deep Space 1 probe, en route for an
encounter with Comet Borrelly, has run its unique propulsion system for more than 200 days --
longer and more efficiently than anything ever launched. The almost imperceptible thrust from
the system is equivalent to the pressure exerted
by a sheet of paper held in the palm of your
hand. The ion engine is very slow to pick up speed, but over the long haul it can deliver 10
times as much thrust per pound of fuel as more traditional rockets.
weather? Why does it matter?
Latest Shuttle Status Report here.
Preparations continue for the arrival of STS-106 in September.
Controllers have pressurized and
checked for leaks in the vestibule between the station's Zvezda Service
Module and the Progress supply ship that will be unloaded by the STS-106
crew. Controllers have successfully transferred fuel from the Progress to
Zvezda on Aug. 10, but the transfer of oxidizer on Aug. 11 was
automatically stopped due to a suspected instrumentation problem. The
transfer is expected to resume this week.
Pioneering NASA engineer
Robert Gilruth passed away this week at age 86. His
spanned most of the space program, including service as director
of the Manned Spaceflight Center (now JSC)
during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects.
17 August 2000 - Latest Shuttle Status Report here.
Latest ISS Status Report here. NASA states:
U.S. and Russian International Space Station flight controllers
pressurize the "front porch" of the Progess vehicle that will
allow the STS-106
astronauts and cosmonauts to unpack supplies when they arrive in September. Progress' thrusters were
used to test [a] change [to] the station's speed by 3.2 kilometers per hour (2
miles per hour). Another thruster firing is scheduled for Aug. 17.
Get to bed! NASA research shows that kids
don't get enough sleep. Maybe an astronaut could read you a bedtime story?
NASA has built a new training simulator for the Mission Control Center in
15 August 2000 - Japan has revealed plans to launch 4 spy
satellites in 2003.
gets to launchpad, crew arrives
at KSC. NASA reports:
Space Shuttle Atlantis is now at Launch Pad 39B at
Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The crawler transport began moving the orbiter
out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at 10:20 p.m. CDT Sunday, and
Atlantis was in place at the pad at 8:30 a.m. CDT Monday. Currently,
workers are installing the SPACEHAB payload into Atlantis, and shuttle main
engine flight-readiness testing continues. Also, the seven-member STS-106
crew arrived at Kennedy Space Center Tuesday for the Terminal Countdown
Demonstration Test, which is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
light from an extrasolar planet: researchers could not confirm seeing
reflected light from a planet orbiting a star many light-years away.
showers and Northern lights gave stargazers a treat this week.
14 August 2000 - Who wants to be a cosmonaut? A TV
game show, to be called "Destination: Mir," will offer
contestants a chance to visit Russia's 14-year-old space station.
The old planetarium
ain't what it used to be: New state-of-the-art facilities are opening around
But do you have to be in the Bricklayers' Union? Researchers at The
College of William and Mary are formulating a way to make a brick-like
building material that would allow
explorers on Mars to build a shelter using Martian soil mixed with
chemicals brought up from Earth. The "Mars bricks" are designed to
shield astronauts against harsh radiation, which the thin Martian atmosphere
Atlantis crawls its way to the launchpad, taking 9 hours to make the trip from the massive Vehicle Assembly Building - at
1 mile an
Space Shuttle Atlantis arrives at Launch Pad
39B, and the seven-member STS-106 crew arrives at Kennedy Space Center,
Fla., for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, which is scheduled to
begin Thursday, Aug. 17.
Atlantis took a planned detour on its way out to Launch Pad 39B to prepare for the STS-106 launch.
Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.
13 August 2000 - Here's more on the 2003 mission to
Mars. NASA is
sending 2 unmanned rovers, much bigger than 1997's
model, to explore the
surface and look for evidence of past (or present!) life on the Red
More NASA news from KSC:
For the first time in Space Shuttle history, a fully stacked Shuttle
rolled into the Vehicle Assembly Building's high bay 2 on the building's
west side on Saturday, Aug. 12. Read
more..... See photos.....
If you can't train for your space mission in zero-G here on Earth, what's
the next best thing? Hit the water at the Neutral
The US is planning to build a radar base for the National
Missile Defense system in Greenland
- but is there a "lost
nuke" there from a 1968 bomber crash?
12 August 2000 - Can you see the International Space Station from
where you are? Maybe, but there's plenty of other orbiting
space stuff you can spot.
Latest Shuttle Status Report here. NASA states:
At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., preparations continue for the launch of
STS-106, which is scheduled for Sept. 8. Atlantis has been connected to the
external tank and the solid rocket boosters in the Vehicle Assembly
Building. Atlantis was scheduled to begin the move from the Vehicle Assembly
Building to Launch Pad 39B on Sunday night. The SPACEHAB payload is
scheduled to be installed into the orbiter Tuesday and the Countdown
Demonstration Test is slated for Thursday and Friday.
If anybody wants to send people to Mars, better get moving - the next
opportunity for launch may be in 2014.
Today in Space History - It's the 23rd anniversary of the first
free flight of Space Shuttle Enterprise (yes, it's named after
from Star Trek !).
On 12 August 1977, the first
Space Shuttle, designated OV-101, was carried aloft on the
of a modified
747 airliner (the Shuttle
Carrier Aircraft) and released
to glide to a landing at Edwards
AFB. This mission was part of the
Orbiter Approach and Landing Test (ALT)
Program, and counted Apollo
Haise among its crews.
was built as a test vehicle - it was never intended for space
is currently in storage
at the National Air and Space Museum's Dulles
Center (the "attic"
of the NASM) - currently under
construction as a second museum site, scheduled to be completed in
2001 and fully open to the public by Dec. 17, 2003, to celebrate the
100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers'
first powered flight.
More Space History - Today also marks the fortieth anniversary of the launch of the
world's first communications
satellite, Echo 1. It was basically a giant
balloon with an internal telemetry system for tracking. it relayed
signals by simply reflecting
them off its silvery surface. Echo
1 launched from Cape
Canaveral on 12
August 1960 aboard a Delta
11 August 2000 - NASA Shuttle news:
STS-106 and its seven-member
crew will be the next visitors to the International Space Station in September.
While at the station, Atlantis' five astronauts and two cosmonauts will deliver
supplies, unload the Progress supply vehicle, outfit the Zvezda Service Module
and perform a space walk in preparation for the arrival of the Expedition 1 crew
in early November. After STS-106, the next shuttle mission to visit the space
station in the assembly sequence will be
STS-92, which will deliver
four moment control gyros, an additional conical docking adapter and the Z1
Truss. STS-92 is scheduled to launch Oct. 5.
astronomy a science? (Hey, we don't want a bunch of angry guys with
slide rules coming around here!)
NASA says that they won't mess up this Mars mission - they've learned
from their mistakes. Here's hoping!
10 August 2000 - NASA has announced that they are sending not one,
but two rovers to Mars in 2003.
The missions will launch next
spring, and target different areas of the Red Planet. The six-wheeled
robotic explorers will look for signs of past or present life and send back images of the surface.
Press conference video here.
9 August 2000 - Latest ISS Status Report here. NASA states:
A Progress supply
vehicle docked with the International Space Station on Tuesday at 3:13
p.m. CDT, or 20:13 GMT. The Progress, which is attached to the station's
Zvezda Service Module, delivered clothing, computers, personal hygiene
items, office supplies, food and fuel for the first permanent residents of
the station. The Progress will be unloaded by the seven-member STS-106
crew when it arrives at the space station in September.
launched two more "Cluster" satellites to monitor
On TV Tonight: We just found out that TLC is showing back-to-back
space-related TV shows - "Extreme Machines: Ultimate Space Machines"
tonight at 8PM EDT/PDT, repeated at 11PM. Their episode description:
"The International Space Station, or ISS, is the biggest
and riskiest engineering project of all time, testing the limits of
technology and the endurance of the astronauts who operate it".
Immediately following is "Space:
The Final Junkyard," and then "Exodus
Earth". Check tonight's
schedule for repeat times. After the second showings (11-2), there's a Star
Trek special on for us sci-fi fans. Set your VCR to tape 11PM EDT for 4
hours of space TV!! WooHoo!!
8 August 2000 - Russia launched an unmanned cargo ship to the ISS
on Sunday. It is due to dock
with the Station today at 4:14PM EDT. NASA TV
will provide live coverage starting at 4PM.
[See also 6 August 2000].
UPDATE: Docking successful! ISS Status Report here.
A Russian Progress resupply ship docked with the International Space Station
Aug. 8. The STS-106 crew will unload the Progress vehicle, which contains
clothing, computers, personal hygiene items, office supplies, food and fuel.
A Russian space official revealed that they were so nervous about the
launch to the ISS, that they were considering
cutting funds for further Station work. Come on, guys, you did fine!
Space Shuttle Atlantis is
heading to the
VAB. NASA reports:
At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., workers began rolling Space Shuttle Atlantis out of
the Orbiter Processing Facility. Atlantis will be moved to the Vehicle
Assembly Building, or VAB, where it will be connected to the external
tank, which is slated to begin Tuesday. On Thursday, the shuttle will go
through the Shuttle Interface Test. Sunday night at about 10 p.m. CDT,
Atlantis is scheduled to begin roll out to Launch Pad 39B. STS-106 and its
seven-member crew are scheduled to launch Sept. 8 at 7:31 a.m. CDT.
Photos at Florida
Today (3/4 down the page) and NASA
Today in Space History - 11th anniversary of the launch of STS-28
(Shuttle Columbia), a classified
mission for the DoD.
6 August 2000 - The next step in the construction of the International Space Station is in Progress:
cargo ship, launched from a Russian Soyuz-U
rocket, has successfully
launched from Baikonur
to deliver supplies to the ISS. It is due to dock with the still-vacant
station this week. NASA reports:
The International Space Station awaits the
arrival of its next visitor, a Russian Progress cargo ship, that launched Sunday
at 1:26 p.m. CDT, or 18:26 GMT. The liftoff occurred at the Baikonur Cosmodrome,
Kazakhstan, and the launch vehicle was a Russian Soyuz rocket. The ship is
carrying clothes, computers, food and other supplies for use by the first
permanent crew of the station. The Progress is scheduled to dock with the
International Space Station Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 3:14 p.m. CDT, or 20:14 GMT.
U.S. Defense Secretary Cohen will back the Missile Defense plan.
This week in Space History - Forty-one years ago tomorrow (7 Aug
1959), the U.S. Army launched an
satellite, called Explorer 6,
on a Thor Able rocket.
launched from Pad 17 at Cape
Canaveral, was deemed a success despite a
orbit, notably because it returned the
first photos of the Earth from space.
Another anniversary is the 7 Aug 1997 launch of STS-85 (Shuttle Discovery).
4 August 2000 - An unmanned Russian supply ship heads to the ISS
Sunday. Some astronauts think the station needs a catchier
name. No kidding!
Latest Shuttle Status Report here.
At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., workers are making final preparations to roll Space
Shuttle Atlantis out of the Orbiter Processing Facility on Monday. Roll
out is slated to begin at about 8:30 a.m. CDT. Atlantis will be
transferred to the Vehicle Assembly Building, where it will be mated to
the external tank and the solid rocket boosters. Atlantis is scheduled to
be rolled out to Launch Pad 39B on Aug. 13 with launch on Sept. 8.
Astronomers have discovered
a planet orbiting a star only 10 light-years away - the nearest extrasolar
planet yet detected. It is so close that it may be possible to make
visual contact with the Hubble
Space Telescope - a tremendous scientific landmark. Up to now, these planets
outside our solar system have only been indirectly observed via
gravitational disturbances in the stars (which we can see) they
3 August 2000 - This Sunday, the ISS will await its first visitor
since the docking of the Zvezda service module. NASA reports:
The next mission to the International Space Station will be a Russian Progress
resupply vehicle that will launch Aug. 6 at 1:26 p.m. CDT, or 18:26 GMT, from
the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz rocket. The Progress vehicle is
scheduled to dock with the space station on Aug. 8 at 3:14 p.m. CDT, or 20:14
GMT. Then, the STS-106 crew will transfer the supplies from the Progress vehicle
to the station. STS-106 is scheduled to launch on Space Shuttle Atlantis on
What distant star is only as large as a city on Earth, yet weighs more than a
million times what Earth does? A super-dense
neutron star! A new one has been discovered in deep space - but
this one has a wobbly spin that distorts its shape.
at UCSD have discovered evidence of changing
oxygen levels in 2-billion-year-old rocks. This provides a clue into the
early atmosphere of the Earth.
2 August 2000 - NASA's 2003 Mars rover will
have some company -
Britain's 2004 Beagle 2 mission (first reported here
almost exactly 1 year ago) will share
some time on the surface with the American rover! Our
can kick your spaceprobe's butt! (Just Kidding!!) The spacecraft will
be on different parts of Mars, and their experiments will complement each
other, say scientists. [See also 30
July, 27 July 2000].
Florida Today reports that India is indeed planning a mission to the moon
- but get this - it won't be some remote spaceprobe - they plan to send astronauts!!!
[See also 1 Aug 2000].
Today in Space History - Ninth anniversary of the 2 Aug 91 launch of STS-43 (Shuttle
1 August 2000 - China may launch a second
unmanned orbital mission, on their way to becoming the 3rd spacefaring nation on
Earth - but no one
they will take that step.
Will India launch a mission
to the moon?
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen,
along with former MS bigwig Nathan Myhrvold, are putting up millions
of dollars to support a radiotelescope array to search for
The Russian-made Zvezda
module, which recently linked up to the
International Space Station via remote control, has now assumed
computer control over the entire orbiting complex (no, it wasn't a
Latest ISS Status Report here.
Service Module's computers took control of the International Space
Station operations over the weekend. Also, leak checks have been performed
to verify the seal between Zvezda and the Zarya Control Module. Now, flight
controllers will turn their attention to the arrival of a Progress supply
vehicle. The supply ship is scheduled to launch on a Russian Soyuz rocket at
1:30 p.m. CDT, or 18:30 GMT, on Aug. 6 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome,
Kazakhstan, and dock with the station at 2:46 p.m. CDT, or 19:46 GMT, Aug. 8.
UPI: Russia launches U.S. satellite.
To keep going back in the timeline, check the
Space News Archive for July 2000, June 2000, Apr - May 2000, Jan - Feb 2000,
Oct - Dec 1999,