Sep 2000

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Space News September 2000...

Note: The links below will 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.

Follow our in-depth coverage of the Atlantis mission to the ISS at our new STS-106 Mission Journal page!
New - Discovery launches October 5th - catch the action on our even newer STS-92 Mission Journal page!


For the latest News From Space, click here.

For older News From Space, click here, here, here or here.

For even older News From Space, click here, here or here.

The STS-106 crew poses for a photograph after a successful mission and landing. Standing, left to right, are Mission Specialists Yuri I. Malenchenko, Boris V. Morukov, Daniel C. Burbank and Richard A. Mastracchio; Pilot Scott D. Altman; Mission Specialist Edward T. Lu; and Commander Terrence W. Wilcutt.  Main gear touchdown occurred on-time at 3:56:48 a.m. EDT.  Photo courtesy of NASA.

Atlantis lands!

Asteroid closeups!

This is a mosaic of four images taken by NEAR Shoemaker on September 5, 2000, from about 100 kilometers (62 miles) above Eros. The knobs sticking out of the surface near the top of the image surround a boulder-strewn area, and are probably remnants of ancient impact craters. Image courtesy of NASA and Johns Hopkins University

bullet30 September 2000 - NASA has announced the name for the next mission to Mars - not the much publicized 2003 twin-rover mission, but next year's orbiter, (due to launch in April 2001, and arrive at the Red Planet in October 2001). So what's it called? "2001 Mars Odyssey"! Stop, Dave! 
NASA's Scott Hubbard explains:

Illustration of the 2001 Mars Odyssey. Image courtesy of NASA."NASA's next mission to Mars, launching in the year 2001, represents the start of a new wave of exploration at the red planet. It seemed fitting to name the mission 2001 Mars Odyssey not only in honor of the story and the movie, but also to herald the start of our new long-term journey to explore Mars."

Here Comes The Sun: Spacecraft Finds Corona's Furnace (Washington Post). Of course, we know the Sun is hot. What makes it that way? NASA's TRACE spacecraft may have found the answer - massive loops of solar plasma arching above the Sun's surface, like "fountains of fire".

Today In Space History - It's the 6th anniversary (30 Sep 1994) of the STS-68 (Shuttle Endeavour) launch, the 65th shuttle mission. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This mission landed at Edwards AFB and featured the Space Radar Laboratory among its many payloads.


bullet29 September 2000 - The engines have barely cooled down from Atlantis' trip to the ISS, and now it's time for another launch - Shuttle Discovery will visit the space station next week! Follow the flight on our brandy-new STS-92 Mission Journal page!

Square craters??? Asteroid Eros has'em! to lay off 22 staffers; preparing for big plans.

Today In Space History - It is the 12th anniversary (29 Sep 1988) of the STS-26 (Shuttle Discovery) launch, the 26th Shuttle mission. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collections here and here. This was the first Shuttle flight after the Challenger disaster 31 months earlier - you know they were keeping a close eye on this one! The mission featured the deployment of a TDRS-3 satellite.

Today also marks the 38th anniversary (29 Sep 1962) of the launch of Alouette I, the first Canadian satellite. The bird went up from Vandenberg AFB (USA) on a Thor Agena B rocket. This launch made Canada the third nation on earth to have a spacecraft in orbit. Alouette I stayed in orbit for 10 years, studying the Earth's ionosphere.


bullet26 September 2000 - Tears for a cosmonaut: Gherman Titov, the second man to orbit the Earth in 1961, was buried Monday in Moscow. Titov, who died of a heart attack last week, was an early pioneer in the space race. Of course, back then, the Soviet space program was shrouded in secrecy, unlike the out-in-the-open American program. Even though he "played for the opposing team," his accomplishments [see 22 Sep] cannot be ignored. Rest easy... 
BBC video report here.

UPI: Russia test-fires ballistic missile.


bullet25 September 2000 - Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin will be making a personal appearance in New York City tomorrow. He is - get this - promoting a Fisher-Price toy called "Rocket, The Wonder Dog". (It looks pretty cool, actually - it's a little robot that responds to voice commands, plus you don't need a pooper scooper). His first stop is at the Mars 2112 restaurant at 11AM, and then it's off to FAO Schwarz at noon, for more hijinks. Just don't call Buzz a publicity hound!

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

Today In Space History - 3rd anniversary (25 Sep 97) of STS-86 (Shuttle Atlantis) launch, the 87th shuttle mission. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; KSC image collection here. News coverage here. This mission was the seventh docking with the Mir station and featured a joint US-Russian space-walk.


bullet24 September 2000 - UPI: Gadhafi acquires N. Korean ballistic missiles.

NASA is reviving a plan for an American propulsion module for the International Space Station - in case the Russians can't keep up with their end...


bullet23 September 2000 - Scientists at NASA and Johns Hopkins University are pleased with their first close-up views of asteroid Eros, which is being orbited by the NEAR-Shoemaker probe.


bullet22 September 2000 - Russian space pioneer Gherman Titov was found dead in his Moscow home this Wednesday. Titov, 65, passed away in his sauna, a victim of a heart attack (not carbon monoxide poisoning, as some early reports speculated). He was the fourth man ever to fly in space, after Yuri GagarinAlan Shepard, and Gus Grissom. His Vostok 2 mission (of 17.5 Earth orbits) was the first spaceflight to last more than 24 hours. At the time of his launch, he was the world's youngest space traveler (just shy of his 26th birthday - the record remains unbroken). At the time of his death, he was the world's senior space traveler - all those who preceded him into space are deceased. Titov was Gagarin's backup and came close to being the first man in space. He was the second person to orbit the Earth, and the first to sleep in space. After his August 1961 mission, he never flew a spacecraft again. Later in life, he worked on military aspects of the Soviet and Russian space program, and he was elected to the Russian Parliament in 1995. The two Russian members of the just-returned STS-106 Shuttle mission reacted with sadness at the news.

Today is the Autumnal Equinox - the first day of Fall in the northern hemisphere. What are the seasons like on other planets?


bullet21 September 2000 - Weather satellite launches this morning at 6:22AM EDT - it had originally been scrubbed from Wednesday. Read the play-by-play here. Watch the launch here.

UPI: N.Korea seeks ties with Europe, offers to scrap missile program in exchange for access to space technology.

UPI: Orange County man charged with NASA hacking.

Here's the latest Shuttle Status Report - 3 missions covered.


bullet20 September 2000 - Is there a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy? UCLA astronomers may have evidence!


bullet19 September 2000 - What is the threat from asteroids or Near Earth Objects?

Is India developing ICBM capability?


bullet18 September 2000 - Wrap up last week's space news at Florida Today.


bullet17 September 2000 - Are Apollo-era spacesuits crumbling in museums?

NASA chief Dan Goldin (who was appointed by George H. W. Bush in 1992) says he will stick around at least until the next president is sworn in.


bullet16 September 2000 - A North Korean ambassador, addressing the U.N. Millennium General Assembly Friday, stated that all countries should have access to space, and be able to launch rockets freely.

Today In Space History - Today marks the fourth anniversary of STS-79 Russia's Mir space station. Image courtesy of NASA. (Shuttle Atlantis) launch, the 79th shuttle mission (16 Sep 96). Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This mission flew to the Russian Mir space station to "drop off" one American astronaut and "pick up" another - Dr. Shannon Lucid, who became the world-record holder for space endurance by a woman and, at 188 days in space, is the most-traveled U.S. astronaut.


bullet15 September 2000 - Where's all the Shuttle stuff??? Not to worry - we moved it to a separate page! This way, other news (yes, there are other things going on besides the Shuttle mission!) would be easier to find, and the pages will load faster. Follow our in-depth coverage of the Atlantis mission to the ISS at our new STS-106 Mission Journal page!

Is the soil on Mars sterile?

Here's the latest Shuttle Status Report - 3 missions covered.


bullet14 September 2000 - Black holes have gravity so strong that not even light can escape - so how do you see them? Some NASA scientists may have a way...

Here comes another giant solar flare - maybe we'll get a cool light show out of it.


bullet13 September 2000 - Look up! It's the Harvest Moon!

Duking it out on Mars: A British scientist claims that NASA's twin Mars rovers will have inferior instrumentation to the UK's Beagle 2 lander. The three space-probes will be on the Martian surface in 2003. Them's fightin' words!


bullet12 September 2000 - Scientists have discovered a new type of black hole - a "middleweight" in between the normal (!) ones and the "supermassive" ones. 

Today In Space History features three Shuttle anniversaries plus a Gemini anniversary! This date is a big one for space travel:
The 9th anniversary of STS-48 (Shuttle Discovery) launch, the 43rd shuttle mission. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This mission was scheduled to land at KSC but landed at Edwards AFB due to bad weather at the Cape.

The 8th anniversary of STS-47 (Shuttle Endeavour) launch, the 50th shuttle mission. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This mission featured a joint U.S.-Japanese SpaceLab mission. Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman in space on this flight, which also included the first Japanese astronaut and the first married couple in space (Mark Lee and Jan Davis met during their astronaut training!).

The 7th anniversary of STS-51 (Shuttle Discovery) launch, the 57th shuttle mission. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This mission deployed 2 satellites and completed with the first night landing at KSC.

Going back to the early space program, today also marks the 32nd anniversary of the Gemini 11 (GT-XI) launch, the 15th U.S. manned spaceflight. Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This mission was commanded by the late Pete Conrad, who would later become an Apollo 12 moonwalker and the first Skylab commander. The Gemini crew practiced docking techniques with an Agena target vehicle and created the first artificial gravity when pilot Dick Gordon used Gemini to spin the Agena by a tether.


bullet11 September 2000 - UPI: Japan cautious about Korean peace, missiles.

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


bullet10 September 2000 -

China has announced that the government will launch a series of satellites next year to monitor the marine environment. The plan is to orbit one every two years. They launched a satellite for other domestic purposes earlier this month.


bullet9 September 2000 -

Today In Space History - It is the 6th anniversary of the STS-64 (Shuttle Discovery) launch, the 64th Shuttle mission (9 Sep 94). Mission Fact sheet here. Crew info here. One of the many experiments flown on this mission was the SPARTAN telescope for observing the solar wind.


bullet8 September 2000 - UPI: Russian leader warns of "militarization" of space.

Today In Space History - Forty years ago today (8 Sep 1960), NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center was dedicated in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA recalls:

The Marshall Center, activated by President Eisenhower Sept. 8, 1960 40 years ago has a rich history of contributions to space exploration. As NASA's premier organization for development of space transportation and propulsion systems, what's in store for Marshall in the next four decades?

Congratulations on four decades of space pioneering - and many more to come...


bullet7 September 2000 - More on Tuesday's lightning strike at the Shuttle launch padKSC reports that the lightning arrestor system (a 100-ft-tall mast) did its job, and no equipment was damaged - unlike the Monday hit at the runway, which damaged a navigation system (which was quickly repaired). Atlantis continued fueling yesterday, despite concerns over weather conditions at the launch site.

Arianespace launched a comm satellite aboard an Ariane-4 rocket from their facility in French Guiana on Wednesday. Video clips here.

UPI: Ulysses probe/ ISS experiments.

Today In Space History - Fifth anniversary of STS-69 (Shuttle Endeavour) launch, the 71st shuttle mission (7 Sep 1995). Mission Fact sheet here - Crew info here. This mission marked the first time two payloads were deployed on the same flight.


bullet6 September 2000 - Lightning strikes the launch pad! No damage reported. Shuttle Status report here.

UPI: Putin says disarmament must include space-based weapons.

When the first occupants of the ISS finally arrive next month, they expect to find some problems. That's life in orbit!


bullet5 September 2000 - Another Sirius satellite went up from Russia this week. Launched aboard a Proton rocket, the American bird will provide digital radio services. It is the second of three - the first launched July 1st.

UPI: Peculiar binary star system stumps astronomers.


bullet4 September 2000 - Happy Labor Day! Now that the ISS is ready for long-term habitation, NASA is is getting ready for a series of Shuttle launches to the Station. Three launches remain for this year, with more in quick succession for years to come.

A special ship (the water kind) will be transporting rocket parts for Boeing's Delta plant in Decatur, Alabama.

Ancient rocks, Mars balloon in CNN Briefs.

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


bullet3 September 2000 - China launched a new "remote sensing" satellite this past Thursday. Hmm... ever get the feeling you were being watched? The bird, known as Zi Yuan 2, was lofted atop a Chinese-made "Long March" rocket from their T'ai Yuan launch facility.

Today In Space History - Twenty-four years ago today (3 Sep 1976), the second of two Viking landers touched down on the surface of Mars.


bullet2 September 2000 - Shuttle Discovery, set to launch next month, will remain in the gigantic Vehicle Assemble Building until after Atlantis' launch next week. This will keep the spacecraft safe during Florida's unpredictable hurricane season.

Lockheed Martin announced a plan to establish an advanced Propulsion, Thermal, and Metrology Center at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

UPI: Clinton delays deployment of missile defense system.


bullet1 September 2000 - Boeing announced that the next ISS component, the Destiny module, has passed an Acceptance Review Board at NASA KSC.

UPI: U.S., Russia eye N. Korean satellite plan.

To keep going back in the timeline, check the Space News Archive for August 2000July 2000, June 2000, Apr - May 2000, March 2000, Jan - Feb 2000Oct - Dec 1999, and before.

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