Oct 2000

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Space News October 2000...

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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, here or here.

Shuttle Discovery on the launchpad last Thursday afternoon, before the scrub. Image courtesy of NASA Select.

First permanent Space Station Crew!

New Mars images!

Mars Global Surveyor computer image generated from real-time telemetry. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL

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

 

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31 October 2000 - UPDATE 7:30AM EST - Expedition One is in orbit! The Soyuz rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 1 at Baikonur, shortly before 3AM EST today. NASA reports:

Expedition 1 Crew Launches
Cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev (far right) are viewed in the Soyuz capsule during ascent into orbit. Just out of sight is American astronaut Bill Shepherd. Image courtesy of NASA/RSA. At 1:53 a.m. CST (7:53 GMT), the International Space Stationís first resident crew launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan to begin its two-day journey to the station. U.S. Astronaut Bill Shepherd, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko and Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev were launched atop a Soyuz rocket. Meanwhile, the space station continues to orbit the Earth in good condition as it awaits the arrival of its first crew. Expedition 1 is scheduled to dock with the station Nov. 2 at 3:20 a.m. CST (9:20 GMT). Then, approximately 90 minutes after docking, the crew will begin the permanent human presence on the station when they open the hatch to the stationís Zvezda Service Module.

CNN: Crew blasts off for International Space Station
CBS: Blastoff Into A New Era
BBC: Landmark Space Mission Underway
Spaceflight Now: Vanguard crew heads for four-month stay in space
Space.com: Expedition One News Update

More play-by-play at Florida Today.


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31 October 2000 - Happy Halloween! - Expedition One is set to launch into orbit only a couple of hours from now. Watch the show on NASA TV! Play-by-play at Spaceflight Now. These three people will become the first of a long chain...

Did You Know? Expedition Commander Bill Shepherd (a Navy SEAL) will be only the second American to go into space on an expendable rocket since Apollo-Soyuz in 1975! (Norm Thagard was the first to hitch a ride on a Russian booster - for a 1995 Mir mission). Like Thagard, the ISS crew will come home on a Space Shuttle. "Shep" quotes Yuri Gagarin: "Let's Go!"

 

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30 October 2000 - Expedition One lifts off tonight (Tuesday morning, 2:53AM EST)! NASA reports:

Flight controllers in the United States and Russia are preparing the International Space Station for the arrival of its first resident crew. Expedition 1 is scheduled to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Oct. 31 at 1:53 a.m. CST (7:53 GMT).
Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see the launch of the Expedition 1 crew. Live coverage begins at 1 a.m. CST (7:00 GMT) Oct. 31.

Not wanting to tempt fate, the crew will make a few important stops on their way to the launchpad - including answering the "call of nature" on the rear wheels of the cosmonaut bus! This is a custom going back to Yuri Gagarin (who probably wasn't thinking he was starting a new tradition at the time - he just had to go, that's all!). Other traditions include the viewing of the same movie he watched on the evening before his flight, and a visit to his grave at the Kremlin (the crew paid their respects on Oct 16th).

Speaking of launchpads, the trio will lift off from the very same pad that saw Gagarin's historic flight inaugurate the age of human space exploration in 1961. Their ride will be a little more modern, though - they are going up on a Soyuz rocket, topped by the latest-model Soyuz spacecraft (which will also serve as a lifeboat during their 4-month stay).

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

Today In Space History: The 15th anniversary of the STS-61-A Shuttle mission (30 Oct 1985). This mission, the first to be largely financed & controlled by another nation (West Germany) would be the last full flight of Shuttle Challenger.

 

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29 October 2000 - The first permanent crew of the International Space Station launches from Baikonur on Monday night/early Tuesday! Lots of articles at Florida Today. Who is on Expedition One? NASA explains:

Expedition 1 Crew Contains Three
On Oct. 16, the Expedition 1 crew visited the grave of Soviet cosmonaut and the first human to fly in space, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin. Paying respects to Gagarin is customary in Russia prior to space flight. Pictured left to right are Sergei K. Krikalev, William M. Shepherd and Yuri Pavlovich Gidzenko. Photo courtesy of NASA. The Expedition 1 crew is comprised of three veterans of human space flight who will make history as the first resident crew of the International Space Station. U.S. Astronaut Bill Shepherd will serve as the Expedition 1 commander. He will be responsible for the overall safety and success of the mission. Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko will serve as the Soyuz commander. He will be responsible for all of the systems on the Soyuz spacecraft from launch until docking and during landing if the crew needs to use it in the event of an emergency. Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev will serve as the flight engineer. He will be responsible for most of the station's systems.

Europe had its own 100-flight milestone today - the 100th launch of an Ariane 4 rocket occurred this morning, lofting a communications satellite from the Arianespace facility in French Guiana.

Today In Space History: The 29th of October marks the 2nd anniversary of John Glenn's return to space in STS-95 (not to mention the first Spaniard in space, Pedro Duque!). Also: The Galileo orbiter became the first spacecraft to photograph close-up images of an asteroid on this day in 1991.

 

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28 October 2000 - Daylight Saving Time ("Summer Time" in Europe) ends tonight! In most places, you will need to set your clocks back one hour. We like to set ours to the U.S. Naval Observatory Master Clock - among the most accurate on the planet!

Today In Space History: On this date in 1974, the Soviet Union launched Luna 23, an unmanned lunar lander intended to bring samples of moon rocks and soil back to Earth. A rough landing prevented the probe's return. Two years later, a subsequent lander was able to retrieve lunar material and bring it back home.

 

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27 October 2000 - The first resident crew of the ISS is "raring to go". After years of training and delays, they launch from Baikonur this Tuesday! NASA reports:

Station Waits for Expedition 1
With the arrival of the International Space Station's first resident crew scheduled for next week, U.S. and Russian flight controllers are preparing the station for its new inhabitants. Sunday, flight controllers will conduct a dress rehearsal of the docking. Nov. 2, the Soyuz spacecraft carrying the three-member Expedition 1 crew will dock with the International Space Station's Zvezda Service Module at 3:20 a.m. CST (9:20 GMT). Currently, the port that the crew will dock to is occupied by a Progress cargo ship. Flight controllers will transfer fuel from the Progress to the station before it is undocked from the station on Nov. 1. Expedition 1 is slated to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 1:53 a.m. CST (7:53 GMT) Oct. 31. NASA TV will have live coverage of the launch beginning at 1 a.m. CST (7:00 GMT).

News From Space is starting coverage of Shuttle mission STS-97! Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to launch on 30 November 2000 on a mission to the ISS to install new solar arrays and electrical systems, as well as an IMAX 3D camera. The STS-97 Mission Journal makes its debut tonight

Yesterday, the NEAR space probe swooped down towards the surface of Eros - the closest approach ever to an asteroid (3 miles). 

Today In Space History: On 27 October 1961, the first (unmanned) test of the Saturn 1 rocket occurred at Cape Canaveral, kicking off the Apollo program.

 

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26 October 2000 - For Sale, cheap: One Soyuz TM-26 spacecraft, slightly used. The space relic is being sold for a "mere" $2.2 million online at The Space Store.

The annual Leonids meteor storm is approaching Earth next month. Will some of the space rocks strike the moon (like they did last year)?

Today In Space History: On this date (26 Oct 1968), the USSR's Soyuz 3 spacecraft attempted to dock with the unmanned Soyuz 2, already in orbit. Cosmonaut Georgi Beregovoi used up his maneuvering fuel before he could complete the docking.

 

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25 October 2000 - NASA unveils new Mars exploration plan. We are looking at six major missions over the next decade!

Two of Jupiter's gigantic swirling storm systems have collided, merging into one mass of clouds and gas. Plenty more where that came from!

Today In Space History: The 25th anniversary (25 October 1975) of the Soviet Union's landing of the Venera 10 probe on the surface of Venus.

 

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24 October 2000 - Shuttle Discovery is home! Check our STS-92 Mission Journal for more detail. NASA states:

Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew land safely at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to wrap up STS-92, an International Space Station assembly mission. Due to the crew's work, the station is now ready for the arrival of its first resident crew and future assembly missions. Wednesday, the STS-92 astronauts will return to Houston, Texas. They are scheduled to land at Ellington Field at 1:30 p.m. CDT (18:30 GMT).
STS-92 Ends Successful Space Station Mission
The STS-92 crew completed a successful mission to the International Space Station. After installing the Z-1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 and completing four space walks, the STS-92 crew and Space Shuttle Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., at 4 p.m. CDT (21:00 GMT).

Global warming - is it caused by human activity? Is it even happening at all?

Today In Space History: X-15 rocket-plane makes its final flight at the edge of space (24 Oct 1968). Pilot Bill Dana had already been awarded astronaut wings for a 1966 flight that took him above 50 miles in altitude.

 

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23 October 2000 - The crew of Shuttle Discovery prepares for landing today - but where? Check our STS-92 Mission Journal for more.

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

Today In Space History: Two of Uranus' moons, Ariel and Umbriel, are discovered (23 Oct 1851).

UPDATE: Discovery landing postponed again - see Mission Journal. NASA reports:

The flight control team waves off Space Shuttle Discovery's final landing opportunity for Monday due to rain showers in the vicinity of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Discovery has three landing opportunities on Tuesday that managers are considering. The first one is scheduled for Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 2:28 p.m. CDT (19:28 GMT).

 

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22 October 2000 - Weather on Titan? Saturn's largest moon seems to have cloud activity, and perhaps even rainstorms - but not like here: Titan is the only other body in our Solar System to have a thick atmosphere like ours - except it's made of methane, and it's hundreds of degrees colder!

Meteor showers tonight? Hang out in the back yard and enjoy the Orionids!

FLASH! Today's Shuttle landing postponed! Follow the flight at our STS-92 Mission Journal.

Today In Space History: USSR lands Venera 9 probe on Venus (22 Oct 1975); STS-52 - Shuttle Columbia (22 Oct 1992).

 

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21 October 2000 - Space Station news - NASA reports:

The seven STS-92 astronauts will spend their final full day in orbit making preparations for their return to Earth. Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 1:14 p.m. CDT (18:14 GMT) on Sunday.
STS-92 Nears End; Expedition 1 Next
Expedition 1 crew : (from left)  Sergei Krikalev, Yuri Gidzenko and Bill Shepherd. Image courtesy of NASA.Following the outfitting performed by the STS-92 crew, the International Space Station is now ready for the arrival of its first resident crew, which is slated to launch Oct. 31. During STS-92, the station continued to grow with the delivery of the Z1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3.
The launch vehicle will be a Russian Soyuz rocket. The crew consists of [pictured from right to left] Commander Bill Shepherd, a U.S. astronaut; Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko, a Russian cosmonaut; and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev; a Russian cosmonaut.

Follow tomorrow's Shuttle landing at our STS-92 Mission Journal.

Today In Space History: Apollo 7 splashes down (21 Oct 1968) [see also 11 Oct].

 

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20 October 2000 - Space Station news - NASA reports:

Discovery Leaves Station, Expedition 1 Crew Ready
Space Shuttle Discovery's crew undocked from the International Space Station this morning while flying over Brazil. For a spectacular photo of the station taken from Discovery after undocking, click here. The shuttle spent a week docked to the station, continued its on-orbit construction and prepared it for the arrival of the first resident crew. Discovery is scheduled to land Sunday, October 22, at Kennedy Space Center, FL. at 2:14 p.m. EDT. Meanwhile, the crew of Expedition 1is preparing for launch on October 31 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
STS-92 Undocks from Station
STS-92 undocked from the International Space Station on Friday, leaving it ready for permanent habitation and future assembly missions. The International Space Station is viewed after undocking from Discovery. A large antenna extends from the newly attached Z1 Truss. Also, the dark protrusion at the bottom of the station is the new Pressurized Mating Adapter 3. Image courtesy of NASA. Thursday, their final full day docked to the station, the STS-92 astronauts worked inside the space station to complete outfitting of the Z1 Truss and the transfer of equipment. Earlier in the mission, the STS-92 crew also performed four space walks and used the shuttle's robotic arm to conduct on-orbit construction of the station. They installed the Z1 Truss, which is the platform that U.S. solar arrays will be installed on during STS-97, and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 -- the station's third docking port. The next mission to arrive at the station will be the first resident crew, Expedition 1. The three-member crew is slated to dock with the station on Nov. 2 at 3:20 a.m. CST (9:20 GMT).

Sea Launch delays satellite liftoff until Saturday.

Today In Space History: USSR Launches Zond 8 (20 Oct 1970); STS-73 Shuttle (20 Oct 1995).

 

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19 October 2000 - Space Station news - NASA reports:

STS-92 Wraps Up Work at Station
STS-92 has accomplished its objectives at the International Space Station, which is now ready for permanent habitation. Thursday, their final full day docked to the station, the STS-92 astronauts worked inside the space station to complete outfitting of the Z1 Truss and the transfer of equipment. Earlier in the mission, the STS-92 crew also performed four space walks and used the shuttle's robotic arm to conduct on-orbit construction of the station. They installed the Z1 Truss, which is the platform that U.S. solar arrays will be installed on during STS-97, and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 -- the station's third docking port. The next mission to arrive at the station will be the first resident crew, Expedition 1. The three-member crew is slated to dock with the station on Nov. 2 at 3:20 a.m. CST (9:20 GMT).

Follow the 100th Shuttle flight at our STS-92 Mission Journal.

Today In Space History: Mariner 5 flyby of Venus (19 Oct 1967).

 

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18 October 2000 - Update 11:30PM EDT - Space Station news - NASA reports:

STS-92 Wraps Up Space Walks
The International Space Station rides docked to Discovery with the newly attached Z1 Truss (at bottom). Extending from the truss on a boom is a communications antenna for use by future resident crews onboard the station. Image courtesy of NASA.With the completion of Wednesday's space walk by STS-92 Mission Specialists Michael Lopez-Alegria and Jeff Wisoff, the International Space Station is ready for the arrival of its first resident crew in early November and future assembly missions.
During Wednesday's space walk, which was the fourth of STS-92, Lopez-Alegria and Wisoff removed a grapple fixture from the Z1 Truss; verified the operation of a latch assembly on the Z1; deployed a tray that will provide power to the U.S. Laboratory Destiny; and tested the manual berthing mechanism latches that will support Destiny.
Wednesday's space walk was the 10th outside of the station and increases the time spent outside of the station to 69 hours and 34 minutes. Meanwhile, the station continues to operate in good condition. The next shuttle mission to visit the station will be STS-97 on Assembly Flight 4A, which will deliver U.S. solar arrays that will be mounted on the Z1 Truss, in early December.

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18 October - More STS-92 news here! Check back for more news (Shuttle and otherwise) tonight!

Kennedy Space Center (NASA) and the 45th Space Wing (USAF) celebrate the 3rd annual Super Safety and Health Day today.

Today In Space History - Two Shuttle launch anniversaries: STS-34 (18 Oct 1989); and STS-58 (18 Oct 1993) Stay tuned for full articles!
Eleven years ago (18 Oct 1989), the Galileo spaceprobe, bound for Jupiter and its moons & rings, was launched from Shuttle Atlantis. The main spacecraft launched a smaller probe into the Jovian atmosphere in July 1995, and the main spacecraft continues to return photos and data to this day.

 

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17 October 2000 - Update 11PM EDT - Space Station news: EVA 3 is complete, with the fourth slated for tomorrow. NASA reports:

STS-92 Installs Power Converters
Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao and Bill McArthur completed the third space walk of Discovery's STS-92 mission Tuesday, installing two power converters atop the International Space Station's new Z1 Truss. Those two 129-pound converters, called DDCUs, will convert electricity generated by the huge solar arrays to be attached during the next shuttle mission to the proper voltage.
The space walkers also completed power cable connections on both the Z1 truss and newly installed Pressurized Mating Adapter 3. They also attached a second tool storage box on the Z1 truss, providing a place to hold the tools and space walking aids for future assembly flights.
The fourth and final space walk scheduled for STS-92 is slated to begin Wednesday at 9:47 a.m. CDT (14:47 GMT). It will be conducted by Mission Specialists Jeff Wisoff and Michael Lopez-Alegria.

A boatload of new Mars images is now available at JPL, thanks to the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor. Real-time computer-generated images (based on probe telemetry) here.

China to use automated probes in their budding space program, though training of "taikonauts" continues.

The Space Station That Wouldn't Die: Russia launches a new unmanned supply ship to Mir to stock up and boost its orbit

Pluto Or Bust: It's the only planet in our solar system that hasn't been explored. NASA is cancelling a mission there due to budget cuts. Is that the end of it? Not if the Planetary Society has its way!

Congressman says NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama needs more money. Hey, who doesn't?


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17 October 2000 - Space Station news: EVA 3 is underway. NASA reports:

The third space walk of STS-92 is now under way. Astronauts Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao will continue the outfitting of the International Space Station's newest components, the Z1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3.

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

Today In Space History: Magellan probe damaged by electrical fire in warehouse (17 Oct 1988).

 

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16 October 2000 - Space Station news: Second spacewalk adds docking port. NASA reports:

STS-92 Installs Third Docking Port
On Monday, the STS-92 crew continued the on-orbit assembly of the International Space Station when it installed Pressurized Mating Adapter 3, or PMA 3, on to the station. The new adapter is the station's third docking port. With the addition of PMA 3 and the Z1 Truss, the stage has been set for future space station assembly missions. Two more space walks are scheduled for STS-92 in order to make final connections between the station and the new additions and to outfit the Z1 and PMA 3.
Also on Monday, the first of three maneuvers to raise the station's orbit was performed by firing Space Shuttle Discovery's engines 18 times in a 30-minute period. On their final full day of docked operations, Oct. 19, the STS-92 astronauts will transfer supplies from Discovery to the station. Space Shuttle Discovery will undock from the station on Oct. 20.

BBC: 15000-year-old lunar calendar found in ancient cave.

Waiting game: What's it like working behind the scenes in the space program? Hear it from a couple of launch engineers!

Today In Space History: X-15 rocket-plane reaches 85Km altitude (16 Oct 1967).

 

 

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15 October 2000 - Space Station news: EVA 1 is underway. NASA reports:

The first of four space walks scheduled for STS-92 is under way. Today, Mission Specialists Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao will begin outfitting the newly installed Z1 Truss.

From KSC: STS-92 was the 100th mission launched in the history of the Shuttle program. In recognition of that milestone, a collection of one photo of each of the 100 launches has been created. See the collection.....

The Medevac Oxygen System, developed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, is to be used by the U.S. Air Force through a technology transfer agreement. Story here.

More KSC news: Next week's Business Expo to feature vendor-networking opportunities.

 

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14 October 2000 - Update 11PM EDT - Crew overcomes electrical difficulties to install ISS truss! NASA states:

Station Receives New Component
After a two-hour delay due to a short circuit, STS-92 Mission Specialist Koichi Wakata deftly maneuvered Discovery's robotic arm to attach the Z1 Truss to the Unity Connecting Module on the International Space Station.
The round dish in the center is the Ku-band antenna belonging to the Z1 Truss installed Saturday afternoon on the Unity Module. Above Unity is the Zarya Control Module. At top left, is the Zvezda Service Module with its antenna fully extended. Image courtesy of NASA.The STS-92 crew attached the Z1 Truss to its new home, the International Space Station. The Z1 contains four motion control gyroscopes, which will give the station its sense of balance, and communications equipment. It will also be the platform on which the large solar arrays will be installed by STS-97 [Assembly Flight 4A].  Four space walks will be conducted by the STS-92 astronauts to make final connections between the Z1 and the station's Unity Connecting Module. Monday, the crew will attach Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 to the station. Meanwhile, the station continues to operate in good condition.
Sunday at 9:32 a.m. CDT (14:32 GMT), Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao and William McArthur will begin the first of four space walks scheduled for STS-92. Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-92. The NASA TV schedule is available online.

More detail at our STS-92 Mission Journal.


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14 October 2000 - Another Discovery glitch! NASA states:

An electrical short in Space Shuttle Discovery causes a delay in the installation of the Z1 Truss. The STS-92 crew performs onboard maintenance to correct the problem. Installation of the Z1 is still scheduled for today.

More detail at our STS-92 Mission Journal.

How do you keep a space station clean for 14 years? It isn't easy!

Today In Space History: Chuck Yeager, piloting a Bell X-1 rocketplane, becomes the first human to break the sound barrier. Yeager's amazing Mach 1 flight (14 Oct 1947) paved the way for future aviation and space feats, culminating in the lunar landings and today's Shuttle program. So, who cares if you never made it into space, General - hats off to you - you really have The Right Stuff!! Chuck is THE MAN!!!

 

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13 October 2000 - Update 11:30PM EDT - Docking with the ISS is complete, with the astronauts entering the station at 4:30PM EDT today. NASA states:

Discovery, Space Station Dock
Friday at 12:45 p.m. CDT (17:45 GMT), Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station. The hatch to the station was opened at about 3:30 p.m. CDT (20:30 GMT). Soon after, crew members Leroy Chiao, Michael Lopez-Alegria, Pilot Pamela Melroy and Commander Brian Duffy entered the station to begin transferring supplies from Discovery. While at the station, the STS-92 astronauts will connect Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 and the Z1 Truss to the station by using Discovery's robotic arm and conducting four space walks. The Z1 contains the station's motion control system and communications equipment. The truss is also the platform on which the first set of U.S. solar arrays for the station will be attached.

 

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13 October - Docking with the ISS is on for 1:45PM EDT. NASA states:

Discovery's crew members spent their first full day in orbit [Thursday] checking equipment in preparation for four space walks and Friday's docking to the station. However, a failure in one of Discovery's communications systems may prevent live television coverage of many of the crew's activities. While at the station, the STS-92 astronauts will open the door for future station assembly missions.
Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-92. Friday at 12:45 p.m. CDT (17:45 GMT), Space Shuttle Discovery is slated to dock with the International Space Station. The NASA TV schedule is available online.

Did a KSC engineer save the lives of Discovery's crew? Check our STS-92 Mission Journal for the latest Shuttle news. 

We're due for a beautiful full moon tonight...

NASA gets a big raise - $14.3 billion for FY2001!

Primitive icy meteorite from this January's Canadian blast may hold clues to the early Solar System [See also 2 June, 26 January 2000]. Why does Earth get hit with so many of these darned things?

What role did Australia play in the Apollo moon landings? A new movie (a comedy, no less!) is out about it.

So, what language do you speak when you're on a joint U.S.-Russian space station crew? Why, Runglish, of course! It's not easy being part of a multi-national group - especially if you're the odd man out.

JPL will give free lectures on space navigation on Oct 19th and 20th at Pasadena City College in California.

Today In Space History: STS-41G (Shuttle Challenger) lands (13 Oct 1984).

 

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12 October 2000 - Discovery's mission is off to a great start. NASA states:

Following Wednesday night's successful launch of STS-92, Space Shuttle Discovery continues its pursuit of the International Space Station. STS-92 will dock with the station Friday at 12:43 p.m. CDT (17:43 GMT) and will set the stage for future station assembly missions.

Did you know? NASA/JPL's Genesis Mission, set to launch in February 2001, will collect samples of the solar wind for return to Earth. Some high-tech materials are going into the construction of this probe.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is rebuilding their full-size Saturn V replica...

Will MirCorp have a stock IPO to raise funds for the aging Russian space station? It may be too late for old Mir - TV show or not.

 

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11 October 2000 - Update 9:30PM EDT - Discovery is on-orbit! NASA states:

Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. to begin STS-92. Discovery and its seven astronauts will deliver a third mating adapter and a piece of the exterior framework to the International Space Station, setting the stage for future station construction.

Check our STS-92 Mission Journal for the latest...

Hubble delivers pictures of the distant Veil Nebula - and spots a mysterious "blob" in space [See also 6 October 2000]... 


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11 October - Update 5PM EDT - Discovery set for launch tonight, on a construction mission to the ISS! NASA reports:

Space Station Waits for Discovery
The launch countdown resumes for STS-92, a mission that will set the stage for future International Space Station assembly missions. The International Space Station continues to orbit the Earth in good condition as it waits for Space Shuttle Discovery, which will deliver the Z1 Truss and third mating adapter. The Z1 Truss is a piece of the station's external framework that will contain the station's motion control gyroscopes and communications equipment. Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Oct. 11 at 6:17 p.m. CDT (23:17 GMT). Discovery will dock with the station at 12:43 p.m. CDT (17:43 GMT) Oct. 13. While at the station, the STS-92 astronauts will perform four space walks and use the shuttle's robotic arm to attach the Z1 and mating adapter to the station.
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11 October - As you know, last night's Shuttle launch attempt was scrubbed again due to a part inadvertently left on the launchpad. NASA reported Tuesday:

NASA managers postpone the launch of STS-92, an assembly mission to the International Space Station, for 24 hours due to a loose metal pin. Space Shuttle Discovery is now scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 6:17 p.m. CDT (23:17 GMT) Wednesday.

That's 7:17PM EDT. Check our STS-92 Mission Journal for the latest...

The annual Leonids meteor shower is heading our way next month.

October's SPACEWARN Bulletin is up, listing all launches worldwide for September.

Cassini probe returns color pics of Jupiter. More from NASA and JPL:

A Double Look at Jupiter on the Web
Color pic of Jupiter from Cassini probe, courtesy of NASA.For the first time ever, two interplanetary spacecraft are studying the same outer planet at the same time. The new Jupiter Millennium Flyby Internet site maintained by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, gives visitors a travel guide of NASA's Cassini and Galileo spacecraft near Jupiter from October through March. It will provide regular updates of new information and pictures gathered by the spacecraft and by related Jupiter research. A coordinated plan of studies aims to use the opportunity of having two different vantage points to gain new information about Jupiter, its moons, and its surrounding environment.
Also exciting is that elementary, middle, and high school students will have the opportunity to participate in this unique event by observing Jupiter from November 2000 to February 2001 using groundbased radio antennas.

A problem in a receiver inside Cassini may impede one part of the mission. The  Huygens probe, which will detach from Cassini and parachute to the Saturnian moon Titan in late 2004, may not be able to transmit full data back to Cassini. Cassini's main mission - a rendezvous with Saturn - will not be affected.  

Hughes Electronics Corporation announced last week that it will sell its satellite operations to Boeing. Hughes stated, "The sale sheds the last remnant of the aerospace business that Hughes was built on when Howard Hughes formed the company in 1953." The new division will be known as Boeing Satellite Systems. Boeing claims that it is now the world's largest space company.

Today In Space History - The 32nd anniversary of the Apollo 7 launch (11 Oct 1968). Mission Fact sheet here; Crew info here; Image collection here. This orbital mission was the first manned flight of the moon program, and featured the first live TV broadcast from space. The three-man crew rocketed into Earth orbit atop a Saturn 1B and would splash down nearly 11 days later
Command Module pilot Donn Eisele and Lunar Module pilot Walt Cunningham were space rookies, and Commander Wally Schirra was the only astronaut to participate in all three 1960s space projects - Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. This flight would be the last launch from Pad 34 (site of the Apollo 1 tragedy).

Also: 42nd anniversary (11 Oct 1958) of the launch of Pioneer 1. Though it failed its original mission (it was designed as a lunar orbiter but burned up in the Earth's atmosphere), it is notable because it was the first spacecraft ever launched by NASA.

 

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10 October 2000 - Will the Shuttle finally launch today? Check our STS-92 Mission Journal!

UPDATE 5PM EDT: So far, so good - NASA reports:

The launch countdown resumes for STS-92, a mission that will set the stage for future International Space Station assembly missions. Space Shuttle Discovery is slated to lift off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at [7:40 p.m. EDT] today.
The International Space Station continues to orbit the Earth in good condition as it waits for Space Shuttle Discovery, which will deliver the Z1 Truss and third mating adapter. The Z1 Truss is a piece of the station's external framework that will contain the station's motion control gyroscopes and communications equipment. Discovery is slated to lift off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Oct. 10 at 6:40 p.m. CDT (23:40 GMT). Discovery will dock with the station at 12:44 p.m. CDT (17:44 GMT) Oct. 12. While at the station, the STS-92 astronauts will perform four space walks and use the shuttle's robotic arm to attach the Z1 and mating adapter to the station.

Is Global Warming for real - and if so, is it caused by increased solar activity?

Boeing: Sea Launch Vessels Depart Home Port to Launch Thuraya Satellite. Sea Launch will loft its heaviest payload yet, a comm sat for the Mddle East. 

Today In Space History: It's the first anniversary of Sea Launch's first successful sea-launched commercial satellite (a DirecTV bird). The multinational consortium launched the Ukrainian-built Zenit rocket on 10 October 1999 from a platform (a former oil rig) in the Pacific ocean, near the equator, 1400 miles (2253 km) off the coast of Hawaii.

 

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9 October 2000 - UPDATE 7PM EDT - We were all set to write about how today is Columbus Day, and how fitting it is that a group of brave explorers is launching into space on their historic mission. We were all set - BUT NOOOOO!!!! STS-92 is delayed AGAIN!!! High winds at KSC caused another scrub - the third (or second, depending on who's counting) so far. NASA reports:

NASA managers decide to delay the launch of STS-92 due to high winds preventing filling the external tank with the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen needed for launch. STS-92, an assembly mission to the International Space Station, is slated to launch at 6:40 p.m. CDT (23:40 GMT) Oct. 10.

It woulda been so cool...

Is China willing to rent or buy Russia's Mir space station? The Chinese are looking to jump-start their space program. They are close to putting an astronaut in space, and have announced long-term plans for a lunar mission - possibly manned! [See also 5 Oct 2000].

Pegasus rocket with the HETE-2 satellite launched today from Kwajalein at 1:38AM EDT! HETE-2/Pegasus Launch replay here.

The ozone hole over Antarctica is coming back down to its "normal" size for this time of year. Of course, some of us don't think it's normal for there to be any hole in the layer of the atmosphere that protects our planet from nasty solar radiation! [See also 6 Oct 2000].


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9 October - Don't forget the news conference with the one astronaut and 2 cosmonauts who will be the first permanent residents of the ISS. It happens at 9AM EDT.

New Mars pics at JPL show more valleys that appear to have been carved out by water.

What is "The Blob"? It's not a gooey creature from a 50's sci-fi flick - it's a nebula where stars can be seen forming!

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

 

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8 October 2000 - The Cassini deep-space probe is on its way to meet Saturn four years from now. On the way, it sent back some images of another giant planet - Jupiter. NASA explains:

Jupiter image courtesy of NASA.Like any good tourist, the Cassini spacecraft is taking a few pictures on its long trek to Saturn. A picture taken last weekend highlights the mysteries of Jupiter's atmosphere. Cassini is swinging by Jupiter on its way to a July 2004 rendezvous with Saturn.

Discovery is ready to launch on the 100th mission of the Shuttle program! NASA reports:

Shuttle managers cleared Space Shuttle Discovery for launch on Monday after concluding that external tank bolts are safe to fly and workers replaced a suspect valve. STS-92, an assembly mission to the International Space Station, is slated to launch no earlier than 7:05 p.m. CDT Oct. 9 (00:05 GMT Oct. 10).

Follow the action on our STS-92 Mission Journal page! Also, the ISS crew, who will launch from central Asia in a Soyuz spacecraft on 30 Oct, will hold a press conference tomorrow at 9AM EDT:

Expedition 1 Crew to Hold News Conference
On Monday, Oct. 9, the International Space Station's first resident crew, Expedition 1, will hold a news conference at Star City, Russia. The news conference can be seen at 8 a.m. CDT (13:00 GMT) on NASA TV via streaming video.

 

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7 October 2000 - Shuttle Discovery will visit the ISS on mission STS-92 next week, but they will leave the station vacant until the end of this month. NASA reports:

Station's First Resident Crew to Hold News Conference Oct. 9
The International Space Station's first resident crew, Expedition 1, will hold a prelaunch news conference at 8 a.m. CDT (13:00 GMT) Monday, Oct. 9, in Star City, Russia. The three-member crew is scheduled to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Oct. 30 and dock with the station on Nov. 1. The Oct. 9 news conference will be carried by NASA TV via streaming video. The NASA TV Schedule is available online.
Meanwhile, the space station continues to orbit the Earth in good condition as it waits for Space Shuttle Discovery, which will deliver the Z1 Truss. The Z1 Truss is a piece of the station's external framework that will contain the station's motion control gyroscopes and communications equipment. Discovery is slated to lift off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., no earlier than Oct. 9.

New observatory dedicated in California. It will have a resolution 200 times that of the Hubble Space Telescope!

Is time finally running out for Mir?

How do the major U.S. presidential candidates weigh in on science and space exploration? Their science advisors went mano a mano recently... 

 

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6 October 2000 - News conference at 10AM EDT to discuss the STS-92 scrub on NASA TV.

Rogue planets test theories of how planets form. Eighteen gas giants have been discovered "wandering" in deep space, not bound to a sun, like most planets are.

NASA scientists have found that the hole in the ozone layer (the part of the Earth's atmosphere that protects us from ultraviolet radiation) is the largest it's ever been. It has even stretched over populated areas (previously it stayed over the South Pole).

The troubled X-33 project may get new life breathed into it from NASA.

CNN: Russian rocket launches American television satellite.

 

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5 October 2000 - CNN: China plans lunar landing, Mars expedition. The lunar base may even serve as a way station to Mars!

Creative accounting with the Army's Attack Satellite system, under development...

Were meteorites from Mars (thought to contain evidence of fossilized microbes) contaminated by Earthly organisms?

NASA will be remotely controlling a Pacific-island rocket launch from KSC!

Today In Space History: Sixteen years ago, the STS-41-G Shuttle mission (5 Oct 1984) launched. It was the first crew to ever contain 2 women, including Dr. Kathy Sullivan, who performed the first EVA by an American woman. This sixth flight for Challenger also had the first Canadian in space, Dr. Marc Garneau

The 100th launch of the workhorse Space Shuttle happens tonight at 9:38PM EDT - follow the action on our new STS-92 Mission Journal page!
FLASH: Launch scrubbed - next attempt Friday night Monday night!

 

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4 October 2000 - U.S. Air Force: Space surveillance complex changes hands; telescope becomes operational.

Russia says that the ISS is ready to receive its first crew.

What's in store for the next generations of telescopes?

European Union to work more closely with ESA to create "a political and community dimension to space".

Happy World Space Week!

Today In Space History: It all started on this date - The USSR's launch of Sputnik I, the world's first artificial satellite, took place 43 years ago today (4 Oct 1957). The launch stunned the world and sparked the space race that would find the U.S. and the Soviet Union competing for national prestige and technological firsts for decades to come.
Check the Florida Today archives (halfway down page) for more info. Listen to the NPR report (You'll need the free RealAudio player).

Also: 41st anniversary of Luna 3. The Soviet lunar probe made the first-ever photos of the far side of the moon. The mission was launched 4 October 1959 and snapped its historic photos 3 days later.

 

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3 October 2000 - Alabama company wins $6.6 million contract for National Missile Defense system.

CNN: Russia considers ditching Mir space station.

Can NASA technology help cure diseases like cancer?

Discovery launches Thursday - check the latest on this historic flight at our new STS-92 Mission Journal page!

Today In Space History: Mercury 8 launch (3 Oct 1962) - Wally Schirra's "Sigma 7" capsule orbited the Earth six times. Also: STS-51-J Shuttle launch (3 Oct 1985). This was the first flight for Shuttle Atlantis. It was a classified DoD mission, which landed 4 days later at Edwards AFB.

 

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2 October 2000 - Two "odd" stars, as well as the Hunter's Moon, will greet skywatchers this month.

CNN: Russian rocket launches American television satellite.

Boeing: Space Station "Doorway to Space" Passes Critical Pre-Launch Test

JSC: Astronauts and Cosmonaut Named to Four Shuttle Missions in 2001

"Reality TV" goes way out - to Mir!

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

 

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1 October 2000 - The 2000 Olympic Games draw to a close today in Sydney, The Australian continent as seen from space. Image courtesy of NASA. Australia. NASA shows us a view of the Land Down Under from space - courtesy of the SeaWiFS system, orbiting aboard the OrbView-2 satellite.

JSC: NASA Creates New Enterprise Focusing on Biology

CBS: Bright Light, Big Meteor?

Today In Space History: 42 years ago today (1 Oct 1958), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created. Happy Birthday, NASA!

 

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

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