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Texas spaceport backers look to state for help

Posted January 4, 2013 by Christopher Sherman

Texas space aficionados hope rockets will someday be launched into orbit from a beachside site near the U.S.-Mexico border, but a tight state budget and a previously frustrated attempt to land such a spaceport could complicate efforts. Backers of a proposal to build a launch site at Boca Chica Beach, about 25 miles east of…

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Mars Science Lab prepares to drill for samples

Posted January 25, 2013 by Raphael Jaffe

After a successful first use of the Mars Dusting Tool, Curiosity is ready to start drilling into the surface of Mars. This has never been done before.

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NASA releases Glory Taurus XL launch failure report summary

Posted February 22, 2013 by

NASA has released a summary report on findings from a panel that investigated the unsuccessful 2011 launch of the agency’s Glory spacecraft. The satellite, designed to improve our understanding of Earth’s climate, was lost March 4, 2011, when it failed to reach orbit after launch aboard an Orbital Sciences Corp. Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg…

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NASA’s Webb Telescope gets its wings

Posted March 18, 2013 by

A massive backplane that will hold the primary mirror of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope nearly motionless while it peers into space is another step closer to completion with the recent assembly of the support structure’s wings. The wings enable the mirror, made of 18 pieces of beryllium, to fold up and fit inside a…

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NASA’s Kepler discovers its smallest ‘habitable zone’ planets to date

Posted April 22, 2013 by

NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-size planets in the “habitable zone,” the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water. The Kepler-62 system has five planets; 62b, 62c, 62d, 62e and 62f. The Kepler-69 system has…

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NASA seeks proposals for commercial operations at Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39A

Posted May 20, 2013 by

NASA released a synopsis May 17 announcing plans to issue an announcement for proposals for the commercial use of Launch Pad 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The announcement is expected next week. Use of the launch pad by industry is designed to encourage commercial space activities along Florida’s Space Coast and…

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NASA announces asteroid grand challenge

Posted June 19, 2013 by

NASA announced June 18 a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them. The challenge, which was announced at an asteroid initiative industry and partner day at NASA Headquarters in Washington, is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships…

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Tenth parachute test for NASA’s Orion adds 10,000 feet of success

Posted July 24, 2013 by

A complicated, high-altitude test July 24 demonstrated NASA’s new Orion spacecraft could land safely even if one of its parachutes failed. The 10th in a series of evaluations to check out the Orion multipurpose crew vehicle’s parachute system dropped the test capsule from a C-17 aircraft at its highest altitude yet, 35,000 feet above the…

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NASA photograph by Carla Thomas
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JPL, Masten testing spacecraft precision landing software

Posted August 14, 2013 by

Masten photograph Masten Space Systems’ Xombie technology demonstrator ascends from its pad at the Mojave Air and Space Port on a recent test launch for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft inspired millions of people worldwide a year ago when its unprecedented “sky crane” landing system successfully landed the Curiosity rover in…

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Orbital rolls out Antares rocket to Wallops launch pad for COTS demo mission to ISS

Posted September 16, 2013 by

Sept. 13, Orbital Sciences Corporation rolled out its Antares™ rocket that will launch the company’s first Cygnus™ spacecraft to the International Space Station for its demonstration mission under the Commercial Orbital Transportations Services joint development program with NASA.

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