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NASA spacecraft will visit asteroid with new name

Posted May 1, 2013 by

An asteroid that will be explored by a NASA spacecraft has a new name, thanks to a third-grade student in North Carolina. NASA’s Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will visit the asteroid now called Bennu, named after an important ancient Egyptian avian deity. OSIRIS-Rex is scheduled to launch in 2016, rendezvous with Bennu in…

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Success continues as NASA’s Orion parachute tests get more difficult

Posted May 1, 2013 by

A test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft safely landed during a simulation of two types of parachute failures May 1. In the test, conducted in Yuma, Ariz., the mock capsule was traveling about 250 mph when the parachutes were deployed. That is the highest speed the craft has experienced as part of the test series…

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NASA Extends crew flight contract with Russian space agency

Posted May 1, 2013 by

NASA has signed a $424 million modification to its contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for full crew transportation services to the International Space Station in 2016 with return and rescue services extending through June 2017. NASA is facilitating development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe,…

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Photograph by Mark Greenberg
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SpaceShipTwo first powered flight goes as planned

Posted May 1, 2013 by Raphael Jaffe

http://www.aerotechnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/spaceshiptwo1.jpg Close up of SS2 during successful rocket-powered flight. It took eight and a half years and only lasted for 16 seconds, but all involved know the wait was worth it. SpaceShipTwo being developed for Virgin Galactic had its first powered flight on April 29. The unique hybrid nitrous oxide liquid oxidizer and hydroxyl terminated…

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Herschel completes its ‘cool’ journey into space

Posted April 29, 2013 by

The Herschel observatory, a European space telescope for which NASA helped build instruments and process data, has stopped making observations after running out of liquid coolant as expected. The European Space Agency mission, launched almost four years ago, revealed the universe’s “coolest” secrets by observing the frigid side of planet, star and galaxy formation. “Herschel…

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NASA probe gets close-up views of large hurricane on Saturn

Posted April 29, 2013 by

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first close-up, visible-light views of a behemoth hurricane swirling around Saturn’s north pole. In high-resolution pictures and video, scientists see the hurricane’s eye is about 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide, 20 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. Thin, bright clouds at the outer edge of…

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NASA, partners solicit creative materials manufacturing solutions

Posted April 29, 2013 by

NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department and Nike have issued a challenge to identify 10 game-changing innovations that could enable fabric systems to enhance global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet’s resources. The challenge is open through July 15 and seeks creative innovations in the materials from…

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ATK solid rocket boosters complete major space launch system program milestone

Posted April 29, 2013 by

ATK has successfully completed its solid rocket booster Preliminary Design Review with NASA for the new Space Launch System. The PDR milestone indicates the booster design is on track to support first flight of the SLS in 2017. The SLS vehicle will support NASA’s human spaceflight exploration to all destinations beyond low-earth orbit. “This is…

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NASA extends mission operations support contract

Posted April 26, 2013 by

NASA has exercised a contract option with Lockheed Martin Corp. of Gaithersburg, Md., to provide continued mission control systems services, development, maintenance and operations support as part of the Facilities Development and Operations Contract. The extension has a total estimated value of $166.8 million and extends the period of performance through Sept. 30, 2014. The…

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NASA probe observes meteors colliding with Saturn’s rings

Posted April 26, 2013 by

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has provided the first direct evidence of small meteoroids breaking into streams of rubble and crashing into Saturn’s rings. These observations make Saturn’s rings the only location besides Earth, the moon, and Jupiter where scientists and amateur astronomers have been able to observe impacts as they occur. Studying the impact rate of…

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