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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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Aerojet announces successful requalification of Its Delta II AJ10-118K second stage engine

Posted March 18, 2013 by

Aerojet’s Delta II second stage engine, the AJ10-118K, successfully passed a requalification test of its ablative chamber at Aerojet’s J4 altitude simulation test facility in Sacramento. Aerojet is a GenCorp company. The intent of the requalification program was to replace the asbestos insulator material with a readily-available and environmentally-friendly alternative. The three-burn hot fire test…

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Space station astronauts land safely in Kazakhstan

Posted March 18, 2013 by

Three members of the Expedition 34 crew undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth March 15 wrapping up a mission lasting more than four and a half months. Expedition 35 now is under way. Station Commander Kevin Ford of NASA and Soyuz Commander Evgeny Tarelkin and Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy of…

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Northrop Grumman, ATK complete primary mirror backplane support wing assemblies for Webb telescope

Posted March 15, 2013 by

Northrop Grumman photograph Technicians complete the primary mirror backplane support structure wing assemblies for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope at ATK’s Space Components facility in Magna, Utah. REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – Northrop Grumman and teammate ATK have completed the fabrication of the primary mirror backplane support structure wing assemblies for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope….

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NASA astronaut George Zamka leaves agency

Posted March 15, 2013 by

NASA astronaut George Zamka has left the agency and accepted a position with the Federal Aviation Administration supporting Commercial Space Transportation. A veteran of two spaceflights, Zamka served first as pilot on STS-120 in 2007 and three years later as commander on STS-130 in 2010. Before joining NASA, Zamka served in the U.S. Marine Corps…

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NASA astronaut Lee Archambault leaving agency

Posted March 15, 2013 by

NASA astronaut Lee Archambault is leaving the agency, ending a 15-year career that included more than 27 days in space, including a flight as commander of space shuttle Discovery. Archambault will join Sierra Nevada Corp. as a systems engineer and test pilot. He will work on the company’s Dream Chaser Space System, being developed in…

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Grasshopper completes highest leap to date

Posted March 13, 2013 by

Grasshopper completes highest leap to date March 7, 2013, SpaceX’s Grasshopper doubled its highest leap to date to rise 24 stories or 262.8 feet, hovering for approximately 34 seconds and landing safely using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. Grasshopper touched down with its most accurate precision thus far on the centermost part of…

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NASA rover finds conditions once suited for ancient life on Mars

Posted March 13, 2013 by

An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – some of the key chemical ingredients for life – in the powder Curiosity drilled out of a sedimentary rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale…

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Nation’s newest missile warning satellite encapsulated in launch vehicle payload fairing for March launch

Posted March 13, 2013 by

The second Lockheed Martin built Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO-2) spacecraft was encapsulated into its payload fairing March 4 in preparation for a March 19 liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SBIRS GEO-2, the most technologically advanced infrared surveillance satellite, will enhance the nationís missile…

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SpaceX Dragon cargo mission overcomes thrusters’ glitch

Posted March 13, 2013 by Raphael Jaffe

The March 1 launch of Cargo Resupply Service mission 2 [CRS2] to the International Space Station was flawless.  Space X’s Falcon 9 brought the Dragon capsule into orbit. But at 9 minutes into the flight, the Dragon capsule’s Draco thruster system did not activate as planned. The capsule is equipped with 18 of SpaceX’s Draco…

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