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NASA astronauts Kenneth Ham, Nicholas Patrick leave agency

Posted June 18, 2012 by

NASA astronauts Kenneth Ham and Nicholas Patrick have left the space agency. Their last day was May 31. Ham is a veteran of two spaceflights, where he served as the pilot of STS-124 in 2008 and commander of STS-132 in 2010. Patrick served as a mission specialist on STS-116 in 2006 and STS-130 in 2010….

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NASA releases scorecard on energy, sustainability goals

Posted June 18, 2012 by

NASA has released its fiscal year 2011 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance. The agency ranked third overall in the list of government agencies. Out of seven benchmarks, NASA received six green ratings and one yellow. A green rating indicates the benchmark has been met. Yellow indicates that progress is being made. “We are making…

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Mars Rover Curiosity set to land Aug. 5

Posted June 14, 2012 by by Raphael Jaffe

There's both good news and not-so-good news about the mission of the rover Curiosity, now speeding to its Aug. 5 contact date within the Gail crater, near the Mars equator. The good news is that the probable...

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Orbital’s Pegasus launches X-ray observatory

Posted June 14, 2012 by by Raphael Jaffe

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, was successfully launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean June 13. The mission will study everything from massive black holes...

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SpaceShipTwo flexes wings, prepares for powered flight tests

Posted June 14, 2012 by by Raphael Jaffe

After a few months spent in awaiting a flight permit and evidently tweaking the design, Scaled Composites seems to be preparing the next steps in its flight test program for SpaceShipTwo. The craft is being built for The Spaceship Co., a joint venture of Scaled and the world’s first commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic. It will…

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First flight instrument delivered for James Webb Space Telescope

Posted June 14, 2012 by

The first of four instruments to fly aboard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been delivered to NASA. The Mid-Infrared Instrument will allow scientists to study cold and distant objects in greater detail than ever before. MIRI arrived at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., May 29. It has been undergoing inspection before…

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NASA’s NuSTAR mission lifts off

Posted June 13, 2012 by

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array launched into the morning skies over the central Pacific Ocean at noon, EDT, June 13 Wednesday, beginning its mission to unveil secrets of buried black holes and other exotic objects. “We all eagerly await the launch of this novel X-ray observatory,” said Paul Hertz, NASA’s Astrophysics Division Director. “With its…

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Educators selected for NASA Explorer Schools summer workshops

Posted June 13, 2012 by

NASA has selected 50 elementary, middle and high school educators from across the nation to work side by side with agency scientists and engineers to learn research techniques and identify connections to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The educators were chosen for these workshops because they demonstrated exemplary classroom practices and innovative use of…

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NASA Langley celebrates five-year partnership with Sierra Nevada

Posted June 13, 2012 by

Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center are marking five years of collaboration with Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems in Louisville, Colo., as partners in the design and development of the Dream Chaser® Space System. NASA Langley and SNC joined forces to update Langley’s HL-20 lifting body vehicle design into the Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle,…

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Small planets don’t need stars with heavy metal content to form

Posted June 13, 2012 by

The formation of small worlds like Earth previously was thought to occur mostly around stars rich in heavy elements such as iron and silicon. However, new ground-based observations, combined with data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, shows small planets form around stars with a wide range of heavy element content and suggests they may…

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