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Trump’s plans: NASA avoids major cuts but ARM is broken and global warming mission is curtailed

While Russia is somewhat unrealistically advertising for candidate cosmonauts to go to the Moon (Roscosmos does not currently have a heavy lift rocket to get them there), the prospects for NASA astronauts getting there are increasing. This is after the …

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President Obama – The Verdict: Better than his predecessor but weak on Syria and Space

It is, of course, posterity that gets the final say on whether a U.S. President was any good or not, but as he leaves office we can, at least, make a preliminary comparison of President Barack Obama’s record against that …

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Lucy and Psyche get the nod for NASA Discovery missions

The Lucy mission, to be launched in 2021, was one of two missions to be selected for Discovery mission funding out of five contenders. The other winning contender was the Psyche mission which will be launched in 2023. Both missions …

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China launches carbon dioxide monitoring satellite

A Long March 2D/2 rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China, at 1522 GMT, 21 December. The mission’s primary payload was the TANSAT, atmospheric carbon dioxide-monitoring minisatellite. Along with TANSAT there were reportedly three other payloads on-board, …

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New version of Epsilon launches Van Allen belt research satellite for Japan

The Japanese space agency JAXA has launched a new version of its Epsilon launch vehicle called Epsilon 2 which uses upgraded second and third stages. The launch took place from Kagoshima (Uchinora Space Centre) at 1100 GMT on 20 December.…

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NOAA scientists rush to protect environmental data from Trump Administration tampering

Certain dictatorships and pseudo-democracies around the world are infamous for their control of public news and data, while also firing those employees that do not toe “the party line” on such information. For example, Turkey’s own military space programme has …

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China launches new Feng Yun 4A weather satellite on way to GEO

China has launched its newest Feng Yun series weather satellite, Feng Yun 4A, into orbit using a Long March 3B/G2 rocket flying from the Xichang launch base at 1642 GMT on 10 December 2016. The Feng Yun 4 series is …

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SpaceX wins US$112 million SWOT launch contract from NASA

The launch contract to launch the Surface Water & Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission has been awarded by NASA to SpaceX. The launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 will fly from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in April 2021. …

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Moon to look bigger as comes closest to Earth since 1948

Astronomers have advised that the Moon will appear larger and brighter in the sky than normal as its orbit will takes it to closest distance from Earth since 1948.

The moon had its closest perigee at 356,509 km (221,524 miles) …

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China launches Yunhai satellite for “atmospheric and scientific experiments”

Another satellite that China apparently describes as purely peaceful in purpose has been launched from the Jiuquan launch site by a Long March 2D/2 at 2314 GMT on 11 November 2016. The spacecraft, which is thought to be sized in …

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NASA orders Landsat 9 from Orbital ATK continuing partnership with the US Geological Survey

On 25 October, 2016, NASA announced it had placed an order with Orbital ATK for the Landsat 9 spacecraft. The order was placed utilising the Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition III contract, which allows NASA to order “proven spacecraft designs” from a …

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NASA Juno mission suffers safe mode control drop out

At 0547 GMT on 19 October, the NASA probe, Juno, entered a “safe mode” 13 hours before it reached “perijove”, the low point of its orbit, around the planet Jupiter. Operators have reported that the spacecraft behaved as expected when …

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ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter enters correct orbit but Schiaparelli lander is lost in crash landing

The main Russian-launched Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) research element of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars mission was successfully injected into its planned orbit around Mars. But the “exciting” part of the mission, ESA’s Schiaparelli lander, crashed into oblivion. Entry …

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NASA delays Juno engine burn from October to December after fuel pressurisaton anomaly (Updated)

On 14 October, NASA released a press release stating that a planned engine burn, referred to as a Period Reduction Manoeuvre (PRM), intended for 19 October would be postponed to allow for an investigation into a anomaly observed with the …

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Rosetta probe ends mission by joining Philae lander on comet’s surface

On 30 September 2016, at 1119 GMT the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt, announced that the Rosseta probe had completed its de-orbit manoeuvre to land/crash on to the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, sending its last telemetry packet at …

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China launches Tiangong-2 Spacelab module as precursor to full-sized space station

China has launched the Tiangong-2 “man tended” spacelab/mini-space station as a forerunner for its planned full-sized space station. The Long March 2F/T2 (CZ-2F/T2) launch of the mini-space station module took place at 14:04 GMT on 15 September 2016, from the …

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Contract signed for Vega to launch Aeolus

ESA and Arianespace have signed a contract to secure the launch of the Aeolus satellite on a Vega launch vehicle. The 1,500 kg spacecraft is designed to measure winds using ultraviolet laser/lidar technology. The launch of the spacecraft will take …

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On a lighter note: Captain Kirk takes command of a stealthy warship at sea…as Russian billionaire sails his copycat design up the Thames

Yes – there really is a Captain James Kirk but he is not a star ship captain. He has just taken command of the US Navy’s newest ship, the USS Zumwalt. While it has a crew of only 147 sailors …

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Presumed lost STEREO-B spacecraft has now been recovered

 

Like a prodigal son returned, the signals of the believed lost STEREO-B spacecraft have been joyfully received by NASA engineers indicating that the solar observing spacecraft is still alive. STEREO-B signal was recovered at 2227 GMT on 21 August …

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China launches new quantum communications satellite using Long March 2D

A Long March 2D/2 rocket successfully blasted off from the Jiuquan launch site in China on 15 August 2016 at 1740 GMT. Aboard the rocket were three spacecraft. The main payload was the QUESS (Quantum Experiment Scientific Satellite) which has …

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