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Proton rocket blasts off with Russian telecom satellite

Russia's Express AM6 communications satellite lifted off aboard a Proton rocket Tuesday, kicking off a nine-hour ride into geostationary transfer orbit before deployment from the launcher's Breeze M upper stage.

   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY - with images!
Mars spacecraft safe after fortuitous comet encounter
A fleet of robotic spacecraft orbiting Mars got a front row seat to space history Sunday and lived to tell about it, giving scientists their first close-up look at a comet fresh from a cloud of primordial mini-worlds at the outer reaches of the solar system.
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China puts government surveillance satellite in orbit
China sent a reconnaissance satellite into orbit Monday from the Taiyuan space center, expanding the country's network of intelligence-gathering spacecraft.
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Comet's flyby of Mars a boon for scientists
The red planet's brush with Comet Siding Spring Sunday was a close encounter of the best kind for science, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to study a pristine remnant of the solar system's birth 4.6 billion years ago as it makes its first and possibly last visit to the warmth of the inner solar system.
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Orbital picks future Antares engine, withholds details
Orbital Sciences Corp. has selected a new first stage propulsion system for its Antares rocket, the head of the company said last week, offering improved performance for launches beginning in 2017.
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Last-ditch search finds targets for New Horizons
Scientists using the powerful Hubble Space Telescopes have identified three tiny objects at the frontier of the solar system that NASA's New Horizons spacecraft could visit after making an historic flyby of Pluto next summer.
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U.S. military's X-37B space plane lands in California
The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane concluded its third mission Friday, streaking through the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean and gliding to an automated landing on a runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., after spending a record 675 days in orbit.
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   IMAGES: LANDING PHOTOS AND VIDEO
Satellites for Latin America launched by Ariane 5
An Ariane 5 launcher fired into space Thursday from French Guiana, hauling two commercial satellites destined to broadcast television to Latin America for Intelsat, DirecTV and Argentina's national telecom company.
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   IMAGES: ARIANE 5'S LIFTOFF
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   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   ARIANE 5 DIAGRAM
   OUR ARIANE ARCHIVE
Indian navigation satellite launched by PSLV
The third spacecraft to join India's growing regional navigation system blasted off and flew into orbit Wednesday aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
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   LAUNCH TIMELINE
Spacewalk achieves all major objectives
Astronauts Reid Wiseman and Barry "Butch" Wilmore floated outside the International Space Station Wednesday and, after a bit of trouble with a balky bolt, replaced a broken voltage regulator in one of eight solar power channels to restore the lab's electrical grid to normal operation.
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   MISSION STATUS CENTER
X-37B space plane scheduled to return to Earth
A robotic U.S. Air Force space plane is set to land in California as soon as this week after a secretive 22-month flight hundreds of miles above Earth.
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GPS sustainment continues with quick pace of launches
A new satellite launched Aug. 1 has joined the U.S. Air Force's GPS navigation network to help guide everything from bombs to road trippers to their destinations, with final preparations on track to send up another GPS spacecraft at the end of October.
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Winds sensor opens door for Earth science from ISS
A $26 million science instrument carried to the International Space Station last month by SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule has been switched on and is measuring winds over the world's oceans to help forecasters track the intensity of tropical cyclones, NASA officials said.
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Fleet of Mars probes set to observe comet flyby
An international fleet of five Mars orbiters and two rovers will have ringside seats when a mountain-size comet streaks by on Oct. 19, passing within a scant 87,000 miles of the red planet at a blistering 126,000 mph, NASA scientists said Thursday.
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Endeavour reunited with Spacehab payload in LA
Two years after it paraded through the streets of Los Angeles following a cross-country ferry flight from Florida, the space shuttle Endeavour was loaded with a Spacehab logistics module Thursday ahead of the orbiter's planned transition to a vertical display on a mock launch pad in 2018.
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   IMAGES: ENDEAVOUR IS "GO FOR PAYLOAD"
NASA orders space taxi contractors back to work
Boeing Co. and SpaceX, selected by NASA last month to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, can resume development of their human-rated spacecraft after officials ordered a work stoppage prompted by a protest by Sierra Nevada Corp., the company left out of the contracts, NASA said Thursday.
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NuSTAR discovers brilliant 'mighty mouse' pulsar
A NASA space telescope studying X-ray emissions from a nearby galaxy has discovered the brightest pulsar ever detected, the fast-spinning remnant of a collapsed star that shines so intensely it was initially mistaken for a massive black hole, a possible "missing link" between compact stellar-mass black holes and the unseen monsters lurking at the cores of many galaxies.
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Galileo launch failure blamed on frozen fuel line
A design flaw in a Russian Fregat upper stage was responsible for the botched orbital injection of two European Galileo navigation satellites in August, officials said Wednesday, causing hydrazine fuel to freeze inside the rocket's maneuvering system and rendering it unable to point in the right direction during a critical engine burn.
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Boeing spacecraft to move into KSC's shuttle hangars
Boeing engineers are outfitting two decommissioned space shuttle hangars at the Kennedy Space Center for the U.S. Air Force's secretive X-37B space plane, NASA announced Wednesday.
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Station crew completes maintenance spacewalk
Working outside the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and European Space Agency crewmate Alexander Gerst successfully moved a failed ammonia pump module to an external stowage platform Tuesday, completing a task originally planned for a repair spacewalk last December.
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   IMAGES: SPACEWALK PHOTOS
H-2A rocket boosts weather satellite into orbit
Japan launched a next-generation geostationary weather satellite Tuesday on the 25th flight of the country's H-2A rocket, deploying an upgraded meteorological observatory critical to the minute-by-minute tracking of tropical cyclones and other storm systems across the Asia-Pacific.
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   IMAGES: LIFTOFF FROM TANEGASHIMA
   IMAGES: H-2A ROLLOUT
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   H-2A ROCKET DIAGRAM
Candidate landing sites selected for ESA Mars rover
The European Space Agency has announced four candidate landing sites for the ExoMars rover, as a deadline looms to secure full funding for the mission in time for a scheduled launch to the red planet in 2018.
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UrtheCast says it will be largest commercial ISS user
Officials with Canadian Earth observation company UrtheCast, which owns two cameras on the International Space Station's Russian service module, outlined plans this week to install a remote sensing camera and a radar imaging payload on the outpost's U.S.-owned Tranquility module in 2017.
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Orbital weeks away from Antares first stage decision
Orbital Sciences Corp. plans to select a long-term propulsion supplier for the Antares rocket used to launch cargo to the International Space Station in the next few weeks, in time to include a potentially redesigned launcher in a bid for a follow-on NASA resupply contract, a company official said this week.
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Boeing, SpaceX told to stop work under crew contracts
NASA has directed Boeing and SpaceX to halt activities under contracts awarded last month to build commercial space taxis to ferry astronauts to the the International Space Station while the U.S. Government Accountability Office reviews a protest of NASA's contract decision filed by Sierra Nevada Corp.
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Aerojet Rocketdyne touts AR1 engine for Atlas 5
Aerojet Rocketdyne is pressing ahead with development of a powerful new rocket engine that company officials believe will be an attractive alternative to the Russian-built RD-180 engine that now powers the first stage of United Launch Alliance's workhorse Atlas 5 booster.
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Orion's Delta 4-Heavy rocket moved to launch pad
The booster rocket that will launch NASA's next-generation Orion space capsule on a two-orbit, four-hour shakedown cruise in December has been rolled to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
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   IMAGES: DELTA 4 ROLLOUT
India, NASA plot science campaign for Mars orbiters
Officials working on India's Mars orbiter project are finalizing plans for a six-month science campaign after the spacecraft arrived in orbit last week, an achievement that has already satisfied the mission's primary objectives, the head of India's space agency said Monday.
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   IMAGES: ORBITER'S VIEW OF MARS
Construction of Texas launch pad begins next year
SpaceX broke ground on a new commercial spaceport Sept. 22 on the shores of South Texas, committing to the construction of the world's first privately-owned satellite launch pad scheduled to be operational as soon as late 2016.
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Chinese military payload launched on Long March 2C
A Long March 2C rocket blasted off Sunday from the Jiuquan launching center with an experimental Chinese satellite, state media reported.
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Proton rocket lifts off on return-to-flight mission
A Russian Proton rocket blasted off Saturday with a secret military satellite, returning to flight status after a four-month grounding following a launch failure in May.
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   PREVIEW STORY - with images!
Successful SpaceX supply delivery in photos
SpaceX's Dragon spaceship delivered 2.5 tons of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station this week, part of a hectic few days aboard the outpost that included the arrivals of two vehicles with cargo and three new crew members. Look back on the SpaceX mission in photos.
   IMAGES: SPACEX LAUNCH AND RENDEZVOUS
Sierra Nevada protests commercial crew decision
After being left out of NASA contracts to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, Sierra Nevada Corp. said Friday it has filed a protest asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the space agency's $6.8 billion award to Boeing and SpaceX.
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Despite solar array glitch, new crew arrives at station
Looking like a wounded bird with only one of its two solar wings deployed, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft glided to an otherwise picture-perfect docking with the International Space Station late Thursday, boosting the lab's crew back to six with the addition of a veteran cosmonaut, a NASA shuttle flier and the first female cosmonaut to win a station berth.
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   IMAGES: CREW BLASTS OFF FROM BAIKONUR
   IMAGES: SOYUZ ROLLS TO LAUNCH PAD
   STORE: GET THE MISSION PATCH
India puts interplanetary probe in orbit at Mars
India's first interplanetary mission went into orbit around Mars late Tuesday, vaulting India into rarefied company among the countries that have successfully sent a mission to the red planet.
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Supplies delivered to space station by Dragon spaceship
A Dragon cargo craft closed in on the International Space Station on Tuesday after a two-day pursuit following Sunday's launch from Cape Canaveral, delivering more than 2.5 tons of supplies for scientists and the lab's residents.
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   CARGO MANIFEST - (.pdf download)
   DRAGON FACT SHEET
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft enters orbit around Mars
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft braked into orbit around Mars on Sunday after a 10-month interplanetary cruise from Earth, positioning the probe to help scientists learn how water and air were stripped from the red planet's ancient atmosphere, killing off life that may have once existed there.
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SpaceX supply ship takes off with animals, cargo
SpaceX launched a Dragon supply ship packed with mice, an experimental 3D printer, a hurricane research instrument, and a bundle of crew provisions on a two-day pursuit of the International Space Station with a thunderous middle-of-the-night sendoff from Cape Canaveral on Sunday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket booster.
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   FALCON ARCHIVE
NASA watchdog challenges space station cost estimates
NASA's inspector general reported Thursday that the International Space Station will likely cost more to operate over the next decade than officials expect, questioning the orbiting research lab's budget footing as the U.S. government seeks commitments from international partners to extend its lifetime beyond 2020.
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Radiation strike slows down NASA's Dawn spacecraft
The arrival of NASA's Dawn spacecraft at Ceres, an unexplored icy dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter, has been pushed back about a month after a blitz of cosmic rays interrupted the probe's ion thrusting, officials said.
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ULA taps Blue Origin for powerful new rocket engine
United Launch Alliance announced Wednesday it is teaming with Blue Origin, a secretive space company led by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, to develop a new U.S.-made rocket engine that could replace the Russian engine used to power Atlas 5 first stage boosters.
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Mystery satellite blasts off atop Atlas 5 rocket
Rocketing through gloomy skies with a payload clouded in a veil of secrecy, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 booster fired away from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday to deploy a satellite thousands of miles above Earth.
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   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: ATLAS 5 ROLLOUT
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD HOISTED ATOP ATLAS 5
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   ATLAS ARCHIVE
Boeing, SpaceX win commercial crew contracts
Aerospace giant Boeing and newcomer SpaceX will share $6.8 billion in NASA contracts to build commercial space taxis to fly astronauts to and from the space station starting in 2017, ending reliance on Russia for access to low-Earth orbit and kick starting a new era of commercial space transportation, agency officials said Tuesday.
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ESA reveals target site for risky comet landing
European scientists have selected an aim point for the landing of Philae, a small probe riding piggyback on the Rosetta spacecraft set for the first-ever descent to a comet's nucleus in November.
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SpaceX ditches landing legs on next Falcon 9 flight
SpaceX's next resupply mission to the International Space Station is set for takeoff as soon as Saturday after a rapid rebound from the company's last flight from Cape Canaveral, but the company does not plan to use the launch as another chance to practice rocket recovery procedures.
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Ariane 5 dazzles in launch from French Guiana
Two commercial communications satellites blasted off Thursday from the Amazon jungle, riding a European-built Ariane 5 rocket into orbit just after sunset from a spaceport in French Guiana. Check out photos of the mission.
   IMAGES: LIFTOFF AT NIGHTFALL
   IMAGES: ARIANE 5'S ROLLOUT
Solar storm's impacts to spacecraft should be limited
Skywatchers with clear skies as far south as the northern United States and Europe could glimpse spectacular auroral displays this weekend, but officials say the solar storm spawning the light show is not expected to affect satellite operations or the International Space Station.
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Measat, Optus get a boost from 75th Ariane 5 launch
Stacked inside the shroud of an Ariane 5 rocket, two commercial television broadcasting satellites for Malaysian and Australian telecommunications companies blasted off from French Guiana on Thursday.
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   ARIANE 5 DIAGRAM
NASA defends mission plan as rover reaches Mt. Sharp
Responding to criticism from a review panel that questioned the science agenda of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, senior managers Thursday defended the $2.5 billion mission, saying the spacecraft had more than achieved its primary science goals and is moving into an extended mission that promises to shed even more light on the red planet's history and evolution.
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Three-man space station crew returns to Earth
With commander Alexander Skvortsov at the controls, flanked on the left by flight engineer Oleg Artemyev and on the right by outgoing space station commander Steven Swanson, the Soyuz TMA-12M descent module landed on target near the town of Dzhezkazgan on Wednesday.
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Orion spacecraft ready for launch preparations
Ready for a 12-week launch campaign before liftoff at sunrise Dec. 4, NASA's first space-rated Orion crew capsule will leave its assembly hall Thursday for the next stop on its road to the launch pad to begin a twice-around-the-world test flight.
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Arianespace nets six commercial contracts
Arianespace has snatched up contracts to launch six commercial communications satellites, the French launch services firm announced this week, after taking aim on rival SpaceX by slashing prices.
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SpaceX, Loral win Bulgarian broadcast satellite deal
Bulgaria's first communications satellite will be built and launched in the United States with financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, officials said Monday.
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Clandestine spy satellite launched by China
A clandestine satellite launched on top of a Long March 4B rocket Monday to collect intelligence for the Chinese government.
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SpaceX achieves back-to-back successes for AsiaSat
Putting on a late summer sky show along Florida's Space Coast, a Falcon 9 rocket climbed into space after midnight Sunday with a commercial communications satellite to connect growing markets in China and Southeast Asia.
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   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: SPACEX LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: PRESS SITE LAUNCH VIEWS
   IMAGES: ROCKET POISED FOR LIFTOFF
   IMAGES: ASIASAT 6 LAUNCH PREPARATIONS
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   LAUNCH PRESS KIT - (.pdf download)
   FALCON ARCHIVE
AsiaSat CEO says Cape Canaveral has drawbacks
Expect some frustrations from bureaucratic red tape if you're a commercial company looking to launch from Cape Canaveral, says the head of AsiaSat as it prepared to send up a satellite Sunday.
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Reviewers say Curiosity rover 'lacks scientific focus'
An independent panel of scientists slammed the $2.5 billion Curiosity Mars rover's management team in a report released Wednesday, saying the mission's plan "lacked scientific focus and detail."
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Two satellites placed in orbit by Chinese rocket
China launched a Long March 2D rocket Thursday with a data relay satellite and a payload to conduct multimedia telecommunications experiments, according to state media reports.
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NASA orders checks on SMAP's deployable antenna
NASA has delayed the launch of a $490 million research satellite for further tests of a spinning mesh antenna that will measure moisture in Earth's soils, data that scientists say will help predict the future availability of water resources.
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   IMAGES: DELTA 2 ERECTED FOR LAUNCH
Air Force mission to continue monitoring GEO
U.S. Air Force officials have approved a stopgap mission for launch in 2017 to monitor satellite traffic in geosynchronous orbit, tasking the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory to design and build a small space surveillance satellite.
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Japan nears launch of probe to retrieve asteroid samples
The Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe, on track for liftoff this winter, will be shipped to its island launch base at the end of September for final preparations to start the most audacious space exploration mission ever attempted by Japan.
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   IMAGES: HAYABUSA 2 IN THE CLEAN ROOM
Russian spacecraft lands after six-week mission
An unmanned Russian space capsule returned to Earth on Monday after six weeks in orbit for microgravity research, but officials said five geckos flown for space sex experiments perished on the journey.
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Follow-up destinations sought for New Horizons
Speeding through the outer solar system nearly 2.8 billion miles from Earth, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft was put into hibernation mode Friday for the last in a series of power-saving sleeps as scientists on Earth prepare for a make-or-break encounter with Pluto next summer.
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SpaceX blames rocket explosion on bad sensor
A faulty sensor aboard a prototype rocket likely led to its destruction last week during a flight at SpaceX's test facility in Central Texas, company officials said.
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Solar arrays deployed on stranded Galileo satellites
Working around the clock, ground controllers have stabilized the two European Galileo navigation spacecraft stranded in the wrong orbit after launching last week, using contingency procedures to coax out the satellites' power-generating solar panels, officials said Thursday.
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NASA commits to developing heavy-lift rocket
After a detailed engineering and cost analysis, NASA managers have formally approved development of the Space Launch System -- SLS -- heavy-lift rocket, the most powerful booster ever attempted and a key element in the agency's long-range plans to send astronauts to nearby asteroids and, eventually, Mars, officials announced Wednesday.
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Five finalist sites chosen for historic comet landing
Scientists have narrowed a list of candidate landing sites for the Philae lander, a piggyback probe on Europe's Rosetta mission that will attempt the first ever descent to a comet this fall and latch onto its jagged surface.
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   IMAGES: SHORTLIST OF LANDING SITES
SpaceX calls off launch to 'triple-check' rocket
In a precautionary move, SpaceX decided Tuesday to postpone an overnight launch of the AsiaSat 6 commercial telecommunications satellite to "triple-check" the Falcon 9 rocket's fault detection and recovery software, according to Elon Musk, the company's founder and chief executive.
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Board to report on Galileo launch mishap in two weeks
An eight-member independent board of inquiry will look into the causes and implications of a launcher failure that left a pair of European Galileo navigation satellites in the wrong orbit Friday, while engineers scramble to determine whether the twin spacecraft can be salvaged.
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New Horizons, on course for Pluto, crosses Neptune orbit
Eight years outbound from Earth, NASA's New Horizons probe passed the orbit of Neptune Monday, in good health and on course for a high-speed dash past enigmatic Pluto and its large moon Charon next summer, giving humanity its first close-up look at a dwarf planet once thought to be the ninth and outermost member of the sun's family.
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Sea Launch, ILS cut staff as projected flight rates drop
With no near-term launch customers, Sea Launch said Friday it will cut its workforce and take its ocean-going vessels out of service in a money-saving measure, weeks after rival International Launch Services announced staff reductions in response to weakened commercial prospects for Russia's Proton rocket.
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Test mishap prompts delay of Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX says it has delayed liftoff of the next Falcon 9 rocket until Wednesday to ensure the problem that caused a prototype rocket to self-destruct in a test flight Friday will not pose a risk to the launch of a telecommunications satellite for AsiaSat.
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Inquiry into Galileo launch anomaly to focus on Fregat
European and Russian engineers are studying the cause of Friday's botched launch of two Galileo navigation satellites, with the initial focus of the investigation on the Soyuz rocket's Russian-made Fregat upper stage, Arianespace announced Saturday.
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European navigation craft launched into wrong orbit
Arianespace confirmed late Friday that two satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation network were released into the wrong orbit after launching aboard a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.
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   LIFTOFF STORY
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   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   OUR ARCHIVE OF SOYUZ IN FRENCH GUIANA
SpaceX rocket prototype explodes in test flight
A SpaceX test rocket designed to fine-tune vertical landing technology for reusable launchers exploded in a test flight in Central Texas on Friday, according to multiple eyewitness reports.
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Russian RD-180 rocket engines delivered to ULA
Dodging tit-for-tat sanctions that have paralyzed trade between the United States and Russia, a cargo plane landed in Alabama on Wednesday with two Russian-made RD-180 engines destined to power U.S. government spacecraft into orbit aboard Atlas 5 rockets.
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Chinese, Polish satellites launched by Long March
A Chinese Earth-observing spacecraft and a Polish astronomical satellite launched into a nearly 400-mile-high orbit Tuesday aboard a Long March 4B rocket.
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Spacewalkers deploy satellite, tend experiments
Space station cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev staged a five-hour and 11-minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station Monday, launching a small Peruvian science satellite and changing out a variety of space exposure experiments.
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   IMAGES: COSMONAUTS VENTURE OUTSIDE ISS
Astronauts see Cygnus re-entry over the South Pacific
Packed with trash and other equipment tagged for disposal, an Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus spacecraft plunged back into the atmosphere Sunday over the uninhabited Pacific Ocean, concluding a one-month mission to resupply the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY - with images!
Snapshots of last week's Atlas 5 rocket launch
Check out views of the Aug. 13 blastoff of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from California with WorldView 3, the most powerful commercial Earth-observing satellite ever launched.
   IMAGES: ULA'S REMOTE CAMERA SHOTS
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: LIFTOFF AS SEEN FROM PRESS SITE
   IMAGES: TUESDAY AT THE PAD
Rainfall research satellite begins descent from orbit
A long-lived satellite launched in 1997 to measure rainfall in the tropics has run out of fuel and will probably fall back to Earth within the next three years, NASA officials said this week.
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Falcon 9 booster's 'soft landing' seen in new video
A video clip released by SpaceX on Thursday shows a fresh view of the descent and splashdown of a Falcon 9 rocket's booster stage following a July 14 launch to boost six Orbcomm communications satellites into space.
   FULL STORY - with video!
Cygnus cargo craft flies away from space station
Closing out a one-month stay at the International Space Station, a commercial Cygnus supply ship owned and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp. departed the huge orbiting complex Friday.
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New commercial eye in the sky launched into space
An Atlas 5 rocket carrying the most powerful Earth-imaging satellite ever built for the commercial market blasted off from California and streaked into orbit Wednesday, the latest in a series of rapid-fire flights by rocket-builder United Launch Alliance.
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   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
OCO 2 makes its first carbon measurement from space
A satellite launched last month has reached its operational perch 438 miles above Earth and started collecting data on the global distribution of carbon dioxide, a gas linked to climate change, NASA announced this week.
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ULA announces new president and CEO
United Launch Alliance has named a new president and chief executive to replace Michael Gass, who led the Atlas and Delta rocket company since its inception in 2006.
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Europe's cargo spacecraft makes final service call
Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle made its final cargo delivery to the International Space Station on Tuesday, completing a smooth computer-controlled docking to resupply the orbiting laboratory with 7.3 tons of fuel, water, experiments and provisions.
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   IMAGES: ATV'S RENDEZVOUS WITH ISS
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   DOCKING TIMELINE
Chinese surveillance satellites launched into orbit
A Long March 4C rocket launched three satellites into orbit Saturday on a clandestine mission that will likely serve Chinese intelligence and military organizations.
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NASA's Pluto-bound probe sees its distant target
Heading toward a speedy encounter next summer, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has glimpsed Pluto and its moon Charon in a cosmic orbital dance from a distance of more than 260 million miles.
   FULL STORY - with images!


United Launch Alliance highlights film of the Aug. 1 Atlas 5 rocket launch.

Rosetta's decade of flight
Rosetta's ten-year journey from the launch pad to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko took the spacecraft by planets and asteroids, offering a preview of the probe's capabilities and whetting the appetites of researchers waiting for the mission's scientific payoff.
   IMAGES: ROSETTA'S SOLAR SYSTEM TOUR
Rosetta finally reaches comet destination
Europe's Rosetta spacecraft pulled alongside an oddball comet Wednesday, concluding a decade-long journey from Earth for the most comprehensive exploration of a comet in history.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ROSETTA ARRIVES AT COMET
Falcon 9 rocket blasts off with AsiaSat satellite
A Falcon 9 launcher rocketed away from Cape Canaveral early Tuesday, boosting an AsiaSat telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit to beam television and data across China, India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
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   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: FALCON 9'S LIFTOFF
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PREPARATIONS
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   LAUNCH PRESS KIT - (.pdf download)
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Space shuttle relics ready to roar again in Mississippi
The space shuttle's hydrogen-fueled rocket engines will soon roar again after receiving upgrades to fly on the Space Launch System, a heavy-lifting mega-rocket NASA hopes will take astronauts on journeys farther than humans have ever traveled.
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   IMAGES: INSIDE THE SLS ENGINE FACILITY
Sample cache, oxygen generator to fly to Mars
NASA's next Mars rover will identify, gather and store rock core samples for possible pickup by future robots or astronauts, continue the quest for evidence of past life, and likely employ redesigned wheels to avoid the dings and holes now afflicting the Curiosity rover on the red planet.
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Atlas 5 rocket deploys new GPS navigation satellite
A rocket launch to serve the world blasted off Friday night from Florida carrying a new Global Positioning System satellite to transmit omnipresent navigation and timing information to users across the planet.
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   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: ROCKET ROLLOUT
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD PREPARATIONS
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   ATLAS ARCHIVE
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Rosetta's target comet too warm to be an icy world
Initial observations from an imaging spectrometer aboard Europe's Rosetta spacecraft show the comet it is chasing has a dark, dusty surface instead of one covered in ice, scientists said Friday.
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Rosetta's camera seeing more of unexplored comet
On course for an historic rendezvous next week, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is revealing new details of the oddball comet the probe has pursued for more than a decade.
   FULL STORY
Europe's last cargo freighter blasts off from Kourou
The last of Europe's automated cargo freighters blasted off from a South American spaceport Tuesday, soaring into orbit in pursuit of the International Space Station with 7.3 tons of fuel, food and supplies.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: OFFICIAL ESA LAUNCH PHOTOS
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   IMAGES: ARIANE ARRIVES AT THE LAUNCH PAD
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   FLIGHT GROUND TRACK
   ARIANE 5 DIAGRAM
   OUR ARIANE ARCHIVE


United Launch Alliance highlights film of Monday's Delta 4 rocket launch.

Space surveillance craft launched by Delta 4 rocket
A pair of covertly developed inspector satellites to monitor collision threats and nefarious activities in geosynchronous orbit for U.S. Strategic Command blasted off Monday aboard a Delta 4 rocket.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: SNAPSHOTS FROM LAUNCH
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: MONDAY'S RETRACT OF THE GANTRY
   IMAGES: SUNRISE OVER THE DELTA 4
   IMAGES: MOBILE GANTRY ROLLED BACK
   IMAGES: ROCKET REVEALED FOR LAUNCH
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   EARLIER STORY
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Ground teams restore contact with orbiting geckos
A Russian ground team has made contact with a gecko-carrying scientific research satellite, restoring communications with the spacecraft after officials were unable to control it for a week, the Russian space agency announced Saturday.
   FULL STORY
NASA considers commercial telecom satellites at Mars
NASA may take the commercialization of the final frontier to other planets with a study that could lead to the construction of interplanetary communications satellites to relay data between Earth and future Mars rovers.
   FULL STORY
Extension granted for Spitzer infrared telescope
NASA officials said this week they plan to keep funding the Spitzer observatory for two more years, reversing a preliminary decision this spring to shut down the space-based infrared telescope due to budget concerns.
   FULL STORY
Officials unable to contact animal-carrying spaceship
A Russian space capsule carrying a package of biological and materials research specimens, including geckos and plant seeds, has stopped responding to commands from Earth, the Russian space agency announced Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Russian cargo carrier journeys to space station
A Russian Progress supply ship blasted off on top of a Soyuz rocket Wednesday and completed an expedited pursuit of the International Space Station with a smooth automated docking less than six hours later, delivering 5,700 pounds of food, fuel and supplies.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY - with images!
Orbcomm pleased with SpaceX rocket performance
The six Orbcomm communications satellites launched last week are in good shape after an ultra-precise orbital delivery by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, according to Orbcomm's chief executive.
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Video shows Falcon 9's rocket-assisted splashdown
SpaceX released a video clip Tuesday showing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket descending back to Earth for a controlled, low-speed splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral following launch last week.
   FULL STORY - with video!
Neil Armstrong honored 45 years after moon landing
Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, command module pilot Mike Collins and Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell joined NASA dignitaries and Neil Armstrong's family Monday to rename the historic Operations and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center in honor of the first man to walk on the moon.
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   EARLIER STORY
   IMAGES: APOLLO 11 PHOTO FLASHBACK
Satellites crucial to collecting MH17 evidence
U.S. intelligence analysts turned to multibillion-dollar super-secret satellites in their quest to find answers to what happened to a Malaysian airliner over war-torn eastern Ukraine last week.
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Payload set for launch aboard next Atlas 5 rocket
The next Global Positioning System satellite was mated atop its booster rocket today, marking a critical step towards the planned July 31 launch into space.
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
European mission to space station postponed
The last flight of Europe's heavy-duty Automated Transfer Vehicle heading for the International Space Station will be delayed a few days while engineers resolve a problem with the spaceship's Ariane 5 launcher, officials said Friday.
   FULL STORY
Rendezvous of Cygnus chronicled in photos
Photos from the astronauts and cosmonauts living on the International Space Station show this week's special delivery of provisions, fresh food and experiments aboard a commercial Cygnus cargo craft.
   IMAGES: CYGNUS MAKES SPECIAL DELIVERY
Live animals launched on two-month space mission
A high-flying package of live animals, plant seeds, and materials samples shot into space Friday aboard a retrievable Russian Foton satellite, launching a two-month mission focusing on microgravity research into biological and physical sciences.
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   IMAGES: VIDEO REPLAY AND LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: SOYUZ ROLLS TO LAUNCH PAD
Rosetta sees surprising shape to spinning comet
Closing in to begin a thorough investigation in August, a camera on Europe's Rosetta comet-chasing probe has revealed its target has a few surprises in store for scientists.
   FULL STORY - with images!
Space planes, rocket launches on UK's wish list
The British government has announced plans to develop a spaceport, revealing candidate sites across the United Kingdom and fostering closer ties with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to revamp regulations and lure space tourism, and potentially small satellite launches, to Britain.
   FULL STORY
Orbital Sciences cargo craft arrives at space station
A commercial Cygnus cargo craft completed a smooth laser-guided approach to the International Space Station on Wednesday, resupplying the 450-ton research complex and its six-person crew with food, experiments and other gear vital to keeping the orbiting laboratory operating.
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   MISSION STATUS CENTER
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VIDEO: SEE LAUNCH IN HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: REPLAYS FROM VARIOUS CAMERA ANGLES DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: POST-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE DOWNLOAD

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A tribute was paid to the late astronaut Janice Voss on Wednesday as the Cygnus cargo craft carrying her name arrived at the International Space Station.

ESA inks deal to stimulate ship-tracking industry
The European Space Agency signed a $41 million contract with a startup Luxembourg-based spacecraft manufacturer for two microsatellites Tuesday, launching a public-private partnership to expand maritime coverage for security, safety and environmental purposes.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX launch delivers Orbcomm satellites to orbit
SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with six compact communications spacecraft Monday, marking a fiery first act in realizing a $230 million investment to modernize an orbital fleet owned by Orbcomm Inc., a New Jersey-based company that connects businesses with remote equipment via satellite.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: SPACEX PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT PAD
   PREVIEW STORY
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   INFO SHEET: OVERVIEW OF OG2 SATELLITES
   OUR FALCON ARCHIVE
Space station-bound supply ship launched from Virginia
A fresh load of supplies and research experiments began a three-day journey to the International Space Station on Sunday after a successful midday launch aboard an Antares rocket from Virginia's Eastern Shore.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ORBITAL PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH DAY SNAPSHOTS
   IMAGES: ANTARES ROLLOUT
   PREVIEW STORY
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   LAUNCH VISIBILITY MAP
Debut flight of Russia's Angara rocket in imagery
Russia's new Angara launcher took off on its first test flight Wednesday, and officials said the rocket performed as expected on a 21-minute suborbital mission departing from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome about 500 miles north of Moscow. Relive the launch with video and photos released by Roscosmos and the Russian Defense Ministry.
   IMAGES: VIDEO AND PHOTOS OF LAUNCH
Payload mated for launch aboard next Delta 4 rocket
Two spacecraft that will track man-made objects and deter threats in geosynchronous orbit were hauled to the launch pad today and mounted atop a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 booster rocket.
   FULL STORY
Satellites launched to beam Internet down to Earth
Four broadband communications satellites for O3b Networks, a company based in Britain's Channel Islands with a mission to link developing countries via high-speed Internet, blasted off from French Guiana on top of a Russian Soyuz rocket Thursday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: HARDWARE READIED FOR LAUNCH
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   ARIANESPACE LAUNCH KIT - (.pdf download)
   OUR ARCHIVE OF SOYUZ IN FRENCH GUIANA
ULA to outfit pad for crews, pending NASA decision
United Launch Alliance has completed the design of a modified Atlas 5 launch pad to accommodate astronaut flights at Cape Canaveral, and construction workers will start installing the upgrades this fall if one of ULA's partners wins NASA funding in the commercial crew program.
   FULL STORY
2014: A mid-year look at Atlas and Delta performance
It has been a hectic first six months of the year for the Atlas and Delta families of rockets, flying a combined 7 times so far in 2014. Here is a look at the year to date for United Launch Alliance and the four Atlas missions and three by Delta.
   FULL STORY
Angara rocket launched on suborbital test flight
Russia's new Angara launcher lifted off on its first test flight Wednesday, inaugurating the country's first all-new rocket program in decades in a bid to end Russia's reliance on other nations and toxic fuels for access to space.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz rocket sends up Russian weather satellite
A new Russian weather satellite lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, riding a Soyuz launcher into space with six small piggyback satellites from Britain, the United States and Norway.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
The final shuttle launch
"On the shoulders of the space shuttle, America will continue the dream." Three years ago Tuesday, the shuttle Atlantis thundered into history on the 135th and final launch of America's Space Transportation System after 31 years of service. Relive launch day in this photo collection.
   SPECIAL PHOTO GALLERY
   OUR LAUNCH STORY
   ARCHIVE MISSION STATUS CENTER
   VIDEO: FINAL MISSION ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO
Prime real estate renamed in honor of Armstrong
A famed facility at the Kennedy Space Center where Apollo spacecraft were readied for the moon and NASA's next-generation Orion capsules are being built to go into deep space is being renamed for the first moonwalker, the late Neil Armstrong.
   FULL STORY
Enthusiasm wanes for fast start to U.S. engine program
With the Obama administration, NASA and industry leaders preaching caution -- and no sign Russian rocket engine exports will end -- the rush to replace the Russian RD-180 engine used to power billions of dollars of U.S. military and scientific research satellites into space has cooled in recent weeks.
   FULL STORY
Rosetta mission one month from historic comet arrival
The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is one month from pulling alongside an icy comet and beginning the most comprehensive survey of a comet yet attempted.
   FULL STORY
The joys of launch
A heavy blanket of fog and a persistent drizzle couldn't dampen the joy surrounding this week's Delta 2 rocket launch that saw the return of a venerable booster and a comeback for the science team.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
Spaceflight Now Plus
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VIDEO: DELTA 2 LAUNCHES OCO 2 DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA VIEW OF SEPARATION DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: A SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH DECLARED DOWNLOAD
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Russian communications satellites rocket into orbit
Russia put three message relay spacecraft into orbit Thursday aboard a Rockot launcher, continuing the deployment of a fleet of civil communications satellites for the Russian government.
   FULL STORY
Government argues for dismissal of SpaceX lawsuit
The U.S. government has filed a motion with the Court of Federal Claims to dismiss a key element in a lawsuit by SpaceX challenging a sole-source multi-rocket contract awarded to United Launch Alliance last December.
   FULL STORY


United Launch Alliance presents a stirring hightlights video from the Delta 2 rocket carrying the OCO 2 spacecraft.

Workhorse Delta 2 returns to launch NASA observatory
Streaking back into action after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, a Delta 2 rocket launched NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory No. 2 on Wednesday to watch the Earth breathe from space.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: NASA PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: THE DELTA 2 ROCKET
   IMAGES: MOBILE GANTRY ROLLBACK
   IMAGES: PRE-LAUNCH GALLERY
   IMAGES: DELTA STACKING GALLERY
   PREVIEW STORY
   RETURN OF DELTA 2
   EARLIER STORY
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: DELTA 2 LAUNCHES OCO 2 DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA VIEW OF SEPARATION DOWNLOAD

VIDEO: FIRST LAUNCH ATTEMPT SCRUBBED DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: NARRATED REVIEW OF OCO 2 FLOW DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: NARRATED REVIEW OF DELTA 2 FLOW DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: ROLLBACK OF MOBILE SERVICE TOWER DOWNLOAD

VIDEO: WATCH THE DELTA 2/OCO 2 PRE-LAUNCH BRIEFING DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF THE DELTA 2/OCO 2 FLIGHT DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: WATCH THE OCO 2 SCIENCE PRE-LAUNCH BRIEFING DOWNLOAD

VIDEO: OCO 2 MISSION SOUNDBITES DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: INTRODUCTION TO THE OCO 2 MISSION DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: A LOOK AT THE CARBON DIOXIDE SCIENCE DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: OVERVIEW OF THE OCO 2 PROJECT DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: OCO 2 PRE-FLIGHT BRIEFING DOWNLOAD
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Mars rover collectible patch

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This commemorative patch celebrates NASA's Curiosity rover mission of the Mars Science Laboratory in search of clues whether the Red Planet was once hospitable to life.
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John Glenn Mission Patch

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The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.
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Final Shuttle Mission Patch

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The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!
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Celebrate the shuttle program

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This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!
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Anniversary Shuttle Patch

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This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.
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Mercury anniversary

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Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.
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Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
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Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
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