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News Archive: September 2011 - June 2012

Delta 4-Heavy rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral
America's heavy-lift rocket, the towering white and orange triple-barreled booster responsible for launching vital security and intelligence satellites, mades another of its spectacular ascents from Cape Canaveral on Friday morning.
   IMAGES: SPECIAL PHOTO GALLERY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: HOISTING PAYLOAD ATOP ROCKET
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
International Space Station residents return home
A three-man crew from NASA, Europe and Russia completed their half-year mission aboard the International Space Station and returned to Earth on Sunday. Touchdown of the Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan occurred at 4:14 a.m. EDT (0814 GMT), capping 193 days in space.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: SOYUZ TOUCHDOWN
   STORE: EXPEDITION 31 PATCH
GAO warns of dangerous weather satellite data gap
Forecasters will almost certainly face gaps in weather data before NOAA's next-generation polar-orbiting satellites begin launching in 2017, government officials told Congress this week.
   FULL STORY
Shuttle Atlantis makes familiar trip one more time
Mere minutes after the Delta 4-Heavy rocket's thunderous roar reverberated across Florida's Space Coast on its successful trek to space Friday morning, the retired space shuttle Atlantis made a brief appearance outdoors as she moved from the hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building.
   FULL STORY AND PHOTO GALLERY
   OUR ATLANTIS MISSION ARCHIVE
Shenzhou 9 astronauts back on Earth after 13-day flight
China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft parachuted to a jolting rocket-assisted landing in Inner Mongolia on Friday, safely returning three astronauts to Earth after nearly 13 days in orbit.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Kazakhstan grants approval for grounded Soyuz flights
Soyuz rocket launches stalled by a dispute between Russia and Kazakhstan over booster drop zones are scheduled to go forward in the second half of this year, beginning in July with the liftoff of several international satellites and continuing in September with the launch of a European weather observatory.
   FULL STORY
Loral gives Canadian company a U.S. footprint
Commercial satellite-builder Space Systems/Loral is being acquired by MDA Corp. of Canada for $875 million in a deal which gives the Canadian contractor a foothold in the market for contracts with the U.S. government, officials said Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Atlantis fitted with main engine replicas for museum
Already having been powered off for the final time, the shells of rocket pods installed on her tail and nose and key components removed for future use, technicians Tuesday finished inserting replica main engines on space shuttle orbiter Atlantis for permanent display at Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex.
   SPECIAL PHOTO GALLERY
   STORY ON KSC VISITOR COMPLEX PLANS
   OUR ATLANTIS MISSION ARCHIVE
Space-bound Orion capsule to arrive at KSC next week
Lockheed Martin Corp. is preparing to ship the pressure shell for the first space-bound Orion capsule from a Louisiana factory to the Kennedy Space Center, where it will be readied for liftoff on an orbital test flight in 2014.
   FULL STORY
Antares rocket joins NASA's fleet of available launchers
NASA has added the Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket to its fleet of launchers for robotic research and exploration missions, the space agency announced Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
China says it has spent $6 billion on human spaceflight
China has spent about $6 billion on its manned space program since 1992, and about half that figure went toward developing advanced capabilities for rendezvous and docking, according to an official quoted by state media.
   FULL STORY
New Merlin engine completes test firing
An upgraded Merlin engine designed to boost the lift capacity of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has completed a full mission duration test firing in Texas, the company announced Monday.
   FULL STORY - with video!
China's first piloted docking test goes smoothly in space
Chinese astronaut Liu Wang, an experienced Air Force pilot, carefully guided the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft to a docking with the Tiangong 1 space lab module Sunday, notching China's first manual docking in orbit.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!


This is the United Launch Alliance highlights film from Wednesday's beautiful Atlas 5 rocket flight from Cape Canaveral that carried a national security payload.

NASA telescope deploys Tinkertoy-like mast
The innovative expandable backbone structure that made NASA's low-cost X-ray observatory possible was successfully stretched to its full length in Earth orbit Thursday, readying the NuSTAR satellite to begin its astronomy mission to gaze at the remnants of exploded stars, study the extreme physics around black holes and observe our own Sun's corona.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
ATV evolution work looks at exploration, debris removal
Astrium announced Thursday it is working on two studies to evaluate follow-on missions for technologies derived from Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle, the International Space Station's largest cargo resupply freighter, following its retirement in 2014.
   FULL STORY
NASA funds satellites to measure hurricane winds
NASA's decision this week to fund a University of Michigan proposal to build a small satellite constellation, the first full mission award in the agency's low-cost Venture-class Earth science program, could help forecasters predict the intensification of tropical cyclones.
   FULL STORY
Atlas launch photo spread
Marvel at the amazing photography from Wednesday's Atlas 5 rocket blastoff as captured through United Launch Alliance cameras around Complex 41.
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
Atlas 5 thunders to milestone in rocket history
Marking a milestone in flight at the fore of American rocketry, an Atlas 5 majestically rose away from Cape Canaveral Wednesday on the 50th mission for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: LAUNCH AS SEEN FROM PRESS SITE
   IMAGES: PICTURESQUE VIEW FROM THE BEACH

   SPECIAL: EELV FLIGHT ARCHIVE
   IMAGES: SUNSET SHOTS AT COMPLEX 41
   IMAGES: MONDAY AFTERNOON PHOTOS
   IMAGES: FULL ROLLOUT GALLERY
   IMAGES: ROCKET POISED FOR LAUNCH
   IMAGES: ATLAS ROLLS OUT TO LAUNCH PAD
   IMAGES: HOISTING PAYLOAD ATOP ROCKET
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
Euclid dark energy mission approved by science panel
European scientists on Wednesday approved the development and construction of Euclid, an $800 million space telescope designed to unravel the mysterious forces accelerating the expansion of the universe.
   FULL STORY
Solar panel shakes loose on Intelsat broadcast satellite
A stuck solar array on the Intelsat 19 broadcasting satellite dislodged itself last week, but engineers will not know how much of the craft's mission can be accomplished until its communications payload is activated.
   FULL STORY
Proton launch delayed by issue in steering system
A problem with the steering system on a Proton rocket has forced an indefinitely delay in the launch of the SES 5 communications satellite, which had been set to take off Monday from Kazakhstan, according to the launcher's Russian contractor.
   FULL STORY
   PDF: MISSION OVERVIEW
Chinese astronauts enter Tiangong 1 space lab
Flying on autopilot with three astronauts on-board, China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft glided to a smooth docking with the Tiangong 1 space lab Monday, two days after the crew lifted off on a Long March rocket. The astronauts opened the hatch and entered the orbiting module about three hours after docking.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
Air Force's mini-shuttle returns after 468-day flight
Capping a 15-month clandestine military mission circling the planet, the Pentagon's miniature spaceplane, one quarter the size of NASA's now-retired space shuttle, returned to Earth just after dawn Saturday for a pinpoint touchdown at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: SPACEPLANE BACK ON EARTH
   VIDEO: X-37B LANDS AT DAWN
   ARCHIVED LAUNCH COVERAGE
   IMAGES: PRE-LAUNCH PHOTOS OF OTV-2
   PDF: BOEING FACT SHEET ON X-37B
Chinese crew blasts off en route to orbiting lab
Three Chinese astronauts rode a Long March rocket into orbit Saturday, kicking off 13 days of docking trials and experiments laying the groundwork for China's ambition to build a permanent space station by the end of the decade.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: VIEWS OF LIFTOFF
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
NASA takes custody of cargo returned from station
During a ceremony inside a Texas warehouse on Wednesday, SpaceX turned over to NASA more than a half-ton of cargo returned from the International Space Station during last month's commercial resupply mission.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: DRAGON SPACECRAFT IN TEXAS
NASA's leader visits SpaceX Headquarters on victory lap
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden visited SpaceX Headquarters on Thursday, capping a tour of SpaceX facilities to thank employees for their part in making the first mission by a private company to the International Space Station a success.
   IMAGES: BOLDEN AND MUSK SPEAK
Air-launched Pegasus boosts NASA telescope
NASA's NuSTAR satellite rocketed into orbit Wednesday aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL vehicle for its X-ray astronomy mission to gaze at the remnants of exploded stars, study the extreme physics around black holes and observe our own Sun's corona.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH L-1011 AIRCRAFT CREW
   IMAGES: TAKEOFF PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: TOUR OF THE L-1011 CARRIER JET
   ARCHIVE: EARLIER STORY ON VAFB DEPARTURE
   PDF: NASA PRESS KIT
   OUR PEGASUS ARCHIVE
China is days away from launching three astronauts
China rolled a Long March booster to a desert launch pad Saturday, setting up for the launch of three astronauts as soon as this week on a mission to dock with an orbiting laboratory module 200 miles above Earth.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LONG MARCH ROLLOUT
NASA abandons budget-busting X-ray observatory
Growing costs have forced NASA to cancel an X-ray astrophysics mission conceived to study intense gravity fields around black holes and collapsed stars, a senior agency official said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Inquiry into satellite glitch focuses on Zenit rocket
Sea Launch officials are poring over data from the June 1 launch of the Intelsat 19 communications satellite to determine whether the company's Zenit rocket may have damaged the spacecraft during ascent from an ocean-based platform in the Pacific Ocean.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Pegasus rocket sets sail to launch NASA telescope
Slung beneath the belly of its L-1011 carrier jet, a three-stage Pegasus XL rocket and its NASA space telescope payload flew away from Vandenberg Air Force Base Tuesday afternoon en route to a distant atoll in the equatorial Pacific where the launch will originate next week.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: TAKEOFF PHOTO GALLERY
NASA has a mission for grounded spy telescopes
A National Reconnaissance Office telescope built in secret to collect intelligence for the U.S. government could be the linchpin in NASA's quest to build a satellite to detect extrasolar planets and study the nature of dark energy, the mysterious force driving the expansion of the universe.
   FULL STORY
Take a tour of Pegasus rocket's carrier jet
A day before the L-1011 carrier aircraft will depart Vandenberg Air Force Base to ferry the Orbital Sciences air-launched Pegasus rocket and its NASA X-ray space telescope to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific, reporters got a tour of the jet and rocket at the "hot pad" staging area adjacent to the runway.
   PHOTO GALLERY
Dragon capsule back in port
Five days after splashdown in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arrived at the Port of Los Angeles early Tuesday aboard a recovery barge.
   IMAGES: CAPSULE RETURNED TO PORT
   IMAGES: DRAGON RECOVERED FROM WATER
NASA expects quick start to SpaceX cargo contract
The top NASA manager in charge of the agency's commercial cargo transportation program hailed SpaceX's demonstration flight to the International Space Station as a success and indicated approval for continued resupply missions under a $1.6 billion contract would be a mere formality.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   FACT SHEET: FALCON 9 ROCKET
   FACT SHEET: DRAGON SPACECRAFT
   PDF: SPACEX PRESS KIT
   PDF: DEMO MISSION OBJECTIVES
   PDF: DRAGON CARGO MANIFEST
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: CHASE PLANE SEES CHUTE DEPLOY AND LANDING PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: LIVE COVERAGE OF DRAGON'S SPLASHDOWN PLAY
VIDEO: DRAGON FLIES AWAY FROM SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEX DRAGON MANEUVERED TO RELEASE POSITION PLAY
VIDEO: ROBOT ARM DETACHES DRAGON FROM HARMONY NODE PLAY
VIDEO: CREW READIES TO REMOVE THE DRAGON PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LANDING PREVIEWS NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

HIGH-DEFINITION: DRAGON AS SEEN BY CREW DOWNLOAD
HIGH-DEFINITION: VEHICLE CAPTURED AND BERTHED DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: HATCH OPENED AND CREW FLOATS IN DRAGON PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW CHATS WITH REPORTERS FROM INSIDE DRAGON PLAY

VIDEO: SECURING DRAGON INTO DOCKING PORT PLAY
VIDEO: ROBOT ARM CAPTURES DRAGON! PLAY
VIDEO: DRAGON FLIES WITHIN ARM'S REACH PLAY
VIDEO: APPROACH HALTED TO FIX LASER GLITCH PLAY
VIDEO: DRAGON'S RENDEZVOUS WITH THE SPACE STATION PLAY

VIDEO: THE FULL LAUNCH EXPERIENCE! PLAY
VIDEO: FALCON 9 ROCKET LAUNCHES DRAGON PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: ALONG THE NASA CAUSEWAY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: WESTERN TRACKING CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: NORTHERN TRACKING CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: SOUTHERN TRACKING CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: CLOSE-UP OF MAIN ENGINES PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: ASSEMBLY BUILDING ROOF PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NASA ADMINISTRATOR SPEAKS ON SUCCESS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: POST-LAUNCH NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: PREVIEW OF DRAGON'S TREK TO SPACE STATION PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: STATION CARGO BEING CARRIED BY DRAGON PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SUMMARY OF FALCON'S LAUNCH COUNTDOWN PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENGINE NO. 5 VALVE REPLACED PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: NARRATED RECAP OF FALCON/DRAGON CAMPAIGN PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: POST-ABORT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH ABORTED DURING ENGINE START PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY

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Pegasus rocket nearly ready to leave Vandenberg
Loaded with an X-ray telescope payload for NASA, the winged Pegasus rocket left the assembly hangar and joined up with its L-1011 carrier aircraft Saturday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Ground controllers working on satellite problem
The brand new Intelsat communications satellite hauled into space early Friday atop a Sea Launch rocket from its floating platform in the Pacific ran into a snag with one of its power-generating solar wings.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
Dragon returns to Earth following historic flight
Placing an exclamation point on a flawless nine-day flight to the International Space Station, SpaceX's commercial Dragon spaceship made an automated pinpoint splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday, completing a feat never before achieved by private industry.
   FULL STORY
   DEPARTURE AND RE-ENTRY TIMELINE
   MAP: SPLASHDOWN POINT
Air Force's mini space shuttle prepares for landing
After 15 months circling the planet on its clandestine military mission, the Pentagon's miniature space shuttle will be coming back to Earth for a pinpoint touchdown at Vandenberg Air Force Base in the next couple of weeks.
   FULL STORY
   ARCHIVED LAUNCH COVERAGE
SpaceX signs deal for first commercial Falcon Heavy
SpaceX announced the first commercial contract for the Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday, unveiling a deal with Intelsat, the world's largest communications satellite operator.
   FULL STORY
   SPACEX ANNOUNCES FALCON HEAVY
JWST instrument flies commercial across Atlantic
A sensitive infrared camera designed to detect the first light in the universe flew across the Atlantic Ocean in the belly of a jetliner Tuesday, ready to be integrated in the science module of the James Webb Space Telescope for exhaustive testing.
   FULL STORY
Long March rocket lifts military satellite into orbit
China shot an intelligence-gathering Yaogan surveillance satellite into a 750-mile-high orbit Tuesday in a successful launch aboard a Long March 4C rocket.
   FULL STORY
Astronauts say crews would be comfortable in Dragon
Two astronauts who helped capture and berth the Dragon supply ship said Saturday they would be comfortable flying a human-rated version of the craft on commercial flights to the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
Space station crew opens door on Dragon spaceship
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station opened the door on the lab's first commercial resupply craft Saturday, accessing more than 1,000 pounds of food, clothing and experiments stowed inside. But one of the most vital functions of the privately-owned cargo ship - its ability to safely return space station equipment to Earth - is yet to be demonstrated.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ASTRONAUT VIEWS OF DRAGON ARRIVAL
Chinese communications satellite delivered to space
A Long March 3B rocket lifted off Saturday and successfully deployed a Chinese military communications satellite bound for an orbit over the equator, state media reported.
   FULL STORY
First commercial cargo ship arrives at space station
The International Space Station's robotic arm on Friday reached out and snared a cargo carrier built by SpaceX, making history after the privately-built Dragon spacecraft made a cautious laser-guided approach to the complex, becoming the first commercial spaceship to reach the massive scientific research facility.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: RENDEZVOUS PROFILE
   IMAGES: DRAGON GLIDES UNDER ISS
   FLYBY PREVIEW STORY
   RENDEZVOUS TIMELINE
Dragon circling Earth after flawless predawn blastoff
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket radiantly rose into a serene predawn sky over Florida on Tuesday, successfully launching a privately-owned capsule named Dragon into orbit on a seminal test flight to the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   FLIGHT DAY ONE TIMELINE
Dragon flight testing to begin soon after launch
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will almost immediately begin testing new components following its deployment in orbit, extending solar arrays, demonstrating sensors for precise navigation, and proving its safety procedures during the capsule's first day in space.
   FULL STORY
America's annular eclipse
There was a rare treat for U.S. observers Sunday when an annular eclipse is visible from parts of seven western U.S. states, with a partial eclipse visible across much of North America, except for areas near and along the Atlantic coast.
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: SATELLITE SEES FOUR ECLIPSES
Falcon 9 countdown aborted in last second before launch
Computers automatically aborted the countdown Saturday for SpaceX's first commercial flight to the International Space Station, scrubbing the launch a half-second before liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ROCKET ON THE PAD
   IMAGES: FALCON 9 ROLLOUT
Q&A with SpaceX founder and designer Elon Musk
Spaceflight Now spoke with Elon Musk, the father of SpaceX and chief designer of the Falcon and Dragon vehicles, on the eve of his company's biggest test yet - the historic first commercial flight to the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX's commercial mission is 'just a test flight'
Observers from Cape Canaveral to Capitol Hill will be keenly watching SpaceX's commercial voyage to the International Space Station launching Saturday, and although officials bill the mission as a test flight, its outcome could buoy or blunt support for a private space race in human spaceflight.
   FULL STORY
Japan's H-2A rocket orbits craft to aid climate science
A Japanese H-2A rocket deployed four satellites in orbit Thursday, putting up a research mission to track the changing role of water in Earth's climate and a South Korean payload to gather high-resolution photos for environmental monitoring and security authorities.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: H-2A ROCKET ROLLOUT
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   FLIGHT GROUND TRACK
   DIAGRAM OF LAUNCHER
   PDF: SHIZUKU FACT SHEET
Canadian TV broadcast satellite soars to space
A new broadcasting spacecraft for direct-to-home satellite television to two million customers across Canada successfully flew into orbit atop a Russian Proton rocket to orbit Thursday.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Spy satellite launched from Russia on Soyuz booster
Russia launched a Soyuz rocket Thursday with a clandestine photo surveillance satellite designed to collect intelligence on strategic sites around the world for defense purposes.
   FULL STORY
AEHF 2 communications satellite keeps on climbing
Avoiding the perilous past of its forerunner, the U.S. Air Force's newly launched anti-jam communications satellite has successfully fired its main engine three times to maneuver toward the intended operational orbit.
   FULL STORY
Three-man crew docks at International Space Station
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new residents for the International Space Station made a flawless approach and docking to the orbiting lab complex Thursday, linking up at 12:36 a.m. EDT (0436 GMT) some 249 miles above Earth.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   STORE: CREW PATCH! (free U.S. shipping!)
   STORE: EXPEDITION 31 PIN
Galaxy-hunting telescope to live on with private funding
NASA has handed over an ultraviolet space telescope to the California Institute of Technology, officials announced Wednesday, allowing the observatory to continue surveying the cosmos for at least three years.
   FULL STORY
NASA intends to use Delta 4 upper stage on moon flights
NASA says Boeing is best equipped to provide two cryogenic upper stages derived from the Delta 4 rocket to power the agency's Orion capsule on a test flight around the moon in 2017 and send astronauts on a voyage to lunar orbit in 2021, according to documents posted on a federal government procurement website.
   FULL STORY
Space station managers give go for SpaceX launch
NASA's space station management team on Tuesday approved plans to launch SpaceX's first commercial flight to the complex Saturday, signing off on software changes governing the privately-built capsule's final approach to the orbiting outpost. Launch from Cape Canaveral is set for Saturday at 4:55 a.m. EDT (0855 GMT).
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PDF: SPACEX PRESS KIT
   PDF: DEMO MISSION OBJECTIVES
   PDF: DRAGON CARGO MANIFEST
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Ariane 5 lifts Lockheed Martin satellite milestone
An Ariane 5 rocket blasted from a South American spaceport precisely on schedule Tuesday carrying a pair of mirror-like "sister" satellites built in the United States by Lockheed Martin for telecommunications operators in Japan and Vietnam.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   GALLERY: ROCKET ON THE PAD
Latest manned space launch
safely takes flight to orbit

Embarking on a four-month mission to utilize the International Space Station and conduct diverse research at the orbiting laboratory, a NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts rocketed off the planet aboard a Soyuz booster at 11:01 p.m. EDT Monday night from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   GALLERY: LAUNCH PHOTOS
   GALLERY: ROCKET ROLLOUT PHOTOS
Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: FULL EXPERIENCE FROM LIFTOFF TO ORBIT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS SITE 254 FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW MEMBERS DON THEIR SOKOL SPACESUITS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH DAY TRADITIONS AT CREW QUARTERS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FINAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SOYUZ PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SOYUZ ROCKET ROLLED TO LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH VEHICLE IS HOISTED VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: POST-ROLLOUT COMMENTS FROM OFFICIALS PLAY | HI-DEF

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Launch preps begin for next Chinese human spaceflight
The Long March rocket and Shenzhou spacecraft for China's next manned space mission are being readied for blastoff as soon as June from the country's Jiuquan launching base.
   FULL STORY
Two more military missions booked on EELV rocket fleet
As the nation's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle fleet prepares for its 50th flight next month, the U.S. Air Force on Monday announced the purchase of an Atlas 5 and a Delta 4 for future military satellite deployments.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
Mars rover test-drive in California sand dunes
Using California sand dunes in the Mojave Desert, Mars Science Laboratory team members are practicing how to drive the car-sized Curiosity rover when it arrives on the red planet in August.
   PHOTO GALLERY
ATK adds crew capsule to Liberty rocket proposal
Joining a growing list of aerospace companies competing to build a commercial crew taxi for NASA, rocket contractor ATK announced Wednesday it could launch astronauts into orbit by 2015 aboard the firm's Liberty rocket and a composite module derived from existing programs.
   FULL STORY
Dream Chaser test plan outlined by Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada Corp., one of the firms vying to build a commercial space taxi for NASA, plans a series of automated and piloted atmospheric flight tests of its lifting body Dream Chaser spacecraft beginning this summer, ultimately leading to an orbital demonstration mission in 2016, according to company managers.
   FULL STORY
Chinese spy satellite successfully launched
China launched an optical military reconnaissance satellite Thursday aboard a Long March 4B rocket, successfully orbiting another member in a fleet of spacecraft spying for Chinese intelligence agencies.
   FULL STORY
ESA declares Envisat observing satellite lost
The European Space Agency on Wednesday declared the Envisat environmental satellite lost one month after the bus-sized craft unexpectedly stopped communicating 10 years after its launch.
   FULL STORY
Photo gallery: Atlas 5 rocket thunders into space
Marking its 30th flight, the Atlas 5 rocket successfully launched Friday afternoon carrying a secure communications satellite for the U.S. government. It also marked United Launch Alliance's 60th mission. Relive the liftoff through the camera lenses of ULA's photographer.
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
Satellite for secure wartime communications goes up
Forging a new constellation of ultra-secure communications satellites that will ring the globe to link the president with military forces anywhere on the planet, an Atlas 5 rocket roared to space Friday to continue putting the pieces in place for the warfighter.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: OUR LAUNCH PHOTOS

   IMAGES: NIGHTTIME PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE PAD
   IMAGES: MORE PHOTOS OF THE ROLLOUT
   IMAGES: ROCKET POISED FOR BLASTOFF
   IMAGES: ATLAS ROLLED TO LAUNCH PAD
   LAUNCH PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: HOISTING SATELLITE ATOP ROCKET
   IMAGES: ENCAPSULATING PAYLOAD IN NOSE CONE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: FULL LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ATLAS 5 ROCKET BLASTS OFF WITH AEHF 2 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LIFTOFF AS SEEN FROM THE KSC PRESS SITE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF ATLAS/AEHF LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
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Chinese mapping satellite in orbit after weekend launch
A Long March rocket boosted a Chinese mapping satellite into orbit Sunday from the Jiuquan launching base in the Gobi desert, according to state media reports.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX sets May 19 launch for flight to space station
The need for additional software assurance testing has again delayed the launch of SpaceX's commercial demonstration flight to the International Space Station, the company announced Friday, until at least May 19.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates
   PDF: DEMO MISSION OBJECTIVES
   PDF: DRAGON CARGO MANIFEST
   DRAGON BACKGROUND INFO
   IMAGES: CAPSULE MATED TO FALCON 9
   IMAGES: FALCON 9 ON THE PAD
   IMAGES: DRAGON ARRIVES AT CAPE
   IMAGES: ROCKET IN THE HANGAR
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Boeing's capsule landing system tested in Nevada
Boeing conducted a successful end-to-end test Wednesday of the landing parachutes for the CST-100 commercial crew spacecraft, marking the second drop test of the boilerplate capsule in a month.
   FULL STORY
Enceladus gets last visit from Cassini until 2015
NASA's Cassini spacecraft skimmed 46 miles above the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wednesday, taking radio measurements to deduce what might feed powerful geysers of water vapor streaming into space from the enigmatic moon's south pole.
   FULL STORY
NASA: Competition critical to commercial crew strategy
NASA managers said Tuesday a proposal by lawmakers to immediately select a single provider for commercial crew transportation services would undermine the agency's strategy of reducing the cost of space travel through private industry.
   FULL STORY
Jupiter is destination of ESA's next planetary probe
The European Space Agency announced Wednesday it will launch a robotic mission in 2022 on a tour of Jupiter's icy moons to examine the subsurface oceans and frozen crusts of Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.
   FULL STORY
Next Monday's SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in doubt
The long-awaited launch of a commercial cargo ship bound for the International Space Station almost certainly will be delayed from May 7 to at least May 10 and possibly longer, sources said late Tuesday, to give company engineers additional time to complete pre-flight tests and checkout.
   FULL STORY
Radiation Belt Storm Probes arrive at Florida launch site
Twin NASA satellites designed to probe and predict changes in Earth's radiation belts arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, ready to begin several months of testing and assembly before lifting off on an Atlas 5 rocket in August.
   FULL STORY
Indian space chief updates GSLV launch manifest
India has scheduled up to four space launches in the next year, including two crucial tests of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, a medium-class rocket envisioned as the cornerstone of Indian ambitions for fully independent access to space.
   FULL STORY
Falcon 9 engines ignited on pad for preflight check
Nine kerosene-fueled engines mounted on the bottom of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket fired at full power for two seconds Monday, completing a key test on a Cape Canaveral launch pad before departing to the International Space Station as soon as May 7.
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Long March launcher boosts twin satellites into orbit
Two satellites for China's Beidou navigation system launched aboard a Long March 3B rocket Sunday, further expanding the space-based positioning network as China eyes global service by 2020.
   FULL STORY
Space shuttle Enterprise lands in the Big Apple
The trailblazing prototype for the space shuttle fleet, the Enterprise, was hauled Friday atop a modified Boeing 747 to New York City where it will become a new exhibit aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a vintage aircraft carrier turned museum anchored in the Hudson River.
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   IMAGES: AERIAL VIEWS OF ENTERPRISE OVER NYC
   IMAGES: ENTERPRISE FLIES OVER NEW HOME
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MetOp satellite grounded by Soyuz drop zone dispute
Launch of Europe's second MetOp weather observatory has been delayed, potentially until late July, by a squabble between Russia and Kazakhstan over drop zones for the lower stages of the satellite's Soyuz rocket, the European Space Agency announced Friday.
   FULL STORY
Dragon bolted to Falcon 9 ahead of engine firing
Engineers connected SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to its Falcon 9 launcher Thursday, setting the stage for a busy weekend of preparations for a brief firing of the rocket's nine main engines on the launch pad Monday.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: DRAGON MATED TO FALCON 9
International Space Station trio comes back to Earth
A three-man crew from NASA and Russia completed its half-year mission aboard the International Space Station and returned to Earth in a parachute-equipped Soyuz descent capsule Friday. Touchdown in Kazakhstan occurred as expected at 7:45 a.m. EDT (1145 GMT).
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates
Astrium UK picked to build Solar Orbiter spacecraft
The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter spacecraft, due for launch in early 2017, will be built in Britain under a $400 million contract signed Thursday with Astrium.
   FULL STORY
Scientists use Dawn to pull back the veil on Vesta
Since being tugged into orbit around asteroid Vesta last July, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has pulled back the curtain on the object's surface characteristics, internal structure and wild temperature swings, revealing Vesta to be a complex world much like a miniature planet.
   FULL STORY
India achieves 'grand success' with rocket launch
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off Thursday with a radar surveillance satellite designed to obtain all-weather, day-and-night ground imagery for national security and environmental applications.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: PSLV BLASTS OFF
SpaceX launch preps press on with Dragon fueling
While engineers analyze and tweak software coding, SpaceX is continuing with launch preparations for the scheduled May 7 blastoff of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Technicians have completed loading the automated capsule with maneuvering fuel, and the Dragon will be mated with its Falcon 9 rocket Thursday.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates!
   PREVIOUS STORY
Congress wary of fully funding commercial crew
Senate and House budget bills would cut up to 40 percent from NASA's requested budget to pay for new commercial spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and end U.S. reliance on Russia for crew transportation.
   FULL STORY
Atlas 5 topped with anti-jam communications satellite
A gleaming new spacecraft valued at over $1 billion to serve in the top-notch mission of providing the president and military leaders a secure and survivable communications link in wartime was mounted atop its Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral on Monday.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: HOISTING SATELLITE ATOP ROCKET
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
More software reviews will delay SpaceX demo flight
Launch of SpaceX's commercial Dragon cargo freighter to the International Space Station will be delayed until at least early May to give engineers more time to wring out the craft's software, the company announced Monday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Commercial Proton rocket deploys Yahsat into orbit
The Russian Proton rocket carrying a Middle Eastern spacecraft for high-data-rate communications launched Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:18 p.m. EDT (2218 GMT). It took 9 hours to put the satellite into the proper orbit by the Breeze M upper stage.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Space station welcomes Russian cargo ship arrival
The International Space Station received a cargo freighter Sunday when the Russian-made vessel loaded with three tons of supplies safely approached and docked on autopilot.
   FULL STORY
ESA consults imagery to diagnose Envisat anomaly
Engineers are analyzing satellite and ground imagery of the European Space Agency's Envisat environmental spacecraft to determine if the $3.4 billion mission can resume after controllers lost contact with the platform April 8.
   FULL STORY
MESSENGER spacecraft lowers orbit around Mercury
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft maneuvered itself into an orbit closer to Mercury on Friday, putting the probe in position for more detailed measurements of the planet's surface composition, sharper images of its surface, and precise mapping of its terrain.
   FULL STORY
Orbital Sciences aims for August launch of Antares
Construction of the Antares rocket's launch pad in Virginia is substantially complete after months of delays stemming from difficulties with the facility's fueling and pressurization systems, according to the chief executive of Orbital Sciences Corp., the rocket's commercial operator.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ANTARES IN THE HANGAR
   IMAGES: PATHFINDER ON LAUNCH PAD
Discovery enters Smithsonian museum
The most-flown spaceship in human history, sailing on 39 voyages to deploy and retrieve satellites, open a new window on the universe by launching the Hubble Space Telescope and help to construct the International Space Station, the shuttle orbiter Discovery reached her final resting place Thursday at the Smithsonian.
   FULL STORY
   FERRYFLIGHT STATUS CENTER - updates & video
   IMAGES: DISCOVERY ENTERS SMITHSONIAN
   IMAGES: INDUCTION CEREMONY
   IMAGES: SHUTTLE ARRIVES FOR CEREMONY
   IMAGES: ENTERPRISE LEAVES SMITHSONIAN
   IMAGES: DISCOVERY MOVED TO CRANE
Russians launch space station resupply ship
Dispatching a freighter filled with food, fuel and supplies to the International Space Station, an unmanned Russian Soyuz booster successfully launched Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
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Catch a glimpse of the Antares rocket launch site
Components for the first test launch of the Orbital Sciences Antares rocket are coming together inside a hangar at Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Engineers also lifted an Antares first stage on the launch mount for the first time this week, testing connections and electrical systems before a test flight this summer.
   IMAGES: ANTARES IN THE HANGAR
   IMAGES: PATHFINDER ON LAUNCH PAD
Rocket companies hope to repurpose Saturn 5 engines
Dynetics and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne announced Wednesday they are teaming up to resurrect the Saturn 5 rocket's mighty F-1 engine to power NASA's planned heavy-lift launch vehicle, saying the Apollo-era engine will offer significantly more performance than solid-fueled boosters currently under development.
   FULL STORY
Budget bill provides $525 million for commercial crew
Senate appropriators released a draft NASA budget Tuesday, proposing a cut of more than $300 million from the agency's funding request for commercial space transportation, but adding money for development of the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket and Orion capsule for human exploration of deep space.
   FULL STORY
Spaceport to Smithsonian: Discovery flies away
The space shuttle orbiter Discovery, part of Kennedy Space Center's heart and soul for three decades, departed the Florida spaceport forever Tuesday morning en route to become a museum exhibit at the Smithsonian's annex in Northern Virginia.
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   TIMELAPSE: LOADING SHUTTLE ATOP 747
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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket still tracking to April 30 launch
Pending the completion of last-minute work and a final review, a commercial cargo ship making its maiden voyage to the International Space Station should be ready for launch April 30, officials said Monday. The long-awaited test flight is intended to clear the way for routine resupply missions starting later this year.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Public can get up-close view of shuttle ferryflight takeoff
Talk about access! Space shuttle fans have a unique opportunity to buy front-row seats at Kennedy Space Center's runway to watch Discovery depart the spaceport atop the 747 carrier jet Tuesday morning.
   FULL STORY
Shuttle Discovery mounted atop 747 carrier jet
The very same aircraft that delivered Discovery from her California manufacturing plant in Palmdale to the Kennedy Space Center in 1983 was topped by the orbiter Sunday morning to prepare for Tuesday's ferryflight to the orbiter's museum display site outside Washington, D.C.
   FERRYFLIGHT STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: A PHOTO TOUR OF THE 747


A windy Saturday morning interview with Stephanie Stilson, a long-time space shuttle Discovery official at Kennedy Space Center and now manager of all the orbiters' retirement activities.

Discovery rolls to runway, winds delay 747 mating
In the predawn darkness Saturday, the shuttle Discovery moved ever closer to leaving her home port forever as remaining technicians towed the decommissioned spaceplane to the runway ramp for mounting atop the 747 carrier jet. However, strong winds stalled plans to hoist the orbiter off the ground until Sunday.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: DISCOVERY LEAVES VAB
Trillions of wrecked comets formed star's icy halo
Using images from Europe's Herschel infrared space telescope, astronomers have obtained fresh insights into a forming solar system around the nearby star Fomalhaut, which features a ring of fine icy dust grains born out of the annihilation of thousands of comets each day.
   FULL STORY
ESA loses contact with flagship environmental craft
Europe's flagship Envisat observation satellite, one of the most advanced environmental spacecraft ever built, has stopped sending data to Earth after 10 years of service, the European Space Agency announced Thursday.
   FULL STORY
WGS satellite passes builder's post-launch tests
Three months after rocketing into space atop a Delta 4 booster, maneuvering into geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles high and passing a thorough checkout, the U.S. Air Force's newest communications craft has been delivered into the hands of military controllers from builder Boeing.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Reports: North Korea rocket fails moments after launch
North Korea launched a three-stage space launcher Friday, defying warnings from international governments, but the rocket failed and crashed into the ocean moments after liftoff, according to defense officials in the region.
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Atlas 5 rehearses count for early May mission
Countdown clocks were ticking at Cape Canaveral Thursday, but only for practice as the Atlas 5 rocket team gears up for a military communications satellite launch in three weeks.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
Boeing anticipates CST-100 orbital flight tests in 2016
Boeing expects to finish the design of its CST-100 capsule by early 2014, but officials say the commercial crew taxi may not be ready for orbital flights until 2016, assuming the company receives the anticipated funding from NASA in an award due by August.
   FULL STORY
Antares first stage on the pad for pathfinder testing
Orbital Sciences rolled the first stage of its Antares rocket to the launch pad Wednesday for several days of pathfinder tests and fit checks, a key step before the booster's debut flight this summer.
   FULL STORY
Discovery's ride arrives
The modified Boeing 747 jumbojet that will haul the space shuttle Discovery piggyback-style to the Smithsonian next week flew across the country to Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday to pick up the spaceplane passenger.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: 747 ARRIVES @ KSC
   OUR DISCOVERY ARCHIVE
SpaceX considers South Texas for private launch site
SpaceX is examining a prospective launch site in South Texas for commercial Falcon rocket missions and testing of reusable suborbital boosters, but the company has not made the final selection of a location for a privately-owned launch base, a company spokesperson said Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
Russia, Europe to sign ExoMars plan by year's end
Russia told European Space Agency officials last week it will partner with Europe on the ExoMars orbiter and rover missions after NASA dropped out of the project in February due to budgetary concerns, according to the Russian space agency.
   FULL STORY
A May launching now planned for next Atlas 5
Given the delays launching the year's first Atlas 5 rocket due to high-altitude winds and scheduling conflicts with a Navy submarine missile test off Cape Canaveral, the next Atlas mission is moving out a week or so as a result.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE


This is the United Launch Alliance highlights film from last week's beautiful Delta 4 rocket flight from California that delivered a national security payload into orbit.

Shuttle Endeavour's cockpit comes alive one more time
Climb aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, the flight deck displays powered up and buttons glowing just like her astronaut crews saw as they circled the planet, a living spaceship taking hardware and humans to and from Earth orbit safely 25 times.
   SPECIAL PHOTO GALLERY
Scientists learning to forecast dust devils on Mars
Knowing exactly when and where to look for dust devils on Mars is still a matter of luck, but scientists are making inroads in forecasting the red planet phenomena, leading to two astonishing images of Martian twisters released in the last month.
   FULL STORY
Close calls between station and debris on the rise
Statistics show the International Space Station came under growing danger from space junk after 2007, with half of the orbiting lab's close calls since then due to near-collisions with debris from a Chinese anti-satellite missile test, the mysterious explosion of a Russian military spacecraft, and the cataclysmic high-speed crash of two satellites.
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Zenit booster delivered for next Sea Launch mission
The Ukrainian Zenit rocket for Sea Launch's next commercial launch has arrived at the firm's California home base for final assembly, a company spokesperson said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Atlas 5 rockets to launch next weather satellite series
The next-generation U.S. weather observatories now in development for flights to geostationary orbit will be deployed by United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rockets, officials announced Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Delta 4 rockets going up and rolling out on same day
While a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket was being fueled during its countdown to blast off on the West Coast Tuesday afternoon, a mammoth Delta 4-Heavy vehicle was being rolled out to its East Coast pad.
   FULL STORY
Minotaur rocket booked for space-based range demo
The U.S. Air Force has purchased a Minotaur 1 rocket for a mission in 2013 to prove less-costly, next-generation range tracking, safety and communications systems to streamline future launch operations.
   FULL STORY
Delta 4 rocket successfully lofts surveillance satellite
A Delta 4 rocket made a thunderous departure from California on Tuesday afternoon, only to slip into a news blackout minutes later while it climbed higher and faster to deploy a classified spy satellite, a success-defining milestone that was confirmed by hobbyist observers.
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   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!

   MOVIE: HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: DELTA 4 READY FOR THE COUNTDOWN
   IMAGES: PAD GANTRY RETRACTED FOR LAUNCH
   IMAGES: ROCKET ON THE EVE OF LAUNCH
   IMAGES: TOUR OF SLC 6 PAD
   IMAGES: DELTA 4 POISED ON THE PAD
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD MOUNTED ATOP THE ROCKET
   'MAIDEN FLIGHT' OF SORTS
   RETROGRADE ORBIT TARGETED
   LAUNCH PREVIEW STORY
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
Kepler planet-hunting mission extended until 2016
NASA's Kepler telescope will scan the sky searching for planets beyond the solar system through 2016 after the space agency extended the mission on the advice of the astrophysics research community.
   FULL STORY
Parachutes for Boeing crew capsule tested over Nevada
Boeing dropped a mock-up of its CST-100 commercial crew capsule over the Nevada desert Tuesday, successfully testing the craft's three main landing parachutes, the first in a series of demonstrations to prove the design of the vehicle's landing system.
   FULL STORY
Launch of NASA X-ray telescope targeted for June
NASA's NuSTAR X-ray astrophysics observatory, grounded in March by concerns with its Pegasus rocket, will have an opportunity to launch in June from a remote Pacific military base, space agency officials said Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
ATV production ended as decision on follow-on nears
Confronted by parts obsolescence and waning political support, the European Space Agency has shut down subsystem production lines for the Automated Transfer Vehicle as member states debate how they will contribute to future international space exploration efforts, according to top spaceflight officials.
   FULL STORY
Senate appropriators offer rebuke of commercial crew
Unhappy with delays, shifting contracting strategies and a proposed budget increase, lawmakers took aim on NASA's commercial crew initiative last week in a continuing narrative of questioning as the agency fights to maintain the program's relevance.
   FULL STORY
Half-ton of cargo on Dragon's station manifest
Technicians will load more than 1,000 pounds of food and clothing into SpaceX's Dragon capsule next month for delivery to the International Space Station on the commercial craft's first flight to the outpost.
   FULL STORY
Backup power system connected to resupply craft
Mission controllers confirmed a backup power supply was successfully connected to Europe's automated cargo freighter Saturday, allowing the craft's five-month flight to resupply the International Space Station to go forward as planned.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: ATV APPROACHES SPACE STATION
   PDF: ESA'S FACT SHEET FOR ATV 3 MISSION
Chinese rocket lifts off with communications satellite
A Chinese Long March 3B rocket lifted a French-built communications payload into orbit Saturday to broadcast television signals, Internet access and network data solutions across the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East for a Hong Kong-based satellite operator.
   FULL STORY
Human factor: Space station as a social laboratory
Astronauts on the International Space Station this summer will use instant messaging, Internet chat clients and email to contact mission control, the first in a series of experiments designed to exploit the orbiting outpost as a behavioral laboratory for future journeys to an asteroid or Mars.
   FULL STORY
Russian early warning satellite orbited by Proton
Russia launched a missile detection satellite Friday from the Kazakhstan steppe, marking the last flight of a venerable version of the Proton rocket after 45 years of service.
   FULL STORY
NASA sees no problem with Apollo engine recovery
Billionaire Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, says he has discovered massive Saturn 5 rocket engines on the Atlantic Ocean floor east of Florida, capturing the attention of NASA and space enthusiasts.
   FULL STORY
Europe's third cargo craft reaches space station
An automated cargo spacecraft loaded with 7.3 tons of food, spare parts, propellant and other supplies docked with the International Space Station on Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: ATV APPROACHES SPACE STATION
   HOW ATV FLIES TO SPACE STATION
   RENDEZVOUS TIMELINE
   PDF: ESA'S FACT SHEET FOR ATV 3 MISSION
   LAUNCH STORY
New Intelsat spacecraft will serve Australian, U.S. forces
An Intelsat satellite on the way to an orbit over the Indian Ocean will link Europe, Africa and Asia with video and voice services and relay UHF communications for U.S. and Australian defense forces deployed in Afghanistan.
   FULL STORY
   HD VIDEO: SPECTACULAR LAUNCH FOOTAGE
U.S. Navy's newly launched spacecraft is flying high
The U.S. Navy's new satellite to provide more agile communications for forces on the move has successfully maneuvered itself into a perch 22,300 miles above Earth and unfurled its giant umbrella-like mesh antennas.
   FULL STORY
   OUR LAUNCH STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Scientists close to finding ice on scorching Mercury
The solar system's innermost planet, a world known for its torrid temperatures, may conceal water ice inside permanently dark polar craters, and NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft aims to resolve the question as it begins an extended mission at Mercury.
   FULL STORY
Intelsat payload launched into lofty orbit by Proton
An Intelsat communications satellite lifted off from Kazakhstan on Sunday aboard a Proton rocket, successfully reaching a 40,000-mile-high orbit more than 15 hours later. The Intelsat 22 satellite will provide video, voice and data services to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean region.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   VIDEO: LIFTOFF FROM BAIKONUR
   VIDEO: PROTON ROLLOUT
   PDF: PROTON MISSION OVERVIEW
Russian satellite destroyed despite scientific promise
Engineers on Sunday intentionally crashed a Russian Express communications satellite stranded in space by an August rocket mishap, declaring the mission a total loss despite efforts by a start-up company to purchase the craft to serve the Antarctic research community.
   FULL STORY
Ariane 5 soars on overnight launch to space station
An Ariane 5 booster blasted off Friday with nearly 7.3 tons of cargo bound for the International Space Station inside an unmanned resupply freighter, becoming the heaviest rocket and spacecraft ever launched by Europe.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: SPECTACULAR UP-CLOSE LAUNCH VIEWS
   IMAGES: LIFTOFF PHOTOS FROM VIEWING SITE
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   PDF: ESA'S FACT SHEET FOR ATV 3 MISSION

   IMAGES: ROCKET ON THE PAD
   IMAGES: ARIANE 5 ROLLOUT
   IMAGES: VIEWS OF ATV CONSTRUCTION
   ARIANE LAUNCH ARCHIVE
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Q&A with Arianespace chief executive Jean-Yves Le Gall
Spaceflight Now recently sat down for lunch with Arianespace chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall, who offered his views on Arianespace's position in the commercial launch market, pricing trends, and the future of the Ariane rocket family.
   PART 1: LE GALL DISCUSSES PRICING, ECONOMY
   PART 2: MARKET STRATEGY, FUTURE OF ARIANE
GRAIL lunar gravity mission extended until December
NASA has granted an extension of the GRAIL moon mission until December, allowing scientists to complete a more definitive map of the lunar gravity field from a lower orbit, according to agency officials and researchers.
   FULL STORY


This narrated animation depicts a Delta 4-Heavy rocket launching the test flight of an Orion spacecraft in 2014 from Cape Canaveral on a two-orbit shakedown cruise.

Certification work continues on missile warning craft
The lead spacecraft in the U.S. military's new generation of missile early-warning satellites is delivering better-than-expected results as exhaustive testing continues 22,300 miles above the planet.
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Escape baskets for shuttle crews removed from pad
A small but visible sign of the times occurred Saturday at Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A when technicians removed the seven slidewire baskets that were part of the emergency escape system for space shuttle astronauts.
   PHOTO GALLERY


From PayPal to electric cars to rockets, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk wants his company, SpaceX, to build America's next manned spacecraft. Scott Pelley reports on 60 Minutes.

Electric propulsion could launch new satellite trend
Boeing's announcement last week of a contract to build up to four communications spacecraft with all-electric propulsion for Asian and Mexican customers could shift the commercial satellite industry's trend for larger, heftier platforms requiring powerful rockets to launch them into orbit, officials said.
   FULL STORY
Experience a space shuttle launch like never before
These slow-motion films capture the awe-inspiring sight of a space shuttle blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center on one of the program's final missions, Discovery soaring skyward last February headed for the International Space Station. The amazing videos are presented here for Spaceflight Now+Plus users.
   VIDEO COLLECTION
   STS-133 VIDEO ARCHIVE
Circumstances cause long delay for Pegasus launch
Launch of NASA's NuSTAR space observatory is going into an extended delay while engineers continue working on the Pegasus rocket software and await the next available opportunity in the U.S. military's flight range in the remote Pacific.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
SpaceX wins deal to launch satellites for Asia, Mexico
Two SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets will launch four communications satellites with innovative electric propulsion systems for Asia Broadcast Satellite and Satmex in 2014 and 2015, securing another commercial launch deal for the private U.S. booster, the company announced Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Veteran astronaut to head up commercial federation
The NASA astronaut holding the single-mission endurance record and spent more time spacewalking than any other American has left the space agency to become president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
   FULL STORY
Decisive budget fight ahead for commercial crew
After NASA chief Charles Bolden fielded blistering questions from Congress last week on the agency's commercial crew initiative, officials said NASA must emphasize the program's urgency and quell expectations ahead of upcoming budget negotiations, during which a crucial SpaceX commercial cargo test flight will attempt to reach the International Space Station, a symbolic mission for the burgeoning private human spaceflight industry.
   FULL STORY
Atlas 5 being stacked for its next U.S. military launch
The 30th Atlas 5 rocket began taking shape Monday as United Launch Alliance technicians hoisted the giant first stage onto the mobile launching platform for next month's mission to deploy an ultra-secure U.S. government communications satellite.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
SpaceX eyes shuttle launch pad for heavy-lift rocket
SpaceX and NASA are in advanced discussions for the private space firm to use Kennedy Space Center's pad 39A, one of the spaceport's Apollo and space shuttle launch sites, as the Florida base for its Falcon Heavy rocket, officials said.
   FULL STORY
Take a photo tour of space shuttle Endeavour's hangar
Enclosed within a maze of work platforms, the shuttle Endeavour has spent most of its life inside one of three Orbiter Processing Facility bays at Kennedy Space Center. Join us on a photographic tour of the hangar with these rare views of the shuttle.
   IMAGES: ENDEAVOUR'S NOSE, CARGO BAY
   IMAGES: SHUTTLE ENGINE COMPARTMENT
   IMAGES: HEAT SHIELD, LANDING GEAR
Discovery leaves hangar to await April 17 ferryflight
Exactly one year to the day since returning from her final spaceflight and now ready for public display at the Smithsonian, the most-flown space shuttle orbiter was rolled from the Kennedy Space Center hangar and placed into temporary storage at the Vehicle Assembly Building on Friday.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: DISCOVERY AND ATLANTIS SHUFFLE
'Sporty' weather greeted Discovery on final landing
When the shuttle Discovery swooped back to the Kennedy Space Center a year ago Friday to conclude the spaceship's flying days, commander Steve Lindsey was dealt some of the most challenging weather conditions ever experienced during an orbiter landing.
   FULL STORY
   OUR STS-133 MISSION COVERAGE
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Inside Endeavour, a bond of technology and humanity
A sea of switches, displays, gauges and buttons greets astronauts, engineers and the few lucky visitors who crawl inside a space shuttle. But beyond the visual wonder, the shuttle offers a humbling glimpse into what made the ships fly.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ENDEAVOUR'S FLIGHT DECK
   IMAGES: MIDDECK, AIRLOCK, CARGO BAY
Lunar duo begins unique Moon gravity survey
After leaving Earth six months ago and entering lunar orbit on New Year's, NASA's tandem GRAIL spacecraft commenced their Moon-mapping mission this week.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   OUR LAUNCH COVERAGE
   VIDEO: GRAIL LAUNCH ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION GRAIL VIDEO
Martian twister caught in action by NASA spacecraft
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured a breath-taking view of a towering dust devil more than half-a-mile tall swirling on the red planet in an image from the craft's HiRISE camera.
   FULL STORY
NASA probes shifting orbits for Curiosity rover landing
Two NASA spacecraft circling Mars have begun repositioning their orbits to provide engineering insight into the landing of the Curiosity rover on the red planet in August, supplying engineers on Earth with vital data during the robot's dramatic rocket-assisted touchdown.
   FULL STORY
MetOp B weather satellite arrives at launch base
Europe's next polar-orbiting weather satellite was shipped from France to Kazakhstan on Tuesday, where it will be tested, fueled and bolted to a Soyuz rocket for liftoff in May.
   FULL STORY
U.S. Air Force space plane marks one year in orbit
The U.S. Air Force's second X-37B space plane marked one year in orbit Monday, continuing its clandestine mission more than 200 miles above Earth. The robotic spacecraft's purpose is secret, but Air Force officials acknowledge the vehicle is performing well one year after it blasted off on an Atlas 5 rocket.
   FULL STORY
   ARCHIVE: X-37 MISSION EXTENDED
   ARCHIVE: LAUNCH COVERAGE
ESA: BepiColombo will stay on budget despite delay
Technicial difficulties with BepiColombo, a joint project between Europe and Japan, will push back its launch to Mercury by 13 months until August 2015, but officials do not expect the postponement to trigger another increase in the mission's budget.
   FULL STORY
Cassini detects oxygen around second Saturn moon
Researchers analyzing data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft announced Friday the discovery of a tenuous atmosphere around Saturn's moon Dione, a small, colorless world of ice and rock near the giant planet's famous rings.
   FULL STORY
Orion spacecraft parachutes tested over Arizona desert
NASA continued testing the Orion capsule's recovery chutes last week in a high-altitude drop from a U.S. Air Force cargo plane ahead of the craft's first orbital test flight in early 2014.
   IMAGES: ORION MOCK-UP DROPPED OVER DESERT
Space station resupply mission delayed two weeks
Technicians must re-enter a European Automated Transfer Vehicle to tighten retention straps on cargo bags, a move that will delay the craft's launch on a logistics mission to the International Space Station by two weeks to around March 23, officials said Friday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates!
   IMAGES: FAIRING INSTALLED AROUND ATV
   PDF: ESA'S FACT SHEET FOR ATV 3 MISSION
   ARIANE LAUNCH ARCHIVE
SpaceX rocket back in hangar after cargo demo
After a countdown rehearsal and a cargo loading demonstration, SpaceX moved its Falcon 9 launcher and Dragon spacecraft back to the hangar Friday for the final phase of flight preparations. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral is set for no sooner than late April.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates!
Falcon 9 fueling test completed in Florida
SpaceX loaded more than 75,000 gallons of liquid propellant into the Falcon 9 rocket Thursday for a pre-launch countdown test designed to wring out any issues with the launcher, ground systems and engineering teams before the mission blasts off in April.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ROCKET ON THE PAD
   FALCON LAUNCH ARCHIVE
Telescopes catch flicker of baby stars in Orion nebula
Merging data from two infrared space telescopes, astronomers have spotted forming stars brightening and dimming every few weeks, providing a glimpse into the violent, tumultous conditions inside the cocoons of baby stars.
   FULL STORY
Finding the International Space Station's weakest link
Aided by a robust, conservative structural design, officials say they foresee no technical problems keeping the International Space Station from running until at least 2020, but managers have ordered follow-up reviews of several components flagged by a cursory engineering analysis.
   FULL STORY
Canada announces support for space station extension
The Canadian government announced Wednesday its intention to renew its commitment to the International Space Station, becoming the last of the program's partners to formally support the orbiting lab's life extension beyond 2015.
   FULL STORY
NASA has until summer to come up with Mars strategy
Vowing to continue Mars exploration at a more measured, affordable pace after pulling out of a joint sample return program with Europe, the head of NASA's science directorate said Monday the space agency is launching a feverish study to lay the groundwork for a robotic mission to the red planet in 2018.
   FULL STORY
ATK five-segment rocket motor to enter qualification
Engineers in Utah started crafting another five-segment solid rocket motor this week for a ground-shaking test firing to qualify the 22-million horsepower booster for flight on NASA's Space Launch System in 2017.
   FULL STORY
NASA's huge rocket needs engine with flight heritage
NASA must find and purchase a cost-effective, proven cryogenic propulsion system for the first two flights of the agency's heavy-lift Space Launch System because the behemoth rocket's Apollo-era upper stage engine will not be ready in time, officials said.
   FULL STORY
Rocketcams offer dazzling views of Atlas 5 launch
When the largest and most powerful Atlas rocket in history thundered to space Friday, three onboard video cameras captured the stunning views of what it's like to ride the vehicle off the launch pad and into orbit.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: STILL PHOTOS FROM ROCKETCAMS
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Ariane 5 rocket assembled for space station resupply
Technicians lowered the Ariane 5 launcher's aerodynamic nose cone atop Europe's next space station resupply freighter Monday, enclosing seven tons of cargo for liftoff from French Guiana on March 9.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - full update!
   ARCHIVE: ATV MOVED TO LAUNCHER BUILDING
Next Sirius XM Radio broadcast satellite delayed
Sirius XM Radio's next broadcasting satellite will remain on Earth several months longer than expected to address a technical concern on the spacecraft, according to a company spokesperson.
   FULL STORY
Atlas 5 rocket navigates new Navy satellite into orbit
Like erecting a cellular telephone tower 22,300 miles tall, the U.S. Navy's first-of-its-kind mobile communications satellite rose high above Earth Friday night to provide 3G voice, data and video services to military troops on the move.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   LAUNCH SEQUENCE EXPLAINED

   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: COMPLEX 41 PAD CAMERA
   IMAGES: AS SEEN FROM PLAYALINDA BEACH

   IMAGES: SECOND ROLLOUT TO PAD
   IMAGES: LAUNCH SCRUBBED
   IMAGES: NATURE SHOTS AROUND COMPLEX 41
   IMAGES: ATLAS 5 STANDS POISED TO FLY
   IMAGES: ROCKET ROLLED OUT TO PAD
   IMAGES: MORE ROLLOUT PHOTOS

   ARCHIVE: ATLAS 5 OVERVIEW STORY
   ARCHIVE: LAUNCH PREVIEW STORY
   ARCHIVE: FLIGHT 200 FOR CENTAUR
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   IMAGES: HOISTING SATELLITE ATOP ROCKET
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD ENCAPSULATED IN SHROUD
   FACT SHEET: NAVY'S MUOS SATELLITE SYSTEM
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
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VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UP-CLOSE PAD VIEW PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VIF ROOF PLAY

VIDEO: ATLAS ROLLED BACK TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY
VIDEO: WEATHER SCRUBS SECOND LAUNCH ATTEMPT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: COUNTDOWN SCRUBBED AT T-75 SECONDS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF ATLAS/MUOS LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
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ESA inks Meteosat contract, ending procurement turmoil
The European Space Agency signed a nearly $1.8 billion contract Friday for six geostationary weather satellites, selecting Thales Alenia Space to lead an industry team building the next-generation spacecraft for launches beginning in 2017.
   FULL STORY
Mars, Europa missions battle for scarce NASA cash
NASA officials admitted Thursday the agency's proposed fiscal 2013 planetary science budget is insufficient to accomplish most of its top objectives in the coming decade, canceling the start of a Mars sample return campaign, deferring flagship probes to the outer planets and delaying the launch of smaller Discovery-class explorer missions.
   FULL STORY
Beidou navigation payload launched by Chinese rocket
China launched another satellite Friday for the Beidou space-based navigation network, continuing the system's expansion after it began trial service in December.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: NIGHTTIME BLASTOFF
Cape takes delivery of next Atlas 5 aboard Mariner ship
A month after striking a darkened bridge in Southern Kentucky and a span of roadway collapsing onto its bow, the rocket-carrying Delta Mariner cargo vessel finally sailed into the Cape Canaveral wharf Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Florida workforce stands ready for Orion assembly
A team of former space shuttle technicians at the Kennedy Space Center is about to start working on NASA's first Orion spaceship, outfitting the prototype capsule for a test flight in Earth orbit as early as late 2013.
   FULL STORY
NASA's sun-watching telescope sees solar eclipse
There was a solar eclipse Tuesday, but it was only visible from space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught spectacular views of the moon passing between the Earth and the sun, appearing to take a bite out of the fiery star.
   VIDEO: SOLAR ECLIPSE FROM SDO
New evidence the moon is not geologically dead
Researchers using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have discovered new evidence of relatively fresh geologic activity on the moon, raising questions about its formation and the arc of its 4.5 billion-year history.
   FULL STORY
Launch pad rework pushes Antares launch to summer
The first flight of the Antares booster, one of two U.S. rockets selected to launch cargo to the International Space Station, will be delayed until at least late June as work to certify the launch pad continues on the Virginia coast, Orbital Sciences Corp. officials said Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
50 years since America put its first man in orbit
Seconds away from liftoff, astronaut John Glenn monitored cockpit displays in his cramped Mercury capsule, listening intently as fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter called out milestones in the final moments of a tense countdown.
   FULL STORY
   STORE: MERCURY CREW PATCHES
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Glenn reflects on current state of human spaceflight
Fifty years after rocketing into history as the first American in orbit, John Glenn sees America's manned space program at a perilous crossroad.
   FULL STORY
Collecting dust: Opportunity rover's self-portrait on Mars
A newly-released mosaic from the Opportunity rover shows a coating of rust-colored dust on the robot's solar panels, visual evidence of the mobile science outpost's eight years exploring the treacherous plains of Mars.
   IMAGE: OPPORTUNITY'S SELF-PORTRAIT
China sets summer launch for next human spaceflight
China's next human spaceflight will blast off between June and August and dock with the country's Tiangong 1 orbiting laboratory module, Chinese space officials announced Friday.
   FULL STORY
   ARCHIVE: SHENZHOU 8 LANDING
One-week launch delay ordered for X-ray telescope
The launch of NASA's NuSTAR space telescope, a $165 million black hole-hunting X-ray observatory, will be delayed at least one week until March 21 to give engineers extra time to complete engineering reviews of the mission's air-launched Pegasus XL rocket, the space agency announced Friday.
   FULL STORY
   ARCHIVE: NUSTAR BEGINS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN
Budget proposes $2 billion for U.S. weather satellites
NOAA's fiscal year 2013 budget request calls for more than $2 billion for the agency's weather and climate satellite programs to cover geostationary and polar-orbiting spacecraft, a space weather mission, and a joint U.S.-European ocean research observatory.
   FULL STORY
High-flying rocketcam video of Vega's maiden flight
Watch spectacular video from on-board cameras showing the Vega rocket's fiery blastoff at dawn Monday. The footage shows the European launcher rising through clouds, jettisoning rocket motors and deploying its satellite passengers hundreds of miles above Earth.
   VIDEO: ROCKETCAM FOOTAGE
   ARCHIVE: LAUNCH STORY
Mars Express back in business at the red planet
Europe's Mars Express resumed full science operations in early February, four months after scientists suspended research following persistent glitches in the probe's solid-state mass memory unit, according to the craft's mission manager.
   FULL STORY
U.S. government revokes LightSquared license
The Federal Communications Commission announced this week it will prohibit LightSquared, a private mobile broadband satellite operator, from beginning service of a high-speed Internet network because it interferes with critical GPS navigation signals.
   FULL STORY
NASA hopeful lawmakers will back commercial space
The Obama administration has asked Congress for $830 million in fiscal 2013 to fund on-going development of new commercial manned spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. But NASA only got half of what it asked for in 2012, a cut that effectively pushed the first operational launch back one year to 2017, and program officials said Tuesday any similar cuts in 2013 and beyond could push the program to the brink of irrelevance.
   FULL STORY
After two false starts, Proton finally blasts off
Trying for the third time since Christmas, a Russian Proton rocket roared away from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Tuesday carrying an international telecommunications satellite. Technical troubles had stalled two previous attempts at launch, prompting rollbacks to the assembly hangar for repairs.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: ROCKET'S FIRST ROLLOUT GALLERY
Vega launcher program courts German participation
Buoyed by the successful first flight of Europe's Vega launcher, the head of the German space agency Monday moved to open negotiations to build a new upper stage to replace Vega's Ukrainian upper stage orbit-adjust engine.
   FULL STORY
NASA's 2013 budget boosts manned space, cuts Mars
The Obama administration is requesting $17.7 billion for NASA in its fiscal 2013 budget -- down slightly from 2012 levels -- doubling the amount spent on development of new commercial manned spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station and giving a substantial boost to the delayed and over-budget successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
   FULL STORY
Military space research gets reduced in budget blueprint
The White House's fiscal 2013 budget request calls for unclassified U.S. military space spending of about $8 billion, sustaining development of the Defense Department's legacy systems while terminating new weather satellites, the Operationally Responsive Space office, and the Air Force's Space Test Program.
   FULL STORY
Proving high-tech systems, Vega soars to space
The first Vega rocket climbed away from a tropical spaceport in South America on Monday, successfully injecting nine satellites into orbit and inaugurating a new capability in Europe's growing launcher family.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   VIDEO: LIFTOFF AT DAWN
   IMAGES: AERIAL VIEW OF LIFTOFF
   IMAGES: SPECTACULAR UP-CLOSE PHOTOS
   COUNTDOWN OVERVIEW
   TIMELINE OF LAUNCH SEQUENCE
   VEGA ROCKET DIAGRAM
   PDF: VEGA QUALIFICATION FLIGHT PRESS KIT
NASA, Caltech mull over unique satellite donation
NASA cut off financial support for operations of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer this week, but the California Institute of Technology is negotiating to assume ownership of the ultraviolet space telescope to continue its survey of the cosmos, according to agency officials.
   FULL STORY
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   VIDEO: GALEX LAUNCH ON PEGASUS ROCKET IN 2003 PLAY
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Satellites spot Syrian violence from space
The U.S. State Department says satellite imagery of Syria shows escalating violence between government and rebel forces as the regime deploys armored divisions and artillery against major cities.
   IMAGES: ARTILLERY SHELLS SYRIAN CITIES
Centaur set for Flight 200
The venerable U.S. upper stage rocket -- the Centaur -- that created the pathway to the Moon and every planet across the solar system will be making its 200th flight next Thursday in a milestone mission to boost the U.S. Navy's sophisticated new mobile communications satellite to orbit.
   FEATURE STORY
Carbon-sniffing satellite faces one-year delay
The launch of NASA's second Orbiting Carbon Observatory, under construction to replace a satellite lost in 2009, will be delayed at least one year to 2014 after the space agency terminated an agreement for the carbon-tracking mission to lift off on a Taurus XL rocket, officials said Friday.
   FULL STORY
Italian satellite to help measure space-time warp
Scheduled for launch from French Guiana on Monday, Europe's first lightweight Vega rocket is packed with nine small research satellites, including a unique Italian craft designed to help make an elusive accurate measurement of a central tenet of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: TIME LAPSE OF ROCKET STACKING
   VIDEO: LAUNCHER REVEALED FOR FIRST TIME
Dragon station demo flight pushed back to late April
The target launch date for SpaceX's first test flight to the International Space Station is now no earlier than late April, the company announced Thursday, as the California-based firm and NASA continue extensive software testing to prove the Dragon spacecraft can safely approach the 450-ton orbiting complex.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - details!
   DRAGON BACKGROUND INFO
   FALCON 9 USER'S GUIDE (.pdf download)
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Independent human spaceflight sought by Japan
The Japanese space agency is pushing for a domestic human spaceflight capability, proposing modifications to the country's International Space Station cargo delivery system to carry astronauts into orbit by 2025.
   FULL STORY
Falcon 9 to launch AsiaSat craft from Cape Canaveral
SpaceX and AsiaSat announced Wednesday a contract for two Falcon 9 rockets to launch communications satellites for the Hong Kong-based telecommunications firm in the first half of 2014.
   FULL STORY
Asteroids may cause black hole's X-ray hiccups
The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy may be swallowing large asteroids and comets almost daily, generating bursts of X-ray light visible to NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, according to an international team of astronomers.
   FULL STORY
ESA's space station cargo craft 30 days from launch
Europe's third Automated Transfer Vehicle was moved to the Ariane 5 launcher's final assembly building Tuesday, commencing the last phase of the cargo freighter's launch campaign before blasting off March 9 for the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
NASA's commercial crew program enters next phase
NASA officials said Tuesday they intend to award multiple companies up to $500 million each over the next two years to maintain private sector competition in the agency's commercial crew program and keep the effort on schedule to enable the resumption of U.S. human spaceflight by 2017.
   FULL STORY
Russia says computer crash doomed Phobos-Grunt
After floating accusations against U.S. military radars, flawed foreign parts and space radiation, Russian space officials have concluded a software glitch caused the failure of the Phobos-Grunt Mars probe.
   FULL STORY
Orbiter discovers evidence of primordial ocean on Mars
The radar on Europe's Mars Express orbiter has detected sediments beneath the red planet's surface strongly indicative of an ocean floor that formed billions of years ago, scientists announced this week.
   FULL STORY
Atlas 5 rocket topped with Navy's newest satellite
Looking towards launch next week to begin dramatically improving the capacity for U.S. military mobile communications, a new breed of satellite was hauled to the towering Atlas 5 rocket assembly building Monday for mounting atop the powerful booster.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   IMAGES: HOISTING SATELLITE ATOP ROCKET
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD ENCAPSULATED IN SHROUD
   FACT SHEET: NAVY'S MUOS SATELLITE SYSTEM
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
Software testing remains an obstacle for SpaceX flight
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said Friday the first Dragon spacecraft will likely reach the International Space Station in April, echoing a senior NASA manager's comments earlier this week as engineers update the spaceship's operating software after problems surfaced during a simulation in January.
   FULL STORY
   DRAGON BACKGROUND INFO
   FALCON 9 USER'S GUIDE (.pdf download)
   FALCON ARCHIVE
NASA science boss seeks ties with human spaceflight
Former astronaut John Grunsfeld, who took office as the head of NASA's science division in January, said he intends to streamline the partnership between the space agency's research department and human spaceflight directorate in his tenure at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
   FULL STORY
Debut of Europe's Vega rocket reset for Feb. 13
The first launch of Europe's new solid-fueled Vega rocket has been set for Feb. 13, officials announced Friday. The 98-foot-tall launcher will take off from the Guiana Space Center.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   TIMELINE OF LAUNCH SEQUENCE
   VIDEO: TIME LAPSE OF ROCKET STACKING
   IMAGES: PAYLOADS LIFTED ATOP VEGA ROCKET
   IMAGES: VEGA LAUNCHER REVEALED ON PAD
Observing satellite launched by modified Iranian missile
Iran launched its third satellite Friday, demonstrating a maturing space and missile capability as tensions mount over the country's nuclear program.
   FULL STORY
Russia orders Soyuz delays in wake of test mishap
Russian space managers have ordered delays for upcoming manned Soyuz flights to the International Space Station in the wake of a test mishap that over pressurized and damaged the descent module of a Soyuz scheduled for launch March 30 to ferry three fresh crew members to the outpost, a senior NASA managers said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Europe signs deal for eight more Galileo satellites
The European Commission signaled Thursday it remains committed to the Galileo navigation network, finalizing contracts worth $400 million for eight more spacecraft and adapting the Ariane 5 launcher to deliver four satellites to orbit in a single flight.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX fires powerful abort thruster for manned Dragon
SpaceX announced Wednesday the successful firing of a prototype abort engine for the company's Dragon spaceship, a crucial step in the contractor's program to outfit the capsule for astronaut crews.
   FULL STORY - with video!
Launch campaign begins for NASA's black hole hunter
After a cross-country road trip from Orbital Sciences Corp. in Virginia last week, technicians have unpacked NASA's NuSTAR X-ray telescope at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and begun methodically checking the craft for the final time before its launch date in mid-March.
   FULL STORY
VIDEO: GRAIL flies over the far side of the moon
NASA released footage Wednesday from one of the agency's twin GRAIL lunar probes, showing the rugged far side of the moon in a time lapse video from a camera built to help educate and inspire U.S. middle school students.
   VIDEO: FAR SIDE OF THE MOON
From tragedy to the gap:
How America got here

Nine years ago Wednesday morning in the atmosphere above Texas, seven humans died and the course of America's space program was forever changed.
   A SPACEFLIGHT NOW COLUMN
Endeavour back in hangar to prepare for Los Angeles
After more than five months of storage inside bay 4 of the Vehicle Assembly Building, the retired space shuttle Endeavour was rolled back over to Orbiter Processing Facility 2 on Wednesday to resume preparations for museum display. The ship will head west to the California Science Center in October.
   PHOTO GALLERY
   FINAL FLIGHT OF ENDEAVOUR
   VIDEO: FINAL MISSION ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO
Assembly complete for Vega rocket's first mission
Workers finished assembling the first Vega rocket in South America last week, adding two Italian satellites and seven small CubeSat payloads to Europe's new space launcher. The rocket's launch window opens Feb. 9.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: PAYLOADS LIFTED ATOP VEGA ROCKET
   IMAGES: VEGA LAUNCHER REVEALED ON PAD
Shuttle-era astronauts Lucid and Ross retire from NASA
Two long-serving and distinguished American astronauts whose flying days had ended a while ago before moving into ground-support positions have announced their retirements from NASA.
   FULL STORY
Satellite tastes atoms from beyond the solar system
NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, the centerpiece of a $169 million mission mapping the frontier of the sun's influence, has detected atoms from interstellar space streaming by Earth, finding the material is different from the chemical make-up of the solar system, scientists announced Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
Countdown dress rehearsal underway for next Atlas 5
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket that will propel the U.S. Navy's next-generation mobile communications spacecraft into orbit Feb. 16 was rolled to the Complex 41 pad at Cape Canaveral Monday morning for a practice countdown that was completed on Tuesday.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Japan's next asteroid probe approved for development
Japanese government officials last week gave the green light to Hayabusa 2, a robotic explorer due for launch in 2014 on a journey to retrieve and return rocks from a near-Earth asteroid.
   FULL STORY
Romney visits Space Coast, weighs in on NASA's future
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stumped on Florida's Space Coast on Friday, identifying human survival, science and health, commercial applications and national defense as top objectives of the U.S. space program.
   FULL STORY
Section of bridge collapses after struck by rocket vessel
The ocean-going cargo vessel used to transport rocket stages from the manufacturing factory in Alabama to the two primary U.S. launch sites in Florida and California struck a bridge in southern Kentucky Thursday night, causing a section to collapse.
   FULL STORY
Space station welcomes Russian cargo ship arrival
Flying in smooth fashion on autopilot, the Russian-made Progress M-14M cargo freighter docked to the International Space Station at 7:09 p.m. EST Friday to deliver a fresh load of provisions, spare parts and rocket fuel for orbiting laboratory complex.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Another scrub and rollback for Proton rocket launch
Saturday's planned launch of the Russian Proton rocket carrying an international communications satellite will be postponed at least a couple of weeks because of an unspecified technical problem with the booster.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: ROCKET'S FIRST ROLLOUT GALLERY
Presidential candidates clash over future of space
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, frontrunners to be the Republican nominee for president, sparred over the future of the U.S. space program in a Florida debate Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Kepler finds 11 new solar systems beyond our own
Amid a flurry of planetary discoveries from NASA's Kepler space telescope, scientists announced Thursday they have found 26 new worlds around 11 stars outside the solar system.
   FULL STORY
Gingrich offers 'grandiose' vision for space program
Visiting Florida's Space Coast on Wednesday, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich unveiled what he called a "bold" and "visionary" plan for space exploration, vowing to construct a permanent moon base by 2020 and catalyze robust commercial activity in near-Earth space.
   FULL STORY
Threat from retired satellite exceeds NASA standards
The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, a NASA satellite retired from service Jan. 5, has a 1-in-1,000 chance of harming someone when it makes an uncontrolled fall from Earth orbit some time after 2014, a level ten times riskier than NASA now requires for re-entering spacecraft, according to an agency spokesperson.
   FULL STORY
Two Intelsat craft on Sea Launch manifest this year
Intelsat has tapped Sea Launch to haul a communications satellite to orbit in the third quarter of 2012, the companies announced this week, affirming the company's plans to launch at least two satellites this year after it returned to flight operations last year.
   FULL STORY
Space station resupply ship successfully launched
A Russian Soyuz booster successfully launched Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and propelled a resupply freighter on its two-day pursuit to rendezvous with the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Instrument glitch found on renamed Suomi NPP craft
With a stunning new snapshot of the Earth to share, the United States' new dual-purpose polar-orbiting weather satellite and climate-tracking observatory has been branded with a new name to honor a pioneer.
   FULL STORY
   ARCHIVED LAUNCH COVERAGE
Happy birthday to long-lived Opportunity rover
Eight years ago Tuesday was a night of technological triumph and human inspiration as the Mars rover Opportunity bounced onto the surface of the Red Planet, embarking on an exploratory mission that continues operating today to unravel the world's watery history. Relive that landing from Jan. 24, 2004 in our Mission Status Center:
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Proposed next-generation weather satellites get the ax
Complying with the decisions of Congress, the U.S. Air Force has ceased work on the Defense Weather Satellite System that would have been the military's next-generation polar observatory program.
   FULL STORY
Titan's dunes give new insights into Saturn's moon
The piercing radar emitted by the Cassini spacecraft in orbit at Saturn has revealed how the expansive and peculiar dune features on the moon Titan vary by regions.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz rolls out for next space station resupply run
The Russian Soyuz rocket topped by the next resupply freighter Tuesday morning rolled to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad and took aim toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
   PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY
One Russian ship vacates station port for next vehicle
After 82 days docked to the International Space Station, a Russian Progress resupply freighter pulled away Monday afternoon to fly independently into a higher orbit for deployment of a science satellite and setting the stage for another cargo ship launching to the outpost later this week.
   FULL STORY


This video production by United Launch Alliance provides a unique recap of last week's successful Delta 4 rocket flight that deploy the U.S. military's newest communications satellite. For more info, see our launch coverage.

Photo spread: Atlantis to VAB, but only for storage
The shuffling of NASA's three retired space shuttle orbiters between the two remaining hangars at the Kennedy Space Center continued Friday morning as Atlantis was moved into a two-month storage at the Vehicle Assembly Building.
Check out our 5-page photo collection from the event.
   PHOTO GALLERY
Satellite spies cruise ship tragedy from space
As seen from space by one of the sharp-eyed Earth-imaging satellites operated by DigitalGlobe, the Costa Concordia cruise ship is pictured where it came to rest after running aground with more than 4,000 passengers and crew on January 13 while sailing dangerously close to the island of Giglio in Tuscan waters.
   PHOTO GALLERY
SpaceX cargo flight on hold until at least late March
Launch of a SpaceX commercial cargo ship on an initial test flight to the International Space Station, originally planned for Feb. 7, is expected to slip to at least the end of March, officials said Friday, to give engineers time to complete additional hardware and software testing in the wake of a recent simulation, software analysis and work in Florida to close out the craft for flight.
   FULL STORY
   DRAGON BACKGROUND INFO
   PHOTO GALLERY OF CAPSULE
   FALCON 9 ROCKET PHOTO GALLERY
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Delta 4 rocket soars for the Defense Department
A new Air Force satellite headed for service over the Middle East to route essential communications to U.S. military forces and improve data links to unmanned aerial drones was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral last night.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: LIFTOFF AS SEEN FROM PAD'S POND
   IMAGES: OTHER PAD CAMERA COVERED IN DEW
   IMAGES: DELTA 4 PIERCES STARRY SKY
   IMAGES: ROCKET POISED FOR BLASTOFF
   IMAGES: MOBILE SERVICE GANTRY RETRACTED
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   ARCHIVE: ROCKET ROLLED TO LAUNCH PAD
   ARCHIVE: WGS 4 ARRIVES FROM FACTORY
   ARCHIVE: PAYLOAD MOUNTED ATOP ROCKET
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Rocket details laid out in Air Force's 9-launch order
Nine national security spacecraft ranging from spy platforms to navigation birds, communications satellites and weather observatories have been entrusted to Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets in a $1.5 billion booster purchase through the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, the Defense Department has announced.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
Construction about to begin on Atlantis' new home
Kennedy Space Center tourism officials, Florida's lieutenant governor and the final space shuttle commander Wednesday morning broke ground on the $100 million complex that will showcase the retired orbiter Atlantis.
   FULL STORY
   FINAL FLIGHT OF ATLANTIS
   VIDEO: FINAL MISSION ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO
Good night, Discovery
The space shuttle Discovery, undergoing her retirement and transition to museum status at the Kennedy Space Center, has been outfitted with hollowed thruster and rocket pods, replicas of the main engines, the payload bay doors sealed up and the emotional moment of being powered down for the final time. We take a look back at all of those events in this video package presented for Spaceflight Now+Plus users.
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Youth of America names NASA's twin lunar probes
The twin NASA spacecraft currently looping in orbits around the Moon to reveal profound new insights about our nearest neighbor in the night sky have been given symbolic names through a contest with U.S. schoolchildren.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
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Former space shuttle launch director joins ULA
As another sign of the changing landscape in the U.S. space program, NASA's long-time space shuttle launch director has joined United Launch Alliance to lead the commercial firm's human spaceflight operations.
   FULL STORY
Ill-fated Mars probe reportedly falls to Earth
A $170 million Russian Mars probe, stranded in low-Earth orbit after a malfunction following launch in November, reportedly fell back into the dense lower atmosphere Sunday, apparently breaking up over the southern Pacific Ocean west of Chile.
   FULL STORY
Spotlight shines on JWST after near-death experience
Entering the new year with solidified political support and renewed scientific potential, some work on the James Webb Space Telescope will be accelerated this year to keep the $8.8 billion observatory on track for launch in late 2018.
   FULL STORY
Ferryflight tail cone put onto shuttle Discovery
The aerodynamic tail cone to cover space shuttle Discovery's main engines and provide a smooth airflow during the piggyback ride atop the modified Boeing 747 carrier jet to the Smithsonian in April was installed onto the orbiter this week.
   PHOTO GALLERY
   STS-133: DISCOVERY'S FINAL FLIGHT
   VIDEO: FINAL MISSION ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO
   HDTV: SLOW-MOTION LAUNCH FILMS
Chinese weather satellite launched by Long March
A new Chinese weather satellite streaked into space Friday on top of a Long March 3A rocket, China's second flawless space launch this week.
   FULL STORY
A numbers game: How many planets in our galaxy?
More than 100 billion planets could populate the Milky Way galaxy, and many of the undiscovered worlds could be the size of Earth, according to a study released Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Mars Science Lab tweaks flight path and timing
The Mars Science Laboratory, speeding along its interplanetary flight path some 81 million miles from Earth, executed the largest course-correction maneuver of the mission Wednesday night by firing its thrusters more than 200 times in a three-hour period.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: ULA'S LAUNCH PHOTOS
   VIDEO: HIGH-DEFINITION COVERAGE
   VIDEO: STANDARD-DEFINITION CLIPS
Scientists discover smallest planetary system so far
Using data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, researchers have discovered the three smallest planets so far found outside the solar system, scientists announced Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Opportunity rover parked on slope for Martian winter
The Opportunity rover exploring Mars has parked on a sun-facing slope to give its dusty solar panels a better position to generate electricity for the next few months, according to NASA.
   FULL STORY
NASA turns off aging X-ray timing observatory
NASA decommissioned the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer last week, ending a 16-year-mission that gave researchers glimpses of the inner workings of black holes and neutron stars, the space agency announced Monday.
   FULL STORY
China targets 2013 for launch of lunar lander
Under a new five-year plan unveiled in December, China will continue to make methodical progress in human spaceflight, expand its satellite navigation system, explore the moon and seek space technology partnerships with developing nations.
   FULL STORY
Land surveying satellite orbited by Chinese rocket
China launched a Long March rocket Monday with a high-resolution civil mapping satellite to survey natural resources and a craft to relay marine tracking data for U.S.-based Orbcomm Inc.
   FULL STORY
Mars-bound rover ready to take aim at the red planet
The Mars-bound Curiosity rover will be begin steering toward the red planet during a lengthy thruster firing Wednesday, erasing the launch trajectory's deliberate aim away from the destination.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: ULA'S LAUNCH PHOTOS
   VIDEO: HIGH-DEFINITION COVERAGE
   VIDEO: STANDARD-DEFINITION CLIPS
Photos: International Space Station flies by the Moon
No, the International Space Station has not left Earth orbit and flown to the Moon. But you might think that when you first glance at these stunning new NASA photos of the outpost flying by our lunar neighbor.
   SEE THE PHOTOS
Delta 4 rocket and Air Force payload joined for launch
Moving from the cleanroom to the Cape Canaveral launching pad, the next update to the U.S. military's space-based communications network was hoisted aboard its booster rocket Wednesday in preparation for blastoff in just two weeks.
   FULL STORY
   ARCHIVE: ROCKET ROLLED TO LAUNCH PAD
   ARCHIVE: WGS 4 ARRIVES FROM FACTORY
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VIDEO: ATLAS 5 ROCKET LAUNCHES WITH WGS 2 PLAY
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VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
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The fight to save AEHF 1 produces remarkable rescue
As the new year is ushered in, flight controllers are continuing with the detailed checkout of the U.S. military's newest ultra-secure communications satellite after a miraculous recovery saved the craft's life.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ARCHIVED COVERAGE
   LAUNCH HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO
2011: Atlas & Delta launch $20 billion in payloads
It was a flawless 2011 for United Launch Alliance's Atlas and Delta rocket families highlighted by deploying a $6 billion batch of big-name NASA missions and lending imperative space-lift support to U.S. national security.
   FULL STORY
Lunar tandem successfully enters orbit around Moon
When you gaze up at the Moon tonight, know there's now two new spacecraft orbiting to unveil the hidden lunar interior. The GRAIL twins have reached lunar orbit to join forces in a gravity-mapping tandem after a 2.6-million-mile voyage from Earth. The first craft braked into orbit Saturday and the second followed suit Sunday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   GRAIL-A STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   OUR LAUNCH COVERAGE
   VIDEO: GRAIL LAUNCH ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION GRAIL VIDEO
Globalstar craft 'flawlessly' orbited by Soyuz rocket
With a rumble and bright orange glow, a Soyuz rocket blasted off and disappeared into frigid clouds over Kazakhstan on Wednesday to deliver six second-generation Globalstar communications satellites to orbit.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   VIDEO: SOYUZ TRANSFERRED TO LAUNCH PAD
This year's highlights from the Saturn system
NASA's Cassini spacecraft circling Saturn returned scores of picturesque scenes of the giant planet and its moons in 2011, opening new research horizons and dazzling the public with colorful views of the final frontier.
   IMAGES: HOLIDAY POSTCARDS FROM SATURN
Experience a space shuttle launch like never before
These slow-motion films capture the awe-inspiring sight of a space shuttle blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center on one of the program's final missions, Discovery soaring skyward in February headed for the International Space Station. The amazing videos are presented here for Spaceflight Now+Plus users.
   VIDEO COLLECTION
   STS-133 VIDEO ARCHIVE
Unbelievable comet pictures from the space station
The International Space Station's commander has again seen the grandeur of comet Lovejoy in new pictures taken from the orbiting outpost, this time also capturing the Earth's horizon and background stars in exquisite detail.
   PHOTO GALLERY
NASA seeks to bolster ties with commercial crew firms
NASA and private space firms are determined to strengthen partnerships in the next phase of development in the agency's commercial crew transportation program, which is due to kick off in February, officials said last week.
   FULL STORY
Monday's Proton launch postponed to January
The Proton rocket with the SES 4 telecommunications satellite payload will be rolled back from the launch pad to the final assembly hangar on Tuesday for repairs after a technical fault was discovered during Monday's countdown.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: ROCKET ROLLOUT GALLERY
Tracking satellite retired after 22 years of service
NASA decommissioned an aging tracking and data relay satellite this month after it linked ground controllers with space shuttles, the International Space Station and launching rockets for more than 22 years, according to agency officials.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: RELIVE THE LAUNCH OF TDRS 4
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Soyuz rocket falls in Siberia after launch mishap
A Soyuz rocket and a Russian military communications satellite crashed in Siberia on Friday, continuing a pesky series of launch mishaps blemishing Russia's space program in the last year.
   FULL STORY
Comet sighting wows crew aboard the space station
The commander of the International Space Station, peering out the multi-windowed Cupola observatory, has captured what's sure to be some of the most iconic images ever taken aboard the outpost.
   FULL STORY AND PHOTOS
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Soyuz successfully docks to International Space Station
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new residents for the International Space Station performed a flawless automated rendezvous and docking in its 2-day pursuit of the orbiting complex, linking up Friday at 10:19 a.m. EST (1519 GMT).
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
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Dawn gets best look yet of giant asteroid Vesta
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has reached its closest approach to asteroid Vesta and is sending back sharp imagery showing new details of the body's airless, charcoal-colored surface.
   IMAGES: SHARP IMAGERY OF VESTA'S SURFACE
Final Chinese launch tally surpasses U.S. rocket fleet
For the first time since the dawn of the space age, China's Long March rocket family eclipsed the annual flight rate of the U.S. fleet of space launchers Thursday with the successful deployment of a high-resolution mapping satellite.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LIFTOFF FROM SNOWY SPACEPORT
Photo gallery: Soyuz rocket blasts off with 3-man crew
Look back at Wednesday's countdown and launch of the Russian Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft carrying a three-man crew bound for the International Space Station.
   COUNTDOWN AND LAUNCH PHOTOS
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Eighth WGS satellite ordered by U.S. military
As anticipated, the U.S. Air Force has followed through with plans to purchase an eighth military communications satellite for its Wideband Global SATCOM program from The Boeing Company.
   FULL STORY
Next trio launches on space station's 30th expedition
In bitterly cold weather, a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying a three-man all-veteran crew blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday, streaking into orbit and setting off after the International Space Station to boost the lab's crew back to six.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   KUIPERS VIDEO NEWS RELEASE
   BUY THE CREW PATCH
First Earth-size worlds found orbiting another star
NASA's Kepler space telescope has found the first confirmed Earth-size planets orbiting another star, astronomers announced Tuesday, a major milestone in an ongoing project aimed at finding out how commonplace -- or rare -- Earth-like worlds may be across the cosmos.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz moves to launch pad in bitterly cold weather
Pushing forward despite temperatures of -15 degrees F, the Russian Soyuz rocket was rolled to its launch pad at dawn today in preparation for blastoff Wednesday to the International Space Station.
   ROLLOUT PHOTO GALLERY
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NASA science portfolio gets former astronaut as leader
The "Hubble Hugger" himself, former astronaut John Grunsfeld, will assume control of NASA's science directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington effective Jan. 4, 2012.
   FULL STORY
Powerful Nigerian satellite lifts off on Chinese rocket
China launched a massive Nigerian communications satellite Monday to link Africans with television programming, education services and better navigation products. Liftoff was at approximately 1641 GMT (11:41 a.m. EST).
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
First navigation signals heard from Galileo satellite
Engineers are analyzing the first signals from a Galileo navigation satellite after its payload began switching on last week for testing, according to the European Space Agency.
   FULL STORY
Deep Impact sets path for asteroid encounter in 2020
Flying on its last bit of fuel, NASA's Deep Impact probe is carefully reshaping its course toward a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid in hopes the spacecraft can survey the body in January 2020.
   FULL STORY
Russians now preparing for re-entry of Mars probe
Russia's $163 million Phobos-Grunt Mars probe, stranded in low-Earth orbit after a malfunction following launch Nov. 8, is expected to fall back into Earth's atmosphere next month, Russian officials confirmed Friday.
   FULL STORY
Six defense satellites launched by Soyuz rocket
A Russian Soyuz rocket fired six satellites into space Friday, launching missions to serve defense agencies in Europe and Chile with high-resolution imagery and electronic intelligence.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   IMAGES: ROCKET LIGHTS UP THE SKY
   IMAGES: SOYUZ ROLLED TO LAUNCH PAD
Shuttle Discovery's historic payload bay goes dark
After deploying 21 satellites from expansive confines, including the Hubble Space Telescope, commercial spacecraft and military eavesdroppers, hosting scientific platforms and hauling key pieces of the International Space Station, the payload bay of space shuttle Discovery was closed and locked as the spacecraft was powered off for the final time Friday.
   PHOTO GALLERY
   STS-133: DISCOVERY'S FINAL FLIGHT
   VIDEO: FINAL MISSION ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION VIDEO
Decision increases risk in commercial crew program
NASA's decision to give up insight and influence in the design of privately-developed space vehicles could cause delays in the resumption of U.S. human spaceflight, officials said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
NASA switches strategy for commercial crew contracts
Faced with uncertain budgets, NASA is giving up fixed-price contracts and moving back to more flexible, but less comprehensive, Space Act Agreements to continue design work on a new commercial manned spacecraft to ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station, officials said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Shuttle Enterprise's future home now visualized
With the ownership title now in hand, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has unveiled artwork depicting how the space shuttle Enterprise will be displayed within a protective bubble on the aircraft carrier's flight deck starting next summer.
   FULL STORY
Venture back in history to relive Enterprise's moments
Spaceflight Now+Plus viewers can travel back to the late 1970s and mid 1980s right now and watch fun footage of space shuttle Enterprise, NASA's prototype orbiter, during its landing tests at Edwards Air Force Base in California, assembly and pad checks at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, then demonstrations for the West Coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
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Mars rover previewing the experience for astronauts
Already 32 million miles from Earth on its interplanetary trek to Mars, the Curiosity rover has begun collecting useful scientific data about the radiation conditions that astronauts would encounter on the way to the red planet.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: ULA'S LAUNCH PHOTOS
   VIDEO: HIGH-DEFINITION COVERAGE
   VIDEO: STANDARD-DEFINITION CLIPS
Private spaceflight gets new contender with Stratolaunch
Designer Burt Rutan, billionaire Paul Allen, rocketman Elon Musk and former NASA boss Mike Griffin are teaming to develop an air-launch rocket system that would use a super aircraft the size of two 747s to carry a liquid-fueled SpaceX booster to 30,000 feet where it would be dropped to fire hardware and humans into orbit.
   FULL STORY- with animation!
Commercial rocket gets new name as debut launch nears
Orbital Sciences has rebranded its new commercial rocket that will ferry provisions and equipment to the International Space Station starting next year -- changing the booster's name from the Taurus 2 to Antares.
   FULL STORY
   ANIMATED PREVIEW OF FLIGHT TO SPACE STATION
Where are they now? Shuttle skippers move on
Two of the final space shuttle commanders have landed new gigs in the commercial world working for companies competing to launch private crew-transports to and from the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz rocket rolls out for next South American launch
The second Soyuz rocket to fly from the commercial launch base in Kourou, French Guiana made a short but meaningful trip Monday when it was rolled from the assembly hangar to the pad and rotated to stand up vertically.
   PHOTO GALLERY
Two satellites share one rocket launch into orbit
An Israeli-owned telecommunications bird and a Russian data relay satellite that will route communications with the International Space Station and other low-Earth-orbiting spacecraft shared a Proton rocket ride Sunday.
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH PHOTOS AND VIDEO - NEW!
Japan deploys radar reconnaissance satellite
A Japanese radar reconnaissance satellite rode into orbit atop an H-2A rocket Monday, expanding the country's capacity to observe military and civil developments around the world.
   FULL STORY
Moving a shuttle mockup across Florida spaceport
The life-like space shuttle orbiter replica was hauled away from Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex to the barge dock adjacent to the Complex 39 press site on Sunday morning. "Explorer" as it is named will be shipped by sea to the Johnson Space Center's Space Center Houston tourism facility in the spring for display there as the Florida spaceport makes room to construct a building for the retired shuttle Atlantis.
   PHOTO GALLERY
Crew gets comfortable aboard its Soyuz capsule
The crew to fly aboard the next Russian Soyuz manned spacecraft got to climb inside their capsule Friday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome for inspections and fit checks in the seats. Check out this three-page photo gallery.
   PHOTO GALLERY
   KUIPERS VIDEO NEWS RELEASE
   BUY THE CREW PATCH
SpaceX test flights merged as launch date targeted
The next demonstration test-flight for the SpaceX Dragon cargo freighter will link up with the International Space Station, officials have decided, allowing the company to combine the two previously-planned flyby and capture missions into one, launching from Cape Canaveral on February 7.
   FULL STORY
   DRAGON BACKGROUND INFO
   PHOTO GALLERY OF CAPSULE
   FALCON 9 ROCKET PHOTO GALLERY
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Next space station trio counting down to blastoff
Three new flight engineers to return the International Space Station's resident crew to the full 6-person size traveled from their Russian training base outside Moscow to the Kazakhstan launch site Thursday.
   FULL STORY
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One year ago: First private capsule goes up and back
SpaceX launched the Dragon spacecraft from Florida for a two-orbit test flight on Dec. 8, 2010, and the company brought the automated capsule back to Earth less than three-and-a-half hours later. Relive the historic achievement in our archives!
   FALCON ARCHIVE
Prepping satellite to test Albert Einstein theory
A small sphere-shaped satellite covered with laser retroreflectors to test part of Albert Einstein's theory of General Relativity is being readied for its shot into space aboard the qualification flight of Europe's new Vega light launcher.
   FULL STORY
New weather satellite opens its eyes on western U.S.
There was a changing of the guard 22,300 miles above Earth on Tuesday as an 11-year-old weather observatory gave way to its replacement to cover the western view of the Americas.
   FULL STORY
   GOES 11 LAUNCH COVERAGE
   GOES 15 LAUNCH COVERAGE
Voyager on the cusp of entering interstellar space
Plowing through the solar system's unexplored frontier, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a region of stagnant solar wind and magnetic pressure and is on the precipice of crossing over into interstellar space, scientists said Monday.
   FULL STORY
Discovery getting replica engines for Smithsonian
In preparation for displaying the space shuttle Discovery at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, technicians began installing replica main engines on Monday.
   PHOTO GALLERY
   STS-133: DISCOVERY'S FINAL FLIGHT
   VIDEO: MISSION ARCHIVE
   HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION COVERAGE
Kepler finds planet in another star's comfort zone
NASA's Kepler space telescope has discovered a planet circling at just the right distance from another star, making for comfortable temperatures and supporting an environment for liquid water and possible life, scientists announced Monday.
   FULL STORY
Final space shuttle commander to leave NASA
NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, the commander of the final space shuttle mission, will leave NASA at the end of this week, the space agency announced Monday.
   FULL STORY
China's launch rate set to surpass United States
For the first time since joining the spacefaring community in 1970, China is poised to eclipse the number of U.S. space launches in a single year.
   FULL STORY
Cassini radar paints new picture of icy Enceladus
NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured unprecedented radar imagery of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus last month, uncovering new details of the moon's highly reflective frozen surface.
   FULL STORY
ESA shutting down Phobos-Grunt listening campaign
The European Space Agency announced Friday it would cease attempts to contact Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars probe, as hopes diminish of ever recovering the stranded spacecraft and guiding it toward the red planet.
   FULL STORY
Put on your 3D glasses and check out asteroid Vesta
NASA released a 3D video of asteroid Vesta this week, showing rifts and valleys across the 330-mile-wide world sandwiched between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
   VIDEO: TOUR ASTEROID VESTA
Successful Chinese space launch breaks annual record
Shattering a record for annual Chinese launch activity, a Long March rocket streaked into a predawn sky Thursday and entered orbit with a Beidou navigation satellite.
   FULL STORY
Globalstar swaps satellites before next launch
Struggling with recurring problems with satellite momentum wheels, Globalstar exchanged one of six mobile communications spacecraft set to launch in December with a spare platform to ensure it does not succumb to an issue that has knocked one of the company's newest satellites out of service.
   FULL STORY
Mars Science Laboratory postpones adjusting course
The first scheduled opportunity for the Mars Science Laboratory to tweak its trajectory on the interplanetary cruise from Earth to the red planet won't be needed for awhile, flight controllers announced Thursday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: ULA'S LAUNCH PHOTOS
   VIDEO: HIGH-DEFINITION COVERAGE
   VIDEO: STANDARD-DEFINITION CLIPS
It's our birthday!
Thursday marked the 12th anniversary of Spaceflight Now's launch onto the Internet. We have covered hundreds of rocket launches, flyout of the space shuttle program and robotic expeditions across the solar system. Thanks to all our readers for visiting the site every day!
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Delta 4 rocket to provide launch services for WGS 5
As United Launch Alliance's Delta 4 rocket gets ready to launch the next craft for the U.S. military's backbone communications satellite constellation in January, the Air Force has awarded the booster the rights to deploy the subsequent bird as well.
   FULL STORY
Mars summit set between NASA, ESA and Russia
In a bid to save the next Mars rover from budgetary oblivion, representatives from NASA, Europe and Russia will meet in Paris next week to hash out what each space agency can contribute to a pair of life-hunting Mars missions due to begin launching in four years.
   FULL STORY
TDRS-M data relay satellite bought for NASA network
NASA has ordered up an additional next-generation communications spacecraft, valued at $289 million, for its orbiting network of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.
   FULL STORY
Mobile launch tower rolled back to construction site
The towering mobile platform for NASA's heavy-lift rocket is moving off the launch pad Wednesday and returning to a construction site at the Kennedy Space Center for substantial modifications to support a hefty 5.5-million-pound vehicle that could take astronauts to new frontiers in space.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: AERIAL PHOTOS OF LAUNCH TOWER
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Military space shuttle receives mission extension
Quietly orbiting Earth since March, the U.S. Air Force's second X-37B space plane will surpass its 270-day design life Wednesday with no sign the clandestine spacecraft is landing any time soon.
   FULL STORY
Orbit-raising commands fail to budge Phobos-Grunt
Plagued by an undiagnosed problem that stranded it in Earth orbit, Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars mission remained quiet Tuesday after renewed attempts to coax the craft back into contact with ground controllers.
   FULL STORY
Chinese reconnaissance satellite reaches orbit
A Long March rocket blasted off with a Chinese reconnaissance satellite Tuesday on an unannounced mission to collect imagery of strategic sites around the world.
   FULL STORY
Cruising to Mars, Curiosity awaits final software load
Saturday's launch of the Curiosity rover was just the prologue of the $2.5 billion mission, and officials will spend the next eight months readying for the craft's untried descent to the surface of Mars.
   FULL STORY
Medvedev threatens penalties for space officials
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has suggested officials should be punished for recent failures in the country's space program. Russian rockets have failed four times in the last 12 months, and a $165 million Mars probe was stranded in Earth orbit.
   FULL STORY
Photo gallery: Atlas 5 rocket sets sail for Mars
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket successfully launched the Mars Science Laboratory from Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 on Saturday at 10:02 a.m. EST, sending Earth's Curiosity to explore the red planet. Check out this complete launch photo gallery taken by ULA's cameraman.
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
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VIDEO: THE FULL LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA VIEW OF THE STAGING EVENT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ONBOARD VIEW OF ROCKET RELEASING MSL PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH DECLARED A SUCCESS PLAY

VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: OUR VIEW OF LIFTOFF PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: PATRICK AFB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: SOUTH OF THE PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: THE BEACH TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: SHUTTLE PAD CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: SHUTTLE WATER TOWER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: TRACKER WEST OF THE PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: CLOSE-UP ON UMBILICALS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: COMPLEX 41 VIF PLAY | HI-DEF
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Glonass navigation system beefed up by Soyuz launch
Another spacecraft to reinforce Russia's fleet of Glonass navigation satellites lifted off Monday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on a Soyuz booster.
   FULL STORY
Mars Science Laboratory begins cruise to Red Planet
A towering Atlas 5 rocket flashed to life and vaulted into space Saturday, putting on a spectacular weekend sky show as it boosted NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory rover on an eight-and-a-half-month 352-million-mile voyage to the Red Planet.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: VIEW FROM THE PRESS SITE
   IMAGES: ROCKET ROLLED TO THE PAD
   IMAGES: ATLAS POISED FOR LAUNCH
   IMAGES: NASA'S ROLLOUT PHOTOGRAPHY

   LAUNCH WINDOWS CHART
   ASCENT EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   NASA PRESS KIT (.pdf download)
   VIDEO: HIGH-DEFINITION COVERAGE
   VIDEO: STANDARD-DEFINITION CLIPS
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
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VIDEO: THE FULL LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: ONBOARD CAMERA VIEW OF THE STAGING EVENT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ONBOARD VIEW OF ROCKET RELEASING MSL PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH DECLARED A SUCCESS PLAY

VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: OUR VIEW OF LIFTOFF PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: VAB ROOF PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: PATRICK AFB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: SOUTH OF THE PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAYS: THE BEACH TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH PROJECT MANAGER PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: ATLAS ROCKET ROLLS OUT TO LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE VIEWS OF ROCKET ROLLOUT PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: CURIOSITY ROVER SCIENCE BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: LOOKING FOR LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE PLAY
VIDEO: WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE RED PLANET PLAY
VIDEO: ROBOTICS AND HUMANS TO MARS TOGETHER PLAY

VIDEO: PREVIEW OF ENTRY, DESCENT AND LANDING PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: NUCLEAR GENERATOR HOISTED TO ROVER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MARS SCIENCE LAB MOUNTED ATOP ATLAS 5 PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: APPLYING MISSION LOGOS ON THE FAIRING PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: TWO-HALVES OF ROCKET NOSE CONE ARRIVES PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: FIRST STAGE ERECTED ON MOBILE LAUNCHER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: STAGES DRIVEN FROM HARBOR TO THE ASOC PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ROCKET ARRIVES ABOARD SEA-GOING VESSEL PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: STOWING ROVER'S INSTRUMENTED ROBOT ARM PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: SPIN-TESTING THE RING-LIKE CRUISE STAGE PLAY | HI-DEF

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VIDEO: UNVEILING THE ROCKET-POWERED SKYCRANE PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: ROVER HAULED FROM RUNWAY TO PHSF FACILITY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MARS ROVER ARRIVES AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER PLAY | HI-DEF

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Japan calls it quits on infrared space telescope
Japan announced this week its Akari infrared space telescope was switched off after five years of scanning the sky in search of star-forming dust clouds, ancient galaxies in the distant universe, and asteroids within the solar system.
   FULL STORY
Will the budget force NASA to retreat from Mars?
Budget battles and shuffling spending priorities unfolding in Washington could mean the Curiosity rover, a car-sized mobile robot promising a rich scientific bounty on Mars, will be the last in a line of wildly successful missions doing research on the Red Planet.
   FULL STORY
Asian TV broadcasting satellite launched into orbit
A satellite to broadcast television across a swath of the globe from Israel to New Zealand launched on top of a Russian Proton rocket Friday, successfully starting a 15-year mission for AsiaSat of Hong Kong.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: PROTON ON LAUNCH PAD
Latest attempts to contact Phobos-Grunt yield 'no joy'
Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars probe again fell silent Thursday and Friday after encouraging communications signals were detected from the marooned satellite, which is stuck in low Earth orbit after a glitch kept the craft from continuing toward the Red Planet.
   FULL STORY
Mobile science laboratory leaves Saturday for Mars
NASA's $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory rover, the most complex and scientifically powerful robotic spacecraft ever built to explore the surface of another world, is poised for launch Saturday on a high-stakes mission to look for organic compounds and signs of past or present habitability.
   COMPREHENSIVE MISSION PREVIEW
Sunset from NASA's heavy-lift rocket launch tower
NASA's mobile launcher for the Space Launch System is mounted at pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center this week for fit checks and loads testing. Spaceflight Now visited the launch tower at sunset Wednesday.
   PHOTOS: SUNSET FROM MOBILE LAUNCHER
It's alive! Russia's Phobos-Grunt probe phones home
A European Space Agency tracking station in Australia was expected to contact Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft at least two times Wednesday, one day after the site heard signals from the stranded probe for the first time in two weeks.
   SECOND COMMUNICATIONS ATTEMPT WEDNESDAY
   FIRST CONTACT WITH PHOBOS-GRUNT
Reduced budget threatens delay in private spaceships
This year's NASA budget halves the requested funding for the agency's commercial crew transportation program, placing the initiative's goal of ending U.S. reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft by 2016 in jeopardy, according to NASA officials.
   FULL STORY
Space station residents safely return to Earth
A three-man crew from NASA, Russia and Japan completed a half-year mission aboard the International Space Station on Monday and return to Earth in a parachute-equipped Soyuz descent capsule. Touchdown in Kazakhstan occurred in frigid temperatures at 9:26 p.m. EST (0226 GMT).
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PHOTOS: RECOVERING SOYUZ
   IMAGES ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE
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Curiosity rover aims for Martian dry lake bed
The Curiosity rover is heading for a potential Martian dry lake bed the size of Los Angeles adorned with ragged rock formations and a colossal three-mile-high mountain. Launch is scheduled for Saturday at 10:02 a.m. EST and the mobile robot will reach Mars on Aug. 6, 2012.
   FULL STORY
Crippled space probe bound for second chance at Venus
Japan's Akatsuki probe completed a three-part series of course correction maneuvers Monday, lining up the spacecraft for a second chance to reach Venus in late 2015 after an engine failure curbed plans to orbit the sweltering, cloud-covered planet one year ago.
   FULL STORY
Japanese quake delayed tests on H-2B rocket
The launch of Japan's next space station resupply craft will likely be rescheduled for next June, giving engineers time to make up testing of the freighter's H-2B rocket after the deadly earthquake in March, according to NASA and Japanese space officials.
   FULL STORY
Happy 9th birthday to the Delta 4 rocket
Sunday marks the 9th anniversary of the first Delta 4 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral carrying a commercial European communications satellite into orbit. Take a look back to our coverage of that maiden mission.
   MISSION ARCHIVE
Mars rover Curiosity launch postponed by one day
Launch of the Mars Science Laboratory on the Atlas 5 rocket has been postponed a day to give time for replacement of a suspect safety system battery aboard the booster.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
Shenzhou capsule carried dummies, German payload
Chinese recovery crews retrieved two dummy astronauts and a German experiment aboard the Shenzhou 8 space capsule after landing Thursday. The 17-day mission demonstrated docking technology for a future Chinese space station.
   FULL STORY
Satellite pair launched by Long March rocket
An experimental technology demonstration satellite and a spacecraft to collect and relay data for disaster relief ascended into orbit on a Chinese Long March 2D rocket this weekend.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX has short list for commercial launch site
SpaceX is eyeing Puerto Rico, Texas, Hawaii, or Florida to be home of a new commercial launch facility for its Falcon rocket family, the company's founder and chief executive tells Spaceflight Now.
   FULL STORY
   UPDATE ON NEXT LAUNCH
Veteran Landsat 5 satellite on the brink of failure
An aging Landsat observation satellite could be nearing its end due to a faulty electronic component essential for downloading surface images back to Earth, the U.S. Geological Survey announced Friday.
   FULL STORY
Colorful imagery documents extent of Saturn storm
NASA released fresh imagery Thursday of a mega-storm that encircled Saturn for more than six months earlier this year, becoming the longest-lived weather system ever observed on the ringed planet.
   IMAGES: SATURN MEGA-STORM GROWS
Mobile launcher rollout videos posted
The mobile launch platform for NASA's heavy-lift rocket was rolled to Kennedy Space Center's pad 39B this week. Check out these videos of the move, posted for on-demand viewing and downloading for Spaceflight Now+Plus users:
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Nuclear power generator hooked up to Mars rover
Engineers installed the plutonium power source on NASA's Curiosity rover Thursday, adding the final piece to the complex robot before its Nov. 25 blastoff to Mars.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   LAUNCH WINDOWS CHART
   IMAGES: MSL ENCAPSULATED IN NOSE CONE
   IMAGES: ALL ABOARD PAYLOAD TRANSPORTER
   IMAGES: SPACECRAFT MOUNTED ATOP ROCKET
Military communications craft moves closer to launch
A spacecraft that will improve communications with the U.S. military's aerial drones currently employed in some of the world's hotspots has arrived at Cape Canaveral to prepare for blastoff in January.
   FULL STORY
Chinese capsule returns after docking mission
The return capsule of the Shenzhou 8 spacecraft parachuted to a safe landing in Inner Mongolia on Thursday, wrapping up China's first docking mission ahead of manned flights next year.
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: SHENZHOU DESCENDS UNDER PARACHUTE
MESSENGER gets another year exploring Mercury
NASA has announced that it will extend the MESSENGER mission for an additional year of orbital operations at Mercury beyond the planned end of the primary mission on March 17, 2012. The MESSENGER probe became the first spacecraft to orbit the innermost planet on March 18, 2011.
   NASA STATEMENT
Voyager 2 completes switch to backup thruster set
NASA's Voyager 2 has successfully switched to the backup set of thrusters that controls the roll of the spacecraft, allowing engineers to reduce the amount of power that the 34-year-old probe needs to operate by turning off the heater that keeps the fuel to the primary thrusters warm.
   NASA STATEMENT
Mammoth mobile launch mount moved to pad 39B
One of NASA's heavy-duty diesel-powered crawlers moved the space agency's towering new 39-story mobile launch platform Wednesday to pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center. First motion occurred around 9:15 a.m. (1415 GMT) and the rollout ended at 6:29 p.m. EST (2329 GMT).
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: MOBILE LAUNCHER BEGINS ROLLOUT
Dragon assembled inside Cape Canaveral hangar
SpaceX lifted the Dragon capsule and attached it to the craft's trunk section Wednesday inside the company's launch processing hangar at Cape Canaveral.
   IMAGES: DRAGON ASSEMBLED IN FLORIDA
Scientists say lakes could raise odds for life on Europa
The discovery of a reservoir of liquid water embedded in the icy crust of Jupiter's moon Europa could increase the chances for life in oceans deep beneath sheets of ice blanketing its surface, scientists said Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz capsule docks to the International Space Station
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new residents for the International Space Station successfully docked to the orbiting outpost at 12:24 a.m. EST (0524 GMT) Wednesday while flying 248 miles over the South Pacific.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates and video!
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Help wanted: Apply to be a NASA astronaut online
NASA is recruiting up to 15 new astronauts to bolster the agency's corps of space fliers to staff the International Space Station and lay the groundwork for exploration missions beyond Earth, agency officials announced Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
   APPLY ONLINE
December deadline for stranded Mars probe
Russia has until early December to establish contact with the stranded Phobos-Grunt Mars probe and send it toward the Red Planet, the head of the Russian space ageny said Monday.
   FULL STORY
Three-man crew rides Soyuz rocket to space
After exhaustive work to recover from a dramatic August launch failure, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut blasted off in blizzard-like conditions late Sunday on a delayed flight to the International Space Station, the program's first manned launching since the U.S. shuttle was retired.
   LAUNCH STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates and video!
   IMAGES: ROLLOUT PHOTO GALLERY
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VIDEO: SOYUZ ROCKET ROLLED TO LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: FINAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SOYUZ PLAY | HI-DEF
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Shenzhou 8 aces second docking test in sunlight
Two Chinese spacecraft in orbit successfully accomplished another high-speed link-up Monday during a second docking demonstration designed to test sensitive optical rendezvous sensors against the harsh glare of the sun.
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: DOCKING HIGHLIGHTS
   PREVIEW STORY
SpaceX, NASA expect next Dragon flight in early 2012
The first SpaceX demonstration flight to the International Space Station will launch no sooner than January as NASA awaits final delivery of flight software before clearing the mission to proceed, according to space agency sources.
   FULL STORY
Phobos-Grunt Mars probe remains silent in Earth orbit
Russia officially remained silent on the status of its beleaguered Phobos-Grunt Mars probe Friday as concerns grew that the toxic fuel-laden spacecraft could crash back to Earth by December.
   FULL STORY
Lockheed Martin to select Delta 4 rocket for Orion test
NASA announced this week it has signed on to a long-sought proposal by Lockheed Martin Corp. for an unmanned orbital test flight of the Orion capsule in early 2014, clearing the way for final contract negotiations for a $370 million launch on a Delta 4-Heavy rocket.
   FULL STORY
Russia trying to salvage Phobos-Grunt mission
One day after a Russian Mars probe was left stranded in low Earth orbit, engineers planned to begin trying to save the mission Wednesday in hopes the problem was a relatively simple software glitch.
   FULL STORY
NASA runs J-2X engine 500 seconds in ground firing
The powerful liquid hydrogen-fed engine NASA is developing to propel hardware and humans out of Earth orbit underwent a successful ground test-firing in Mississippi on Wednesday afternoon.
   FULL STORY
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Long March rocket orbits Earth observing satellite
China successfully launched a Long March rocket Wednesday with a military reconnaissance satellite and a university-built technology demonstration spacecraft.
   FULL STORY
Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars probe stuck in Earth orbit
Russia's Phobos-Grunt mission, an audacious effort to retrieve samples from a Martian moon, is stranded in low Earth orbit following a successful liftoff Tuesday from Kazakhstan, according to Russian reports.
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: MARS PROBE BLASTS OFF
   RUSSIA TO RESUME MARS EXPLORATION
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   IMAGES AND VIDEO: ZENIT ROCKET ON PAD
Asteroid swings by Earth
NASA has released preliminary radar imagery of a 1,300-foot-wide asteroid that cruised by Earth on Tuesday in the planet's closest call with a near-Earth object in a quarter-century.
   FULL STORY - with video!
Two women among finalists for China's next spaceflight
Two female astronauts are among the candidates to fly on China's upcoming human space mission, which could attempt a manual docking with a bus-sized orbital laboratory next year, according to Chinese media.
   FULL STORY
Money-saving missile detection sensor turned on
The U.S. Air Force announced Thursday an innovative infrared missile detection sensor launched in September on a commercial communications satellite is functioning as expected, fulfilling a groundbreaking partnership between the private and public space sectors.
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH COVERAGE
Mars rover joins Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral
Shrouded inside a white bullet-shaped rocket nose cone, NASA's next Mars rover was slowly towed to the launch pad Thursday and hoisted atop its Atlas booster for liftoff to the Red Planet on Nov. 25.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   LAUNCH WINDOWS CHART

   IMAGES: MSL ENCAPSULATED IN NOSE CONE
   IMAGES: ALL ABOARD PAYLOAD TRANSPORTER
   IMAGES: SPACECRAFT MOUNTED ATOP ROCKET
Proton rocket replenishes Russian navigation system
A Proton launcher rocketed into orbit Friday with three Glonass navigation satellites for the Russian government, delivering reinforcements for the military-run fleet of positioning and timing spacecraft.
   FULL STORY - updated!
   IMAGES AND VIDEO: PROTON ROLLS TO PAD
Two Chinese spacecraft dock 200 miles above Earth
After chasing an orbiting space laboratory module at speeds of nearly 5 miles per second, China's Shenzhou 8 capsule linked up Wednesday with a bus-sized target module more than 200 miles above Earth. Docking occurred at approximately 1728 GMT (1:28 p.m. EDT).
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: DOCKING IN ORBIT
   OVERVIEW OF DOCKING SYSTEM
   SHENZHOU LAUNCH STORY
Space station welcomes Russian cargo ship arrival
The International Space Station received a cargo freighter Wednesday when the Russian-made vessel loaded with three tons of supplies safely approached and docked on autopilot.
   FULL STORY
Delta 2 rocket launch yields perfect photography
Last Friday's Delta 2 rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base was a photographer's dream with beautiful weather and a gorgeous California sunset. Take a look back at the countdown and blastoff through the lens of ULA's cameraman.
   IMAGES: RIDE THE GANTRY DURING ROLLBACK
   IMAGES: CALIFORNIA SUNSET OVER THE PAD
   IMAGES: MIDDLE-OF-THE-NIGHT LAUNCH
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ESA wrestles with software errors on Mars Express
European officials have temporarily halted scientific observations aboard the Mars Express spacecraft after a spate of software hiccups, but managers are hopeful the mission can resume research after eight years at Mars.
   FULL STORY
Shenzhou spaceship begins historic orbital pursuit
An unmanned Shenzhou space capsule blasted off from China on Monday to begin a two-day chase of another spacecraft in orbit for a high-speed link-up to form an austere space station for future astronaut visits.
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: REPLAY OF LIFTOFF
   IMAGES: VIEWS OF LAUNCH
   TIANGONG 1 LAUNCH COVERAGE
Boeing picks shuttle hangar for commercial capsule
The Boeing Co. will process its proposed CST-100 commercial manned spacecraft in a now-vacant space shuttle processing hangar in a first-of-a-kind deal valued at up to $50 million in state incentives, facility upgrades and financing, officials said Monday.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz successfully returns to flight for space station
The Russian Soyuz rocket, flying for the first time in the exact configuration that suffered a launch failure in August, successfully launched Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The booster climbed to orbit with a resupply ship headed toward a Wednesday docking at the International Space Station and paved the way for human flights to resume in mid-November.
   FULL STORY
   EARLIER STORY
   ROLLOUT VIDEO AND PHOTO GALLERY
Venerable Delta 2 rocket launch flawless again
Not knowing if the future will bring it more launch business, the workhorse Delta 2 rocket successfully deployed a vital climate and weather observatory Friday morning before riding into an uncertain state of limbo.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!

   IMAGES: ROCKET STREAKS TO SPACE
   IMAGES: PAD CAMERAS CAPTURE BLASTOFF
   IMAGES: GANTRY ROLLS WITH AMAZING SUNSET
   IMAGES: MORE SUNSET AND ROCKET SHOTS

   LAUNCH PREVIEW STORY
   TECHNICAL LOOK AT NPP
   ORIGINS OF NPP MISSION

   IMAGES: PHOTOGRAPHERS SET UP CAMERAS
   IMAGES: LOOKING AROUND THE LAUNCH PAD
   IMAGES: INSIDE MISSION DIRECTOR'S CENTER
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   NASA PRESS KIT (.pdf download)
   IMAGES: ROCKET ASSEMBLY GALLERY
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VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
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VIDEO: CUBESATS LAUNCHING ALONG WITH NPP PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT MISSION INTRODUCTION BRIEFING PLAY
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Mega-rocket to use mobile launcher, shuttle crawlers
NASA intends to upgrade one of its Apollo-era treaded crawlers and an inactive mobile platform built for the canceled Ares launcher program to support the agency's colossal super-rocket, officially called the Space Launch System, in time for a test flight in 2017.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: VIEWS FROM TOP OF MOBILE LAUNCHER
Scientists counting on NPP amid programmatic turmoil
Originally conceived as a testbed satellite to prove the advanced designs for future U.S. government spacecraft, the NPP mission blasting off Friday has been thrust to an entirely new level of importance for meteorologists now facing a gap in data from space.
   FULL STORY
Enhanced Dragon capsule begins launch preparations
SpaceX's first Dragon spaceship scheduled to fly to the International Space Station is now in Florida, where it will be assembled, fueled and attached to a Falcon rocket for blastoff as soon as Dec. 19.
   FULL STORY
Launch rate set to skyrocket at French Guiana spaceport
The introduction of the Soyuz and Vega rockets at Europe's spaceport in the Amazon jungle presents a demanding juggling act for managers trying to balance needs for three very different launch vehicles sharing a stretch of the French Guiana coastline.
   FULL STORY
NPP: The next-generation weather watcher
Roughly the size of a sports utility vehicle, the environmental satellite launching from America's western spaceport Friday morning carries a suite of modernized instruments to see Earth's weather with crisper clarity than its decades of predecessors.
   FULL STORY
Polar orbiter going up to improve weather forecasts
A satellite whose mission will touch the lives of everyone on Earth by taking the planet's environmental pulse daily for global weather forecasting and meticulous tracking of the changing climate will be launched into space Friday morning atop what's potentially the final Delta 2 rocket.
   PREVIEW STORY
Imagery of Friday's Soyuz launch from the jungle
Friday's launch of the Soyuz rocket made history in French Guiana. It was the first flight of the veteran space launcher from the European-run spaceport in South America and started construction of Europe's Galileo navigation satellite fleet. Look back on the launch with these photos and video.
   IMAGES: SOYUZ BLASTS OFF
   VIDEO: MULTIPLE VIEWS OF LIFTOFF
Successful debut for Soyuz rocket in French Guiana
Launching from the Amazon jungle into the void of space Friday, a Russian Soyuz rocket inaugurated a new launch base and kicked off assembly of a $7.3 billion fleet of navigation satellites, fulfilling a decade of tough diplomatic negotiations and back-breaking construction in the granite bedrock of French Guiana.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   FLIGHT TIMELINE
   VIDEO: ROLLOUT MUSIC VIDEO
   IMAGES: SOYUZ TRANSFERRED TO PAD
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD FAIRING LIFTED TO ROCKET
   IMAGES: SOYUZ IN LAUNCH CONFIGURATION
German X-ray astronomy satellite falls from orbit
Just one month after a decommissioned NASA science satellite fell to Earth, an out-of-service German space telescope plunged back into the atmosphere Saturday. Although much of the craft's heat-resistant X-ray mirror was expected to survive re-entry, there was no immediate word on precisely where the satellite came down or whether any debris made it to the surface.
   FULL STORY
ViaSat 1 broadband
satellite soars to space

A sophisticated broadband satellite to provide direct-to-home Internet connections from space for customers across the U.S. and Canada was successfully launched by Russia's commercial Proton heavy-lifting rocket Wednesday. Blastoff to begin the 9-hour ascent occurred at 1848 GMT (2:48 p.m. EDT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   LAUNCH PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY
   ROLLOUT PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY
Launch date moved for next week's Delta 2 rocket
New launch date has been announced for next week's Delta 2 rocket with NPP climate and weather satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   NASA PRESS KIT (.pdf download)
   IMAGES: ROCKET ASSEMBLY GALLERY
Astronomy Now visits telescopes with altitude
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array opened its eyes on the Universe earlier this month. Astronomy Now's Emily Baldwin travelled to the 5,000-metre-high desert location in Chile to find out how construction of the 66-strong telescope array is progressing.
   WATCH NOW
NASA review clears way for manned Soyuz flights
A top NASA official told Congress on Wednesday an independent engineering team agrees with Russia's findings in an investigation into a failure of a Soyuz rocket's third stage in August, affirming plans to resume crewed flights to the International Space Station in November.
   FULL STORY
Delta 2 rocket receives payload for Oct. 27 launch
Achieving a "monumental milestone" with 14 days left until blastoff, the NPP climate and weather observatory was transported to its launching pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base and mounted atop the Delta 2 rocket Thursday.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
Atlas 5 rocket fueled up for practice countdown
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket that will propel the Mars Science Laboratory on its voyage to the Red Planet underwent a full countdown rehearsal Thursday.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
All over again: German satellite poised for plunge
Less than a month after NASA's falling UARS satellite grabbed the headlines, the German space agency says one of its abandoned satellites will dive back to Earth later this month, but no one knows where it will land.
   FULL STORY
Tropical climate satellite soars for India, France
An Indo-French satellite launched on an international climate research mission Wednesday, ascending into space to track tropical cyclones, monsoons and storm systems for at least three years. The one-ton spacecraft was put in orbit by an Indian rocket.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: INDIAN ROCKET BLASTS OFF
Next Delta 4 rocket to boost military communications
The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket that will deploy a vital communications satellite for U.S. military forces overseas was placed atop its Cape Canaveral pad this week.
   FULL STORY
   ROLLOUT PHOTO GALLERY
NASA hands Endeavour to Los Angeles museum
Astronauts, celebrities and local officials held a ceremonial transfer of ownership for the space shuttle orbiter Endeavour from NASA to the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
   PHOTO GALLERY
   OUR STS-134 ARCHIVE
Air Force satellite's epic ascent should finish soon
After 14 months in space and more than 450 maneuvers, the first satellite in the U.S. military's next-generation secure communications network now expects to complete its arduous journey to reach the correct orbit by late October and enter service in March.
   FULL STORY
   ARCHIVED MISSION COVERAGE
Europe plans solar orbiter and dark energy probe
The European Space Agency has selected a satellite to fly scorchingly close to the sun and a probe to map the structure of the universe for launch in 2017 and 2019.
   FULL STORY
Low-cost UHF antenna deployed on Navy satellite
The umbrella-like antenna on the U.S. Navy's experimental TacSat 4 communications satellite has popped open and begun relaying voice messages a week after launching from southern Alaska, according to mission officials.
   FULL STORY
European broadcasting satellite launched by China
A French communications satellite destined to serve markets in a swath from Europe to the Indian Ocean launched on top of a Chinese Long March rocket Friday.
   FULL STORY
Replacement for Soyuz rocket canned by Russia
Russia is halting development of a next-generation rocket to launch humans into space, the head of Roscosmos told Russian lawmakers in a speech Friday. The Rus-M rocket, a liquid-fueled vehicle designed to launch from Russian territory, was supposed to begin flying as soon as 2015.
   FULL STORY
Station crew studies how space affects eyesight
In the wake of recent concerns about the effects of prolonged weightlessness on eyesight, space station astronauts now are carrying out regular tests and eye exams to collect more data on how their vision might be affected, the lab's commander said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Satellite back in action after communications outage
A Canadian-owned satellite has recovered from Thursday's problem that caused widespread communications disruptions to phone circuits, television signals, Internet connections and data-relay services across North America.
   FULL STORY
Retired Ariane launch complex being demolished
A mothballed launch pad for the acclaimed Ariane rocket family is being dismantled in South America after supporting 119 space missions for scientific and commercial customers.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PAD TOPPLED
   IMAGES: DEBRIS FROM DEMOLISHED PAD
Land Launch rocket carries Intelsat 18 into space
Aiming to replace an 18-year-old communications satellite that bridges the vast Pacific to link Asia with North America, a new spacecraft successfully flew into orbit Wednesday atop the commercial Land Launch venture's Zenit 3SLB rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   VIDEO: REPLAY OF LIFTOFF
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: COUNTDOWN AND LIFTOFF
   IMAGES: ROLLOUT PHOTO GALLERY
   VIDEO: ROCKET TRAVELS TO THE PAD
Nuclear power to the stars
To send spacecraft to other stars in the space of a human lifetime, new methods of propulsion are going to be needed to provide the necessary "oomph" to break free of our Solar System.
   FULL STORY FROM ASTRONOMY NOW
Moon mission's outreach to kids adds naming contest
NASA is calling upon schoolchildren around the U.S. to help name the twin Moon-bound GRAIL spacecraft that will unravel mysteries of the lunar interior.
   FULL STORY
   OUR GRAIL LAUNCH COVERAGE
Delta 2 rocket could win new NASA assignments
With its final scheduled flight looming just three weeks away, the workhorse Delta 2 rocket has won the right to rejoin the competition for future NASA satellite launches.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz launch restores Russian navigation system
A fresh satellite for Russia's Glonass navigation network launched aboard a modernized Soyuz rocket Sunday on the first flight of the workhorse booster since a mishap doomed a mission in August.
   FULL STORY
Taurus 2 rocket engine tests resume for January launch
Orbital Sciences and Aerojet resumed testing of a Russian rocket engine for the Taurus 2 rocket this week, the first firing of the 40-year-old engines since one of the power plants caught fire on the test stand in June.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX unveils flyback rocket reusability plan
SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk has unveiled an innovative plan to recover his company's spent rocket stages by flying them back to the launch site using their own engines for a powered vertical descent to touchdown on strut-like landing gear.
   FULL STORY - watch dramatic animation!
QuetzSat 1 spacecraft goes up to serve Mexico and U.S.
A direct-to-home television broadcasting satellite for Mexico and the U.S. was successfully hauled into orbit Thursday by Russia's commercial Proton heavy-lifting rocket launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   MOVIES: LAUNCH VIDEO COVERAGE
   IMAGES: PHOTO GALLERY
Chinese rocket successfully launches mini-space lab
China launched a miniature space module into orbit Thursday, where it will join another craft for the country's first space docking in November and create a destination for up to two manned flights next year.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LONG MARCH BLASTS OFF
   EARLIER PREVIEW STORY
Satellite finds surprisingly fewer asteroids near Earth
Analysis of data collected by a NASA infrared space telescope shows there are fewer near-Earth asteroids than previously believed, scientists said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Minotaur 4 rocket blazes fiery trail into space
Leaving a wake of fire and smoke twisting above the jagged Alaska coastline, a Minotaur rocket fired away from a remote launch pad Tuesday and released a U.S. Navy satellite in orbit give military forces better communications links on the battlefield.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   MOVIES: LAUNCH VIDEO COVERAGE
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: COLORS OF LAUNCH
   IMAGES: ROCKET IN FINAL COUNTDOWN
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD ENCAPSULATION
Chinese docking demo poised on launch pad
Now securely perched atop a launch pad in the Gobi desert, China's next foray into space will blast off this week to begin assembly of a miniature space station and demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking technology.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LONG MARCH ROCKET ROLLOUT
Large NASA science satellite likely fell into Pacific Ocean
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, launched from the shuttle Discovery in 1991 to begin a new era of studying the Earth's environment from space, fell from orbit Friday night. Space-tracking specialists believe the re-entry happened over the Pacific Ocean, dropping the surviving debris into the sea.
   FULL STORY
   RE-ENTRY UPDATES
Sea Launch completes first flight after long hiatus
Having emerged from bankruptcy and corporate restructuring, Sea Launch got back into the business of hauling commercial satellites to space with a successful blastoff Saturday at 2018 GMT (4:18 p.m. EDT).
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Japanese spy satellite in orbit after successful launch
A spy satellite for the Japanese government rode an H-2A rocket into orbit Friday, replenishing a fleet of secret spacecraft designed to keep track of missile development in North Korea.
   FULL STORY
Crews rehearse Minotaur launch countdown in Alaska
The launch team gathered on the Alaska coastline Friday for a mission dress rehearsal, a practice countdown in which technicians went through procedures to prepare the Minotaur 4 rocket and TacSat 4 payload for liftoff. The real launch is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: MINOTAUR ON THE PAD
NASA astronaut tells story of 'woo-hoo' ride in Soyuz
What appeared to be a communications problem that left Russian flight controllers in the dark about the status of a Soyuz capsule descending to Earth Sept. 16 was, in fact, no problem at all, simply the result of the spacecraft's trajectory and orientation, a crew member said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Ariane 5 rocket takes commercial trip to space
An Ariane 5 rocket roared out of its jungle launch base in South America at sunset Wednesday night, successfully climbing into geosynchronous transfer orbit to deploy the Arabsat 5C and SES 2 communications satellites to cover the Middle East and North America.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTOS FROM TOUCAN
   LAUNCH EVENTS TIMELINE
   STRIKE SCRUBS LAUNCH
   IMAGES: ARIANE ROCKET ON THE PAD
   IMAGES: AROUND THE SPACEPORT
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VIDEO: ARIANE 5 ROCKET BLASTS OFF AT SUNSET PLAY | HI-DEF
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Spotting UARS re-entry will require lots of luck
Armchair satellite trackers hoping to catch a glimpse of NASA's doomed Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite -- UARS -- when it plunges back to Earth Friday will need patience, access to the internet, a clear sky and a large helping of luck to have any chance of spotting the spacecraft's fiery demise, experts say.
   FULL STORY
Spy agency pulls back cloak on secret Cold War satellites
Held as state secrets for a half-century, three American spy satellites were brought to light this weekend by the U.S. government after serving the nation's intelligence programs at the height of the Cold War.
   FULL STORY
Astronaut shares memories of Sept. 11 terror attacks
Frank Culbertson felt like he was thrust into a Tom Clancy novel when he first saw the plume of smoke streaming away from lower Manhattan on Sept. 11 more than a decade ago.
   FULL STORY
Military communications satellite launched by China
A Chinese communications satellite, potentially designed to relay messages between Chinese military forces, blasted off on a Long March rocket Sunday.
   FULL STORY
Payload meets Minotaur rocket at Alaska launch site
Technicians attached a 1,000-pound U.S. Navy communications satellite to its launch vehicle this week as preparations continue for liftoff Sept. 27 from the southern coast of Alaska.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Three-man crew returns from half-year spaceflight
A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three of the International Space Station's six crew members suffered an unexpected communications black out just before plunging back into Earth's atmosphere late Thursday, completing a nail-biting descent in radio silence with repeated calls from flight controllers near Moscow going unanswered.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates and video!
   IMAGES: SOYUZ DESCENDS UNDER CHUTE
   IMAGES: CREW BACK ON EARTH
   LANDING PHOTOS ON OUR FACEBOOK
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VIDEO: CLOSE-UP VIEW OF TOUCHDOWN PLAY
VIDEO: THE CREW EGRESS SPACECRAFT PLAY
VIDEO: RECOVERY FORCES OPEN THE HATCH PLAY
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VIDEO: SOYUZ UNDOCKS FROM SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: CAPSULE DEPARTS FOR HOME PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW BOARDS SOYUZ TMA-21 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FAREWELL BEFORE UNDOCKING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CHANGE-OF-COMMAND CEREMONY PLAY | HI-DEF
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Kepler spacecraft discovers planet that circles two suns
The first confirmed example of a planet orbiting two suns has been found in the Kepler dataset. The gaseous world is similar to Saturn in terms of size and mass and experiences a surface temperature dipping to
-100 degrees Celsius so it is unlikely to host life.
   FULL STORY
   OUR KEPLER LAUNCH COVERAGE
Galileo navigation satellites arrive at Soyuz launch site
After a summer of around-the-clock testing in Italy, two Galileo navigation satellites have arrived in French Guiana for liftoff on a Soyuz rocket in October, the first step in a $7.3 billion effort to construct a network of navigation spacecraft 14,000 miles above Earth.
   FULL STORY
NASA announces rocket for deep space missions
NASA unveiled the design of its long-awaited post-shuttle super rocket Wednesday, a gargantuan Saturn 5-class booster intended to propel the agency's manned Orion crew capsules beyond low-Earth orbit and onto a variety of deep space destinations ranging from nearby asteroids to Mars.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ARTIST'S CONCEPTS OF ROCKET
   NASA NEWS RELEASE
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AUDIO: TECHNICAL DETAILS ABOUT SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM PLAY
VIDEO: HEAVY-LIFT ROCKET UNVEILED AT SENATE PLAY
VIDEO: SPACE LAUNCH SYSTEM ANIMATION PLAY | HI-DEF
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By the numbers: NASA's Space Launch System
Billed as the biggest rocket ever built, NASA's concept for a behemoth heavy-lift booster unveiled Wednesday will initially weigh 5.5 million pounds, stand taller than the Statue of Liberty and generate 10 percent more thrust than the Saturn 5 moon rocket produced at liftoff.
   FULL STORY
Russia sets Nov. 12 for next manned Soyuz launch
Alleviating concerns the International Space Station could be temporarily abandoned late this year, the Russian space agency has set Nov. 12 for the next crewed flight of the Soyuz rocket after an unmanned launch of the normally-reliable booster failed last month.
   FULL STORY
NASA experts to assist ATK on commercial crew rocket
NASA and Alliant Techsystems Inc., a leading rocket contractor, announced Tuesday they will share data and expertise in helping design and develop the Liberty rocket, a U.S.-European launcher that could haul humans into Earth orbit by 2015.
   FULL STORY
   NASA NEWS RELEASE
   ATK NEWS RELEASE


Rocket assembly underway for Mars rover launch
United Launch Alliance has begun assembling the Atlas 5 rocket that will dispatch NASA's Curiosity rover to Mars in November, commencing a campaign to prepare the copper and white launcher for liftoff.
   IMAGES: ATLAS ROCKET STACKING
9/11 terror attacks recalled in views from space
NASA astronaut Frank Culbertson was the only American off the planet during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In a poignant video remembrance, Culbertson recalls his feelings aboard the space station in the wake of the events. We also present commercial satellite imagery of Ground Zero from the last decade.
   VIDEO AND IMAGES: SEPT. 11 IMAGERY
From the Earth to the Moon: GRAIL spacecraft blast off
Catching a break from the weather, a United Launch Alliance Delta 2-Heavy rocket blasted off Saturday and successfully boosted two NASA science craft into space on looping trajectories to the Moon, the first step in an ambitious $496 million mission to map the cratered satellite's gravity and internal structure.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live updates!
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PAD PHOTOS
   IMAGES: PRESS SITE VIEW
   IMAGES: SMOKEY IGNITION SHOTS

   IMAGES: 1ST LAUNCH ATTEMPT GALLERY
   VIDEO: MOON PASSES BY LAUNCH PAD
   IMAGES: TOWER ROLLBACK GALLERY
   IMAGES: DELTA 2 ROCKET ON THE PAD
   LAUNCH WINDOW CHART
   ASCENT EVENTS TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   NASA PRESS KIT (.pdf download)
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
Spaceflight Now Plus
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VIDEO: THE FULL LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ONBOARD ROCKET CAMERA: GRAIL-A DEPLOYED PLAY
VIDEO: ONBOARD ROCKET CAMERA: GRAIL-B DEPLOYED PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY

VIDEO: GRAIL LAUNCH AS SEEN LIVE! PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD 17A CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD 17B CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BACKSIDE CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: NORTHSIDE CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: JETTY PARK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PATRICK AFB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE 1 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: KSC TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: TRIDENT BLUFF PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS 23 TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: AERIAL VIEWS OF HISTORIC COMPLEX 17 PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: FIRST LAUNCH ATTEMPT IS SCRUBBED PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MOBILE SERVICE GANTRY ROLLED BACK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF TOWER RETRACTION PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: GRAIL'S PRE-LAUNCH CAMPAIGN PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ROCKET'S PRE-LAUNCH CAMPAIGN PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GRAIL PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR INTERVIEW PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PREVIEW OF DELTA 2-HEAVY ROCKET'S ASCENT PLAY | HI-DEF
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NASA says crashing science satellite is low risk to public
NASA expects an abandoned research satellite to crash back to Earth later this month, scattering more than 1,000 pounds of debris somewhere on the surface as the rest of the craft vaporizes in the upper atmosphere.
   FULL STORY
Rocket tested as NASA plots next phase of program
A stretched five-segment solid rocket motor sent a rumble across the Utah landscape Thursday, pushing engineers closer to completing the design of a next-generation booster to help propel astronauts on journeys deeper in space.
   FULL STORY
GRAIL to tackle lingering questions about our Moon
Men have walked on it and satellites have surveyed it from every angle, but another mission to the Moon launching this week seeks profound new insights about our nearest neighbor in the night sky.
   MISSION PREVIEW STORY
Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: LEARN ABOUT GRAIL'S SCIENCE GOALS PLAY
VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT MISSION INTRODUCTION BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: GRAIL'S ROADMAP TO THE MOON PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DELTA/GRAIL LAUNCH ANIMATION PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GRAIL LUNAR MAPPING ANIMATION PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: HOW GRAVITY MEASUREMENTS ARE MADE PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: DELTA ROCKET'S NOSE CONE INSTALLED PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GRAIL MOVES TO ROCKET'S LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SECOND SATELLITE PUT ON LAUNCH DEPLOYER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FIRST SATELLITE PUT ON LAUNCH DISPENSER PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: SOLAR ARRAYS UNFURLED FOR CHECK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SATELLITES READY TO START TESTING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: UNBOXING THE SPACECRAFT AT ASTROTECH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SATELLITES UNLOADED FROM TRANSPORT PLANE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GRAIL SPACECRAFT TOUCH DOWN IN FLORIDA PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: ROCKET'S SECOND STAGE INSTALLED PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SECOND STAGE CARTED TO COMPLEX 17 PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS ATTACHED PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: READYING THE FIRST SET OF BOOSTERS PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: ON-PAD ASSEMBLY OF ROCKET UNDERWAY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GANTRY HOISTS FIRST STAGE VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FIRST STAGE ARRIVES AT THE PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
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Moon landing sites seen in fresh views from lunar orbit
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped the best images yet of three Apollo landing sites, illustrating the exploration of moon-walking astronauts with views of preserved footpaths and rover tracks on the dull charcoal-colored lunar soil.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: APOLLO LANDING SITES
Minotaur launch campaign begins at Alaska spaceport
Preparations to launch a U.S. Navy communications satellite have kicked off in Alaska three weeks before a souped-up Minotaur rocket will pilot the spacecraft to an orbit 7,500 miles above Earth.
   FULL STORY
Air Force procures another WGS communications craft
The U.S. Air Force is continuing its expansion of a fleet of wideband communications satellites with a $439 million contract with Boeing to construct a new spacecraft to serve troops deployed around the world.
   FULL STORY
Control system blamed for Chinese rocket mishap
A Chinese Long March rocket crashed with an experimental satellite last month due to a failure in the launcher's second stage attitude control system, Chinese space officials announced Monday.
   FULL STORY
Rover begins 'whole new mission' at Martian crater
Showing signs of wear after more than seven years driving across the plains of Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover is investigating a broad impact crater unlike any place ever visited on the Red Planet, effectively beginning a new mission for the celebrated robot, scientists said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Climate satellite moves to California launch base
An advanced polar-orbiting weather observatory took a 1,600-mile roadtrip from Colorado to California this week, arriving at the satellite's Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site after the 40-hour journey.
   FULL STORY
Mission extended for three space station residents
Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut living aboard the International Space Station are scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 16, leaving the outpost with a three-person crew until Russia can resume crewed launches of the grounded Soyuz rocket.
   FULL STORY

Read our earlier news archive page.

STS-134 Patch

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The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
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Final Shuttle Mission Patch

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The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!
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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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STS-133 Patch

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The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. 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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