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Video archive

STS-118: Highlights

The STS-118 crew, including Barbara Morgan, narrates its mission highlights film and answers questions in this post-flight presentation.

 Full presentation
 Mission film

STS-120: Rollout to pad

Space shuttle Discovery rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building and travels to launch pad 39A for its STS-120 mission.


Dawn leaves Earth

NASA's Dawn space probe launches aboard a Delta 2-Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral to explore two worlds in the asteroid belt.

 Full coverage

Dawn: Launch preview

These briefings preview the launch and science objectives of NASA's Dawn asteroid orbiter.

 Launch | Science

ISS crew change preview

The Expedition 15 mission draws to a close aboard the space station and the Expedition 16 launch nears. These two briefings from Sept. 25 cover the upcoming transition between the two missions.

 Exp. 15 recap
 Exp. 16 preview

Discovery moves to VAB

Shuttle Discovery is transported from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building for attachment to the external tank and boosters.


STS-120: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.


STS-120: The mission

Discovery's trip to the station will install the Harmony module and move the P6 solar wing truss. The flight directors present a detailed overview of STS-120.

 Part 1 | Part 2

STS-120: Spacewalks

Five spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-120 assembly mission to the station. Lead spacewalk officer Dina Contella previews the EVAs.

 Full briefing
 EVA 1 summary
 EVA 2 summary
 EVA 3 summary
 EVA 4 summary
 EVA 5 summary

The Discovery crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Pam Melroy, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.


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Chinese launch spacecraft
to explore the moon


Posted: October 24, 2007

China's burgeoning space program achieved another historic milestone during Wednesday's successful launch of the nation's first deep space probe on a one-year mission to study the moon from lunar orbit.

The Chang'e 1 spacecraft launched at 1005 GMT (6:05 a.m. EDT) from the Xichang launch base in southwest China. A three-stage Long March 3A rocket was used to boost the probe into space, and the 5,070-pound craft was deployed from the launcher's upper stage at about 1029 GMT (6:29 a.m. EDT).

Chang'e 1 was placed in an egg-shaped orbit stretching from a perigee of 127 miles to an apogee of nearly 32,000 miles, according to the state-owned Xinhua news agency.

In a brief flash of transparency in the Chinese space program, officials opened the normally off-limits space center to guests who purchased tickets to view the launch. The blastoff was also broadcasted live on state-owned television and through the Internet.

Chang'e 1 is scheduled to complete at least three maneuvers within the next week to gradually raise the high point of its orbit. The probe will set off on a trajectory toward the moon Oct. 31 and settle into lunar orbit Nov. 5, Xinhua reported.

Several midcourse correction burns will fine-tune the craft's approach to the moon during the five-day voyage.

After arriving at the moon, subsequent thruster firings will circularize the probe's orbit at an altitude of approximately 124 miles.

The first images of the moon should arrive back on Earth by the end of November, Xinhua reported.

The launch of Chang'e 1 is a giant leap forward for China's space program, which is undergoing rapid growth and expansion in fields ranging from military technology to scientific missions.

Chinese astronauts completed two piloted missions of the nation's Shenzhou capsule in 2003 and 2005. Another Shenzhou mission is slated for sometime next year.

Chinese rockets have also launched spacecraft nine times this year on missions including the Chang'e 1 probe, government and military payloads, and international satellites.

The lunar orbiter is the first of three phases in a broad program focusing on exploration of the moon. An unmanned rover could land on the moon in 2012, followed by a sample return mission five years later.

The Chang'e 1 mission was approved in January 2004, and workers finished construction of the spacecraft last year. The project has a budget of about $170 million, according to Chinese news reports.

Chang'e 1 will create a three-dimensional map of the lunar surface during its mission using a stereo imaging camera and a laser altimeter.

Scientists will also be able to study the distribution of minerals and chemical compounds from imagery taken by the probe's suite of spectrometers in the infrared, gamma ray and X-ray wavelengths.

Other instruments on the spacecraft will study the lunar subsurface and gather data on the space environment around the moon.

China's moon mission comes about 20 days after a sophisticated Japanese probe entered lunar orbit. That spacecraft - called Kaguya - is in the opening weeks of a one-year stint circling the moon.

India plans to launch Chandrayaan 1 in April on a similar mission to the moon. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will join the international fleet of lunar probes next October.