Apr 8, 2009
Two astronauts and a space tourist successfully returned to Earth this morning in their Soyuz capsule after spending time on the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, who spent 178 days in orbit, Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov, who was on the ISS for more than 200 days, and tourist Charles Simonyi touched down at 11:16 local time (3:16 a.m. EDT) in Kazakhstan, NASA said.
During their ISS stints, Fincke, the Expedition 18 commander, and flight engineer Lonchakov conducted experiments on the effects of long space journeys on the human body and putting out fires in microgravity.
Jan 5, 2009 | 6
President-elect Barack Obama may put NASA to work with the Defense Department to better compete in space.
Unidentified sources tell Bloomberg News that Obama may tap Defense rockets for space travel because they may be cheaper and available before NASA's new Orion crew capsule and boosters, which won't be ready until 2015. The current shuttle fleet is scheduled to be retired next year, though some, such as the Center for American Progress (CAP), have advocated extending their use until a replacement is ready.
Obama has alluded to using Defense money for the space program, and has said he would like to close the five-year gap between the current fleet's retirement and the completion of Orion. Pentagon boosters have been suggested as a way to speed up the Orion program to more quickly replace the shuttle — and possibly avoid the cost of developing a new booster.
Nov 17, 2008
Endeavour STS-126 has docked at the International Space Station, dropping off a much-anticipated delivery: a new toilet and additional living quarters.
The space shuttle arrived at the station yesterday (Sunday) at 5:01 P.M. EST, NASA says. On board were seven crewmembers and 14,000 pounds of cargo, including a second commode, two new bedrooms and a resistance-exercise machine. The extra living spaces will double the space station’s capacity from three to six crew members at a time.
Oct 24, 2008
Space tourist Richard Garriott is back on Earth after spending 12 days in the cosmos.
Garriott and two Russian Expedition 17 crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) landed their Soyuz TMA 13 spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 11:37 Eastern Daylight Time last night, according to NASA. Sergei Volkov, commander of the 17th team to live and work in the station, and flight engineer Oleg Kononeko had spent more than six months there.
Oct 14, 2008
Civilian astronaut Richard Garriott, along with two crewmates, has docked at the International Space Station.
The Soyuz TMA 13 carrying Garriott, a video game designer who paid $30 million for a seat on the Russian spacecraft, arrived at the space station at 4:26 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time (08:26 Universal Time). Garriott is the son of astronaut Owen Garriott, who in 1973 was a crew member on the U.S.'s first space station, Skylab.
The elder Garriott nicknamed his son Peter Pan after watching him float via video link after he boarded the station. "I can fly!" Garriott told him, according to SPACE.com. "I'm sure excited so far."
Oct 10, 2008
A civilian American astronaut is a step closer to becoming the latest space tourist, after the rocket he'll travel in was transported to a launch pad in Kazakhstan today ahead of its weekend blastoff.
The Soyuz TMA-13 was taken three miles by rail to the Baikonur launch area in the south-central region of the country at dawn today, the Associated Press reports. The shuttle is scheduled to take off Sunday at 3:01 A.M. ET.
On board will be Richard Garriott of Austin, Texas, a millionaire video game designer and son of astronaut Owen Garriott, who took photos of Earth aboard the U.S. orbital station Skylab in 1973. In addition to performing the role of shutterbug (he's planning to take nearly 500 shots of Earth), Garriott, 47, will serve as a guinea pig of sorts for scientists checking out how space travel affects his eyes.
Sep 26, 2008 | 5
The House this week approved a measure that would allow U.S. astronauts to travel to the International Space Station on Russian rockets until 2016. The provision, part of a $630-million spending package, will allow the U.S. to have an orbital presence while NASA develops its next space transportation system.
The Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act prohibits the government from forking over space-related funds to Russia because of the latter's sale of nuclear materials to Iran. But the measure includes a waiver that allows NASA to buy seats on the Soyuz until 2011. The new bill extends the exemption until 2016.
NASA is set to retire its shuttle fleet in 2010, and its Ares moon rocket and Orion crew capsule will not be ready until at least 2015. Until then, Russian spacecraft are the only ticket in town to the space station, making U.S. astronauts on the flights veritable space tourists.
Sep 9, 2008 | 2
Of course he already thought he was, but millennia from now, when whatever life form looks back on humanity, Stephen Colbert will be the Homo sapiens prototype.
Colbert, 44 , Comedy Central's mock-conservative newsman, is sending his DNA to the International Space Station next month in an attempt to stave off human extinction. No joke.
"I am thrilled to have my DNA shot into space, as this brings me one step closer to my life-long dream of being the baby at the end of [the 1968 classic sci-fi film] 2001," Colbert quipped in a news release.
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