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.
Nov 21, 2008
Turning urine into drinkable water apparently isn't so easy. At least not in space. As the space shuttle Endeavour and International Space Station (ISS) crews gear up for tomorrow's scheduled seven-hour spacewalk, they're still wondering what to do with their malfunctioning $250 million water-and-urine recycling system. The processor ran for about two hours today before shutting itself down, reports SpaceFlight Now. This failure follows yesterday's tense moments, when the urine processor assembly set off an alarm on the space station as astronauts attempted to test it, according to Space.com.
Oct 24, 2008 | 1
The Hubble Space Telescope could start sending photos back to Earth as soon as tomorrow if engineers can fix electrical problems that have prevented the instrument from working fully since the end of last month, NASA officials say.
Scientists managed to turn back on the router that relays data from the telescope, but some electrical malfunctions have switched the telescope systems into "safe mode," according to The New York Times. Because of the relay problem, NASA is using a backup data channel that hasn't been powered up since 1990.
"Events of these kinds are not uncommon in electrical components that have been powered off for a time," Art Whipple of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center said yesterday, according to Reuters.
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 22, 2008 | 1
India is on its way to the moon, the country’s first unmanned mission there ahead of a planned 2012 rover landing.
The Chandrayaan 1 probe blasted off atop a PSLV-C11 rocket at 6:22 local time this morning from Satish Dhawan Space Center in the southern Andrha Pradesh Province. The $79-million mission reflects an emerging, competitive Asian presence in space at a time when the U.S. shuttle fleet is nearing retirement.
“It is a historic moment,” said G. Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, according to Bloomberg News. “Our journey to the moon has started.”
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
Scientists have proposed that the United Nations establish a global network of telescopes to track asteroids and comets at risk of hitting Earth—and, eventually, create a plan to deflect them and evacuate humans in their paths. The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is set to deliver its recommendations to the U.N.'s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space when the panel meets in February. If the committee signs off on them, they would go to the General Assembly for final approval.
"The U.N. has 192 member states, and very few are aware of near-Earth objects," says Hans Haubold, a spokesperson for the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs. "We welcome this initiative, but it is up to the [U.N.'s] member states to decide what to do with it."
Aug 21, 2008
After months of hype, the wait is finally over for people curious about Microsoft Photosynth, a service the company launches Thursday via the Web to let people turn series of photos into 3-D panoramic vistas. The effect is not unlike Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope (which seamlessly maps the night sky) or even the panoramic live-action street maps offered by Google or startup earthmine, inc. Photosynth's big draw (for everyone except Mac users, who can't run the software) is creating unique vistas or "synths" using your own photos.
Jul 22, 2008
NASA has coughed up $1.2 million for a navigation system that will help astronauts find their way around the lunar surface when they return in 2020. The Lunar Astronaut Spatial Orientation and Information System (LASOIS) is designed to function much the same way as a global positioning system (GPS). The major difference: the moon version will rely on signals from lunar beacons, stereo cameras, and orbital imaging sensors instead of from satellites (there are none drifting around the moon) to map coordinates. These signals will be picked up by sensors onboard roving lunar vehicles, robots traversing the moon's surface and sensors mounted on astronaut space suits.
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