spacecraft

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Spacecraft Lost During Test Found—22 Months Later

Welcome back, STEREO-B

(Newser) - In a tale of perseverance rivaling that of Westley looking for Buttercup in The Princess Bride, NASA never gave up on STEREO-B, a spacecraft that went missing 22 months ago while studying the sun. But CNN is now sharing the good news that the space agency has regained contact with... More »

Spacecraft Blasts Off to Seek Alien Life on Mars

Russian and Euro space agencies send ExoMars craft to measure gases

(Newser) - Anyone who glanced at the skies above Kazakhstan Monday morning may have seen the trails of a spacecraft headed out on a search for alien life on Mars. Per the Guardian , the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, a joint effort by the European Space Agency and Russia's Roscosmos agency, launched... More »

China's Shenzhou-9 Returns to Earth

13-day mission a major success for Chinese space program

(Newser) - China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft has landed safely in Inner Mongolia, ending a 13-day mission hailed as a major leap forward for the country's space program. On China's fourth manned space mission since 2003, the Shenzhou-9 completed a docking test vital to the country's goal of building a... More »

Air Force Spacecraft Ends 15-Month Secret Mission

X37-B space plane lands itself at military base

(Newser) - An American spacecraft landed itself at a military base in California on the weekend, ending a 15-month mission—but don't expect to hear much about what the unmanned plane was doing up there. The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is an Air Force plane and while the military says the... More »

SpaceX Counts Down to Maiden ISS Mission

Private space firm hopes to dock Dragon next week

(Newser) - Commercial space firm SpaceX may be just days away from going where no private company has gone before: the International Space Station. The company is preparing to send its unmanned Dragon capsule on a mission to supply the ISS with 1,100 pounds of food, water, and other cargo. The... More »

Swiss 'Janitor Satellite' to Clean Space Junk

It will push defunct satellites into the atmosphere to burn up

(Newser) - Switzerland is on a mean cleaning bender: The fastidious folks at the Swiss Space Center are building a "janitor satellite" that will grab space junk orbiting the Earth and push it into the atmosphere to burn up, the AP reports. The first of these spacecraft, the $11 million "... More »

Russia's Failed Mars Probe Will Crash to Earth

Phobos-Grunt, carrying toxic fuel, will come down in mid-January

(Newser) - A failed Russian spacecraft will plummet back to Earth next month, and more than two dozen chunks of it could make impact, along with a load of toxic fuel. The expected crash date of the Phobos-Grunt probe is mid-January, and nearly 400 pounds of fragments could survive re-entry, reports Fox... More »

Russian Craft's Quest: Grab Martian Moondust

Takes tiny creatures along for the ride

(Newser) - A Russian spacecraft will depart for a Martian moon as soon as tomorrow. Its mission: to land on Phobos and collect soil to bring home to Earth, Scientific American reports. Researchers aim to learn about the moon’s development and composition. And should they discover ice or hydrated rocks, the... More »

Virgin Spaceship Veers Out of Control

Test flight turns dramatic for SpaceShipTwo as Spaceport opens

(Newser) - SpaceShipTwo's most recent test flight turned into a more extensive test than the private spacecraft's makers had bargained for. A malfunction sent the Virgin Galactic spacecraft briefly hurtling out of control—but then its three-person crew stabilized it for a safe landing, MSNBC reports. The glitch allowed Virgin... More »

NASA-Backed 'Space Taxi' to Fly Next Year

Dream Chaser's first test flight scheduled for summer 2012

(Newser) - With the space shuttles retired, NASA currently has to rely on the Russians to ferry astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station. But it hopes to be able to hail a taxi soon. Dream Chaser, one of four "space taxis" being developed by private industry with... More »

NASA Snaps First Shots of Mercury From Orbit

Future photos to reveal planet's unseen regions

(Newser) - A NASA spacecraft has captured the first photo of Mercury taken from orbit. The first of yesterday’s 363 images, shown at left, show the planet’s south pole. The gray surface is covered with craters, including a 53-mile-wide one known as Debussy. Other photos from the $464 million Messenger... More »

NASA Retires Comet Hunter

Stardust spacecraft will burn out, then fade away

(Newser) - NASA's comet-hunting Stardust spacecraft ended its 12-year career with a final experiment. The probe, which has traveled billions of miles since its launch in 1999, was ordered to burn the remaining fuel in its tanks, allowing engineers to calculate how much was left and improve fuel consumption models, Popular Science... More »

Canadians Aim to Send Hockey Pucks to Moon

Team seeks Google Lunar X Prize

(Newser) - A team of Canadians is aiming to send a few hockey pucks up to join Neil Armstrong's golf balls on the surface on the moon. The Canadians are one of 29 teams from 17 countries competing to win some of the $30 million in prize money Google is offering to... More »

Paper Plane Launched Into Space

British team achieves world first

(Newser) - A team of British amateurs successfully launched—and recovered—a spacecraft made of nothing but paper and straw. The paper plane, which had a 3-foot wingspan, was sent 17 miles into the atmosphere using a helium balloon, the BBC reports. It captured images from space with a miniature camera as... More »

Virgin Galactic Spacecraft Makes First Solo Flight

Private spacecraft on course to take paying passengers to space

(Newser) - The world's first manned commercial spacecraft has reached a major milestone. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo was released from the mothership and completed its first solo glide flight over the Mojave Desert yesterday, Wired reports. The craft, which is undergoing rigorous testing ahead of plans to carry paying customers to space and... More »

Spacecraft Spins Out Approaching Space Station

Russian cargo ship is stocked with fresh food and clothes for ISS crew

(Newser) - A Russian spacecraft lost control and missed docking with the International Space Station today, floating past the station and into space. Progress 38 is an unstaffed cargo ship filled with stores of fresh food, clothes, and equipment for the ISS crew. Progress' autopilot somehow lost its navigational lock on the... More »

Up for Grabs: Free* Space Shuttle *$29M Postage & Handling Required

Museums vie for soon-to-be-retired spacecraft

(Newser) - NASA is preparing to give away its space shuttle fleet to institutions willing to cough up $28.8 million per spacecraft for cleaning and transportation. Atlantis will be retired after returning from its final mission today and some two dozen museums and other institutions around the country are vying to... More »

Zombie Satellite Set to Wreak Havoc

Unresponsive satellite drifting into trouble

(Newser) - Telecommunications customers who suffer service problems later this month may have an unstoppable space zombie to blame. Intelsat's Galaxy 15 satellite has become a "zombiesat"—an industry term for a failed satellite—and is slowly drifting toward the orbit of other satellites while carrying a still-functioning load of... More »

Renegade Space Balloon Creams SUV

Bystanders narrowly escape as Outback launch goes wrong

(Newser) - Bystanders at a botched space balloon launch in the Australian Outback say they're lucky to be alive. Strong winds caused the giant balloon to break from its mooring as it was filled with air. The attached car-sized gondola full of expensive scientific equipment smashed into an SUV and narrowly missed... More »

What Is the Air Force Doing With This Spaceship?

Unmanned X-37 will be launched this month for indefinite time in orbit

(Newser) - This month the Air Force will send the X-37—a sort of unmanned mini-space shuttle salvaged from a scrapped NASA project—into orbit, but its intentions, what the X-37 is designed to do, and why it rescued a project NASA planned to ax in 2006 remain mysteriously unclear. The Air... More »

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