space flight

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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 »

Space Station May Be Forced to Go Unmanned

Would be first time in a decade

(Newser) - The failure of a Russian spaceship, which crashed back to Earth shortly after its launch last week, could lead to the International Space Station being unmanned for the first time since 2001. Russian engineers are trying to determine why the unmanned ship crashed, but they only have a short time... More »

First 'Spaceport' Coming to New Mexico

But project is late and getting expensive

(Newser) - Now that the shuttle's blasted off for the last time, attention is turning to the private space industry, and NPR has found an interesting piece of that puzzle: America’s first spaceport. The structure, under construction in a New Mexico desert, aims to be something like an airport for... More »

Soviets Lied About Flawed '61 Space Flight

Yuri Gagarin's flight did not go perfectly, new book claims

(Newser) - When Yuri Gagarin took the first manned flight into space in 1961, the Soviet Union touted it as a major Cold War triumph for Communist ideology. But the flight wasn’t as perfect as Soviet officials claimed, a new book asserts. In truth, due to two miscalculations by scientists, Gagarin... More »

Giffords's Husband Will Lead April Shuttle Flight

Mark Kelly to fly Endeavour's final mission

(Newser) - Gabrielle Giffords’s husband has decided to lead the space shuttle Endeavour’s last mission, set to lift off April 19 for two weeks, NASA announced today. His wife’s condition had prompted doubts over whether Mark Kelly would undertake the flight, his fourth; she's currently in a rehab clinic... More »

Private Spacecraft Returns From Orbit in Historic First

SpaceX plans to run supplies to space station next year

(Newser) - The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off into orbit today, and its on-board capsule successfully returned to Earth about 3 hours later—the first time a private company negotiated a re-entry from orbit, reports AP . The test flight by SpaceX is a big step toward NASA's goal of privatizing certain space... More »

Coin in This Year's Super Bowl Is Out of This World

Literally—it was on Atlantis spaceflight

(Newser) - By the time the coin in this year's Super Bowl lands heads or tails tonight, it will have more than 4 million miles under its belt, reports . The gold-plated coin accompanied shuttle Atlantis on its 11-day mission in November, and is the first to have flown in space... More »

Obama Budget Pulls Plug on Moon-Travel Program

Project over budget and behind schedule, administration complains

(Newser) - The proposed federal budget would end NASA’s Constellation program, a Bush administration effort to return to the moon, along with the Ares rocket the agency had intended as a replacement for the space shuttles. President Obama's budget plan said the program “was over budget, behind schedule and lacking... More »

NASA Readies New Rocket for Test Flight

It's the first new US rocket in 30 years

(Newser) - NASA rolled out a seaside launch pad in Florida today, preparing to test its first new rocket designed for manned space travel in almost 30 years. The Ares I-X is a prototype of the Ares I, which NASA hopes will power the new spacecraft that will replace the shuttle. It... More »

NASA Cooks Up New Chow for Mars Mission

(Newser) - Of all the hurdles NASA must overcome in order to reach its goal of getting humans to Mars by 2030, keeping the astronauts fed may be one of the most challenging, the Los Angeles Times reports. The agency’s food scientist must devise meals that are light and nutritious and... More »

'Giant Leap' Was a 'Knee in NASA's Groin'

Ever since 1969, hope for a 'bridge to the stars' has faded

(Newser) - The US took a “giant leap” landing on the moon in 1969, but NASA's greatest moment of triumph was also "a real knee in the groin" for the space agency, writes Tom Wolfe in the New York Times. At the time, we thought we’d build “a... More »

NASA Space Flight Review Worries Workers

Thousands of jobs at stake when shuttle retires next year

(Newser) - A NASA review of manned space-flight plans has Kennedy Space Center workers and contractors fearing for their jobs, the Orlando Sentinel reports. A panel will investigate whether rockets set to carry humans into space after the shuttle fleet is retired next year are really NASA’s best bets. Some worry... More »

Prize Philanthropy: A Winning Concept

Donors make innovators compete for cash

(Newser) - When the X-Prize foundation offered $10 million to anyone who could develop a viable commercial spacecraft, it didn’t just send innovators scurrying, and it didn’t just grab headlines. It also began the next big trend in philanthropy. Donors are in love with prize philanthropy, Portfolio reports, and causes... More »

Shuttle Anchors at Space Station

NASA shuttle brings $1B Japanese module, toilet supplies

(Newser) - NASA's Discovery shuttle hooked up to the international space station today after a 2-day voyage, reports. Commander Mark Kelly docked at about 2 pm EDT and told the station crew, "We're really looking forward to seeing you guys." "You have no idea how much we're... More »

Cargo Ship Docks With ISS

Unmanned European vessel hooks up to International Space Station

(Newser) - European cargo vessel Jules Verne docked flawlessly today at the International Space Station, reports. The double-decker-sized space hauler has about 8 tons of supplies on board for astronauts at the station, including food and water, rocket propellant—even handwritten documents from the real Jules Verne, a 19th-century science... More »

Shuttle Returns to Earth

Endeavour makes a rare night landing

(Newser) - The space shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth with a rare night landing to wrap up an ambitious mission to the International Space Station, the AP reports. The shuttle had to land in darkness after NASA called off an earlier attempt because of cloud cover. Astronauts blasted off 16 days ago,... More »

Discovery to Fly Over US

Columbia disaster sparked changes in NASA procedures

(Newser) - The space shuttle Discovery will fly across the US tomorrow before landing in Cape Canaveral, a feat NASA hasn’t attempted since the doomed shuttle Columbia rained debris over the country in 2003. New safety procedures have minimized the risk of another disaster, ABC News reports. People below may see... More »

Google Offers $30M for Private Moon Missions

Tech giant bills contest as one small step for private industry

(Newser) - Google announced its own search today: It will award $30 million to private firms whose robotic spacecrafts successfully reach the moon and perform specific lunar tasks. The BBC reports that the search giant hopes to encourage low-cost space exploration. The first-place winner will receive $20 million, second place gets $5... More »

Endeavour Heads Home, Dodging Dean

Hurricane threat to Mission Control lessens, but shuttle leaves early

(Newser) - To a chorus of ringing bells, space shuttle Endeavour undocked today from the international space station, skipping out a day early because of fears Hurricane Dean could disrupt its landing operations. Even though revised predictions show the storm poses almost no threat to Houston and Mission Control, the AP reports,... More »

Storm Forces Shuttle Home Early

Astronauts wrap up early to reach Houston before Hurricane Dean

(Newser) - NASA managers worried about the wrath of Hurricane Dean have ordered shuttle Endeavour home a day earlier than planned, the AP reports. Astronauts wrapped up a space walk today and prepared for a trip that would leave tomorrow and land in Houston on Tuesday. One astronaut clearly saw the hurricane’... More »

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