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International Space Station

September 20, 2011 | By Mark K. Matthews, Washington Bureau
If NASA ever wants to send astronauts to Mars, it first must solve a problem that has nothing to do with rockets or radiation exposure. A newly discovered eye condition found to erode the vision of some astronauts who have spent months aboard the International Space Station has doctors worried that future explorers could go blind by the end of long missions, such as a multiyear trip to Mars. Although blindness is the worst-case scenario, the threat of blurred vision is enough that NASA has asked scores of researchers to study the issue and has put special eyeglasses on the space station to help those affected.
As if construction delays and rising costs weren't enough, NASA is grappling with another space station dilemma: What to call it? The international space station has no name other than International Space Station or ISS for short--the usual NASA alphabet soup. Station managers want a real name. Astronauts really want a real name. And public affairs types really, really want something catchier than ISS, pronounced letter by letter: I-S-S. "It's another NASA acronym, isn't it?"
June 1, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
About 563 miles west of Baja California, SpaceX's Dragon space capsule successfully splashed down after spending nine days in outer space. When the unmanned cone-shaped capsule hit the water at 8:42 a.m. Pacific time Thursday, it marked the end of a historic mission carried out by the Hawthorne company officially known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp. It was the first privately built and operated spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station. "Welcome home, baby," said Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and chief executive, in a news briefing from company headquarters.
August 18, 2011 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
Hawthorne-based rocket venture Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, is planning to send a rocket to dock with the International Space Station later this year — a test mission that takes the company one step closer to cashing in on a $1.6-billion contract with NASA. In a statement, SpaceX revealed that the space agency has approved an unmanned mission in which its Dragon space capsule would dock with the space station. "NASA has given us a Nov. 30, 2011, launch date, which should be followed nine days later by Dragon berthing at the ISS," the company said.
March 2, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
At a launchpad in Cape Canaveral sits a spaceship atop an 18-story rocket that NASA officials hope will be the first privately built craft to dock with the International Space Station. On Thursday, the company that manufactures the spacecraft, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., performed a successful launch readiness test for its upcoming flight - an important step on the road to the space station. The company, better known as SpaceX, posted the news on its Twitter page about fueling its Falcon 9 rocket with rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen as it stood vertical at its launch complex.
December 15, 2001 | From Associated Press
Capt. William Shepherd, the first commander of the international space station, retired Friday from the Navy, ending a 30-year career capped by 141 days in space. Astronauts who succeeded Shepherd aboard space station Alpha called from orbit to wish their NASA colleague well during a retirement ceremony at the San Diego Aerospace Museum. "Your impacts on this space station are everywhere," Dominic Gorie said from 220 miles above the Earth.
Despite pressure from NASA to back off, California millionaire Dennis Tito is pressing ahead with plans to take a joy ride aboard the international space station as the world's first space tourist. Russian space officials have guaranteed him a seat aboard a Soyuz rocket to the space station in exchange for up to $20 million, and Tito said he is certain he will be on board when it blasts off April 30.
August 4, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
On a cloudless morning, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stood at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. — where the U.S. dominated human spaceflight for half a century — and revealed plans for the space agency's next chapter. On Friday, NASA handed out $1.1 billion in contracts to three companies to privately develop a new generation of spacecraft that could one day ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Now that the space shuttle fleet has been retired, NASA has no way to travel to the space station other than shelling out $63 million each time one of its astronauts rides on a Russian Soyuz rocket.
May 23, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
In a pivotal moment for private spaceflight, a towering white rocket lifted into space a cone-shaped capsule headed for a three-day trip carrying cargo to the International Space Station and a tricky rendezvous in outer space this week. The launch Tuesday marked the first time a private company has sent a spacecraft to the space station. On a column of fire, a Falcon 9 rocket - built by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX - carried the unmanned Dragon capsule into space after a 3:44 a.m. EDT launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla. But the launch is just the beginning of the mission, and some of the most challenging tasks lie ahead.
February 13, 2012
Janice Voss, 55, a NASA astronaut who first worked for the space agency as a teenager and flew five shuttle missions in seven years, died Feb. 6 in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she was receiving treatment for breast cancer. Voss flew four missions in the 1990s before a flight to the International Space Station in 2000. Her final trip was part of a radar topography mission that mapped more than 47 million square miles of Earth's surface. NASA said Voss was one of six women to fly in space at least five times.
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