April 14, 2007 |
A command sent to the wrong computer address caused a cascade of events that led to the loss of the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in November, NASA investigators reported Friday. The error by ground controllers in Denver caused the spacecraft to mistakenly think its solar panels were stuck. By trying to free them, one of its onboard batteries overheated, eventually causing a loss of power. The spacecraft, which had orbited Mars for 10 years, was given up for lost Jan. 28.
April 6, 2007 |
NASA's top watchdog routinely tipped off department officials to internal investigations, and it quashed a report related to the Columbia shuttle explosion to avoid embarrassing the agency, investigators say. A report by the Integrity Committee, a federal board that investigates inspectors general, found that Inspector General Robert Cobb "created an appearance of a lack of independence." The report was completed Jan.
March 3, 2007 |
NASA will delay the first manned flight of the new spacecraft designed to take humans back to the moon because of budget constraints, the agency's director said Wednesday. The craft, called the Orion, won't fly until early 2015, four to six months later than planned, NASA administrator Michael Griffin told legislators.
March 3, 2007 |
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has snapped never-before-seen images of Saturn from above and below its ring system, the space agency said Thursday. The images were taken in recent weeks by the probe, which blasted off on a mission to study the planet and its bands a decade ago. Over the last two months, the craft has climbed to higher and higher inclinations, providing glimpses of the planet and rings that have excited scientists.
February 24, 2007 |
What would happen if an astronaut came unglued in space and, say, destroyed the ship's oxygen system or tried to open the hatch and kill everyone aboard? That was the question on some minds after Lisa Marie Nowak was arrested in Orlando, Fla., this month on charges that she tried to kidnap and kill a woman she regarded as her rival for another astronaut's affections. It turns out NASA has a detailed set of written procedures for dealing with a suicidal or psychotic astronaut in space.
February 22, 2007 |
A NASA space telescope for the first time has identified molecules in the atmospheres of worlds outside our solar system. Recent observations indicate that two giant gas planets trillions of miles away are cloudier and drier than theorists had predicted. However, just as important as the unprecedented scientific data is the potential the discovery holds for eventually finding life on distant Earth-like bodies.
January 13, 2007 |
NASA is investigating whether incorrect software commands may have doomed the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, which abruptly fell silent in November after a decade of meticulously mapping the Red Planet. The space agency said that theory was one of several that might explain the failure of the probe, the oldest of six craft exploring Mars.
December 23, 2006 |
Catching a break with the Florida weather Friday afternoon, the space shuttle Discovery made a perfect sunset landing at Kennedy Space Center at 5:32 p.m. EST. Mission controllers had waved off an earlier landing opportunity because of storms and low clouds, but the weather unexpectedly cleared enough to allow the attempt.
December 8, 2006 |
Thick clouds over the launch site in central Florida forced the cancellation of Thursday's scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery. NASA flight controllers at Kennedy Space Center kept the crew strapped into their seats until the launch window officially closed at 9:36 p.m. EST in the hope that the weather might improve. In the end, however, weather violated two flight regulations, one for the heavy clouds and a second one for the low cloud ceiling.
December 6, 2006 |
NASA wrestled with two late-breaking technical concerns that showed up Tuesday, two days before the scheduled launch of space shuttle Discovery, but managers weren't sure whether they would delay the start of the mission. The launch still was scheduled for Thursday night.