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Space Explorations

"Don't listen to the words--listen to the song," exhorts one of the characters in Tina Landau's "Space," an eyeful and earful, if not quite a headful, now making its West Coast premiere at the Mark Taper Forum. The exhortation is Landau's as well.
December 26, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
China watched this month as the nation's first lunar rover rolled across the moon's surface. It was a moment of national pride when images of the six-wheel rover, dubbed Jade Rabbit, were transmitted live back to Earth, showing the red and gold Chinese flag on the moon for the first time. "Now as Jade Rabbit has made its touchdown on the moon surface," the state-run Xinhua news agency said, "the whole world again marvels at China's remarkable space capabilities. " The lunar triumph offered many Americans their first glimpse at an unfolding new space race involving countries with emerging economies.
September 5, 1989 | LEE DYE, Times Science Writer
A maverick engineer at NASA headquarters who has worked magic in the past has come up with a way of getting a spacecraft to Pluto much sooner than expected, thus completing the initial reconnaissance of the solar system.
December 7, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
NASA's extraterrestrial smartphone has phoned home. The 4-inch-square satellite, PhoneSat 2.4, which uses an off-the-shelf Samsung Nexus S phone running Google's Android operating system, transmitted data back to its Santa Clara University ground station, the space agency announced last week. As the number implies, this is not the first smartphone NASA has hurled into orbit. The first, in April, proved the concept of using commercially available electronics for satellites in low-Earth orbit.
January 16, 1988 | United Press International
President Reagan has approved a new space policy that endorses a $1-billion plan to develop new technology that could result in a return to the moon and eventual manned flights to Mars, it was reported Friday. Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reported in its Jan. 18 edition that Reagan approved the new policy early this month and that he is expected to announce it during his State of the Union address on Jan. 25. "The policy endorses two key goals--maintaining U.S.
August 10, 1998
Until this century, we could only observe space from Earth, but in 1957, the first man-made satellite was launched. Now, we explore other planets with robotic vehicles and astronauts live in a space station. Scientists also scan the heavens using powerful telescopes to learn about planets, comets, asteroids, nebulas, stars and other galaxies. To learn more about space exploration, use the direct links on The Times Launch Point Web site: http://www.latimes.
July 5, 1997 | LEE HARRIS
Here's the rundown on guests and topics for the weekend's public-affairs programs: Today "Saturday Journal": 5 a.m. C-SPAN. "Evans & Novak": Marion Barry, mayor of Washington, D.C., 2:30 p.m., repeats Sunday, 7 a.m. CNN. "John McLaughlin's One on One": Michael Bloomberg, 2:30 p.m. (28). "Tony Brown's Journal": roots of music featuring black hymns, slave songs, 3:30 p.m. (28). "Inside Politics Weekend": 3:30 p.m.; repeats midnight CNN. "Capital Gang Saturday": Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.
February 9, 2003
Re "Uncertain Science in Orbit," Feb. 5: NASA should be directed to conduct only unmanned space exploration. It is cheaper, less complex and will not involve the loss of life. The ongoing Columbia accident investigation boards will come up with some safety recommendations for future space missions. Eventually NASA will drift back into its pre-Columbia ways, there will be another catastrophic accident, and the cycle will repeat itself. The best solution is unmanned space flight. Ronald Hart Palmdale How is it that less than a week after the Columbia disaster an inquiry is up and running, but almost a year and a half later the Bush administration is still dragging its feet over the Sept.
April 27, 2007 | From Reuters
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a start-up seeking to slash the cost of coursing through the cosmos, has been granted a five-year license to launch rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the Air Force said. The approval could help El Segundo-based SpaceX, as the privately held company is known, compete with Orbital Sciences Corp., which develops small space systems, and later with the bigger rockets of Europe's Arianspace and the United Launch Alliance.
October 23, 2001
Re "Longest-Serving NASA Chief to Quit," Oct. 18: Let us hope that whoever succeeds outgoing NASA administrator Daniel S. Goldin will continue to pursue interplanetary space exploration with the same enthusiasm that he did. Specifically, NASA should commit itself to sending a man-made probe on a fly-by mission to Pluto. The importance of exploring Pluto cannot be overstated. It is the only planet in our solar system discovered by an American, but it remains the only one not yet visited by a U.S. spacecraft.
February 2, 2013 | By Holly Myers
It will come as news to many, no doubt, that there is a Warhol on the moon. And a Rauschenberg and an Oldenburg - a whole "Moon Museum," in fact, containing the work of six artists in all, in the form of drawings inscribed on the surface of a ceramic chip roughly the size of a thumbprint. Conceived by the artist Forrest Myers in 1969, the chip was fabricated in collaboration with scientists at Bell Laboratories and illicitly slipped by a willing engineer between some sheets of insulation on the Apollo 12 lander module.
December 22, 2012 | By Scott Gold, Los Angeles Times
WATERTON CANYON, Colo. - The concrete-floored room looks, at first glance, like little more than a garage. There is a red tool chest, its drawers labeled: "Hacksaws. " "Allen wrenches. " There are stepladders and vise grips. There is also, at one end of the room, a half-built spaceship, and everyone is wearing toe-to-fingertip protective suits. "Don't. Touch. Anything. " Bruce Jakosky says the words politely but tautly, like a protective father - which, effectively, he is. Jakosky is the principal investigator behind NASA's next mission to Mars, putting him in the vanguard of an arcane niche of science: planetary protection - the science of exploring space without messing it up. PHOTOS: Stunning images of Earth at night As NASA pursues the search for life in the solar system, the cleanliness of robotic explorers is crucial to avoid contaminating other worlds.
December 6, 2012 | By Amina Khan and Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
Years of trying to do too many things with too little money have put NASA at risk of ceding leadership in space exploration to other nations, according to a new report that calls on the space agency to make wrenching decisions about its long-term strategy and future scope. As other countries - including some potential adversaries - are investing heavily in space, federal funding for NASA is essentially flat and under constant threat of being cut. Without a clear vision, that fiscal uncertainty makes it all the more difficult for the agency to make progress on ambitious goals like sending astronauts to an asteroid or Mars while executing big-ticket science missions, such as the $8.8-billion James Webb Space Telescope, says the analysis released Wednesday by the National Research Council.
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.
March 22, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
The reviews of Angry Birds Space are in and they are -- dare we say it -- out of this world. In previous iterations of Angry Birds, Finnish game maker Rovio kept the formula of the wildly successful game the same. The birds moved to different locales and donned different costumes, but the general catapulting physics of the game remained the same. Not so in Angry Birds Space, released for download on Apple iOS, Google Android, PC and Mac on Thursday. Because the rules of gravity are different in space, and they change depending on how close you are to physical bodies, the catapulted birds sometimes act just like you would expect them to. Other times, they  float off into space (if they get beyond the gravitational pull of a planetary body)
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.
April 19, 2011 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
With NASA's fleet of aging space shuttles set for retirement at the end of the year, the space agency is looking for a new way to carry astronauts. On Monday, NASA handed out $269.3 million to four companies to privately develop rockets and spacecraft for what could be the next step in manned spaceflight. The winners included Hawthorne-based rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, and Boeing Co., which develops spacecraft in Huntington Beach and uses rocket engines made by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Canoga Park.
April 5, 2011 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
Work is quietly underway in the South Bay on a massive 22-story rocket whose power is rivaled in the U.S. only by the mighty Saturn V rocket, which took man to the moon, in a risky private venture that could herald a new era in space flight. Dubbed Falcon Heavy, the 27-engine booster is being assembled by rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, at its sprawling complex in Hawthorne where it has about 1,100 workers. The rocket, which has twice the lifting capability of the next largest launcher built by a U.S. company, is being announced Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington.
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