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Space Programs United States

NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched, space agency officials said Thursday.
April 9, 2002 | From Associated Press
Space shuttle Atlantis thundered into orbit Monday with a new part for the international space station, a 44-foot section of latticework that is equipped with a rail car and track. Atlantis and its crew soared into a clear sky at 4:44 p.m. local time, four days late because of a leaky fuel line on the launch pad that had to be repaired.
July 7, 1999 | JIM MANN
This column is about America's walk on the moon and the untold story of one of the most poignant presidential speeches in American history--a speech that never had to be delivered. In two weeks, this country will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the day when Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. stepped onto the surface of the moon. Over the past three decades, many of the details of that epic trip have been told over and over again in books and movies.
March 4, 2002 | From Associated Press
Two shuttle astronauts ventured out into open space early Monday to install a new, stronger solar wing on the Hubble Space Telescope. John Grunsfeld and Richard Linnehan emerged from space shuttle Columbia high above Africa, in the first of five excursions planned this week to enhance Hubble. "Oh, wow, beautiful view," Grunsfeld said. "It's time to go outside and turn some wrenches," Mission Control told the astronauts following their successful capture of the telescope.
September 22, 1997 | K.C. COLE, TIMES SCIENCE WRITER
What makes plutonium so notorious? With hundreds of particles in the nucleus (compared to one, for say, hydrogen), plutonium is a huge, ungainly, complex atom. In fact, so many particles are crammed into plutonium's nucleus that the center cannot hold. The inter-atomic forces that normally keep atomic nuclei glued together aren't strong enough to keep the atom intact.
December 20, 1987 | Associated Press
A full-scale test-firing of a redesigned space shuttle booster was scrubbed Saturday in the countdown's last second when the rocket's ignition system failed, officials said. A decision on rescheduling the test, considered a crucial milestone in the resumption of manned U.S. space flights, was to be made today, said Allan McDonald, Morton Thiokol Inc. vice president for shuttle engineering. The earliest a new test could be conducted would be Monday afternoon, he said.
June 27, 1993 | From Associated Press
NASA unfurled 1,640 feet of copper wire high above Earth on Saturday and conducted electricity through the line in a low-cost space tether test. "I rate this as a full success," National Aeronautics and Space Administration physicist Jim McCoy said. "We're getting at least a third of an amp in both directions." Such tethers, once refined, could be used to dispel electrical charges from spacecraft, including a space station, and change spacecraft orbits.
Today, as the spacecraft Galileo swoops past Jupiter's volcano-ridden moon Io collecting images and scientific data, few will be as mesmerized by the close encounter as La Verne resident Eileen Clark. The 49-year-old space buff is a mission operations analyst at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. She trouble-shoots the Galileo project, anticipating problems before they occur. Clark loves her job. In fact, she'd be thrilled to remain at JPL for years to come.
Getting a student-designed science experiment into space is almost as difficult as making a perfect metal sphere. But later this month, four former Cal State Northridge students hope to accomplish both. After almost seven years of false starts and bureaucratic delays, their experimental device for making a flawless ball bearing in space has been loaded aboard the space shuttle Columbia, which is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Wednesday morning.
August 21, 1989 | LEE DYE, Times Science Writer
Scientists have discovered a "Rogue's Gallery" of storm centers in the atmosphere of Neptune, including hurricane-like storms that are so intense they defy explanation. Packing winds of up to 400 m.p.h., the fierce storms appear as dark spots on photos that are being sent back to Earth from the Voyager spacecraft, which is zipping toward a close encounter with the distant planet Thursday night.
March 3, 2002 | From Associated Press
NASA gave the shuttle Columbia astronauts permission Saturday to proceed with their full mission to renovate the Hubble Space Telescope despite clogged plumbing on their ship. Optimism had been growing throughout the day, aboard Columbia and inside Mission Control, that the 11-day Hubble servicing mission would remain on track despite a problem with a radiator line used to shed heat from shuttle electronics. The trouble had threatened to cut short the flight.
March 2, 2002 | From Associated Press
The space shuttle Columbia blasted into orbit for the first time in more than two years Friday, and a cooling system problem immediately raised concerns the mission to the Hubble Space Telescope might have to be shortened. Shuttle program manager Ron Dittemore said he was optimistic that the 11-day mission was on track but said engineers would spend the next 24 hours analyzing the problem in one of two critical coolant loops for the payload bay doors.
December 4, 2001 | From Associated Press
Two spacewalking cosmonauts removed an old rubber seal stuck to the international space station, clearing the way for space shuttle Endeavour to lift off today on a flight to the orbiting outpost. Launch is set for just after sunset amid unprecedented security to guard against terrorist attacks. Endeavour will deliver a new crew of three to the space station.
November 27, 2001 | Reuters
NASA started its three-day clock ticking Monday toward the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour with tight security at the Florida spaceport for the first shuttle launch since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Endeavour will launch Thursday to deliver to the international space station a new three-member crew of Russian cosmonauts and U.S. astronauts and will return with the crew now living there.
November 25, 2001 | From Associated Press
When mission commander Dominic Gorie and his crew rocket into orbit this week, it will be amid unprecedented security during unprecedented times. Fighter jets, helicopter patrols, SWAT teams, military guards, closed roads, tourist bans, media crackdowns and possibly even antiaircraft artillery are some of the safeguards expected to be in place for NASA's first wartime space shuttle launch.
September 7, 2001 | From Associated Press
Some planned upgrades to the nation's aging space shuttle program are being canceled or delayed, partly because of unanticipated expenses confronting the space program, a top NASA official said Thursday. Budget problems could affect space shuttle safety, William Readdy, a deputy associate administrator for NASA, told a Senate Commerce subcommittee. He said some projects were "being evaluated for cancellation or deferral . . .
It's a scene that plays over and over in his mind: On the final leg of a mission to Mars, the spacecraft disappears with his experiments on board. It's no fantasy. In fact, three times UCLA planetary scientist David Paige has lost years of work and millions of dollars in equipment on three separate missions to Mars over the last decade. Throughout the weekend, the question lingered: Is he about to relive his worst nightmare?
In a spectacular success for NASA's return to Mars after a 21-year absence, the Pathfinder spacecraft bounced safely off the rocky surface of the Red Planet at just after 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July and coasted to a halt right on target and--more astonishingly--right-side up.
August 14, 2001 | From Associated Press
An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts moved into the international space station on Monday for a four-month stay. For the first time in five months, an American was in charge again at space station Alpha. NASA and the Russian space agency are taking turns providing the commander. Mission Control extended a warm welcome to astronaut Frank Culbertson, replacing cosmonaut Yuri Usachev as skipper. "We're thrilled to be here," Culbertson said. "We will take very good care of it."
August 9, 2001 | From Times Wire Reports
After nine days of delay, the Genesis NASA robotic explorer rocketed away from Cape Canaveral on an unprecedented mission to gather and return tiny particles of the sun. Liftoff was scuttled five times last week by bad weather and technical concerns. Genesis will make a three-month journey to a point 1 million miles from Earth and 92 million miles from the sun. There it will use collector panels to gather a minute amount of atoms from the solar wind over 2 1/2 years.
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