January 20, 2014 |
Nervous anticipation gave way to jubilation on Monday when the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet-chaser spacecraft emerged from almost three years of induced, energy-saving sleep to report it was ready to carry out its history-making $1 billion mission. Rosetta alerted scientists at the ESA mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, that it was awake and ready to rev up and rendezvous with the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet in August. The message sent from the spacecraft still 5.6 million miles from its comet destination reached Earth at 7:18 p.m. Central European Time (11:18 a.m. PST)
July 18, 2012 |
A Jet Propulsion Laboratory researcher has solved the so-called Pioneer anomaly -- the unexpected slowing of the two Pioneer spacecraft -- and shown that it is not due to unknown physics, as some theoreticians had speculated. Instead, it is the result of heat radiated by the spacecraft. Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973, respectively, on a trajectory toward the edge of the solar system. In the early 1980s, controllers at NASA's JPL detected a slight deceleration in the crafts' speeds.
June 28, 2013 |
One of NASA's prize workhorses, the spacecraft Galaxy Evolution Explorer, or GALEX, was decommissioned Friday after 10 years of scanning the universe in ultraviolet light. “It had a long run,” said Karl Forster, GALEX science operations center team leader. The satellite, only 6 feet tall and a svelte 1,034 pounds, was part of NASA's small Explorer mission. Its main objective was to use ultraviolet cameras to take images of young stars, which are invisible to human eyes because they emit only UV light.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 12, 2001 |
A spacecraft intended to demonstrate deployment of a solar sail was damaged while undergoing testing in Russia, a mission official said Wednesday. The extent of damage was unclear, and the craft's launch will be delayed weeks or months, said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society in Pasadena and the Cosmos 1 project director. The craft was scheduled for launch April 26 from a Russian missile submarine in the Barents Sea.
September 9, 1997 |
Launching a spacecraft powered by 72 pounds of plutonium could harm millions of people if there were an accident, opponents of the Cassini space mission said. NASA officials disagreed, saying independent experts have examined the craft and found it to be safe. Leaders of groups opposed to any nuclear-powered spacecraft said at a news conference that they are asking President Clinton to stop the Cassini launch next month to protect the Earth from the plutonium risk. Cassini is a $3.
August 14, 2004 |
A team taking a low-budget stab at the $10-million Ansari X Prize for private manned spaceflight had a setback Sunday, when their rocket malfunctioned and exploded after shooting fewer than 1,000 feet in the air. No one was hurt in the test of the Rubicon 1 just south of Olympic National Park in Washington. The 23-foot-long, 38-inch-diameter spacecraft held three dummies in place of astronauts.