June 30th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Glossary: reboost

The process of raising the orbit of a satellite or spacecraft. Because certain craft are in low-Earth orbit, they experience some atmospheric drag which decays the orbit. The International Space Station, for example, is periodically reboosted to prevent it from falling to Earth.


Filed under: Glossary
June 30th, 2011
05:40 PM ET

Glossary: Stringer

A vertical strip of metal, 108 of which surround the Shuttle's external tank and provide structural support.


Filed under: Glossary
Private companies hold the key to space travel's future
June 30th, 2011
03:13 PM ET

Private companies hold the key to space travel's future

Atlantis' journey to the International Space Station will be NASA's 135th and final mission in the space shuttle program, which began 30 years ago. Tune in at 8 and 11 p.m. ET Sunday for a documentary on the shuttle program on "CNN Presents: Beyond Atlantis."

There are no roller coasters near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. No Ferris wheels, either.

Yet this desert town could soon be a hot destination for thrill-seekers from around the world.

That's because nearby, within New Mexico's high desert valley, is the future home of Spaceport America - the world's first commercial spaceport.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: In Space
June 30th, 2011
12:01 PM ET

Sunrise on the Moon

"On June 10, 2011, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter angled its orbit 65° to the west, allowing the spacecraft's cameras to capture a dramatic sunrise view of the moon's Tycho crater.

A very popular target with amateur astronomers, Tycho is located at 43.37°S, 348.68°E, and is about 51 miles (82 km) in diameter. The summit of the central peak is 1.24 miles (2 km) above the crater floor. The distance from Tycho's floor to its rim is about 2.92 miles (4.7 km).

Tycho crater's central peak complex, shown here, is about 9.3 miles (15 km) wide, left to right (southeast to northwest in this view)."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
To replace the shuttle: A mission to Mars
June 30th, 2011
11:23 AM ET

To replace the shuttle: A mission to Mars

Editor's note: Robert Zubrin is president of the Mars Society and the aerospace R&D firm Pioneer Astronautics, which does research and development for NASA and other agencies. An updated edition of his book, "The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must" has just been published by Free Press.

America's human spaceflight program is now adrift. On July 8, the space shuttle is scheduled to make its final flight, and the Obama administration has no coherent plan for what to do next.

Instead, as matters stand, the United States will waste the next decade spending $100 billion to support an aimless constituency-driven human spaceflight effort that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: In Space • Voices
June 30th, 2011
11:20 AM ET

Why I'm raising my son to be a nerd

Editor's note: LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, he has contributed to ESPN's "Sports Center," "Outside the Lines" and "First Take." He is a 2010 nominee and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism and a 2010 and 2008 honoree of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for column writing. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

You know the kind of dad who registers his son for soccer almost as soon as he takes his first step?

That was me.

You know that dad who yells so much on the sideline that he leaves the game a little hoarse?

Yeah, that was me too.

FULL STORY

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