Spacewalk to fix space station leak
May 10th, 2013
08:56 AM ET

Spacewalk to fix space station leak

The International Space Station crew is preparing for a spacewalk to address the leak of ammonia from a cooling system, the commander said Friday.

NASA said the crew is preparing for a "possible" spacewalk and that a decision on whether to go ahead with it is likely to come late Friday.

Cmdr. Chris Hadfield of Canada announced the plan to venture outside the space station via his Twitter account.

"Good Morning, Earth! Big change in plans, spacewalk tomorrow, Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn are getting suits and airlock ready. Cool!" he posted Friday.

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space
A second chance to wish upon a shooting star with Leonid meteor shower
A meteor from the Leonid meteor shower streaks across the sky.
November 19th, 2012
09:57 PM ET

A second chance to wish upon a shooting star with Leonid meteor shower

Maybe the wish you made on a shooting star during the Leonid meteor shower last week didn't come true. You could get a second chance Tuesday as forecasts expect to see a secondary peak in this year's shower.

NASA is predicting as many as five to 15 meteors per hour, sometime between 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. ET. The first peak happened early Saturday.

The Leonids occur in mid-November each year as the Earth passes through debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle.

"For best meteor viewing, dress warmly and go to a location away from city lights. You want clear, dark skies. Lie flat on your back and look straight up, allowing your eyes 30 to 45 minutes to adjust to the dark. No special viewing equipment needed - just your eyes," NASA astronomer Bill Cooke said on the agency's website.

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Filed under: In Space
SpaceX Dragon completes 1st commercial cargo flight
NASA'S Charles Bolden, left, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stand next to the Dragon capsule in June in McGregor, Texas.
October 29th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

SpaceX Dragon completes 1st commercial cargo flight

The SpaceX Dragon has splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after a three-week flight to the International Space Station, completing the first commercial cargo mission to Earth's orbit, NASA announced Sunday.

The unmanned capsule came down about 250 miles west of Baja California at 3:22 p.m., the space agency reported. The craft was launched October 7, the first of a dozen flights to the space station planned under a contract with NASA.

The craft carried nearly 900 pounds of supplies to the station and returned with nearly 1,700 pounds of freight, mostly used hardware and scientific research material. The reusable craft has been loaded onto a ship and was carried back to shore Sunday afternoon, SpaceX said.

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SpaceX Dragon berthed at ISS for first commercial cargo mission
October 10th, 2012
02:14 PM ET

SpaceX Dragon berthed at ISS for first commercial cargo mission

The SpaceX Dragon was successfully berthed at the International Space Station Wednesday as the station's crew caught and secured the unmanned cargo capsule high above Earth, NASA announced.

Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide latched onto Dragon with a robotic arm at 6:56 a.m. By 9:03, the craft was attached to the station's docking module, the space agency said.

"Looks like we've tamed the Dragon," NASA's Sunita Williams, commander of the current ISS mission, said in a statement released by SpaceX.

The Dragon mission lifted off Sunday on the first commercial space cargo mission, carrying about a half-ton of supplies for the station's crew. It caught up with the ISS Wednesday morning, 273 miles over the South Atlantic Ocean, NASA said.

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space
October 8th, 2012
05:32 PM ET

SpaceX capsule on course despite engine failure

A SpaceX Dragon capsule remains on course for the International Space Station despite the failure of one of nine engines on its booster rocket after launch, the company reported Monday.

The failure occurred at a minute and 19 seconds into the first commercial space cargo mission, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Sunday night, SpaceX disclosed.

"Initial data suggests that one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines, Engine 1, lost pressure suddenly and an engine shutdown command was issued immediately," the company said in a written statement.

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space
October 8th, 2012
01:33 PM ET

Commercial cargo flight heading to International Space Station

The SpaceX rocket lifted off Sunday night carrying an unmanned cargo capsule.

The Falcon 9 rocket with its Dragon capsule launched on schedule at 8:35 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with an orange blaze against the black night sky. About 10 minutes into the flight, the Dragon separated from the rocket and was on its way to the station.

Mission control called it "a picture-perfect launch and a flawless flight of Falcon."

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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space
August 27th, 2012
07:29 PM ET

Space legend Neil Armstrong dies

Neil Armstrong, the American astronaut who made "one giant leap for mankind" when he became the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday. He was 82.

"We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures," Armstrong's family said in a statement.

Armstrong underwent heart surgery this month.

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Filed under: News
August 10th, 2012
09:59 AM ET

Moon lander prototype blows up in NASA test

(CNN) - An unmanned moon lander under development crashed and blew up during an engine test Thursday afternoon at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the space agency reported.

There were no injuries in the failed test of the lander, dubbed "Morpheus." The craft had gone through several previous exercises in which it was hung from a crane, but Thursday was to have been its first free flight.

Instead, the prototype rose a short distance, rolled over and slammed into the ground. The craft caught fire immediately and exploded about 30 seconds later.

"The vehicle itself is lost," Jon Olansen, the Morpheus project manager, told reporters. "But we are working currently on gathering more data and information to understand what occurred in the test and how we can learn from it and move forward."

Olansen said operators have recovered memory devices from the wreckage and will be pulling the data off of them for clues to the cause of the accident.

"From early indications, it seems to be within our guidance navigation control system, seems to point toward hardware," Olansen said.

In a written statement, NASA said failure is "part of the development process for any complex spaceflight hardware," and designers will learn from whatever caused Thursday's crash.

The Morpheus lander is designed to carry up to 1,100 pounds of cargo for a future moon mission. Its engines are fueled partly by methane, which the agency says is easier to handle and store than other propellants such as liquid hydrogen or hydrazine.

Olansen said the space agency has spent about $7 million on the project over two and a half years, and the test lander lost Thursday was "in the $500,000 class." Another one is currently under construction at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and may be complete in two to three months.

"We want to make sure that what we learn today gets applied to that next vehicle," he said.

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Filed under: On Earth • Robots
New particle fits description of elusive Higgs boson, scientists say
July 4th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

New particle fits description of elusive Higgs boson, scientists say

Scientists said Wednesday that they had discovered a new particle whose characteristics match those of the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in physics, which could help unlock some of the universe's deepest secrets.

"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," said Rolf Heuer, the director general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which has been carrying out experiments in search of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator.

"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe," Heuer said.

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Filed under: Discoveries • Large Hadron Collider • On Earth
Scientists edge closer to proving existence of elusive particle
July 3rd, 2012
09:52 AM ET

Scientists edge closer to proving existence of elusive particle

At the start of a big week for the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in all of physics, scientists in Illinois said Monday that they had crept closer to proving that the particle exists but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.

The scientists outlined their final analysis based on more than 10 years of research and 500 trillion particle collisions using the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab Tevatron collider near Batavia, Illinois, whose budgetary woes shut it down last year.

What is the Higgs boson and why is it important?

Their announcement came two days before researchers at the Large Hadron Collider under the Alps are due to unveil their latest results at an eagerly awaited seminar at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Filed under: Large Hadron Collider • On Earth
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