I see you: Spy versus spy in space
The Pentagon's unmanned X-37B spaceplane has been in orbit since March 2010 on a secret mission.
January 13th, 2012
12:33 PM ET

I see you: Spy versus spy in space

The online space community was surprised to say the least. A respected British space magazine editor said last week that the Pentagon's secret unmanned X-37B spaceplane was likely spying on a Chinese satellite.

The blogosphere erupted with outrage. The spacecrafts' orbits were too different, experts said.

"INCORRECT!" tweeted @EllieAsksWhy.

Ex-NASA mission controller James Oberg blogged that a "well-respected British spaceflight society" had committed a "horrendous error."


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Filed under: Hardware in Orbit • In Space • News
January 13th, 2012
11:13 AM ET

ISS gets out of the way

The International Space Station crew has spotted a 10-centimeter piece of debris from an Iridium communications satellite and will perform a "reboost" of the station to avoid it. The reboost is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. ET today, January 13.

The reboost will raise the apogee of the station's orbit by 2/10 of a mile.

NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries said that NASA had a scheduled reboost next week in order to dock with a Progress resupply vessel but that this piece of debris prompted NASA to move the scheduled reboost up.

The crew of Expedition 30, currently onboard the ISS, will not have to take shelter in the Soyuz spacecraft, but they have been instructed to close the window covers of the Cupola and power down certain systems until the time of the debris' closest approach has passed.

The crew of the ISS used the Russian Zvezda module's engines to boost the station's orbit.

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter.

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Filed under: In Space • News
January 13th, 2012
09:58 AM ET

Welcome Disruption

"The line of Saturn's rings disrupts the Cassini spacecraft's view of the moons Tethys and Titan.

Larger Titan (3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers across) is on the left. Tethys (660 miles, or 1,062 kilometers across) is near the center of the image. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing sides of Tethys and Titan. The angle also shows the northern, sunlit side of the rings from less than one degree above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 7, 2011. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.2 million kilometers) from Tethys and 1.9 million miles (3.1 million kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 8 miles (13 kilometers) per pixel on Tethys and 12 miles (19 kilometers) on Titan.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two on-board cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen


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