space

New imagery from commercial satellites that was shared with NPR suggests Iran is making repairs and preparing for a space launch, following a recent string of failed attempts.

The imagery, taken Sunday by the commercial firm Planet and shared via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, shows vehicles parked at a building used to assemble Iran's space rockets at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran. A second group of vehicles is visible at a circular launch pad that was heavily damaged during failed launch preparations last year.

From a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched its latest rocket test into the Florida sky. Less than two minutes later, it exploded — just like the company hoped it would.

The explosion itself wasn't so much the success as was what came just before it. That's when the Crew Dragon, a capsule meant to carry astronauts into space, separated from the rocket. That separation was the goal of Sunday's test.

Florida hasn’t given up on landing the command center for the nation’s newest military branch, Space Force.

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft returned to Earth on Sunday, landing safely in the New Mexico desert.

The journey is being hailed as a major achievement despite failing to complete a core objective: docking at the international space station.

Engineers and scientists are now analyzing data from the trip ahead of a plan to send U.S. astronauts to space in 2020. It would mark the first American-launched space travel since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011.

Mini Mercury skipped across the vast, glaring face of the sun Monday in a rare celestial transit.

SpaceX successfully launched 60 communications satellites on Monday using a single rocket.

It's the second time in less than a year that Elon Musk's company has made such a launch, marking a dramatic increase in the number of satellites in orbit.

Tiny satellites are taking on a big-time role in space exploration.

CubeSats are small, only about twice the size of a Rubik's Cube. As the name suggests, they're cube-shaped, 4 inches on each side, and weigh in at about 3 pounds. But with the miniaturization of electronics, it's become possible to pack a sophisticated mission into a tiny package.

The first all-female spacewalk in NASA's 61-year history is finally happening and will even take place a few days ahead of schedule.

UCF Scientist Discovers Secret Life Of Comets

Sep 23, 2019
University of Arizona/Heather Roper

Scientists led by a UCF researcher have uncovered a cosmic doorway where comets pass as they travel through the solar system. The findings are helping scientists better understand how our solar system formed.

The team set out to study something called a centaur — small body object that has an orbit between Jupiter and Neptune’s orbit. When it gets closer to the sun, a centaur becomes active showing comet-like activity as it begins to throw out gas and dust particles giving it a tail.

On the face of it, NASA's newest probe sounds incredible. Known as Dragonfly, it is a dual-rotor quadcopter (technically an octocopter, even more technically an X8 octocopter); it's roughly the size of a compact car; it's completely autonomous; it's nuclear powered; and it will hover above the surface of Saturn's moon Titan.

Nicole Stott / Courtesy

A space suit made out of hundreds of textile fabrics with hearts, stars, drawn space rockets and planets made by kids and cancer patients from over 45 countries will be on display at the R House Wynwood art gallery starting this weekend. 

NASA

NASA scientists have selected four possible locations to fly a spacecraft close to an asteroid and collect a sample of dirt from its surface.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is currently orbiting the asteroid Bennu which is more than 100 million miles away. The plan is to fly the spacecraft close to the surface, suck up some dust and send it back to Earth.

The team has selected four possible selection sites and plans to pick the final area by the end of this year. The asteroid’s rocky surface was a surprise to the team and complicates the mission.

Fifty years ago, an estimated 530 million people gathered around their TVs to watch astronauts take off from Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center on the Apollo 11 Space Shuttle for the first mission to the moon. 

Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post

A long-lasting fireball that broke into several pieces over South Florida this morning could be a piece of space junk forecast to fall to Earth today, said an official with the American Meteor Society.

Mike Hankey, the operations manager for AMS, said he is “100 percent sure” the lights were space debris breaking up in the atmosphere.

According to the website Satview.org, a piece of space junk was expected to reenter the atmosphere at about 7 a.m. this morning.

NASA's Moon Capsule Safety Test 'Successful'

Jul 2, 2019
NASA

NASA has successfully tested a key safety system on a new space capsule designed to take humans to the moon. The space agency tested the launch abort system of the Orion spacecraft — which is meant to save astronauts should something go wrong during launch. 

The test lasted only about three minutes, launching Tuesday from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 46. A modified Northrop Grumman Peacekeeper ICBM launched the uncrewed test capsule to an altitude of about six miles, simulating the high-stress aerodynamic conditions expected during an actual liftoff.

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