Exploration News - 11 November 2011

11 November 2011
NASA readies launch of 'dream machine' to Mars
"Preparations are on track for launching at our first opportunity," said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "If weather or other factors prevent launching then, we have more opportunities through Dec. 18."
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11 November 2011
Second Tiangong-1 And Shenzhou-8 docking to face light interference
The space module Tiangong-1 and spacecraft Shenzhou-8 will conduct rendezvous and docking experiments twice as scheduled and then Shenzhou-8 will return to the earth while Tiangong-1 will continue to move in its orbit. The second rendezvous and docking is scheduled around 14 November. The second rendezvous and docking will be conducted in a bright area, posing challenges to optical sensors used for the docking of the spacecraft in three aspects.
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10 November 2011
International consensus on joint space exploration
Representatives from 28 countries, the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) met in Lucca, Italy, on 10 November for the Third International Conference on Exploration and the first High-level International Space Exploration Platform.
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10 November 2011
Russia tries to save stranded Mars probe
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10 November 2011
Curiosity Drives Canada Back To Mars
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09 November 2011
Phobos-Grunt Mars probe loses its way just after launch
Russian engineers are fighting to save the country's latest mission to Mars. The Phobos-Grunt probe launched successfully but then failed to fire the engine to put it on the correct path to the Red Planet.
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09 November 2011
ESA To Launch Cost-cutting Initiative
The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to reduce its internal operating costs by 25 percent in the next five years as its way of adapting to the economic crisis buffeting Europe, ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain said Nov. 8.
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08 November 2011
NASA's Future Up In Space
In a recent interview at the White House, President Obama addressed NASA's future. He said, "I am hugely committed to manned space flight but I want to make sure that we're doing it right and that we aren't wasting taxpayer money."
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08 November 2011
NASA Proposes Orion Test Flight in 2014
NASA wants to stage an unmanned test flight of its next-generation deep-space capsule, the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, in 2014 - three years before its intended carrier rocket, the congressionally mandated Space Launch System, is scheduled to debut.
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08 November 2011
Moscow's Mars pioneers hail success, gripe at space rations
Six men who spent 520 days in isolation in Moscow to simulate a flight to Mars on Tuesday spoke of their pride at becoming "spacemen" but complained of the monotony and cravings for crusty baguettes.
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08 November 2011
Participants in mock Mars mission 'family now'
“We are family members now,” Chinese national Wang Yue said. "Ancient Chinese practices such as calligraphy helped me relax." Project chief Boris Morukov, himself an astronaut, said the experiment would not stop at the Moscow hangar and suggested extending missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and carrying out a similar experiment in orbit. While a real Mars mission is still decades away, the Mars500 astronauts all said they were ready to participate.
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06 November 2011
Scientists reveal jealousies on 'mission to Mars'
"The psychologists witnessed conflicts emerge between crew members and the command team because the work load was not always being evenly distributed," scientific programme director Alexander Suvorov told the Gazeta.ru website. "At different times, some of the crew members received more news from their loved ones, and others -- less. This created a light sense of jealousy," Suvorov said.
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04 November 2011
Welcome back and thank you, Mars500
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08 November 2011
China masters space command, control
China's space control network has realized integrated command and control, which ensured the successful docking of the unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou 8 with the space lab module Tiangong 1, according to the Beijing Institute of Tracking and Communication Technology. This institute is the general design organization for the integration test of China's aerospace measurement and control network.
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07 November 2011
New Space Station Camera Reveals the Cosmic Shore
With the Super Sensitive High Definition TV, or SS-HDTV, the crew can document new and more detailed footage of the dynamic interactions that take place in the area between the Earths' atmosphere and the vacuum of space, known as the cosmic shore. JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa has used this super sensitive camera for filming lightning, sprite, aurora, meteor, noctilucent cloud and airglow.
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07 November 2011
Voyager 2 to Switch to Backup Thruster Set
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05 November 2011
China has Australia space tracking station: report
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04 November 2011
Boeing to Build Commercial Spacecraft at Kennedy, Create 550 Jobs
The Boeing Co. will set up Orbiter Processing Facility-3 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to manufacture and assemble its CST-100 spacecraft for launches to the International Space Station under a newly signed agreement with NASA and Space Florida. And that deal could provide a glimpse of how Kennedy's unique facilities will be used in the future.
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03 November 2011
China completes nation's first space docking
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03 November 2011
UK science says 'fly me to the Moon'
The British lunar science community and industry recently held a meeting in London to mould their position. British scientists and engineers want a piece of the Moon. They're keen to participate in the European Space Agency's (Esa) Lunar Lander mission which will attempt to put down on the body's southern pole later this decade.
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02 November 2011
What Goes Up Must Come Down As Orion Crew Vehicle Development Continues
NASA's Langley Research Center completed another successful test of the Orion spacecraft's landing capabilities in their Hydro Impact Basin.
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01 November 2011
A global discussion: directions for space science research
An interview with Thomas Reiter on scientific research performed on the ISS.
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FOR FURTHER READING
07 November 2011
Phobos sample return launches tomorrow
This week Russia will launch Phobos-Grunt, a mission to travel to Mars and return a sample of the Martian moon Phobos. Lou Friedman describes the mission and an unusual experiment from The Planetary Society that is onboard the spacecraft.
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07 November 2011
Red moon around a Red Planet
Phobos-Grunt is a very ambitious mission for any space power, let alone for a country that hasn’t launched a Mars mission in 15 years. Dwayne Day writes that it may be too ambitious a mission, but if successful could have a major payoff for planetary exploration.
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07 November 2011
Will Russia end its curse at Mars?
Probos-Grunt is the latest in a long line of Russian/Soviet Mars missions, most of which failed. Doug Messier examines the history of that program and whether this mission can break from that history.
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07 November 2011
Congress and NASA: expedite commercial crew
In the next few weeks Congress is expected to wrap up work on NASA’s 2012 budget, including deciding how much money to allocate to the agency’s commercial crew program. Alan Stern and Frank DiBello argue that NASA, Congress, and the White House should work together to get that program moving as fast as possible.
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07 November 2011
The Sisyphean task of export control reform
Members of Congress introduced a bill last week to provide some potential export control relief for the satellite industry, while the administration continues work on its own reform efforts. Jeff Foust reports on the progress being made on both fronts, and the prospects in this latest round of the long-running struggle for export control reform.
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07 November 2011
Protecting Apollo artifacts on the Moon
NASA has proposed guidelines to prevent future lunar vehicles from damaging or contaminating artifacts left behind by the Apollo missions. Matthew Kleiman describes how those voluntary guidelines can be supported by international law.
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31 October 2011
The HEXAGON and the Space Shuttle
In the 1970s, the Air Force looked at the Space Shuttle as more than just a vehicle for launching military satellites. Dwayne Day discusses studies that examined the feasibility of using the shuttle to service or return to Earth reconnaissance satellites.
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31 October 2011
Fear of a Chinese Moon
In a speech earlier this month, space entrepreneur robert Bigelow suggested that China was on a path to effectively claim the Moon as Chinese territory within 15 years. Jeff Foust reports on Bigelow’s comments and a critical analysis of them by Chinese space experts.
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31 October 2011
A new policy typology to better understand the goals of China’s space program
Western space experts have struggled to apply policy formulations intended to describe American space programs to China’s space efforts. Danny Houpt describes an alternative set of policy typologies that may better fit China’s space policy.
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31 October 2011
Gallery: Spaceport America terminal dedication
A set of images from the dedication of the new terminal building at Spaceport America in New Mexico earlier this month.
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