Articles about orbit

John Glenn

RIP John Glenn: First American in orbit – and later, the oldest, too

Obit John Glenn, America's first man into orbit and the oldest person ever to make it into space, has died at the age of 95 after a short illness. Glenn shot to national fame in the early 1960s as part of the Mercury 7 – seven pilots selected by NASA to be the first Americans into space. On February 20, 1962, Glenn and his …
Iain Thomson, 9 Dec 2016
Falcon9

SpaceX aborts Falcon 9 launch again

SpaceX has scrubbed its planned orbital delivery with just 101 seconds left on the countdown clock. No reason has been given as yet for the "Hold, hold, hold" command, but the rocket was in the last stages of preparation when it was made. Engineers had been testing the rocket's nine nozzles to make sure all were able to move …
Iain Thomson, 26 Feb 2016

Did speeding American manhole cover beat Sputnik into space? Top boffin speaks to El Reg

As any space enthusiast knows, beachball-sized Sputnik was the first manmade object to orbit the Earth after it was launched by the Soviets in October 1957. But it's possible the US managed to put an object into space a few months before that. In 1956, astrophysicist Dr Robert Brownlee was asked by his boss at the Los Alamos …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jul 2015

Behold the mighty Swiss SPACE JUNK NOSHER PODULE

Vid The CleanSpace One Project is going to deploy a conical net on its orbital dustpan ship to capture a small SwissCube satellite, which had been purposefully littered into orbit as a demonstration of a interstellar debris collection. A 10cm3 satelliting box has been zipping about Earth's atmosphere for over five years, with …
Uranus

Moon blocks Uranus for stargazers Down Under

Inhabitants of Australasia who enjoy peering into Uranus are going to be denied on June 12 as the strange globe slides behind the Moon. It's not often that planets get occulted by the Moon, and losing Uranus isn't that common an occurrence, and this one is something only people in the southern hemisphere can indulge in. Those …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015
Concept pic of the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle during re-entry. Credit: ESA

Europe just flew titchy reusable SPACEPLANE IXV around the planet

Video Europe's first reusable spaceplane has had a successful flight, traveling 413km (256 miles) above the Earth before splashing down on the other side of the planet. The delayed Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) spaceplane lifted off from ESA's spaceport in French Guiana at 1340 GMT on Tuesday heading east atop a three- …
Iain Thomson, 11 Feb 2015
Galileo

Magnifico! Galileo satellite nudged back into correct orbit

The European Space Agency has managed to salvage one of two misplaced Galileo satellites that it is using to build an alternative to the US's GPS system. ESA launched the fifth and sixth satellite that will make up the Galileo constellation on August 22 – but the were sent into the wrong orbit. It was initially thought the …
Iain Thomson, 4 Dec 2014
The first X-37B following landing at Vandenberg AFB after the inaugural OTV-1 mission. Credit: USAF

America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft

The US Air Force has confirmed that its X-37B spacecraft designated Orbital Test Vehicle 3 has glided back to Earth and landed at 0924 PT (1724 UTC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base. "The landing of OTV-3 marks a hallmark event for the program," said the unnamed X-37B program manager in a statement. "The mission is our longest to …
Iain Thomson, 18 Oct 2014
Artist concept of MAVEN in orbit around Mars

NASA's MAVEN enters Mars orbit to sniff its gas

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has reached Mars after a 10-month journey – and started its mission to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) dropped into orbit around Earth’s favourite neighbour around 3.24am BST after months of journeying through space. To do it, the craft had to …
Artist's concept of Kepler 20e

Think British weather is bad? It's nothing to this WOBBLY ALIEN planet

Imagine a world where the weather is even more erratic than it is in old Blighty, where - famously - four seasons in one day aren't uncommon. Such a world is Kepler-413b. Kepler 413b system The tilt of this weird and wobbly world can vary by as much as 30 degrees over 11 years, leading to completely erratic seasons compared …

DARPA: You didn't think we could make a Mach 6 spaceplane, so let us have this MACH TEN job

In this post-Space Shuttle world, it often seems that the dream of a spacecraft which could reach orbit without expensively throwing most of itself away is receding rather than drawing closer. Last time DARPA went for a spaceplane - the X-30 SSTO concept of 1984 Sure, there's the tiny X-37B "space warplane", carrying out …
Lewis Page, 18 Sep 2013
The Register breaking news

Colombian boffins reconstruct flight path of Russian meteor

Astroboffins have figured out where the Chelaybinsk meteorite came from using the power of maths and videos shot by witnesses in Russia. Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin of the University of Antioquia in Colombia have come up with a preliminary reconstruction of the orbit of the meteor, which smashed into the city in the …
The Register breaking news

Earth escapes asteroid flyby, boffins want lasers aimed at next one

The largest recorded asteroid to enter Earth's elbow-room has passed by safely, with 2012 DA14 skimming through the geostationary orbit of our satellites at 17,450 miles per hour without leaving a scratch. The asteroid was observable with binoculars as it reached its closest point to Earth at 11:25am PST (7:25pm UTC) over …
Iain Thomson, 15 Feb 2013
The Register breaking news

North Korea's satellite a dud, say US astroboffins

North Korea may have successfully launched a satellite into orbit, as reported last week, but it might as well have deployed a pile of scrap metal, US-based astroboffins say. "It's clear that the rocket part of this mission worked very well for the North Koreans," Harvard astronomer John McDowell told The New York Times. "They …
Neil McAllister, 17 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

European Space Agency clears SABRE orbital engines

A British-built rocket/jet engine designed to enable Mach 6 flight and orbital capability has passed a key milestone, now that the European Space Agency has cleared the revolutionary cooler that fuels it. The Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) extracts the oxygen it needs to fly from the air itself while in jet …
Iain Thomson, 29 Nov 2012

SpaceX Falcon 9 flameout leaves commercial satellite in wrong orbit

The Falcon 9 rocket from upstart rocket firm SpaceX, which lifted off yesterday with supplies for the International Space Station, will deliver those supplies successfully following loss of an engine during launch. However a commercial satellite which was also aboard the rocket has been placed into a lower orbit than planned as …
Lewis Page, 9 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

NASA orders study for all astronauts over vision concerns

NASA has ordered a baseline study for all of its future astronauts after research showed that exposure to zero gravity can cause eyesight distortion. Scientists at the University of Texas Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging scans to look at the eyeballs and optic nerves of astronauts who'd spent an average of 108 …
Iain Thomson, 14 Mar 2012
The Register breaking news

Paul Allen latest plan: Space rockets on MEGA PLANE

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul G Allen has set foot down a path trailblazed generations ago by another eccentric business kingpin: he intends to build the biggest aircraft ever flown. However unlike Howard Hughes' monster "Spruce Goose" 1940s flying boat, Allen's plan appears at least feasible and he has some big names on …
Lewis Page, 14 Dec 2011

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