Articles about orbiter


Get your WELLIES to MARS: Red Planet reveals its FROZEN BOTTOM

Just 500,000 years ago water was sloshing all over Mars, despite the planet having lost its atmosphere four billion years ago, astroboffins have discovered. In a paper titled "Earth-like aqueous debris-flow activity on Mars at high orbital obliquity in the last million years", and published today in Nature Communications, …

Indian MOM sails past the Moon on the way to Mars

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), the Mangalyaan craft, has passed the Moon on its way to its ultimate destination, the Red Planet. "MOM has crossed the distance of Moon's orbit this morning," the Indian space authority's Facebook page said excitedly. "MOM is now the farthest object sent into space by India!" As of 11.30am …
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Europe to launch bold Sun swoop mission

The European Space Agency hopes to blast into space a probe that will get closer to the Sun than any other craft has managed. solar_orbiter_esa Artist's impression of Solar Orbiter. Photo by European Space Agency The ESA said on Tuesday it aims to launch the Solar Orbiter from Cape Canaveral on a NASA-provided Atlas rocket …
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NASA's Odyssey to break Martian long-service record

NASA has the champagne on ice as its Odyssey Orbiter prepares to break the "Martian longevity record". On 15 December, the spacecraft will clock up its 3,340th day since entering orbit around the Red Planet on 24 October 2001, and will have "worked longer at Mars than any other spacecraft in history". Odyssey takes the crown …
Lester Haines, 10 Dec 2010
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Moon orbiter detects pole-plunge hotspots in dark bottom

Pics NASA has released new images from its spy satellite orbiting the Moon, showing the twin impacts at the lunar south pole of the iceberg-hunting probe which struck there on Friday. LRO Diviner thermal imagery of the LCROSS hits overlaid on a daytime Moon map. Credit: NASA Hotspots produced by the pole-diver craft. The LCROSS …
Lewis Page, 13 Oct 2009
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Japanese lunar orbiter to go out with a bang

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency will be keeping its eyes peeled tomorrow for some brief fireworks when its Kaguya lunar orbiter slams into the Moon's surface at 6,000 km/h. Since launching in September 2007, Kaguya (formerly called Selene), has probed the Moon's gravitational field, surface and composition, in the …
Lester Haines, 9 Jun 2009
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First-ever pics of lunar polar crater interiors released

Pic A NASA radar instrument aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 Moon orbiter has sent back the first ever images of hidden crater interiors at the lunar poles. Space boffins hope to use such pictures to discover deposits of water ice, which could be invaluable for future Moonbase astronauts. NASA overlay of Mini-SAR imagery from …
Lewis Page, 19 Jan 2009
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Lunar surveyor satellite ready for launch

NASA has announced completion of thermal vacuum testing on its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which will map landing sites on the Moon for America's planned new wave of manned space exploration. Launching next year, the LRO will orbit the Moon just 30 miles up, allowing it to scan the surface with great precision. The …
Lewis Page, 23 Dec 2008
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NASA will give away old Shuttles for free

NASA has announced plans for disposal of the Space Shuttle fleet and spare main engines. The space agency intends to donate one orbiter to the Smithsonian museum, and give the others to "educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations". The proud new owners will need to stump up an estimated $ …
Lewis Page, 18 Dec 2008
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NASA orbiter reveals buried Martian glaciers

The ground-penetrating radar aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has identified extensive Martian glaciers buried under "protective blankets of rocky debris". The glaciers - lying in the Hellas Basin region of Mars's southern hemisphere - stretch for "dozens of miles from edges of mountains or cliffs". Their …
Lester Haines, 21 Nov 2008

NASA space tests 'interplanetary internet' protocol

NASA has announced successful space tests of its new purpose-designed interplanetary communications networking protocol, which it calls Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN). Famed TCP/IP pioneer Vint Cerf was instrumental in the space net's design. "This is the first step in creating a totally new space communications …
Lewis Page, 19 Nov 2008
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Boffins plan Titanic balloon trip

Scientists are drafting a plan to further explore Saturnian moon Titan, involving an orbiting spacecraft, surface probe and hot-air balloon designed to float gracefully through the body's hazy hydrocarbon atmosphere, reports. Titan has to date revealed some of its secrets to the Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe, …
Lester Haines, 12 Nov 2008
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Two Shuttles hit by fuel tank problems

Space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour, the next two planned to fly, may have technical problems with their external fuel tanks. Both spacecraft are due to roll out to launch pads at the Kennedy Space Centre. NASA has just rescheduled roll-out of Atlantis to Kennedy's Launch Complex 39A, moving the event back from August 30th …
Lewis Page, 29 Aug 2008
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Phoenix lander sucks up water on Mars

NASA has extended the Mars Rover mission by five weeks after confirming it had found water in a soil sample on the rocky red planet. Evidence of water on Mars had already been picked up by the Odyssey orbiter, and Phoenix had spotted evidence of the sublimation of water last month. However, the space jockeys confirmed …
Joe Fay, 1 Aug 2008
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US airforce to launch robotic Space Shuttle 2.0 this year

NASA may have given up on spaceplanes for now, with the Shuttle soon to be replaced by old-school rocket stacks and capsules. But the US Air Force, it seems, still sees a need for spacecraft which can re-enter atmosphere and make a runway landing. Reports indicate that the X-37B unmanned spaceplane demonstrator will make its …
Lewis Page, 31 Jul 2008

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