NASA brings Orion spacecraft to Washington DC mall

NASA announced yesterday that they would be bringing a full-scale mockup of their Orion spacecraft to the National Mall in Washington, DC on March 30. The 45 foot long vehicle will be attached to a semi trailer parked between 4th and 7th streets in front of the mall. A special press event will be held at 10am. Orion is the vehicle that will return a NASA crew to the moon in a planned 2020 mission.

Microsoft billionaire blasts into space again

Charles Simonyi, a software engineer best known for leading the development to of Microsoft’s most profitable applications, Word and Excel, travelled into space for second time. Simonyi’s Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft successfully launched earlier today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and is now en route to the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA to provide 100 TB of space images to Microsoft

Microsoft is catching up with Google and said it has signed an agreement to make planetary images and other data available to the public via the WorldWide Telescope website. The data is expected to become available later this year and eventually top a volume of 100 terabytes (TB). EXTRA: SLIDESHOW

ISS dodges space junk again

Is it a pure accident that the International Space Station (ISS) could have been hit by debris in space for the third time in just over a week or is it a new reality that astronauts have to deal with in the future? According to NASA, the station crew had to change the orbit to avoid a possible collision   with space junk.

NASA celebrates successful Discovery launch

Concerns over a gaseous hydrogen leak and problems with Endeavour’s flow control valves delayed Discovery’s launch by more than a month, but the actually lift off and flight have been flawless so far. The shuttle crew is now on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver the final set of power-generating solar arrays.

NASA aims for Sunday launch of space shuttle

NASA today said that it will attempt to send Discovery on its STS-119 mission late Sunday. However, the actual launch will depend on tests of a previously discovered hydrogen leak as well as weather conditions.

Space junk barely misses ISS

Don’t say you are surprised. A 5-inch piece of an old rocket engine recently came within striking distance of the International Space Station (ISS). The crew had prepared for impact and we wonder when one of the tens of thousands of garbage pieces will hit the defenseless station.

NASA scrubs shuttle launch on gaseous hydrogen leak

NASA has postponed the planned launch of the space shuttle Discovery until at least March 15 (Sunday) due to "a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the external fuel tank." The system is used to channel excess hydrogen gas safely away from the launch platform. The launch was originally planned for this evening at 9:20pm EDT after having already postponed it previously to inspect possible control valve cracks that were seen on last November's launch of Discovery's sister ship, Endeavour.

Iridium replaces satellite destroyed in space crash

Satellite phone provider Iridium today said that it has successfully replaced one of its satellites that three weeks ago was lost in a collision with a non-operational Russian satellite. One of the company’s spares took the place of the destroyed unit and closed the gap.

Space shuttle Discovery set for launch on March 11

Following a series of delays, NASA today said that Discovery can now be prepared for mission STS-119. An investigation focusing on the shuttle’s flow control valves did not reveal any damage and convinced engineers and managers that Discovery is ready for flight. Lift off is scheduled for March 11.  

NASA prepares search for Earth-like planets

NASA said it is set to launch a Delta II rocket carrying the Kepler space telescope. The device will survey 100,000 sun-like stars over a period of three years in a quest to find Earth-like planets that may be able to support life as we know it.

Asteroid zooms by earth, cutting it close

Was it almost the end of the world as we know it? Yesterday morning at 12:40AM, as many of us were peacefully sleeping in our beds, just 60,000 kilometers over the southwest Pacific an asteroid previously undetected by astronomers zoomed past Earth, and it was honestly a close call.

Following failed OCO launch, NASA delays Kepler mission

NASA is gearing up to launch another stunning space telescope: The Kepler Telescope will be on a mission to survey more than 100,000 sun-like stars in  NASA’s quest to find Earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy.  However, the organization will not be able to keep the original March 5 launch target due to concern over the recently failed launch of the CO2 sniffing Orbiting Carbon Observatory.

NASA delays Discovery launch to March 12 at least

NASA has tentatively set a new launch date for the next space shuttle mission. Discovery is now targeted for a March 12 launch, which is exactly one month behind the original schedule. NASA said it will need the extra time to analyze the shuttle's hydrogen flow control valves, one of which was damaged during the November 2008 flight of Endeavour.

UPDATED: NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory has unsuccessful launch

NASA is reporting that NASA's OCO (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) "failed to reach orbit after its 4:55am EST liftoff Tuesday from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base." While the rocket physically reached its location in orbit, a failure on the launch vehicle has prevented the satellite from exiting the craft. As of right now, barring some later ability to retrieve the craft, OCO is encased in its eternal tomb in orbit above the Earth.

NASA may delay next space shuttle flight - again

The space shuttle Discovery is going through a thorough review of the shuttle’s readiness for flight, possibly further delaying its launch and STS-119 mission. NASA engineers said that they will collect more data and run "possible" tests on the space shuttle to understand what caused damage to a flow control valve on its sister ship, the space shuttle Endeavour, during its November 2008 flight.

UPDATED: NASA to launch orbiting carbon observatory to study CO2

Scheduled for a 4:51:30am EST launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) spacecraft will be the first ever dedicated specifically to studying carbon dioxide and oxygen densities. Its mission will be to map the global distribution of CO2, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving climate changes, according to NASA.

Satellite collision prompts calls for space traffic control system

A recent collision between a non-operational Russian satellite and an Iridium satellite, which resulted in the destruction of both satellites raised concerns over the increasing pollution of the orbit with debris and prompted calls for a civil space traffic control system. The Secure World Foundation claims that such a move is necessary to address the “increasingly congested environment” in space.

Two satellites collide in orbit 500 miles over Siberia

For the first time ever, two big communication satellites have collided in orbit some 500 miles above the surface of the Earth over Siberia. NASA is reporting it will "take weeks to determine the full magnitude of the crash."

Google Earth goes "Google Mars" compliments of NASA

 NASA and Google announced today the release of a new "Mars mode" in Google Earth which allows for high-resolution views of red planet's surface. The first of its kind based on real data from any non-Earth body, this new feature on Google's popular 3D viewer will kick-start the imaginations of millions world-wide.