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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.