Science 

SpaceX launches both a reused rocket and capsule in successful ISS cargo mission

SpaceX Falcon 9 More NASA TV SpaceX took a big step by showcasing its claim that reusable rockets are the future of space flight. The two-stage Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral and it featured not only a reused booster, but a reused Dragon capsule that’s already visited the International Space Station (ISS) a few months ago. What’s more, NASA may have gotten a discount on the flight. Elon Musk has long touted the re-usability concept for his SpaceX program, and it kicked into high gear in 2017. Back…

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Space 

Rocket Lab postpones Electron launch to early 2018

WASHINGTON — Stymied by poor weather and technical glitches, including one that aborted a launch just two seconds before liftoff, Rocket Lab said Dec. 16 it will delay its next Electron launch attempt until early 2018. In a statement, the company said it had corrected the latest problem to postpone the launch, a power fault that scrubbed a launch attempt Dec. 14 (U.S. time) from the company’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. However, it said, “with only one day remaining in the launch window Rocket Lab has made…

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Technology 

NASA sees breathtaking clouds on Earth and beyond – CNET

Cloud formations have long stirred the human imagination, leading us to see fanciful figures of dragons and sheep. But some clouds, as seen by NASA satellites, astronauts and spacecraft, are just as wild as anything we could dream up.  This might look like a closeup shot of a sheep, but it’s actually a view of cloud vortices that formed off Saint Helena Island in the South Atlantic Ocean in 2012. The image comes from NASA’s Terra satellite, which is responsible for delivering quite a few stunning cloud photos.  NASA describes…

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Top Stories World 

China installs high-frequency radars in secret plot to militarise islands over WW3 fears

It comes military expert Li Jie warned that China has started preparing its military to support North Korea if World War 3 breaks out with the US. And now satellite images reveal Chinese activity has been detected on the Spratly and Paracel islands,  contested with several other Asian nations, spanning 72 acres (29 hectares). Over the last several months China has constructed what appears to be a new high-frequency radar array at the northern end of Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys, according to a report by the Washington’s Center…

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Top Stories World 

Mystery Solved: Satellite images reveal lost empire in Afghanistan

The new discovery by archaeologists comes from decades of spy satellites and drones. Among the findings include huge caravanserai or outposts used by Silk Road travellers that were buried by the desert sands. The archaeological sites are too dangerous to explore in person so the new approach, which is funded by a $2 million grant from the US State Department, enables researchers to study Afghanistan’s archaeological heritage safely, experts said in November at a meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Washington, DC. David Thomas, an archaeologist at…

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Space 

NASA planning to purchase Earth science data from commercial smallsat systems

NEW ORLEANS — NASA expects to purchase Earth science data from constellations of commercial satellites early next year to see how useful they are in meeting the agency’s research needs. NASA issued a request for information (RFI) Dec. 5 seeking details from companies that have such constellations and are interested in selling data to the agency. The deadline for responses is Dec. 22. “What we are recognizing is that many of you in the private sector have fielded constellations of small satellites for your own business reasons,” said Michael Freilich,…

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Science 

When humanity has died out THIS is all that will let aliens know we were ever here

Experts believe the chances of homo-sapiens being around for the next five billion years are slight, at best. Many anthropologists also point out that even if humans were still alive natural selection dictates they would have morphed into an unrecognisable being. But strapped to a hum-drum TV satellite called EchoStar XVI orbiting 22,300 miles (35,800 kilometres) above the Earth is what might be called Humanity’s Family Album. A silicon disc containing 100 photographs of life on Earth are expected to survive in the vacuum of space, orbiting the planet for…

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Space 

Germany picks Ariane 5 for Heinrich Hertz launch

WASHINGTON — German satellite builder OHB Systems has secured a slot for the experimental Heinrich Hertz communications satellite on what could be one of the last Ariane 5 missions before Ariane 6 is expected to take over. The launch, arranged on behalf of the German space agency DLR, is slated for late 2021 or early 2022 — a  transitional period during which Arianespace plans to launch a mix of Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 rockets while the newer vehicle gains acceptance. The first flight of the Ariane 6 is scheduled…

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Science 

SpaceX and NASA: Successful Falcon 9 Launch Is a Historic Moment for Space Travel

SpaceX, the American space technology manufacturer headed by billionaire Elon Musk successfully launched and landed the Falcon 9 rocket Friday morning. The rocked lifted off at 10 a.m. ET, boosting the company’s robotic Dragon capsule on a resupply run to the International Space Station. The launch marks the first successful launch at the SpaceX launch pad in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida since one of the company’s rockets exploded during refueling last year. Today’s launch is also the first time that SpaceX has flown a used rocket for a…

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Space 

UK hopes new $132 million satellite testing plant will assuage Brexit concerns for space industry

HARWELL, United Kingdom — A 99 million pound ($132 million) satellite test facility to be built at the U.K.’s Harwell Campus should bring more business to the space hub here and ensure Britain’s satellite manufacturers can carry on without disruption post-Brexit, according to Chris Mutlow, director of RAL Space, the space division of the U.K. state-run Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The RAL Space-operated National Satellite Test Facility, once it opens three years from now, will be able to test satellites as large as 7 metric tons, and aims to attract commercial…

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