Satellites and space missions

Contact with X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi" (ASTRO-H) lost, debris reported

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has lost communication with their flagship spacecraft, X-Ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi" (ASTRO-H), on March 26, 2016. The 2 700-kg satellite, developed in conjunction with NASA, was launched on February 17...

March 28, 2016

Meteor mission launched to ISS

After two failed attempts, Meteor mission was successfully launched at 03:05 UTC on March 23, 2016. Instruments needed for the mission, along with more than 3 ½ tons of supplies were packed inside an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft and launched via the United...

March 23, 2016

Jason-3 oceanography satellite produces its first map of global sea surface height

Jason-3, a US - European oceanography satellite launched just over a month ago, has produced its first complete science map of global sea surface height, capturing the current signal of the 2015/16 El Niño. The map was generated from the first 10 days of data...

March 17, 2016

Bright spots of Ceres reveal unexpected changes

New observations of the dwarf planet Ceres, made by the HARPS spectrograph at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile show its bright spots become brighter during the day and show other variations, not only those changes related to planet's rotation. The results...

March 16, 2016

ESA and Roscosmos launch ExoMars mission

In a joint space exploration effort, ESA and Roscosmos have successfully launched their ExoMars 2016 mission to planet Mars. The spacecraft was launched aboard Russian Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 09:31 UTC on March 14, 2016. It will...

March 14, 2016

10 years of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) arrived at Mars on March 10, 2006. During the next six months, MRO used hundreds of dips into the top of the Martian atmosphere to gradually adjust the size of the orbit and stabilize at nearly circular orbit at 250 to...

March 11, 2016

Comet Siding Spring plunged the magnetic field around Mars into chaos

When comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) made its historic encounter with planet Mars in October 2014, passing roughly 140 000 km (87 00 miles) from its surface, it wreaked havoc on the magnetic environment around Mars. The effect, temporary but profound, was measured...

March 11, 2016

Russian Mayak satellite to become the brightest star in our night sky

A team of experts from Moscow's University of Mechanical Engineering (MAMI) is getting ready to launch the Mayak satellite into space and have gathered enough funding for the final test stage of the spacecraft, they announced on March 3, 2016. Once launched,...

March 08, 2016

Strange "musical" sounds recorded during Apollo 10 mission in 1969 now public

NASA has released a recording of unusual "musical" sounds the Apollo 10 astronauts reported in 1969 while on the far side of the Moon, out of radio contact with the Earth. The Science Channel broadcasted a story behind the strange sounds on February 21,...

February 24, 2016

Visualizing milestones of the ExoMars 2016 mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) has established the ExoMars programme to research the question if life ever existed on Mars. The programme will investigate the Martian environment through two missions. The first one, consisting of an Orbiter plus and Entry, Descent...

February 18, 2016

Isolated hills on Pluto floating in the sea of frozen nitrogen

NASA's New Horizons missions collected images and data indicating the isolated hills on Pluto may be fragments of water ice from the planet's surrounding uplands. The hills are thought to float in a sea of frozen nitrogen and move just like the icebergs in...

February 09, 2016

China publishes new high-quality images of the Moon's surface

The China National Space Administration has published hundreds of previously unseen high-quality images, videos and scientific data of the Moon. The information was gathered by the Chang'e-3 lunar rover and is now available to anyone who is interested in it. ...

February 05, 2016

Jason-3 mission launch replay - January 17, 2016

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will attempt to deliver the Jason-3 satellite to low-Earth orbit at 18:42 UTC on January 17, 2016. If all goes as planned, the Jason-3 satellite will be deployed approximately one hour after launch. This mission also marks an...

January 17, 2016

Cassini makes final close flyby images of Saturn's moon Enceladus

NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its 22nd and the final close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus on December 19, 2015 at 17:49 UTC and will now continue to observe the moon from a much greater distance. The spacecraft passed Enceladus at a distance of 4 999 km...

December 22, 2015

Blazar bonanza

A long time ago in a galaxy half the universe away, a flood of high-energy gamma rays began its journey to Earth. When they arrived in April, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope caught the outburst, which helped two ground-based gamma-ray observatories detect...

December 15, 2015

Fresh view of Earth - DSCOVR taking images of entire sunlit side of Earth every two hours

Less than a year after its launch on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, also known as EPIC, is taking images of the entire sunlit side of Earth every two hours. All images are in the public domain and can be...

December 14, 2015

Rosetta's OSIRIS launches website with most recent imagery of Comet 67P

Rosetta's OSIRIS camera team has launched new website designed to showcase its most recent images taken of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. These images are in high-resolution, taken with narrow- or wide-angle camera, showing the comet at very small distances....

December 12, 2015