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Showing posts from April 27, 2016

Russia launches inaugural rocket from new spaceport at second attempt

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia launched its inaugural rocket from a new cosmodrome on Thursday, a day after a technical glitch thwarted the much-publicized event in a sign of continued crisis in the nation's space industry. An unmanned Soyuz rocket carrying three satellites roared off from the launch pad at Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur Region near China's border at 0501 Moscow time (0201 GMT), Russian news agencies reported. ...


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SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly on military space launches

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co have held on military space launches for more than a decade. The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018 from Florida, Air Force officials said. It ends the exclusive relationship between the military and United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.


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SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly on military space launches

The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co have had on military space launches for more than a decade. The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018, Air Force officials said. It breaks the monopoly on launching military space and national security payloads held by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.


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Mysterious 'Haloes' on Pluto Puzzle Scientists

The discovery of strange halo-like craters on Pluto has raised a new mystery about how the odd scars formed on the icy world. Pluto's "halo" craters are clearly visible in a new image from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which made the first-ever flyby of the dwarf planet in July 2015. In the image, a black-and-white view reveals dozens of ringed craters (NASA describes these formations as "haloed") strewn across the dark landscape of Vega Terra, a region in the far western reaches of the hemisphere photographed by New Horizons during its flyby.


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SpaceX targets 2018 for first Mars mission

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - SpaceX plans to send an unmanned Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018, the company said on Wednesday, a first step in achieving founder Elon Musk’s goal to fly people to another planet. The program, known as Red Dragon, is intended to develop the technologies needed for human transportation to Mars, a long-term goal for Musk's privately held Space Exploration Technologies, as well as the U.S. space agency NASA. "Dragon 2 is designed to be able to land anywhere in the solar system," Musk posted on Twitter.


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Mars Comes to Earth: Scientists 'Visit' Red Planet with Augmented Reality

NASA is aiming to send astronauts to Mars sometime in the 2030s, but a new technology could help scientists explore the surface of the Red Planet — from its sprawling craters to its enormous volcanoes — from right here on Earth. Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, partnered with Microsoft to develop software that uses the tech giant's HoloLens headsets to allow scientists to virtually explore and conduct scientific research on Mars. The HoloLens is an augmented reality platform that "allows us to overlay imagery on top of the world and integrate it into that world as I'm looking at it," Tony Valderrama, a software engineer at JPL, said Sunday (April 24) in a demonstration of the technology here at the Smithsonian magazine's "Future Is Here" festival.


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Russia's Putin orders space program shake-up after launch delayed

By Christian Lowe MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told his space officials to raise their game on Wednesday after he flew thousands of kilometers to watch the inaugural launch of a rocket from a new spaceport, only for it to be called off. A prestige project for Putin, it is intended to phase out Russia's reliance on the Baikonur cosmodrome, in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan, for launching its rockets into space. "Without any doubt we will have to draw conclusions," a stern-looking Putin told a meeting of space industry officials at the cosmodrome, in Russia's remote Amur region near the border with China.


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Hairy-Legged 'Chewbacca Beetle' Discovered in New Guinea

The towering and shaggy Wookiee character Chewbacca from the "Star Wars" movies has a new namesake — a tiny weevil recently discovered in New Guinea. Though the insect is significantly smaller and much less hairy than everyone's favorite "walking carpet," dense scales on the weevil's legs and head reminded the scientists of Chewbacca's fur, prompting their name choice. Trigonopterus chewbacca is one of four new weevil species identified on the island of New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago in New Guinea.


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Whodunit? Mystery Lines Show Up in Satellite Image of Caspian Sea

From 438 miles (705 kilometers) up, the floor of the north Caspian Sea looks like someone's just scoured it with a Brillo Pad. Don't get out the tinfoil hat yet: NASA scientists say these mystery lines are the work of sea ice. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center ocean scientists noticed the image this month, shortly after it was acquired by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.


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Time to Change Your Sheets? Bedbugs Have Favorite Colors

Do bedbugs prefer their hiding places to be a certain color? Researchers conducted a series of tests in a lab to see if bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) would favor different-colored harborages, or places where pests seek shelter. The scientists found that bedbugs strongly prefer red and black, and typically avoid colors like green and yellow.

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