January 7, 2015

Arianespace On Track for Further Success in 2015 (Source: Arianespace)
After a year marked by three achievements that are key to Arianespace's future - a record number of launches, the rebalancing of the Ariane 5 order book, and the green light for a new-generation Ariane 6 that fully addresses upcoming challenges - the company is determined to confirm its leadership in 2015, while continuing to work with partners on enhancing the competitiveness of its launch systems. Click here. (1/6)

NASA, SpaceX Move Launch Date for Next Mission to Space Station (Source: SpaceRef)
The fifth official SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract now is scheduled to launch at 4:47 a.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 10, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30 a.m. (1/7)

Bolden Hints at Commercial Participation on Crewed Deep Space Efforts (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
NASA held an impromptu photo opportunity with the Orion spacecraft that carried out the Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1 ) mission, which was flown on Dec. 5, 2014. During the Jan. 6 event NASA Administrator Charles Bolden expressed the ongoing support that the agency has for commercial space flight efforts. Perhaps more importantly, the administrator hinted that commercial companies might have a role to play in the agency's deep space exploration efforts. (1/7)

CNES Selects Thales Alenia Space to Build Oceanography Satellite (Source: Aerospace Technology)
French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) has awarded a contract to Thales Alenia Space to build an oceanography satellite. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite is designed to study ocean topography and surface water on the continents, and provide measurements of ocean surfaces and wave height. (1/7)

Philae Lander Still Missing on Comet (Source: Space Daily)
Recent reconnaissance efforts by the Rosetta probe failed to turn up new information about the whereabouts of the currently silent Philae lander. The small rover, roughly the size of a dishwasher, is missing somewhere on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's surface.

Earlier this month, Rosetta's mission engineers at the European Space Agency directed the probe to survey a portion of the comet where scientists believe the lander lays dormant. For three days in mid-December, Rosetta captured close up imagery of the assigned crater as it circled the comet at an elevation of 12 miles. (1/6)

NASA Closer Than Ever to Finding Earth's 'Twin' (Source: Space Daily)
NASA is closer than ever to finding a twin for the Earth, astronomers said Tuesday, announcing the discovery of eight new planets that circle in the habitable zones of their stars. Two of the eight are the most Earth-like of any known planets found so far outside our solar system, astronomers told the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington. (1/6)

Eight New Planets Found in 'Goldilocks' Zone (Source: Space Daily)
Astronomers have announced that they have found eight new planets in the "Goldilocks" zone of their stars, orbiting at a distance where liquid water can exist on the planet's surface. This doubles the number of small planets (less than twice the diameter of Earth) believed to be in the habitable zone of their parent stars.

Among these eight, the team identified two that are the most similar to Earth of any known exoplanets to date. "Most of these planets have a good chance of being rocky, like Earth," says lead author Guillermo Torres. (1/7)

Fantastically Wrong: That Time People Thought a Comet Would Gas Us All to Death (Source: WIRED)
On May 6, 1910, Halley’s comet approached Earth and killed England’s King Edward VII, according to some superstitious folk. No one could definitively say how it did, but it certainly did. And that wasn’t its only offense. The Brits also figured it was an omen of a coming invasion by the Germans, while the French reckoned it was responsible for flooding the Seine.

Yet there was even more apocalyptic hype surrounding the 1910 return of Halley’s comet, which is named for astronomer Edmond Halley, who calculated that the celestial body would appear on average every 76 years. Writing to the Royal Observatory, one worrywart warned the comet would “cause the Pacific to change basins with the Atlantic, and the primeval forests of North and South America to be swept by the briny avalanche over the sandy plains of the great Sahara. (1/7)

Fixing Wallops Island (Source: Virginia Public Radio)
Although a private company runs it, Wallops Island Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore will get a fresh start in the New Year and a financial boost from the federal government after a failed launch months ago caused significant damage. October’s explosion of a rocket caused an estimated $20-million in damage–and the repairs will be paid for by Congress. Click here. (1/6)

What's Behind Modern Spaceship Design? (Source: Arabian Business)
As NASA prepares for the debut test flight of the first spaceship in more than 40 years to carry astronauts beyond Earth, a fleet of privately owned vehicles is in development to take over transportation services to and from orbits closer to home. Click here. (1/3)

Space Florida and Space Foundation Host Space Mixer (Source: Space Foundation)
The Space Foundation and Space Florida will co-host a Meet & Greet with Key Industry Executives for New Generation Space Professionals on Wednesday, January 14 at Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral, prior to a much broader space community reception to celebrate the New Year from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Click here. (1/6)

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