Satellites and space missions

China's Heavenly Palace to fall to Earth late 2017

After about six years in space, China's first prototype space station -- Tiangong-1 -- is expected to fall into the Earth's atmosphere in the latter half of 2017, Chinese officials said at a press conference last week. Tiangong-1 (Chinese for "Heavenly...

September 20, 2016

New insight into the space environment surrounding Pluto

Chandra X-ray Observatory was aimed several times at Pluto from February 2014 through August 2015 and made a surprising detection of X-rays being emitted from this largest and best-known object in the Solar System's outermost regions. The observations offer new...

September 19, 2016

OSIRIS-REx launched toward near-Earth asteroid Bennu, sample return expected in September 2023

NASA's first-ever asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer), was launched September 8, 2016 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft thus started its two-year 193...

September 09, 2016

Juno takes first-ever images of Jupiter's north pole, sees weather activity unlike anything seen before

NASA's Juno spacecraft has executed the first of 36 orbital flybys on August 27, 2016, when it came about 4 200 km (2 500 miles) above Jupiter's swirling clouds. It was Juno's first flyby with instruments switch on and it sent back first-ever images of...

September 02, 2016

ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite hit by a space particle

European Space Agency reported today that a solar panel on its Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite was hit by a millimetre-size (0.04 inches) space particle in orbit on August 23, 2016. Thanks to onboard cameras, ground controllers were able to identify the affected...

August 31, 2016

Will the International Space Station be decommissioned soon?

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and seen a strange, slowly moving light cross the horizon? Chances are it wasn’t an alien spacecraft, but instead, the International Space Station flying by. This extraordinary structure has been in orbit since 1998 and...

August 28, 2016

Contact with STEREO-B solar observatory reestablished after 22 months

After 22 months of failed communication attempts, NASA's Deep Space Network has finally reestablished communication with STEREO-B solar observatory. The STEREO Missions Operations team plans further recovery processes to assess observatory health, re-establish...

August 23, 2016

OSIRIS-REx to launch toward Asteroid Bennu and come back with its sample in 2023

In September or early October 2016, NASA will launch its first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to the near-Earth...

August 17, 2016

World's first quantum communication satellite launched

China has successfully launched the world's first quantum communication satellite - Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) - from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gobi Desert at 17:40 UTC on August 16, 2016 (01:40 local time on August 17)....

August 16, 2016

A flotilla of CubeSats will be launched from the ISS to study Earth's thermosphere

A flotilla of 50 CubeSats, miniaturized satellites weighing an average of 2 kg (4.4 lb) each, will be launched from the ground and the International Space Station in the European-led QB50 mission to explore the little-understood region above Earth known as the...

August 10, 2016

Solar Probe Plus to fly into the Sun's upper atmosphere and touch the star

NASA's Solar Probe Plus mission has moved one step closer to its launch, scheduled for summer 2018, after passing a design review. After the successful review, the mission will transition to final assembly and implementation. It is the first mission into the...

August 09, 2016

Venus weather patterns reveal planet's surface

New research, based on data from ESA's Venus Express satellite, for the first time reveals how the weather patterns on Venus are directly connected to the surface topography of the planet. Results suggest the Venus' thick cloud cover could offer further...

July 30, 2016

Juno’s arrival: Photos of a giant

Juno is on the trip of a lifetime! By now you’ve heard that this spacecraft has successfully reached Jupiter and is currently orbiting the planet. But you haven’t seen pictures of its journey. Until now. The final view taken by the JunoCam instrument on...

July 21, 2016

OneWeb’s 700-satellite constellation is right on schedule

There is nothing better than finding a free open Wi-Fi signal when you’re wandering around the world, especially if you’re using your navigation app or something else that eats up a lot of your phone’s data plan. If that sounds good, imagine this...

July 14, 2016

Juno enters orbit around Jupiter

NASA's Juno spacecraft has successfully entered Jupiter's orbit during a 35-minute engine burn on July 5, 2016 (UTC). The confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 03:53 UTC (Earth-receive time, currently 48 minutes after the actual...

July 05, 2016

Next-generation space weather forecasts, DSCOVR ready to replace ACE on July 27

NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory - DSCOVR - has completed instrument validation after reaching the first sun-Earth Lagrange point (L1), approximately 1.6 million km (1 million miles) from Earth, and is ready to go operational on July 27, 2016, taking over...

June 24, 2016

Juno's arrival is getting closer

On the fourth of July, many Americans will be looking skyward in celebration of their nation’s independence. On the same date, NASA, and astronomers worldwide will also look skyward in celebration of another great achievement – Juno’s arrival to...

June 22, 2016