Space Shuttle

China’s first female astronaut heads to space

China’s first female astronaut heads to space

This week marks the first in which China will have sent a woman to space - in this case to the temporary space station Tiangong 1. This space module is approximately the size of a city bus and is currently floating 200 miles above the Earth, with astronaut Liu Yang aboard it. She was joined by two male astronauts and traveled to the space station in the spacecraft Shenzhou 9 this weekend. Yang is a 34-year old air force pilot and will be working with her co-pilots to monitor the life support systems of the Tiangong 1 module for 10 days.

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Enterprise space shuttle will be late to New York City

Enterprise space shuttle will be late to New York City

New York City is the kind of place where everyone likes to be fashionably late. And for the arrival of the city's first space shuttle museum exhibition, it looks like Enterprise will be no exception. The vehicle will not make it to the Big Apple as previously scheduled, because the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said there were unfavorable weather forecasts.

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Space Shuttle Discovery up close and personal

Space Shuttle Discovery up close and personal

This week marked the arrival of the space shuttle discovery at its final destination. Discovery is now parked in its hangar at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, never to fly again. I've rarely seen close-up images of the space shuttle that show its true condition. From afar, it looks white and mostly clean. Like many, I have generally presumed the marks on the spacecraft are cleaned up after each mission.

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Space shuttle Discovery comes to rest at the Smithsonian

Space shuttle Discovery comes to rest at the Smithsonian

The space shuttle Discovery has finally come to rest in what may be the last location it ever travels to - the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex in northern Virginia. This shuttle has been covered by the news so many times in the past week that it's quite unlikely that you've not already seen it in one way or another - likely on the gigantic Boeing 747 that carried it on its back across the country. This shuttle is known as the world's most traveled spaceship and will essentially represent NASA's 30-year space shuttle program as it sits in its show space near the Dulles International Airport for the foreseeable future.

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Space shuttle Discovery hitches its last ride on a jumbo jet

Space shuttle Discovery hitches its last ride on a jumbo jet

For decades, the space shuttles have hitched a ride atop a specially equipped Boeing 747 when they needed to be moved between facilities. The image of the space shuttle sitting atop the 747 is one that has fascinated many fans of space since the shuttle program launched. Space shuttle Discovery has been attached to the top of NASA's 747 for the last time at Kennedy Space Center.

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Space shuttle Endeavor flight deck is festooned with buttons

Space shuttle Endeavor flight deck is festooned with buttons

The flight deck of NASA's now retired space shuttle Endeavor is certainly not the place for a pushbutton Bobby. The buttons you see in this picture are a small part of the switches, toggles, blinking buttons on the flight deck of the retired shuttle. I don't see how the flight crew would keep track of all those buttons and what they do. I have a hard time remembering what key on my keyboard I bound a macro to.

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NASA 911 Boeing 747 space shuttle hauler flies for the last time

NASA 911 Boeing 747 space shuttle hauler flies for the last time

I'm still more than a little sad that NASA retired the space shuttle fleet. The space shuttles were a source of endless wonder for millions of space geeks around the world for decades. One of the coolest things that NASA had to do with the space shuttle was to ferry the spacecraft from the landing site back to the launch site attached to the back of the Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

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NASA tests metal ballista, space harpoon for Comet Nucleus mission

NASA tests metal ballista, space harpoon for Comet Nucleus mission

This week the coolest team of space explorers on the planet at NASA have announced their next raging action and adventure television episode called "Space Harpoons!" - or that's what you might think if you'd not read too deeply into their press release which details not only "The Comet Nucleus Sample Return Mission," but both the fantastically powerful metal ballista and space harpoon they're currently testing out for it. Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. are currently in early stages of testing a harpoon of epic proportions, able to collect samples of materials from the surface layers of a comet. What they're currently testing out is how hard their six foot tall crossbow will have to fire a harpoon with its 1/2 inch thick bow string to blast through enough layers of rock on the surface of the space bodies it intends to study.

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Lego Minifigs to Accompany Juno Space Probe Mission

Lego Minifigs to Accompany Juno Space Probe Mission

Launching this Friday will be NASA's Atlas V rocket containing not only its most important piece of equipment, the Juno space probe, but three little Lego minifigs as well. Included in this mission will be Lego likenesses of Italian astronomer Galileo, Roman god Jupiter, and Jupiter's sister Juno, these toys soon to be the furthest flung toys in history. The rocket will be heading to Jupiter on a five-year trip that will be a joint mission between NASA and Lego, each of the special minifigs affixed to the spacecraft for a (hopefully) safe journey all the way.

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