Science & Astronomy
6. December 2015

It’s been all about rockets and rocket engines this week – there was only one successful launch with the LISA Pathfinder mission, but the one that everybody was waiting for didn’t get off the ground because of bad weatner: OrbitalATK’s Cygnus launch to the ISS was scrubbed three times. [Update: Actually it may still launch – the Sunday attempt is on again at 21:44 UTC… and was successful!] I haven’t posted much else this week due to an unexpected smartphone breakage, but I got a replacement quickly and will be able to do some quick and easy space news article gathering once again. The experiment of resharing selected news articles into my Google+ Space & Astronomy Collection has continued well despite my limited posting and I can’t belive that this collection is now followed by almost 16000 people! But now for a few news articles…

» How the new SLS engine contract is a step in the wrong direction (The Space Review/Gerald BlacK) – An interesting take about the decision to use the old shuttle main engines for the SLS, a followup to an article I posted last week. The article does have a lot of valid points.

» SpaceX wants to land Booster at Cape Canaveral after Orbcomm Launch (Spacenews/Jeff Foust) – The last time SpaceX was able to try this, it almost worked. Maybe they have better chances landing actually on land instead of a sea barge, which may have contributed to the rocket tipping over at the last moment on the previous try!

» LISA Pathfinder en route to Gravitational Wave Demonstration (ESA) – The spacecraft has successfully launched from Korou on a six-month mission to detect the elusive gravitational waves in space.

» Best-Ever Pluto Photos Show Breathtaking Views of Dwarf Planet ( Wall) – No comment necessary, except that New Horizons is really the gift that keeps on giving.

» Critical Cygnus Return to Flight Mission via Atlas V Set to Restore US Cargo Launches to ISS (Universe Today/Ken Kremer) – The first three launch attempts were scrubbed by bad weather and it’s not going to launch this Sunday either because it is still too windy in Cape Canaveral. The next attempt will be on Monday – the good news is that both rocket and spacecraft are fine. [Update: The weather seems to be better and the next launch attempt will now be this Sunday at 21:44 UTC – and it didn’t remain an attempt! Cygnus is now in orbit after a flawless launch and Scott Kelly even managed to get a photo of the launch from space!]

» Video of the Week: The Weekly Space Hangout has returned with a cracking show packed full of the news from the last two weeks!

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