Science & Astronomy
7. February 2016

This week’s round of space and science news is again a colleection of articles I posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community. There were no surprising big news this week, but a couple of rocket launches – including one from North Korea-, the passing of Apollo astronaut Ed Mitchell, quite a lot of space politics and business and a spacewalk on the ISS. I also included some articles that don’t necessarily qualify as “news”, but are interesting nevertheless like a visit to the USS Enterprise model in the Smithsonian, a cable dilemma at the LHC and newly processed images from the Chinese Moon mission, which I found so fascinating that I just had to choose them as this week’s opening image.

» CERN Engineers Have to Identify and Disconnect 9,000 Obsolete Cables (Victoria Turk/Motherboard) – One of the more interesting non-space related news bits – this is a cable nightmare like no other.

» Anticipation Builds for OSIRIS-REx Launch (Doug Carroll/University of Arizona) – The journey to asteroid Bennu begins later this fall, with a rendezvous in 2018 and (hopefully) a sample return by 2023.

» Fun with a new data set: Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover camera data (Emily Lakdawalla/Planetary Society) – Fantastic new images from the robotic Chinese Moon mission, processed by Emily Lakdawalla.

» Soyuz prepared for first flight from Siberian cosmodrome (Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now) – The first launch from Vostochny could be just two months away.

» Will SpaceX Put Russia Out of the Space Business? (Rich Smith/The Motley Fool) – This article makes a lot of presumptions, not all of them correct, but the overall notion rings true – SpaceX is shaking up the space business.

» Delays in SpaceX Falcon 9 Upgrade schedule raise concerns (Peter B. de Selding/SpaceNews) – SpaceX is taking it slow as usual, but that makes some of its customers nervous.

» “Let’s Make Sure That History Never Forgets the Name… Enterprise” (Phil Plait/Bad Astronomy) – The Bad Astronomer visits the original Enterprise model at the Smithsonian during its restoration.

» Germany’s massive nuclear fusion machine just produced its first hydrogen plasma (ScienceAlert) – On the first attempt, they produced Helium plasma and now Hydrogen plasma is on the menu.

» NASA Tests Solar Sail Deployment for Asteroid-Surveying CubeSat NEA Scout (NASA) – The Planetary Society isn’t all alone with the Solar Sail idea after all!

» Luxembourg to invest in space-based asteroid mining (SpaceNews) – There’s big business in space and Luxembourg wants a piece of the cake.

» Russian spacewalk marks end of ESA’s exposed space chemistry (ESA) – The headline is a bit misleading as this marks the end of this particular experiment – there might be others in the future, of course!

» SpaceX seeks to accelerate Falcon 9 production and launch rates this year (SpaceNews) – More rockets, more launches for SpaceX this year… maybe?

» NASA Jupiter Probe Fine-Tunes Path to Giant Planet ( – Juno is arriving this summer at its destination, only the second orbiter ever around Jupiter.

» Space experts warn Congress that NASA’s “Journey to Mars” is illusory (Ars Technica) – NASA does seem a bit too Mars-centric lately, but I’m not sure if it’s really as bad as the experts wants the US congress to think.

» Apollo Astronaut Edgar Mitchell Dies at Age 85 (NASA) – Mitchell passed away on the 45th Anniversary of his Apollo 14 Moonwalk together with Alan Shephard, who died in 1998. Of the twelve people who have walked on the Moon, five have now passed away and with Stuart Roosa having died in 1994, none of the Apollo 14 crew is sadly now alive anymore.

» Final GPS IIF Satellite enters target Orbit, Centaur Fuel Dump Observed from Australia (Spaceflight101) – One of our WSH Crew Community members actually observed the (then unidentified) Centaur fuel dump from the Atlas launch!

» Soyuz 2-1B launches latest GLONASS-M spacecraft (NASASpaceflight) – Another successful Soyuz launch expands the Russian satellite navigation system.

» Controversial Rocket Launch: North Korea successfully places Satellite into Orbit (Spaceflight101) – North Korea has launched something into space, but if it’s a functioning satellite or just a dummy to test an ICBM no-one really knows (yet?).

» Judge sends TMT back to Land Board (Hawaii Tribune) – With the new legal proceedings in place, it’s going to be very unlikely that the Thirty-Meter-Telescope will ever be built on Hawaii.

» Video of the Week: The first Global Star Party of 2016!

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