Science & Astronomy
6. March 2016

This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles I posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community. This was truly the week of all things happening with two events especially standing out: on late Tuesday, the One-Year-Crew of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko arrived back on Earth after 340 days in space and while we haven’t heard much from Korniyenko in the western press, Kelly was immediately in the spotlight walking around only hours after his return and giving lots of interviews. And on Friday, SpaceX finally got the SES-9 satellite into space on the fifth attempt with a flawless launch, although the first stage landing didn’t quite work out when the booster hit the drone ship too hard after a very hot re-entry – but the mission was still an amazing success. As usual, there was a lot of interesting stuff happening too, from some drama about fast radio bursts, fascinating news about clouds and ice canyons on Pluto, ESA’s ambitions to build a village on the moon and much more. Let’s go!

» Blue Origin, ULA and Aerojet win rocket engine deals (GeekWire) – A trifecta of rocket engine developers have stuck a deal with the Pentagon to develop new US-built rocket motors.

» With Russian launch grounded, Iridium flips order of satellite deployments (SpaceflightNow) – Iridium, the satellite phone company, seems to have a lot of problems with Russian bureaucracy and wants to rely more on SpaceX in the future.

» How to do a reality check on the hunt for alien life (GeekWire) –  Alan Boyle reports about a study on the seach for extraterrestial life that takes a reverse approach by looking at how life on our own planet might be detected from far away.

» NASA’s New X-Plane Program to Bring Quiet Supersonic Flight (Universe Today) – This might be the return of supersonic air travel, but the problem remains to make it cost-effective

» NASA scores successful Orion solar array deployment test (SpaceflightInsider) – The Orion spacecraft spreads its wings for the first time!

» Clouds seen on Pluto for first time (NewScientist) – Ice canyons have been spotted at the poles before, but now analysis of the images from New Horizon show clouds as well.

» NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Returns from a Historic Year in Space on Station (Universe Today) –  Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko are back from their

» Could laser weapons save Earth from killer asteroids? (Universe Today) – Lasers wouldn’t have to blow up asteroids, but maybe only cook them to make them change direction.

» Not So Fast: Discovery of Radio Burst Source May Be Flawed ( – The recent FRB discovery may have been a misinterpretation of the observed “afterglow”, claims a different team of scientists

» Mysterious cosmic radio bursts found to repeat (McGill University) – This is completely separate from the previous FRB discovery and still

» China to Launch new Space Lab Later this Year (SpaceflightNow) – Tiangong 2 will probably be launched this summer, following the crewed launch of Shenzen 11 to the station later this year.

» NASA’s foremost solar system explorer says Europa lander a “necessity” (ArsTechnica) – Charles Elach, who is retiring as JPL director this summer, makes the case for a combined Europa flyby and lander mission.

» NASA decision on InSight Mars lander’s future expected soon (SpaceNews) – No news about the fate of InSight except the delay to 2018 have surfaced since the release of this article, unfortunately.

» Orbital ATK Believes in Satellite Servicing, But Not Rocket Reusability ( – The SpaceX competitor does not believe in the economic feasibility of reusable rockets, but has plans for a satellite in-orbit servicing station.

» ESA Planning To Build An International Village… On The Moon! (Universe Today) – Lofty goals from ESA, but it makes sense first to go to the Moon and try out what later might be done on Mars.

» Heston, we have a problem… the top chef cooks for Tim Peake (The Guardian) – An interesting article about British chef Heston Blumenthal trying to create tasty meals for the UK astronaut within the huge limits placed upon food on the station by the space agencies.

» SpaceX Stuns with Spectacular Sunset Launch of SES-9 Telecom Satellite (Universe Today) – Fifth time was the charm and the satellite even ended up in a slightly higher orbit than originally anticipated, making it easier to reach its final position. That the first stage came down hard on the drone ship was actually expected, but it was still able to reach its target and allows SpaceX to gather more data for the next attempt.

» Farthest Galaxy Ever Seen Viewed By Hubble Telescope (Universe Today) – Hubble is now over 25 years old but still makes astonishing observations – 13.4 billion light years away, breaking the record by 200 million light years.

» Video of the Week: The Weekly Space Hangout was especially amazing this week with a special guest from NASA!

1 Comment »

I really like your posts and I hope you keep blogging. Thank you.

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