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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: June 2007
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Hycause scramjet
Scramjet hits Mach 10 over Australia
(Jun 18, 2007)


A supersonic scramjet engine has been successfully launched from a test range in Australia. The Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) said the scramjet achieved reached 10 times the speed of sound during the test. A rocket carrying the HyCAUSE scramjet engine blasted off from the Woomera range in South Australia on Friday.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Automated Transfer Vehicle
ISS computer woes concern Europe
(Jun 18, 2007)


The same computer systems that crashed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) last week are also incorporated into two new European contributions to the orbiting outpost due to be launched around the year's end. The Columbus laboratory is scheduled to fly on shuttle Atlantis' next flight in December. The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) – a huge supply vessel – will make its maiden voyage atop an Ariane 5 rocket early next year.

Read more. Source: BBC

Astronaut carrying out repairs on the ISS
Repairs ease space mission woes
(Jun 17, 2007)


Problems dogging a mission to the International Space Station have been eased following a space walk and a computer reboot. A third spacewalk by astronauts on the shuttle Atlantis has fixed a tear in its thermal blanket that occurred during lift off. And Russian cosmonauts have now successfully rebooted vital ISS computer systems that had crashed.

Read more. Source: BBC

Space Shuttle docked with International Space Station
Computers shut down again for more troubleshooting
(Jun 15, 2007)


Russian computers aboard the International Space Station failed to boot up properly early today even though they were cut off from U.S. solar array power. Engineers had speculated that some subtle change in the station's shared power grid, caused by the installation this week of a new solar array, might have triggered the Russian computer crashes that have crippled the space station.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now / CBS

Eris and Dysnomia
Astronomers pin down mass of former 'tenth planet'
(Jun 14, 2007)


Pluto can't seem to catch a break. It was ignominiously demoted to dwarf planet status after astronomers discovered an even larger icy world in the outer solar system. Now, new observations have pinned down the mass of that world, called Eris, revealing it outweighs Pluto by a hefty 27%.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

VASIMR engine
Plasma rocket breaks endurance record
(Jun 14, 2007)


A revolutionary plasma rocket engine [see VASIMR] has been tested for a record time of more than four hours at a test facility in Costa Rica. Scientists at the Ad Astra Rocket Company hope the engine will eventually be cheaper to operate than conventional models and will reduce travel time for space missions.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

ocean on Mars
Mars's uphill ocean explained
(Jun 14, 2007)


The case for an ancient ocean on Mars just got stronger. For years scientists have been baffled by what look like shorelines on Mars. But, impossibly, sea level appears to have been 2.5 kilometres higher in some parts than in others – so many have doubted the ocean really existed. Now Taylor Perron of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues think that massive wobbles in the planet's rotation may explain the mystery.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Astrium space jet
Firm rockets into space tourism
(Jun 13, 2007)


The European aerospace giant EADS is going into the space tourism business. Its Astrium division says it will build a space plane capable of carrying fare-paying passengers on a sub-orbital ride more than 100km above the planet. The vehicle, which will take off from a normal airport, will give the tourists a three-to-five-minute experience of weightlessness at the top of its climb.

Read more. Source: BBC

ISS new solar panel being manually retracted
Space station's new solar arrays successfully unfurled
(Jun 13, 2007)


Two sparkling new solar power wings were unfurled on the International Space Station on Tuesday, as ground control teams mapped plans to fix a tear in the heat protection system of visiting space shuttle Atlantis. Astronauts had installed a hefty metal beam containing the folded-up solar wing panels on Monday, during the Atlantis mission's first spacewalk.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

jets from black hole
Jets of matter clocked at near-light speed
(Jun 13, 2007)


The fastest flows of matter in the universe shoot out of dying stars at more than 99.999% the speed of light, new observations reveal. When a massive star runs out of fuel, it collapses to form a black hole or a neutron star. In the process, some of the matter from the star also explodes outwards at blistering speeds, producing an intense burst of gamma rays and other radiation.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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