Universe Today #633 - July 4, 2003
U N I V E R S E
T O D A Y
Space Exploration News From Around the Internet
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-- UNIVERSE TODAY STORY SUMMARY --
* Japanese Space Shuttle Prototype Crashes
* Similar Solar System Discovered
* Opportunity Launch Delayed Again
* Partial Fix for SOHO
JAPANESE SPACE SHUTTLE PROTOTYPE CRASHES
Jul 4, 2003 - The prototype for a Japanese-built space shuttle crashed on landing Tuesday, breaking its left wing and nose cone. The 4-metre unmanned prototype was lifted by balloon in Sweden to an altitude of 21 kilometres and then plunged back to Earth, reaching 80% the speed of sound. Unfortunately, two of its three parachutes failed to open and it had a hard landing. Controllers got the aerodynamic data they needed, but the prototype is likely too damaged to be used again for future tests.
<a href="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=624&ncid=624&e=6&u=/ap/20030702/ap_on_sc/japan_space_shuttle">AOL Link</a>
SIMILAR SOLAR SYSTEM DISCOVERED
Jul 4, 2003 - A team of international astronomers have discovered a planet which is remarkably similar to Jupiter. This new planet circles a star called HD70642 (in the constellation of Puppis) 90 light-years from Earth. It's twice the mass of Jupiter and its orbit is nearly circular around HD70642 at a distance similar to Jupiter's from our own Sun. Furthermore, there don't seem to be any larger planets closer to the star. This planetary discovery is the most similar to our own solar system found so far.
<a href="http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/Md/Press/HomeFromHome.asp">AOL Link</a>
OPPORTUNITY LAUNCH DELAYED AGAIN
Jul 4, 2003 - The launch of NASA's second Mars Exploration rover, Opportunity, has been delayed again to Monday, June 7 as early as 0243 GMT (10:43 pm EDT Sunday). The delay will give technicians time to ensure that the booster's cork insulation is properly adhered. If all goes well, Opportunity will blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on board a Delta 2 rocket and follow its partner spacecraft, Spirit, already en route to the Red Planet. Launch windows for the spacecraft are available until July 15.
<a href="http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/mission/launch_e.html">AOL Link</a>
PARTIAL FIX FOR SOHO
Jul 4, 2003 - After performing several tests on the troubled SOHO spacecraft, engineers believe they have a solution to ensure that the spacecraft doesn't have any blackout periods. The pointing mechanism on SOHO's high-gain antenna malfunctioned on June 27, 2003. Controllers have figured out a way to use larger ground-based receivers which can receive data from the low-gain antenna for a longer period, and receive all the data that SOHO needs to send. Engineers will continue to fix the problem with the high-gain antenna's motor.
<a href="http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM0VZWO4HD_index_0.html">AOL Link</a>
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