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Spacecraft has been slowly raising its orbit.


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The spacecraft orbit.
The spacecraft has been slowly raising its orbit.

X-43 Flight Delayed.

NASA has pushed back the launch of its X-43A because of instrument trouble used up most of their launch window on Monday. Although they were go for launch at the end of the window, launch controllers decided to push the launch back until Tuesday. If all goes well, the innovative "scramjet" prototype will detach from a flying B-52 aircraft, and then accelerate to Mach 10 - 10 times the speed of sound, or 11,300 kph (7,000 mph).

SMART-1 Goes Into Lunar orbit.

The European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft is no longer orbiting the Earth... it's orbiting the Moon! The spacecraft has been slowly raising its orbit using its efficient ion engine, and yesterday it passed within 5,000 km (3,100 miles) of the Moon, using its gravity to shift the spacecraft's trajectory. Its engine will now fire for 4 days straight to complete the orbital maneuver. It will continue lowering its orbit around the Moon until mid-January, when it'll get as close as 300 km (186 miles) and begin a scientific study.

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