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Gravity of the Moon.

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Around the Earth until it's caught by the gravity of the Moon.
Around the Earth until it's caught by the gravity of the Moon.

10,000 New Images of Mars.

Oct 1, 2003 NASA has released 10,232 new images of the Red planet taken by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, including wind whipped polar dunes, steep-walled valleys, and boulder-strewn terrain. The images were taken over the course of several months, from August 2002 to February 2003, and they include views all over the planet. This brings the total number of images taken by Surveyor in six years of observation to more than 134,000.

SMART-1 Fires its Ion Engine.

Oct 1, 2003 The European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft passed an important test on Tuesday when it started up its ion engine - the propulsion system that will take it to the Moon. Engineers at the ESA's control centre sent the spacecraft the command to test fire its engine for an hour, and they didn't encounter any problems. SMART-1 will use the ion engine to make bigger and bigger orbits around the Earth until it's caught by the gravity of the Moon. Then it will use the engine to make smaller orbits around the Moon until it's close enough to begin gathering science data about the surface.

ESA Chooses Designers for New Mars Missions.

Oct 1, 2003 Three European firms have won contracts to design the European Space Agency's ExoMars spacecraft - a mission that is expected to launch to the Red planet in 2009. ExoMars will consist of an orbiter and a rover that will land on Mars, and explore some of its surface. The three winning teams are Alenia Spazio, Alcatel Space and EADS Astrium. Teams have also been selected to provide design studies for the Mars Sample Return mission - where a spacecraft will land on Mars, collect samples, and then return them to Earth.

Sea Launch Lofts Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1.

Oct 1, 2003 Sea Launch successfully launched Boeing-built Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 satellite from the equator in the Pacific Ocean early this morning. A Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off from the launch platform at 0403 GMT (12:03am EDT) and carried the dual purpose satellite into orbit. A ground tracking station received signals from the satellite about an hour after launch, indicating that it was functioning normally and in the right trajectory to make its journey to geosynchronous orbit. It will eventually provide a variety of telecommunication services to North America.

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