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Eurockot Launches Nine Satellites.

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Image credit: Eurockot
Eurockot Launches Nine Satellites

Jul 1, 2003 - A Russian Rockot booster successfully launched nine microsatellites into different orbits on Monday. The Rockot, a converted RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile, lifted off from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Northern Russia and reached orbit 10 minutes later. The largest satellite on board the booster was a mockup of the Monitor E, a Russian remote sensing satellite. It also carried the 60 kg Canadian-built MOST space observatory, designed to measure minute fluctuations in the brightness of stars, as well as microsatellites built at various universities around the world.

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Image credit: Gemini
Gemini Pictures Rival Hubble

Jul 1, 2003 - Thanks to its adaptive optics system and new imaging spectrograph, the Gemini observatory in Chile is producing images that rival those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. One image of the Hickson Compact Group 87 (HGC87), a group of Galaxies located 400 million light years away in the constellation of Capricornus, looks identical to that taken by Hubble. The seven-metre Gemini South is still being tested, but it's expected to begin scientific operations in August, 2003.

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Image credit: NASA/Chandra
Chandra Watches Jet of High-Energy Particles

Jul 1, 2003 - A new series of images released from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory shows a firehose-like jet of particles streaming off the Vela pulsar. The 13 images were taken over the course of 30 months, and show how the jet bends and whips around as bright blobs of gas move down at half the speed of light. The jet is created by the intense magnetic field around the quickly rotating pulsar, and the variations are likely caused by the strong head wind as the pulsar moves through the surrounding gas.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL
Opportunity Launch Rescheduled

Jul 1, 2003 - NASA has decided to push back the launch of its second rover, Opportunity, to no earlier than Sunday, July 6 at 0251 GMT (10:51 pm EDT Saturday). The delays give engineers time to repair insulation which is failing to adhere properly to the first stage of the Delta II rocket. The launch was delayed over the weekend because of poor weather. If all goes well, Opportunity will follow NASA's previous rover, Spirit, already en route to Mars to search for evidence of life on the Red Planet.

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