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Rosetta Due for Late January Launch.


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Space Flight

Rosetta Due for Late January Launch

Image credit: ESA
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission will be the first spacecraft to ever orbit and then land on a distant comet. Scheduled for launch on board an Ariane-5 rocket as early as January 22, the spacecraft will rendezvous with Comet Wirtanen in 2011. There is some uncertainty about the launch, however, because of a booster accident with an enhanced Ariane-5 last month. The spacecraft must launch by the end of January if it's to meet up with Wirtanen; otherwise, a new objective will have to be selected.

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Jan 13, 2003, 11:22pm

Astronomy

Binary star Ejected From its System

Image credit: NASA
Astronomers from the University of Mexico have found a distant star system where a small, young star has been flung out of its star group by the gravitational interaction with its neighbours. The star, called T Tauri Component Sb, has 20% the mass of the Sun, and was part of a group of stars 450 light years from the Earth. The team has been tracking the path of the rogue star since 1983, and watched it slingshot past one star and head out into space.

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Jan 13, 2003, 11:20pm

Space Flight

Columbia Countdown Gets Started

Image credit: NASA
Under a cloak of high security, NASA began the launch countdown for the Space Shuttle Columbia on Monday. If all goes well, the shuttle will launch on Thursday at a secret time - the actual launch time will only be announced 24 hours beforehand. The 16-day microgravity science mission was supposed to launch last year, but cracks discovered in shuttle fuel lines kept the whole fleet grounded while a solution was found. Isreal's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, is also due to take part in this mission.

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Jan 13, 2003, 11:18pm

Space Flight

ICESat Launches

Image credit: NASA
A satellite designed to track the changes in the Earth's major ice sheets was launched on Sunday after experiencing a month of delays due to technical difficulties. ICESsat (Ice Cloud and Land Elevation

Satellite) was launched aboard a Boeing Delta rocket from the Vandenberg US Air Force Base in California. On board the rocket was another, smaller satellite called CHIPSat, which will help Astronomers study the hot gas coming off of stars.

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Jan 13, 2003, 11:16pm




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