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ESA Agrees to Begin Venus Express.

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ESA Agrees to Begin Venus Express

Image credit: ESA
The members of the European Space Agency agreed to start work on Venus Express, which will reuse the Mars Express spacecraft design. It will also reuse several instruments from both Mars Express and Rosetta to peer through our twin planet Venus' thick clouds. One country, Italy, still has until October 2002 to confirm its participation in the payload. If all goes well, the spacecraft will launch in 2005.

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Jul 15, 2002, 7:49pm

NASA Grounds Shuttle Fleet

Image credit: NASA
NASA controllers grounded the shuttle fleet for at least two more months on Friday after they discovered small fuel line cracks - so far they've uncovered 11 in the four shuttles. All the cracks are very small, only a few millimetres in length, but NASA is worried that a piece of metal could chip off the fuel line and fall into a main engine during liftoff. This could have disastrous results. Two shuttle flights are currently on hold until the problem can be fixed.

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Jul 15, 2002, 6:46pm

Russians Launch Prototype Inflatable spacecraft

Planetary Society
A Russian-European team tested a new inflatable spacecraft over the weekend with the launch of their "Demonstrator-2" on board a converted Volna SS-N-18 intercontinental ballistic missile. The prototype was less than a metre across when packed into the rocket, but it inflated into a sail almost 4 metres across when it reached orbit. It then drifted back to Earth somewhere near the Kamchatka Peninsula. Future uses for this technology could include a method for bailing out of the space station, or to transfer cargo from space back to Earth.

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Jul 12, 2002, 9:46pm

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