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Air Force Launches Military Satellite.
October 20, 2000
Discovery Pulls Away from the Station
New Clues About Titan's Weather
Air Force Launches Military Satellite
Orionid Meteor Shower this Weekend
DISCOVERY PULLS AWAY FROM THE STATION
The Space Shuttle Discovery pulled away from the International Space Station earlier this morning, completing the bulk of its 11-day mission to install the Z1 truss. Before they left the station, Astronaut Jeff Wisoff put on his long gloves and cleared a clogged toilet - "Jeff is more of a hero than I think most people will appreciate," one of his comrades noted. Discovery is scheduled to land on Sunday.
NEW CLUES ABOUT TITAN'S WEATHER
New research on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, indicates that it may have very Earthlike weather conditions, including rain; of course, at -180C the rain would be liquid methane. Astronomers detected light clouds of methane in the atmosphere that lasted only a couple of hours and then disappeared, raining back onto the surface. The Cassini spacecraft is carrying a probe which will drop onto Titan's surface in 2004, and will help determine the weather conditions for sure.
AIR FORCE LAUNCHES MILITARY SATELLITE
The US Air Force launched a $200 million Defense Systems Communications satellite (DSCS) on board an Atlas 2A rocket yesterday. Liftoff occurred at 12:40am GMT, with separation just under 30 minutes after launch. This satellite joined 11 others in the DSCS network, which allow US soldiers in the field to communicate with commanders across the planet.
ORIONID METEOR SHOWER THIS WEEKEND
Keep your eyes to the sky this weekend, because the annual Orionid meteor shower is likely to put on a nice show. The shower occurs when the Earth passes through the trail left by Halley's comet, and particles leave a streak in the sky as they burn up. The shower's peak will occur Saturday evening, but meteors will still be visible until Monday. Observers will be able to see meteors anywhere in the sky, but they will originate in the direction of the constellation of Orion.
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