NASA

Science
7:20 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Orion Spacecraft Splashes Down After High-Orbit Test

The Orion spacecraft awaits its launch in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
NASA

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 12:00 pm

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and re-entry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bull's-eye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft endured a searing 4,000-degree Fahrenheit re-entry and was carried to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

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Science
9:03 am
Thu December 4, 2014

NASA Scrubs Launch Of Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Orion spaceship early Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

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Science
7:18 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NASA: MAVEN Spacecraft Safely Circling Mars

Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 9:44 am

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

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Science
6:22 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Boeing And SpaceX Win $6.8 Billion In NASA Contracts

In an image provided by NASA, astronaut Randy Bresnik prepares to enter Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft for an evaluation at the company's Houston Product Support Center. NASA awarded Boeing with a $4.2 billion contract Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 6:29 pm

NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.

Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:

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Science
10:18 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Repairs Done, Astronauts Wrap Up Spacewalk

Astronaut Mike Hopkins during Saturday's spacewalk. He's going out again Tuesday.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 3:12 pm

Spacewalking astronauts have successfully replaced a failed coolant pump on the International Space Station.

NPR's Joe Palca reports that American spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio had to bolt the massive pump in place (on the ground, it weighs 780 pounds), connect four ammonia lines and plug in five electrical cables. The ammonia is a refrigerant used in the station's two-part cooling system, which is necessary to dissipate heat from the onboard electrical equipment.

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Technology
9:25 am
Mon October 28, 2013

UT Engineering Students Develop Drone Software for NASA

Miki Szmuk oversees the operations of the drone and rover in the field. At this point there is no human intervention between the engineered products.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

New unmanned aerial vehicles – better known as drones – could soon roam over the Arctic and Polar regions of the planet. And at the University of Texas, engineering students aren’t working on the planes themselves, but rather the autonomous flight capability of the unmanned aircraft.

UT grad students at the Cockrell School of Engineering recently headed out to an open field with a movable sensor – called a rover –and a small drone aircraft to perform a test flight. The drone was programmed with an operating system that charts a path for performing a task, also known as an algorithm. It instructed the drone to follow the rover, which acted as a moving target.

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Science
1:52 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

UT Joins Forces With NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab

Could the red planet go burnt orange? The NASA team leading robotic space discovery has signed a research deal with the University of Texas.
NASA Mars Science Laboratory

The University of Texas has inked a deal with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to work together in areas such as robotics, miniature satellites and high-precision mapping. The director of UT’s Center for Space Research, Byron Tapley says it will ultimately help to advance space exploration.

“The activities we’re talking about here are built more about the unmanned, or the robotic exploration programs, both of the earth and of the planets themselves," said Tapley. "I would say the excitement of that is every bit, if you look at the excitement generated with the recent landing of the Mars science laboratory.”

The project manager of the team that landed that Curiosity Rover was a graduate of UT.  

The head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Charles Elachi says the new partnership with UT is a logical extension of JPL’s existing relationship with the university.

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NASA
5:31 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, First Man To Walk On The Moon, Dies

Armstrong in the lunar module after the historic moonwalk.
AP NASA

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 4:28 pm

Former astronaut Neil Armstrong, known for his words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," has died. The first man ever to walk on the moon was 82.

Update at 5:15 p.m. ET:

Armstrong's family has released a statement, saying he died following cardiovascular procedures. NASA published it here. They say, "Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

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Science
4:43 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Astronaut Sally Ride Dies

Astronaut Ride, aboard the Challenger in 1983.
NASA

Sally Ride – the first American woman in space – has passed away at the age of 61.

Ride rocketed into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. As NPR notes in its eulogy, Ride died in  La Jolla, California, following a 17-month fight with pancreatic cancer.

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nasa
1:17 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

NASA Unveils Next Generation 'Monster' Space Rocket

Artist concept of SLS launching.
NASA

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 1:02 pm

If things go without a hitch NASA announced that its new Space Launch System could take its first manned test flight in 2017.

The new design looks a lot like the Apollo era rockets that took American astronauts to the moon, but NASA said the new spacecraft is much more powerful than any other rocket they've made before and could set up astronauts for deep space exploration. The SLS will be NASA's first exploration-calss vehicle since the Saturn V took astronauts to the moon.

At the unveiling of the plans Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) called it a "monster rocket."

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NASA
12:25 pm
Fri July 8, 2011

Texan’s Embroidery Art Enters Space Aboard Shuttle Atlantis

A print of this embroidery blasted off into space this morning aboard the Shuttle Atlantis.
Photo by Rachel Hobson http://www.flickr.com/photos/11707873@N00/

Imagine that your two biggest passions are crafting and outer space. What would be the most awesome way to send off the final launch of the Shuttle Atlantis? For former Austinite Rachel Hobson, it was having a print of her embroidery hitch a ride on the spacecraft that went into orbit this morning. She also got to witness the launch in person.

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NASA
3:54 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

A 'Faceful Of Earth': Astronauts Recall Shuttle Highs

American astronaut Leroy Chiao gives a thumbs up during the ride from a suit-up facility in Kazakhstan in 2004. The mission took Chiao to the International Space Station and was his last trip into space before retiring in 2005.
Bill Ingalls AP

Originally published on Fri July 8, 2011 8:42 am

There are 30 years between the bookends of the first and last NASA space shuttle flights. In those three decades, the shuttles Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour flew well over 100 missions.

But this summer, the program draws to a close to allow the space agency to dedicate more funding and energy to exploring the farther reaches of space. In the process, NASA hands over greater responsibility to private space companies.

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Business
11:59 am
Tue July 5, 2011

Last Shuttle Mission Means Fewer Space Jobs

Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News

The Space Shuttle Atlantis will lift off Friday - the last shuttle mission for NASA.

Contractors who work on the shuttle program have been getting pink slips for the past year and a half, as the program winds down. But thousands more in Florida, Alabama and Texas will be out of a job after the final mission. 

USA Today reports on how Florida's Space Coast economy will be impacted by the end of the program.

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News Brief
6:06 am
Thu February 24, 2011

Top Morning Stories February 24, 2011

The space shuttle Discovery is seen shortly after the Rotating Service Structure was rolled back at launch pad 39A, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011.
Photo and caption courtesy of NASA/Bill Ingalls

Discovery Launching Final Time Without Austin Astronaut

All eyes will be on the sky on this historic day for space flight.  Austin Astronaut Timothy Kopra is not taking part in Discovery’s final flight.  Kopra suffered injuries from a bicycle accident last month.  NASA replaced him with another astronaut for the mission.  Discovery’s launching this afternoon from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Report: Border Apprehensions Down

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