Florida Space Research and Information

December 31, 2008

A look at commercial spaceflight in 2009

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Virgin Galactic's twin-fuselage WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane takes to the air for the first time on Dec. 21, 2008, after weeks of taxi tests. The plane will serve as the mothership for the SpaceShipTwo suborbital rocket plane.One big issue looms for NewSpace next year, said Jeff Foust, an aerospace analyst, journalist and publisher. And that topic of trepidation is the state of the economy.


December 30, 2008

Video: NASA releases Columbia disaster details

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Dec. 30: An exhaustive NASA review of the Shuttle Columbia disaster revealed troubling details that the agency hopes will improve equipment and protocols for future space crews. NBC's Tom Costello reports.  (Nightly News)Dec. 30: An exhaustive NASA review of the Shuttle Columbia disaster revealed troubling details that the agency hopes will improve equipment and protocols for future space crews. NBC's Tom Costello reports. (Nightly News)


NASA reports new details of Columbia deaths

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The Space Shuttle Columbia crew, left to right. Front row: Rick Husband, Kalpana Chawla, William McCool. Back row: David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson and Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon. Columbia was destroyed on February 1, 2003, on its return to Earth because of a hole in its wing that allowed in superhot atmospheric gases. A new NASA report says that the seat restraints, suits and helmets of the doomed crew of the space shuttle Columbia were not designed to cope with the catastrophe, leading to "lethal trauma."


Flashback: What we know now about Mars

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See two decades' worth of Red Planet images.Humans have pondered the mysteries of Mars for thousands of years, with one question eliciting particular interest: Is there life up there?


December 29, 2008

Aiming to grasp mysterious dark matter

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An artist's interpretation of the Gaia spacecraft. For the past quarter century, dark matter has been a mystery we've just had to live with. But the time may be getting close when science can finally unveil what this befuddling stuff is that makes up most of the matter in the universe.


December 26, 2008

2009 to arrive not a second too soon

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See Saturn’s mysterious moon, Martian marvels and other cosmic highlights from December 2008.Time will stand still for one second on New Year's Eve, as we ring in the New Year on Wednesday night. As a result, you'll have an extra second to celebrate because a "Leap Second" will be added to 2008 to let a lagging Earth catch up to super-accurate clocks.


Death Valley works to preserve night sky

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Dan Duriscoe works at a special computer controlled camera used to photograph the night sky at Dantes View in Death Valley National Park, Calif. Acclaimed for its ink black skies, Death Valley, the hottest place in North America, also ranks among the nation's unspoiled stargazing spots. But the vista in recent years has grown blurry. The glitzy neon glow from Las Vegas and its burgeoning bedroom communities is stealing stars from the park's eastern fringe.


December 24, 2008

Video: How Apollo 8 raised spirits 40 years ago

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Dec. 24: For many, 1968 was a tumultuous time marked by war, assassination, civil unrest and deep political division. But as the year came to a close, the flight of Apollo 8 gave the nation an occasion to soar. NBC’s Brian Williams reports. (Nightly News)"Nightly News" video: For many, 1968 was a tumultuous time marked by war, assassination, civil unrest and deep political division. But as the year came to a close, the flight of Apollo 8 gave the nation an occasion to soar. NBC’s Brian Williams reports. (Nightly News)


Video: Apollo 8: Live from the moon, 1968

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Dec. 24, 1968: Watch the actual live television transmission from the crew of Apollo 8, orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968. Astronauts William Anders, James Lovell and Frank Borman (in that order) read the opening lines from the Book of Genesis in the Bible, to a rapt audience of an estimated two billion people back on Earth.  (Nightly News)Dec. 24, 1968: Watch the actual live television transmission from the crew of Apollo 8, orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968 — exactly 40 years ago. (Nightly News)


December 23, 2008

Good heavens: Vatican rehabilitating Galileo

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The Vatican is recasting, Galileo Galilei, the most famous victim of its Inquisition as a man of faith, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope and the U.N.-designated International Year of Astronomy next year.Galileo Galilei is going from heretic to hero.


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