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NEWS
July 31, 1991
Observers decrying the end of space shuttle flights, presaged in the Bush administration's announcement that no new orbiters will be ordered, should look at the bigger picture. First, barring an amazing series of catastrophes, today's four-orbiter shuttle fleet will be flying well into the next century. Not bad for a vehicle based on technology already 30 years old. Shuttles will clearly never achieve the flight schedule NASA planners envisioned when the world's first re-usable space plane roared off Cape Canaveral 10 years ago, but shuttles still have an impressive record, including the world's only in-orbit satellite repairs.
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NEWS
By Scott Dance and The Baltimore Sun | September 21, 2014
A satellite that has been hurtling toward Mars for the past 10 months slammed on the brakes Sunday night, gliding into the red planet's gravity field to spend a year studying its atmosphere - and hopefully collect evidence that Mars might once have supported life. On a mission managed from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, the MAVEN spacecraft neared completion Sunday night of a 442 million-mile journey by firing six thrusters in reverse and being pulled into Mars' gravity field.
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NEWS
By DOUGLAS BIRCH | January 24, 1993
And now, from the people who brought you Chernobyl: Nukes in space.The University of Maryland College Park last week staged what physicist Roald Sagdeev, the former head of the Soviet space program now on the faculty at College Park, called "one of the most unusual meetings in the post-Cold War era."Russian scientists, Pentagon and NASA officials, satellite designers and astronomers gathered in a windowless classroom for a sometimes-emotional debate over Department of Defense plans to launch a nuclear reactor, built by the former Soviet government, into orbit.
BUSINESS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | April 29, 2014
Orbital Sciences Corp. and Alliant Techsystems Inc. said Tuesday that they plan to merge in a $5 billion deal, creating a new aerospace and defense company called Orbital ATK Inc. that will employ 4,000 people in Maryland and Northern Virginia. The top executives of both companies said they spent six months discussing the all-stock deal, calling it a "merger of equals" that complement each other's business. The new company will be based at Orbital's campus in Dulles, Va., and Orbital CEO David Thompson will lead it. Thompson and Mark DeYoung, CEO of ATK, said they don't foresee changes at major ATK operations in Maryland, including the company's defense group based in Canton and at offices focused on space and satellite business in Elkton and Beltsville.
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance and Frank D. Roylance,SUN STAFF | September 7, 2001
A fireball in the eastern sky that startled early-morning commuters from Washington to New York yesterday was not a meteor, but an old Soviet rocket re-entering the atmosphere after 26 years in orbit. The United States Space Command said the Vostok launch vehicle was sent into orbit in 1975 and sizzled back into the atmosphere some 10 miles off the Delaware coast about 5:51 am. yesterday. Witnesses said the brilliant yellow and white fireball took at least 20 seconds to cross the sky from south to north.
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun | June 16, 2011
Only three months after NASA's Messenger spacecraft became the first to orbit the planet Mercury, scientists are already tossing out some long-held ideas about the place, and wondering at some surprising and unexpected discoveries. "In many cases, a lot of our original ideas about Mercury were just plain wrong," said Larry Nittler, a Messenger scientist from the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Among the surprises from the Maryland-run mission: • Mercury has unexpectedly high abundances of potassium and thorium — elements that scientists thought would have evaporated as the planet formed so close to the young sun. Now they'll need a new theory of how (and where)
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance and Frank D. Roylance,SUN REPORTER | October 4, 2007
Fifty years ago today, the Soviet Union sent thrills and shivers around the world with a brief announcement: Its rocketeers had launched a tiny, beeping artificial satellite named Sputnik into orbit. With it, they launched a revolution. "I still have a mental picture of the newspaper inside the vending machine on Euclid Avenue. The news was absolutely electrifying," said Robert Williams, then a schoolboy in Ontario, Calif.
FEATURES
October 4, 2007
Oct. 4 1957 The Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
FEATURES
By Maria Hiaasen and Maria Hiaasen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 27, 1997
You don't need a spacecraft to reach Joe's Orbit. Just chart a course toward a local crafts shop. If you find yourself laughing at lamps with antennae or an eyeball, yet admiring the wit behind their whimsy, you've landed in the right universe.Steel, recycled glass bottles, plastics, concrete and colored marbles inhabit this world. They meld to become lamps, vases, frames, mirrors, candlesticks, salt shakers, decorative bowls or small tables. Joe's Orbit may seem alien to some, but the three-year-old company -- based in a Capitol Heights warehouse -- supplies more than 1,200 retailers.
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance and Frank D. Roylance,Staff Writer | December 3, 1993
Catching up to a 43-foot space telescope that is zipping around the planet at 17,000 miles an hour takes more than just putting the shuttle's pedal to the metal, NASA officials say.By the time the Endeavour's crew finally attempts to capture the Hubble Space Telescope -- sometime before dawn Eastern time tomorrow -- the astronauts will have solved a complex problem in orbital mechanics and completed a critical act in the 11-day repair drama.If the crew misses the rendezvous on the first try, the shuttle will have little fuel for a second attempt.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | January 13, 2014
The Old Moon, January's full moon, rises shortly before midnight Wednesday within three hours of the lunar apogee, making some call it a "micro moon". The moon reaches its furthest point in its orbit shortly before 9 p.m. At 11:52 p.m., the moon reaches its full phase. January's full moon is also known as the Full Wolf Moon or Moon after Yule. That coincidence will make it the smallest full moon of the year. At about 250,000 miles away, 4 percent further than the moon's average distance, it can appear about 14 percent smaller and 30 percent dimmer than a "super moon", a full moon that coincides with the moon's perigee, or closest distance to Earth in orbit.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | July 5, 2013
We may be only a few weeks removed from the summer solstice, but Earth reaches the furthest point from the sun in its annual orbit on Friday. The phenomenon is known as aphelion. The opposite, perihelion, when Earth is closest to the sun, occurred Jan 2. Because orbits have an elliptical shape, Earth's distance from the sun varies, just as the moon's distance from the Earth varies (creating last month's "Supermoon"). It may seem strange that Earth is at its furthest from the sun when it is hottest here in the Northern Hemisphere, but the seasons are linked to the planet's tilt on its axis.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 13, 2012
A total solar eclipse will occur over parts of northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, and you can watch it from Maryland via a webcast. The eclipse begins at about 3:35 p.m. EST, with its path starting in  Australia's Garig Ganak Barlu National Park in the Northern Territory. The instant of greatest eclipse will be reached at about 5:12 p.m. EST. The eclipse path ends at 6:48 p.m. EDT just west of Chile. While it won't be visible to many populated areas of the globe, an official broadcast is being done from Cairns, Australia.
NEWS
By Ajay P. Kothari | June 24, 2012
Is there anything that the U.S. technology community, with an assist from the federal government, can do that would simultaneously achieve the following: a) help hone our economic edge to help us prosper a bit more over a long term; b) maintain and improve upon the technological advantage we have with the rest of the world in space and aeronautics; c) help us on the military side; and d) maintain, retain and sharpen the technological minds of some of our smartest citizens? Such a thing does exist, but a case for it has not been made - because it was not possible to make it until now. Earlier this month, a private company, SpaceX, successfully launched an American-built rocket vehicle system, docked with the International Space Station, and returned successfully to Earth with an intent and hope of commercializing orbital access.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Dave Gilmore | March 23, 2012
News Roundup   •••• Like the Muppets and the Russians before them, the “Angry Birds” have taken to space. You can download the game now . I haven't reached the ending yet but I've already got a strongly-worded email to Rovio about it saved as a draft just in case. [ Rovio ] •••• Lawmakers in California and Virginia are proposing a bill that would require almost all video games to carry a warning label stating “exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.” That makes me so angry I just want to go and punch a defenseless person and steal their coins.
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun | June 16, 2011
Only three months after NASA's Messenger spacecraft became the first to orbit the planet Mercury, scientists are already tossing out some long-held ideas about the place, and wondering at some surprising and unexpected discoveries. "In many cases, a lot of our original ideas about Mercury were just plain wrong," said Larry Nittler, a Messenger scientist from the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Among the surprises from the Maryland-run mission: • Mercury has unexpectedly high abundances of potassium and thorium — elements that scientists thought would have evaporated as the planet formed so close to the young sun. Now they'll need a new theory of how (and where)
NEWS
February 17, 2000
IT WAS billed as a Valentine's Day affair, a love connection. A space satellite hooking up with a celestial body near Mars on Monday, Feb. 14. Indeed, love abounded when the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) successfully orbited the asteroid Eros, named for the Greek god of love. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration needed a mission it could love after some recent failures near the Red Planet. The $165 million Mars Polar Lander disappeared as it approached the planet in early December.
NEWS
April 26, 1991
The U.S. opened a new chapter in its space program yesterday with the ceremonial rollout of Endeavour, the space shuttle built to replace the ill-fated Challenger. NASA officials say that Endeavour will be the best shuttle yet, able to stay in orbit longer and land more safely on returning than any of its three sister ships, Atlantis, Columbia and Discovery.In the aftermath of the Challenger tragedy five years ago, many aerospace experts believed the nation's commitment to space required a massive effort to replace the destroyed shuttle, even at a cost of some $2 billion.
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun | March 17, 2011
With a 30-minute blast from its main rocket engine, NASA's Messenger spacecraft slipped into orbit around the planet Mercury Thursday evening, becoming the first craft from Earth ever to circle the closest planet to the sun. At 9:10 p.m., when early telemetry indicated that the rocket burn had finished and the probe had been captured by Mercury's gravity, a round of applause went up from the mission control room at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied...
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun | March 16, 2011
Fifteen years of planning and 61/2 years of maneuvering in space will all come down to the crunch Thursday evening as mission managers in Maryland try to slip NASA's Messenger spacecraft into orbit around Mercury. The braking maneuver, playing out 96 million miles from Earth, will have to slow the desk-size planetary probe by 1,929 mph and ease it into a polar orbit around the planet closest to the sun. Failure will leave Messenger's managers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab near Laurel with less than 10 percent of the fuel the craft left Earth with, and limited options for recovery.
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