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Space and Astronomy

Look Back at How Much Space News Got Packed Into 2018

Jan. 7: It seemed like an ominous start to the year when a SpaceX rocket made it off the launchpad, but its mysterious government payload appeared to have gone missing. Nearly 12 months and a lot of finger-pointing later, Zuma’s fate is not known. The Lunar X Prize ended with …

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Virgin Galactic Rocket Ship Reaches Space, a Milestone in Space Tourism

A Virgin Galactic spacecraft flew more than 50 miles above the Mojave Desert in California on Thursday morning, climbing into the edge of space for about a minute, a crucial milestone in the race to make big-business space tourism a reality. The craft, SpaceShipTwo, soared at speeds topping out at …

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It’s a Briefcase! It’s a Pizza Box! No, It’s a Mini Satellite

For years, space was dominated by just two nations, the United States and the Soviet Union. Their designs were big: Rockets grew taller than 20-story apartment buildings. Satellites expanded to the size of city buses. Spy satellites unfurled antennas nearly as large as football fields. The debut of the iPhone …

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NASA’s Return to the Moon to Start With Private Companies’ Spacecraft

In a step toward returning to the moon, NASA announced on Thursday that it had selected nine companies that will vie for contracts to take small payloads for the space agency to the surface of the moon. “We are building a domestic American capability to get back and forth to …

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Tavares Strachan Teams With SpaceX to Launch Satellite-Sculpture Into Orbit

Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. never made it on a space mission. The first African-American to train as an astronaut with NASA, he died in a supersonic jet crash in 1967, at the age of 32. But the artist Tavares Strachan is getting ready to send the astronaut into space in …

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Watch Rocket Lab Try to Launch an Electron Rocket to Orbit From New Zealand

This weekend, a small rocket company will try to launch its first commercial mission. It will not be nearly as big a spectacle as the maiden flight of SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket in February, which propelled Elon Musk’s sports car on a trajectory beyond Mars. But Rocket Lab’s Electron …

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How Many Space Stations Does This Planet Need?

Almost two decades ago, there was a commercial space station for a brief period of time. It was Russian, and an American named Jeffrey Manber ran it. Perhaps it could have succeeded — but NASA killed it. “If you wanted to work with the capitalists in space in the 1990s, …

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