NASA launches new Orion spacecraft and new era

(AP)—NASA's new Orion spacecraft zoomed toward a high point of 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) on an orbital test flight Friday, ushering in a new era of exploration that could one day put people on Mars.

NASA and SpaceX hope for manned mission to ISS in early 2020

SpaceX could launch US astronauts to the International Space Station as early as next year if tests on the company's long-delayed Crew Dragon capsule prove conclusive, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Thursday.

Video: The latest look at 'first light' from Chandra

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has captured many spectacular images of cosmic phenomena over its two decades of operations, but perhaps its most iconic is the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A.

Spaceflight consistently affects the gut

A new Northwestern University study discovered that spaceflight—both aboard a space shuttle or the International Space Station (ISS)—has a consistent effect on the gut microbiome

Dormant viruses activate during spaceflight

Herpes viruses reactivate in more than half of crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions, according to NASA research published in Frontiers in Microbiology. While only a small proportion develop symptoms, ...

Countdown as SpaceX, NASA prepare to test new astronaut capsule

NASA and SpaceX counted down Saturday to the launch of a new astronaut capsule on a week-long trip to the International Space Station and back—a key step towards resuming manned space flights from US soil after an eight-year ...

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Space Shuttle

NASA's Space Shuttle, officially named the Space Transportation System (STS), is the spacecraft currently used by the United States government for its human spaceflight missions and is scheduled to be retired from service in 2010. At launch, it consists of a rust-colored external tank (ET), two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), and the orbiter, which is a winged spaceplane in the narrowest sense.

The orbiter carries astronauts and payload such as satellites or space station parts into low earth orbit, into the Earth's upper atmosphere or thermosphere. Usually, five to seven crew members ride in the orbiter. The payload capacity is 22,700 kilograms (50,000 lb). When the orbiter's mission is complete it fires its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enters the lower atmosphere. During the descent, the shuttle orbiter decelerates from hypersonic speed primarily by aerobraking and then for the landing phase it acts as a glider, making a completely unpowered (deadstick) landing.

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