Related topics: nasa · international space station · mars · earth · space

Gaia's biggest operation since launch

On Tuesday 16 July, teams at ESA's mission control will perform an "orbit change maneuver" on the Gaia space observatory—the biggest operation since the spacecraft was launched in 2013.

Mapping the moon for Apollo

At an International Astronomical Union meeting in 1955, noted astronomer Gerard Kuiper asked for suggestions and collaborators on a project to make a map of the moon. At the time, the best lunar atlases had hand-drawn images, ...

Image: European Service Module 2 assembly

The European Service Module-2 (ESM-2) is somewhat like the portal it appears to be in this image. By providing power and propulsion for the Orion spacecraft, it will transport humans back to the Moon, roughly fifty years ...

A new plan for keeping NASA's oldest explorers going

With careful planning and dashes of creativity, engineers have been able to keep NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft flying for nearly 42 years—longer than any other spacecraft in history. To ensure that these vintage robots ...

Space station mold survives high doses of ionizing radiation

The International Space Station, like all human habitats in space, has a nagging mold problem. Astronauts on the ISS spend hours every week cleaning the inside of the station's walls to prevent mold from becoming a health ...

Space physicists send instrument to target comets

Space physicists at Umeå University, Sweden, develop measuring instruments for the spaceship Comet Interceptor. The vessel has been selected to be part of the European Space Agency's ESA program to target comets that have ...

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Spacecraft

A spacecraft is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. On a sub-orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters space then returns to the Earth. For an orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters a closed orbit around the planetary body. Spacecraft used for human spaceflight carry people on board as crew or passengers. Spacecraft used for robotic space missions operate either autonomously or telerobotically. Robotic spacecraft that leave the vicinity of the planetary body are space probes. Robotic spacecraft that remain in orbit around the planetary body are artificial satellites. Starships, which are built for interstellar travel, are so far a theoretical concept only (aside from a handful of interstellar probes such as Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager, and New Horizons).

Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and space tourism. Spacecraft and space travel are common themes in works of science fiction.

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