Weekly Links

Down to Earth

The Chinese astronauts, or “taikonauts” if you prefer, of Shenzhou 10 landed on Wednesday, June 26, after 15 days in space.

NASA has chosen 8 new astronaut candidates, who will be known as the class of 2013. And yes, if you are wondering, people who get to be astronauts react the same way you would.

SpaceX continues to buy up land in Cameron County, Texas. Cameron County contains, Brownsville, South Padre Island, the border with Mexico, and the beach where SpaceX wants to build their next launch site.

ULA (United Launch Alliance) has been awarded a huge military satellite launch contract.

Today, the new exhibit of Space Shuttle Atlantis opened at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Make sure to go read the article at CollectSpace, and check out the picture of 40 astronauts (at least one from every one of Atlantis’ 33 space shuttle flights) posing with the orbiter. I can’t wait to go visit!

In Orbit

In the wake of the sad news that Kepler has probably come to an early end of mission (announced in late May), NASA has turned off the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), an ultraviolet space telescope that orbited for 10 years. Additionally, the French planet-hunting spacecraft CoRoT, which has been broken since November, was decommissioned this past week.

This past Monday, two Russian cosmonauts completed a successful 6 hour spacewalk on the ISS. I was fortunate enough to sit in the Houston Flight Control Room for the EVA! Things went smoothly for both my system and the spacewalk itself, and now crew members Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano are getting ready for a pair of US segment based EVAs in mid-July.

Around the Solar System

The Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii has found the 10,000th near-Earth asteroid ever discovered.

The Mars rover Opportunity is hitting the highway again. She is heading South along the rim of Endeavour crater, getting ready for her biggest “climb” of her mission. The rover drivers are trying to get Opportunity to Solander Point before Martian winter sets in.

Out There

PayPal and the SETI Institute have apparently launched something called PayPal Galactic. They supposedly are trying to come up with how transactions will happen when more of humanity lives and works in space or other planets. I personally don’t see how it needs to be much different than the current way that we bank and pay for things online, and their video is pretty vague. But I guess good for them for thinking of it? We’ll have to see what happens.

June 29, 2013 3:00 pm

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