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Space Events:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

2015

Dawn
March 6

NASA's Dawn spacecraft achieves orbit around Ceres. Links:

  1. NASA's Dawn website
  2. Dawn webpage by JPL
  3. Ceres: Water Ice In Eternal Polar Night   12.15.2016
  4. Young Cryovolcano On Ceres   09.02.2016
  5. New images of dwarf planet Ceres   01.12.2016
  6. Ceres Secrets Revealed   12.10.2015
  7. Ceres’ Bright Spots Seen In Detail   09.09.2015
  8. Ceres: The Planet That Wasn't   08.31.2015
  9. Dawn Sends Sharper Images From Ceres   08.25.2015
  10. New Topographic Maps Of Ceres   07.29.2015
  11. NASA Video Of Ceres   06.09.2015
  12. Spacecraft First To Orbit A Dwarf Planet   03.06.2015
  13. Dawn Spacecraft Begins Approach To Ceres   12.30.2014
Ceres

Ceres

Magnetosphere Multiscale
March 12

NASA launches the Magnetosphere Multiscale Mission, four satellites which will observe how charged particles from the Sun affect Earth's magnetic field. Links:

  1. NASA's Magnetosphere Multiscale Mission
  2. MMS Mission - Goddard Space Flight Center
  3. Mission Observing Earth & Sun   05.12.2016
  4. Article From The Sun Today   03.15.2015
Magnetosphere Multiscale Mission

Artist's concept of the deployed Magnetosphere Multiscale satellites

Messenger
April 30

NASA confirms that Messenger has impacted the surface of Mercury after exhausting its fuel supply. Links:

  1. Messenger
  2. The True Face Of Mercury   06.12.2015
Messenger Mission Facts

Lightsail
June 6

The Planetary Society launches the first of its LightSail spacecraft, and tests the mechanism for extending the telescoping booms to which the craft's four Mylar sails are attached. Although some technical hitches are experienced at first, controllers finally do succeed in unfurling the sails.
Links:

  1. LightSail
  2. LightSail Has Successful Test Mission   06.07.2015
LightSail Spacecraft

Artist's concept of the Planetary Society LightSail spacecraft with sails deployed

New Horizons
July 14

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft successfully completes its fly-by of Pluto. Links:

  1. NASA's New Horizons webpage
  2. New Horizons webpage by JHUAPL
  3. Icy Ridges Found On Pluto   01.05.17
  4. Pluto's 'Heart' Hints At Possible Buried Ocean   09.24.16
  5. Pluto's "Beating Heart" Explained   06.01.2016
  6. New Horizons Close-ups In Color Released   12.14.2015
  7. Pluto Has Cryovolcanoes   11.12.2015
  8. First New Horizons Research Paper   10.15.2015
  9. Probe Captures Pluto's Blue Hazes   10.08.2015
  10. Pluto Displays Rippling Terrain   09.25.2015
  11. NASA Launches New Pluto Flyover Video   09.19.2015
  12. Foggy Haze Seen In Pluto Images   09.17.2015
  13. Kuiper Belt Target Picked For New Horizons   09.03.2015
  14. Many Discoveries From New Horizons   07.15.2015
  15. Three Billion-Mile Journey Accomplished   07.14.2015
  16. More Detailed Photo Of Pluto   07.09.2015
  17. Pluto Shows Its Spots   07.02.2015
  18. Pluto Fly-by Path Refined   07.01.2015
  19. Dwarf Planet's Light & Dark Terrains   06.12.2015
  20. Two Chaotic Moons Of Pluto   06.03.2015
  21. Coloured Pluto Comes Into View   04.15.2015
  22. First Stage Of Pluto Encounter Begins   01.15.2015
  23. Possible Kuiper Belt Targets After Pluto   10.15.2014
Pluto

Pluto

Venus Climate Orbiter
December

This December, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will make a second attempt to insert its Venus Climate Orbiter spacecraft, nicknamed Akatsuki (Dawn), into orbit around Venus.

Launched in May 2010, Akatsuki was intended to explore that planet. The probe reached its target in December of that year but was unable to achieve orbit, due to a malfunction of its main engine.

Since that time, Akatsuki has been studying the solar wind, in a heliocentric orbit some 134 million kilometres from Venus. JAXA controllers hope to manoeuvre Akatsuki into a revised Venus orbit, using the spacecraft’s secondary engines.

The new orbit will be at a distance of roughly 300,000 km to 400,000 km from the planet’s surface. Although this is farther away than originally envisaged, JAXA believes Akatsuki will still be able to achieve its main objective of studying Venus’ weather phenomena and surface conditions.

If the plan succeeds, it will be the first time that a Japanese spacecraft has been deployed around a planet other than Earth.

Venus Climate Orbiter

JAXA's Venus Climate Orbiter, or Akatsuki - image by Akihiro Ikeshita

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