The final Ariane 4 is readied for launch

Arianespace Update: Flight 159 with the Intelsat 907 telecommunications satellite

A historic moment occurred today (Jan. 30) when the final Ariane 4 rolled out of its assembly building for transfer to the Spaceport’s ELA-2 launch zone in French Guiana.

The Ariane 4 is scheduled to lift off in the early morning hours of February 12, carrying the Intelsat 907 telecommunications satellite.

For our update on this last Ariane 4 launch, see the Mission Log on Arianespace’s Web site:

Landers feel the heat on space missions

Space is certainly a cold place, but spacecraft have to face extremely high temperatures when they are exposed to the Sun’s radiation. However, there are other extreme situations in which spacecraft are subject to tremendous heat. ESA’s spacecraft must endure temperatures from hell…

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Nominations for NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program are in high orbit. Since the Program’s kickoff January 21, more than 1,300 teachers have been nominated to become members of the Astronaut Corps. Texas leads with 324 nominations, followed by 223 from Florida, and California with 163.

The Educator Astronaut web site is also receiving a high volume of traffic. More than 4.8 million visits have been recorded during the first 10 days of the program.
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The nation’s newest environmental satellite, GOES-12, is being readied for operations, NASA and the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today.

GOES-12 is equipped with an advanced instrument for real-time solar forecasting. The Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) aboard the satellite will enable forecasters and scientists to detect solar storms that could impact billions of dollars worth of assets.
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An experiment aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) has uncovered a new phenomenon. Researchers made the discovery studying the role of aerosol particles in global climate changes.

The Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment (MEIDEX) is gathering data about aerosol plumes emitted from deserts. MEIDEX builds on previous studies that showed aerosol particles might be one of the primary agents that can offset warming.
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NASA sponsored scientists have discovered by knowing the salt content of the ocean’s surface, they may be able to improve the ability to predict El Nino events. Scientists, studying the western Pacific Ocean, find regional changes in the saltiness of surface ocean water correspond to changes in upper ocean heat content in the months preceding an El Nino event. Knowing the distribution of surface salinity may help predict events.
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ESA on the trail of the earliest stars

Somewhere in the distant, old Universe, a population of stars hide undetected. They were the first to form after the birth of the Universe and are supposed to be far bigger in mass than any star visible today.

Astronomers know they must have been out there: only in this way could they solve the riddle of the origin and composition of stars in today’s Universe. A couple of ESA missions will help astronomers search for this elusive population.

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