New Zealand reaches orbit - SpaceTime with Stuart Gary Series 21 Episode 07

Jan 26, 08:36 AM

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*New Zealand reaches orbit 

New Zealand has successfully placed a spacecraft into orbit for the first time. Rocket Lab’s unmanned Electron launch vehicle – named Still Testing – blasted off from the Lift off Mahia Peninsula launch pad on Sunday afternoon.

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*Black hole burping

Astronomers have caught a monster black hole in a distant galaxy snacking on gas and then "burping" — not once, but twice. The findings show two separate episodes of feeding frenzy by the supermassive black hole about 800 million light-years away.

*The changing Sun

Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun’s gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. 

*Tiangong-1 crashing back to Earth

Chinese space officials say their Tiangong 1 space station is still under control and will likely crash back to Earth in mid to late March. However, their inability to provide an exact schedule for the orbiter’s return continues to raise concerns about the likelihood of an imminent uncontrolled re-entry. 

*China launches new navigation satellites

China has launched its latest pair of Beidou-3 navigation satellites into orbit. The spacecraft were launched on a Long March-3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province.

*Virgin Galactic test flight

Virgin Galactic has carried out its first spaceplane drop glide test for 2018. The VSS Unity achieved Mach zero point nine in the skies above California’s Mojave Desert.

*Mystery surrounds SpaceX Zuma mission

US Government officials are still refusing to say what happened to the top secret SpaceX Zuma mission which is suspected to have failed to deploy after reaching orbit. 

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*Dragon returns home

The SpaceX CRS 13 capsule has returned to Earth splashing down successfully in the North Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja, California. The Dragon was undocked from the Harmony module’s nadir port by the space stations robotic arm and then released to fire its maneuvering thrusters for the first of three burns to slowly push away from the space station.

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