The Chang’e 4 spacecraft – the first ever to land on the far side of the moon, released landing footage and panoramic pictures on Friday.
SpaceX, the pioneering space technology company led by Elon Musk, will lay off about 10 percent of its more than 6,000 employees.
The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
In a statement, a company spokesman confirmed the layoff without specifying how many employees will be released.
A company source says SpaceX remains financially strong and can continue to “manufacture and launch at a reliable cadence in the years ahead.”
China’s space agency said its control center in Beijing would choose a suitable time to try the landing, but the Smithsonian Institution, the American museums and research centers group, reported that the craft was expected to set down on the Von Kármán crater landing point between January 1 and 3.
The moon lander was launched at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China on December 8 on a Long March 3B rocket and entered lunar orbit four days later.
The far side of the moon faces away from Earth and it remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition from sites on the near side where previous missions have landed.
China launched a relay satellite, Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, between Earth and the moon. Operating about 400,000km (250,000 miles) from Earth, Queqiao will pass on signals to the lunar lander and rover of Chang’e 4.
New images of Mars show an enormous crater that measures nearly 51 miles across and is filled with ice year-round, the European Space Agency reported.
Known as the Korolev Crater, located near the Martian north pole, it’s topped by “what appears to be a large patch of fresh, untrodden snow – a dream for any lover of the holiday season,” said a statement by ESA, which released the images Thursday.
But the space agency noted that the red planet is “a little too distant for a last-minute winter getaway.” (Mars is about 140 million miles from Earth, according to NASA. The distance can vary considerably, because each planet moves in its own orbit around the sun.)
Today was supposed to be a historic day with four rocket launches by four different companies. But that’s not going to happen. As of publication, three of the four rocket launches are canceled. The flights were pushed until tomorrow, setting up another and more significant historical event.
If all the rockets currently scheduled launch as planned, there could be five launches within a 24 hour period.
- Tuesday, 8:57pm ET ULA Delta IV Heavy
- Wednesday 5:40am ET India’s GSLV Mk. 2
- Wednesday 9:07am ET Space X Falcon 9
- Wednesday 9:30am ET Blue Origin New Shepard
- Wednesday 11:37am ET Arianespace Soyuz
Originally, today, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Arianespace, and ULA were supposed to launch their respective rockets. Rocket Tuesday, people were calling it. And for good reason as, if successful, it would have been a historic event. But then Arianespace canceled their flight due to high-altitude winds. Blue Origin scrubbed its launch because of the rocket’s ground infrastructure. And seven minutes before SpaceX’s Falcon 9 was set to launch, an onboard computer triggered an abort, causing the rocket to stand down for the day.
ULA’s Delta IV Heavy launch is still on the books for later today, and if successful, could mark the start of a fantastic day of rocket launches.
NASA’s new Mars lander has snapped its first selfie on the Red Planet.
The InSight spacecraft, which touched down on the flat equatorial plain Elysium Planitia on Nov. 26, took the selfie using the camera on its 5.9-foot-long (1.8 meters) robotic arm. The photo is a composite made up of 11 separate images, NASA officials said.
“This is the same imaging process used by NASA’s Curiosity rover mission, in which many overlapping pictures are taken and later stitched together,” the officials wrote in a statement describing the image, which was released today (Dec. 11). “Visible in the selfie are the lander’s solar panel and its entire deck, including its science instruments.” [NASA’s InSight Mars Lander: Amazing Landing Day Photos!]
“Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea. Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. Recovery ship dispatched,” Musk said via Twitter today.
Hypersonic grid fins help the booster steer its way back for a precision touchdown. Each Falcon 9 first stage sports four of these waffle-iron-looking things, which are installed close to the booster’s base.
Falcon 9 first stages don’t have backup systems to bail out malfunctioning grid-fin pumps, though that will probably change in the future, Musk said in another tweet.
“Pump is single string. Some landing systems are not redundant, as landing is considered ground safety critical, but not mission critical. Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines,” he tweeted.
Pump is single string. Some landing systems are not redundant, as landing is considered ground safety critical, but not mission critical. Given this event, we will likely add a backup pump & lines.
Musk also addressed the video dropout in another tweet, calling the webcast cutaway a mistake. “We will show all footage, good or bad,” he added.
The three crew members aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft have safely arrived at the International Space Station after launching from Kazakhstan earlier today. Anne McClain of NASA, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos are all getting settled on board the ISS following a six-hour journey. This was the first crewed launch of a Soyuz rocket since an equipment malfunction caused astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to abort their launch and engage an emergency landing in October.
.@AstroAnnimal, @Astro_DavidS and Oleg Kononenko are welcomed aboard the International @Space_Station when the hatches between their spacecraft and the orbiting laboratory officially opened at 2:37pm ET today. Learn more: https://t.co/FRrjhIw77o pic.twitter.com/Jln4vpTlc7
— NASA (@NASA) December 3, 2018
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is expected to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu on Monday after traveling more than 1 billion miles through space. The historic expedition will be the first U.S. mission to bring samples from an asteroid back to Earth.
And a deadly asteroid, larger than a two-story house has been named by NASA as Asteroid 2018 WN. Although NASA astronomers have calculated the asteroid is not on a trajectory to slam into our world, its destructive potential is nonetheless awe-inspiring.
During a public event held today (Nov. 29), the agency unveiled nine new partners that will be designing and building lunar landers aimed at facilitating scientific exploration of the moon. In addition to the specific companies chosen, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also announced that the program running those contracts — the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program — is now part of the science section of NASA’s bureaucracy, not the human exploration section.
The InSight Lander entered Mars’ atmosphere just shortly after 2:40 p.m. EST and touched the surface at approximately 2:54 p.m. EST. The last part of the journey was the most harrowing, with NASA calling it “seven minutes of terror” due to the agency’s inability to control the landing of the spacecraft, which cost $828 million. Scientists determined that no additional changes were needed to the algorithm that will guide the spacecraft to the Martian surface.
The InSight’s landing on Monday ended a journey that lasted six months and covered more than 300 million miles.
The meal is prepared not by spending hours in the oven or on the stove like on Earth, however. The process begins in Houston, where scientists prepare the meal and then dehydrate, radiate or thermostabilize (similar to canning) it to prevent it from spoiling, according to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Scientists put it in individual vacuum-sealed bags, which are carried into orbit and kept safe in a locker until Thanksgiving. The food is prepared on the ISS by adding hot water or putting it in a small warming oven.
The Virtual Telescope Project will air a show about 2018 VX1’s flyby on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT). You can watch the show live here at Space.com, or directly via the Virtual Telescope Project.
2018 VX1 was discovered just last week, on Nov. 4. The asteroid takes about 1.6 Earth years to complete one lap around the sun. There is no risk of an impact on this flyby of our planet, scientists say.
A new research paper from an MIT graduate student suggests that humanity could theoretically build an infrared laser that could be both hot and bright enough to attract the attention of intelligent civilizations, if it was aimed at nearby exoplanets. James Clark, the study’s lead author, believes it would “certainly attract attention.”
Starman and its Tesla Roadster are officially a long, long way from home. SpaceX has confirmed that Falcon Heavy’s test payload has passed Mars’ orbit, putting it at one of its greatest distances away from the Sun (it should reach its far point on November 8th at 1.66AU, or 155 million miles). While it isn’t about to rendezvous with Mars, this is no mean feat for an EV-toting mannequin. And you might want to remember this moment — it’s going to be a long time before Starman is close to Earth.Starman and its Tesla Roadster are officially a long, long way from home. SpaceX has confirmed that Falcon Heavy’s test payload has passed Mars’ orbit, putting it at one of its greatest distances away from the Sun (it should reach its far point on November 8th at 1.66AU, or 155 million miles). While it isn’t about to rendezvous with Mars, this is no mean feat for an EV-toting mannequin. And you might want to remember this moment — it’s going to be a long time before Starman is close to Earth.Source: SpaceX’s Starman Roadster has ventured past Mars
A normally reliable Soyuz FG rocket malfunctioned two minutes after liftoff from Kazakhstan Thursday. The malfunction forced a Russian cosmonaut and his NASA crewmate to execute an emergency abort and a steep-but-safe return to Earth a few hundred miles from the launch site. Russian recovery crews reported the crew came through the ordeal in good shape.
“NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are in good condition following today’s aborted launch,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted from Kazakhstan. “I’m grateful that everyone is safe. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”
The Hubble Space Telescope is operating with only essential functions after it lost one of three gyroscopes needed to point the spacecraft.
The observatory, described as one of the most important scientific instruments ever created, was placed in “safe mode” over the weekend, while scientists try to fix the problem.
Hubble had been operating with four of its six gyroscopes when another failed on Friday.
The telescope was launched in 1990.