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China may send first woman into space

China may send its first woman into space next year as part of a programme to build a space station by 2020, the official Xinhua news agency said Monday. The announcement came as China said it would launch an unmanned space craft, the Shenzhou VIII, early Tuesday to carry out the country’s first ever space docking…

Russia launches first ISS supply ship after mishap

MOSCOW — Russia on Sunday launched its first supply ship destined for the International Space Station since the embarrassing loss of a similar vessel in August raised questions about its space programme. The unmanned Progress spacecraft took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1011 GMT on a Soyuz-U…

Branson opens world’s first ‘spaceport’ in U.S.

British billionaire Richard Branson opened the world’s first-ever commercial spaceport in the New Mexico desert, the new home for his company, Virgin Galactic. The eccentric businessman, with usual flair, sported a black jacket and waves of hair flying as he inaugurated the building by breaking a champagne bottle against a hanger building, while…

SpaceX says ‘reusable rocket’ could help colonize Mars

WASHINGTON — The US company SpaceX is working on the first-ever reusable rocket to launch to space and back, with the goal of one day helping humans colonize Mars, founder Elon Musk said Thursday. The vehicle would be a reusable version of the Falcon 9 rocket which SpaceX used to…

China counts down to launch of space module

China will take its first step towards building a space station on Thursday when it launches an experimental module ahead of National Day celebrations. The Asian nation sees its ambitious space programme as a symbol of its global stature and state media said the launch of Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace”,…

Astronauts leave space station after Russian crash

MOSCOW — Three astronauts began their return to Earth from the International Space Station on Friday aboard a Soviet-era capsule whose mission follows an unprecedented spate of Russian space accidents. The Moscow-based Roskosmos space agency said the Soyuz TMA-21 craft undocked from the orbiter with two Russians and a US…

Virgin aims for first space launch within a year

British business magnate Richard Branson hopes to launch a vessel into space within the next 12 months, kicking off an era of commercial space travel. “The mother ship is finished… The rocket tests are going extremely well, and so I think that we’re now on track for a launch within…

NASA warns of ‘risk of losing’ space station

WASHINGTON — The risk of an unprecedented evacuation of the International Space Station will spike if Russian craft cannot resume their missions and return by November, a senior NASA official has warned. “There is a greater risk of losing the ISS when it’s unmanned than if it were manned,” Michael…

NASA spared cuts in US spending bill passage

WASHINGTON (AFP) – NASA breathed a sigh of relief Friday after Congress approved a government spending bill that secured $18.5 billion for the US space agency, sparing it from the prospect of cuts. “We appreciate the work of Congress to pass a 2011 spending bill,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said…

Astronauts cast early ballots from space station

No lines here: Astronauts cast early ballots from space station, 200 miles above Earth Red states. Blue states. And now voting from a weightless state. The three Americans orbiting the planet on Election Day have cast their ballots. Space station astronaut Scott Kelly voted Sunday via a secure e-mail system.…

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