Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Space Highlights - December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015

Arianespace is preparing for the launch of two satellites this coming Thursday, as part of its Galileo constellation of global positioning satellites - a European competitor to the U.S. GPS system.

Russia successfully launched a  military satellite aboard a Proton-M booster this past week, following two unsuccessful rocket launches earlier this year.  The recently launched satellite is part of a data-relay system.

SpaceX is expecting to launched an Orbcomm communications satellite this coming week - its first launch since a booster failed last June.

NASA has released new images of Saturn's moons Enceladus and Tethys as captured by the Cassini space probe.

NASA has also released new images of Titan, as captured by Cassini during a recent flyby, in which the probe came within 6,200 miles of the surface of Saturn's largest moon.

NASA has released the first color images from the New Horizons space probe's closest encounter with Pluto.

NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity has reached the edge of a patch of Martian sand dunes, and has begun probing the composition and characteristics of the sandy, wind-shaped formations.

Japan's Akatsuki probe has sent back its first pictures from Venus.

Analysis of data from the Dawn spacecraft indicates that the surface of Ceres is rich in ammonia-based clays.

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