Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Space Highlights - March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016

SpaceX successfully placed the SES-9 communications satellite into orbit this past week, but was unsuccessful in recovering the booster rocket - which crashed at sea on landing.

The latest Ariane 5 booster is being rolled into position in French Guiana for launch later this week.  The rocket carries the Eutelsat 65 West A communications satellite, on what will be the second Ariane 5 launch of the year.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) expects to launch its sixth navigation satellite, the IRNSS-1F, later this week.  This will be ISRO's second launch of the year.

Europe's ExoMars orbiter has been fueled and shipped to Russia for launch later this month.  ExoMars is expected to be the second European mission to Mars, and is expected to return high-resolution stereo images of the surface of the planet while it surveys the Martian atmosphere.

NASA has released pictures from the New Horizons spacecraft that appear to depict a mountain chain on Pluto covered in methane snow, as well as cloud banks.

NASA's Cassini space probe has revealed a series of evolutionary changes on the shoreline of a methane lake on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.  The changes were captured during a series of radar imaging passes, collected across a number of years, and appear to show shifts in the shoreline as well as the emergence and disappearance of a small island.

NASA has marked the one-year anniversary of the arrival of the Dawn spacecraft at Ceres with the release of images of a mountain observed from the spacecraft's new, lower orbit.

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