Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Space Highlights - December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016

NASA aborted the launch of a Hurricane tracking satellite due to a problem with a hydraulic pump.  The launch has been rescheduled for later this week.  The satellite is expected to be the first of an eight-satellite fleet, which will be launched aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, from an L-1011 carrier aircraft.

Inmarsat has formally announced that it will transfer the launch of its next communications satellite from SpaceX to an Arianespace booster, due to delays in the SpaceX launch schedule.  SpaceX's last booster exploded on the launch pad during the fueling of the rocket this past September.

China has successfully launched an upgraded, Fengyun-4 weather satellite aboard a Long March 3B rocket.

NASA has released the first set of photographs captured by the Cassini spacecraft during a "ring-grazing" orbit.  The photos include images of a tiny moon creating ripples in Saturn's rings, as well as images of hexagonal cloud formations at Saturn's northern pole.

NASA's Juno spacecraft has made its third close-approach to Jupiter's cloud-tops.  NASA expects to receive the full data download from the spacecraft's encounter in the coming days.

Researchers have released observations of the cloud systems on an exoplanet some 1,044 light years away, reporting that the Jupiter-sized gas giant bears the chemical traces of ruby and sapphire particles, that are apparently whipped through its hot cloud systems.

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