New Zealand, seen as the nation of cows, could soon become the nation with the highest frequency of space launches anywhere in the world. A relatively uncongested airspace and an appetite for new technologies, meant Airways had already helped about 120 near-space launches in New Zealand airspace, and Nasa and Google had both chosen the country for balloon launches.
No wonder NASA is looking up. It just awarded contracts, worth up to $6.8 billion, to Boeing and SpaceX to carry astronauts back and forth to the International Space Station, ending our reliance on the Russians for travel services in space. The deal sets the scene for a new and exciting chapter in American space travel at a time when Americans need a "boost.
"Today I ask our space community to make plans for developing a Saarc satellite, a satellite that provides a full range of applications and services to all our neighbours. There is a lot of poverty in the Saarc nations and we need scientific solutions for this," The Indian Express quotes the PM as saying.
After outer space, any terrestrial trip has got to feel like a comedown. But this morning, at exactly 10:30 am GMT, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfied tweeted,“Good morning, Ireland! Happily headed to Dublin and Belfast. Hoping to learn a cúpla focals [a couple of words].” (Some on Twitter proceeded to correct the former International Space Station commander that the proper usage is “focail”.)
In the early hours of Saturday morning (Beijing time), a Bolivian telecommunications satellite launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China’s Sichuan province, Xinhua reports. The launch, observed by Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales Ayma, was one more example of China’s growing space diplomacy.
China has launched its first spacecraft bound for the surface of the Moon. The Chang'e-3 mission will deploy a rover and conduct astronomical observations.This is will be the first spacecraft from any nation to land on the Moon since 1976, breaking a long drought of touchdowns. The mission is also another sign of China's growing influence in space.
The United Nations General Assembly may approve a plan soon for the world's space agencies to defend the Earth against asteroids. The plan, introduced last week, is expected to be adopted by the General Assembly in December. It would do two things: create an International Asteroid Warning Network so countries can share what they know about asteroids; and spin up a group of scientists from several countries' space agencies to look for smaller asteroids, as well as make plans to divert them away from the Earth.