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Spaceflight Now
The first 34 satellites manufactured on a new commercial spacecraft assembly line just outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are scheduled for liftoff on a Soyuz rocket Thursday halfway around the world in Kazakhstan, kicking off a sequence of up to 20 launches from three countries to deploy nearly 650 satellites for OneWeb’s global Internet network.

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NASA
This month marks the third anniversary of the discovery of a remarkable system of seven planets known as TRAPPIST-1. These seven rocky, Earth-size worlds orbit an ultra-cool star 39 light-years from Earth. Three of those planets are in the habitable zone, meaning they are at the right orbital distance to be warm enough for liquid water to exist on their surfaces. After its 2021 launch, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will observe those worlds with the goal of making the first detailed near-infrared study of the atmosphere of a habitable-zone planet.

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AP
Defective software could have doomed Boeing’s crew capsule during its first test flight, a botched trip that was cut short and never made it to the International Space Station, NASA and company officials said Friday.

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Quartz
A Boeing spacecraft could have been destroyed by flawed onboard software if engineers had not reprogrammed it mid-flight, NASA officials said.

Editor’s Note: The Boeing Starliner test flight in December could have gone much worse, according to a panel this week. Tim Fernholz looks into the issue for Quartz.

CNN
NASA astronaut Christina Koch made the most of her first trip to the International Space Station by breaking the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman and conducting the first all-female spacewalk with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir.

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Spaceflight Now
If you would like to see more articles like this please support our coverage of the space program by becoming a Spaceflight Now Member. If everyone who enjoys our website helps fund it, we can expand and improve our coverage further.

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WIRED
ESA’s orbiter will work with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to unveil the mysteries of our home star and the origin of violent storms that spew plasma across space

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Mashable
The Earth’s orbit is becoming an increasingly cluttered space of satellites. As more and more spacecrafts get placed in the area around our planet each year, it’s becoming a source of debris of abandoned satellites. When satellites are of no use, they keep floating around in the orbit for hundreds of years instead of falling back into the Earth’s atmosphere and even pose a threat to future space missions looking to be launched into space.

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Bloomberg
The 40-foot-long, 4-foot-wide rocket loomed over the quiet suburb of Alameda, Calif., on the morning of Jan. 18, near the Pottery Barn Outlet. A handful of engineers and metal wrenchers got to work early, setting up the rocket and connecting it to a mess of electronics and tubes. The device stood up straight, with the help of some black metal scaffolding. Its bottom third gleamed aluminum; the rest, actor-teeth white.

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Ars Technica
“We would go to parties where there would be things like ice sculptures of the ATK logo.”

Editor’s Note: The company Astra “emerged from stealth mode” this week with a desire to “make the simplest, most manufacturable rocket.” Eric Berger of Ars Technica and Bloomberg (above) looked at its plans.

The Conversation
A galaxy cluster can be likened to a great city of galaxies, a galactic conurbation where each galaxy represents an individual, twinkling structure. Just as an archaeologist might seek evidence of the oldest cities on Earth, astronomers have long sought to discover the oldest galaxy clusters in the universe — each the cosmic equivalent of an ancient civilization like Jericho or Ur.

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Gizmodo
A review of data taken over the course of the two-year Rosetta mission shows that comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was sometimes reddish in appearance, while at other times it assumed a bluish hue. Sounds weird, but scientists have come up with a sensible explanation that doesn’t involve aliens with paint guns.

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Space News
WASHINGTON — An Atlas 5 successfully launched a European-led solar science mission Feb. 9, the latest effort in what scientists are calling a “golden age” for studying the sun.

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Horizon Magazine
Equipped with instruments and cameras, the decade-long mission is set to provide scientists with key information in their ongoing solar research. We spoke to three solar physicists about what the mission might teach us and the five unanswered questions about the sun it might finally help us solve.

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National Interest
Key point: Washington wants hypersonic fighters, spy planes, and bombers. So why not build upon the already-tested SR-71 and make an SR-72?

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Observer
Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX is considering spinning off its expensive satellite-based broadband internet project, Starlink, and making it a separate, public company, the space company’s president Gwynne Shotwell told investors on Thursday at a private event hosted by JPMorgan Chase in Miami, Bloomberg first reported.

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ESA
For the first time, an ESA deep space antenna has sent commands to two ESA spacecraft, simultaneously, at the Red Planet.

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OZY
It’s like the surface of our moon is covered in talcum powder. Everywhere you go, there’s regolith, a fine, powdery substance weathered by billions of years of exposure to everything from solar winds to micro-meteorites. Yet that powder didn’t see Aidan Cowley’s microwave oven coming. “And out come nuggets of melted regolith,” says Cowley, “which we might use to build roads, landing pads or even bricks for habitats on the moon.”

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Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe
Recently discovered ripples of spacetime called gravitational waves could contain evidence to prove the theory that life survived the Big Bang because of a phase transition that allowed neutrino particles to reshuffle matter and anti-matter, explains a new study by an international team of researchers.

Editor’s Note: How’s this for an article that tackles the big questions? Researchers at the Kavli Institute in Japan here look all the way back to the Big Bang and why conditions were such that we could come into existence.

TASS
MOSCOW, The Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat-M booster and 34 OneWeb satellites has been launched from the 31st platform on the Baikonur spaceport, according to the live broadcast on the website of Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation.

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China Daily
A United Kingdom company plans to build a spacecraft that could play an important role in future missions to the moon.

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ESA
Wetlands worldwide are vanishing at an alarming rate. New maps produced by ESA’s GlobWetland Africa project show how satellite observations can be used for the effective use and management of wetlands in Africa.

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Gizmodo
A recently proposed House bill that calls for NASA to send humans to Mars in 2033 is coming under fire from scientists who think it would be a mistake to assign secondary importance to a lunar mission and to neglect technological contributions from the private sector.

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Business Insider ($)
SpaceX is building a Starship rocket-development site and future Mars spaceport in Boca Chica.

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The Guardian
Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite broadband service has taken its first step into the Australian market. The communications regulator has added the company to a list of satellite operators allowed over Australian airspace.

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