Cutting Corners & Lack of Operational Protocols doomed Japan’s Hitomi Observatory

Details were now shared on the proximate causes of the spacecraft’s loss, highlighting that Hitomi’s fate was sealed by the deliberate disabling of safety systems, a willingness to accept operational risk and a lack of operational protocols for a major change on the spacecraft’s thruster system.

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Japanese Hitomi X-Ray Observatory declared Lost, Post-Mortem Investigation begins

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency has officially declared the Hitomi X-Ray Observatory lost and ceased all attempts to communicate with the stricken spacecraft, marking the untimely end of a mission that promised a great scientific return in the field of high-energy astrophysics.

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Photos: All Orbital Launches of 2015

The year 2015 saw 87 orbital launch attempts from spaceports across the globe – 84 missions reached orbit in a year that saw 82 successful orbital launches. Here are photos of all of 2015’s space launches.

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2015 Space Launch Statistics

The year 2015 saw a total of 87 known orbital launch attempts operated by seven nations from space ports in eight countries.

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Photos: Three Space Station Crew Members return to Earth

The Soyuz TMA-17M crew of Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren made a safe landing in Kazakhstan on Friday after a space flight of four and a half months. It marked the fifth nighttime landing of a Soyuz returning from ISS, but the first to take place after sunset instead of the early morning hours.

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Space Station Crew parachutes to safe Night Landing in snow-covered Kazakh Steppe

A trio of Soyuz crew members parachuted down to a safe landing in the dark of night on Friday, returning from a 142-day mission to the International Space Station. Making a rare nighttime landing and the first post-sunset touchdown in ISS history, Soyuz commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren returned safely

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Japanese Akatsuki Craft confirmed in Orbit around Venus, delivers first Images

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announced earlier this week that the agency’s Akatsuki Venus Orbiter successfully completed its last-chance orbital insertion maneuver and was tracked close to the expected orbit around Venus, saving a mission that had been feared lost after the spacecraft had missed its first opportunity of entering orbit around Earth’s neighbor planet.

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