STS-69 - Endeavor launched Thursday, September 7 at 10:09 AM CST. Shuttle sighting opportunities for Tucson are as follows:
Endeavor carried the Spartan 201 and Wake Shield Facility carrier payloads. The mission of Spartan 201 is to study the Sun. The spacecraft will have been deployed on Friday, September 8, at approximately 10:44 AM CST. The Wake Shield Facility (WSF) generates an "ultra-vacuum" environment in space where thin films can be grown for the next generation of advanced electronics.
Topex/Poseidon successfully completed its primary mission and has now begun on its extended mission. The satellite's primary mission was to aid in scientists' understanding of the effects of the oceans on the Earth's climate. Topex/Poseidon will continue along this lines and it is believed that the satellite will operate for at least four more years. To access data images, etc, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov.
Soyuz TM-22 lifted off Sunday, September 3 to start the longest manned mission in European space history. The spacecraft is manned by European astronaut Thomas Reiter and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Avdeev and Yuri Gidzenko. A docking with Mir occurred Tuesday, September 5, and Reiter has boarded his home of 133 days.The main goal of the 135-day flight is to study the effects of weightlessness on the body and to test new processes for manufacturing hi-tech materials.
New Solar Cycle - Solar cycle number 23 is thought to have begun as Caltech's Big Bear Observatory has reported two active regions with the magnetic polarity expected for the cycle. The next solar maximum may occur in late 1998 - early 1999, or possibly later.
Galileo has plunged through a dust storm on its way to Jupiter. Galileo is to enter Jupiter's orbit in December and an atmospheric probe will relay information to the main spacecraft. Up to September 7, Galileo has travelled a total distance of 3,740,087,400 kilometers.