Spaceflight roundup

(excepting Atlantis and mission STS132 to the ISS, which gets its own post)

The Mars500 volunteers continue to get publicity as they prepare for a June 3rd ‘blastoff’. The spacemen, who will in reality travel no further than Russia’s Institute for Biomedical Problems, will be testing the psychological and physical effects of the confinement, routine and diet of a Mars mission.

Cassini popped by Enceladus recently, images have been uploaded to the libraries here and here.

Following a delay created by poor weather, the rocket carrying (amongst others) the Ikaros and Planet C probes to Venus has a new launch date and time of 20th May 22:58:22 BST.

This week’s EuroNews concentrates of medicine developments derived from space travel. In other ESA news, the first permanent President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, has been presented with a European flag that has spent time in space by ESA astronaut Frank De Winne. And a new part of the ESA website has gone online dealing with Situational Awareness – for those who don’t speak the jargon, this apparently means looking out for big asteroids heading for us.

Photos by and of space vehicles dominate the National Geographic 2009 top ten of space images.

And finally, the American Airforce Space Command has decided the future is with reusable rockets. Several have been designed, some have even flown at the test stage. Full story at Discovery.

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