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Communications problem delays JWST launch

A communications problem has delayed the launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope by at least two more days, the agency announced late Dec. 14.

In a brief statement, NASA said that a “communication issue between the observatory and the launch vehicle system” has postponed the launch. The launch, previously scheduled for Dec. 22, is now delayed to no earlier than Dec. 24.


Stoke Space raises $65 million for reusable launch vehicle development

The company, based in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Washington, said Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the round. Several other new investors also joined the round, including Spark Capital, Point72 Ventures, Toyota Ventures, Alameda Research and Global Founders Capital. Several investors in the company’s $9.1 million seed round, announced in February, participated as well.


Op-ed | Don’t wait for a disaster: Industry-led space traffic management

In 1956, a mid-air collision between two commercial planes above the Grand Canyon killed all 128 passengers. The rapid growth of commercial air traffic combined with a lag in air traffic control (ATC) improvements made such a disaster inevitable. Federal budget cuts prevented the government-operated ATC framework from establishing the necessary radar systems to improve air traffic safety. Unfortunately, it took the 1956 mid-air collision to trigger the funding and reforms needed to improve air safety.


This hot ‘stream’ of star gas will collide with our galaxy sooner than we thought

The Milky Way is playing a violent game of tug-of-war with its two toughest neighbors — the rowdy sibling dwarf galaxies known as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. It’s hardly a fair contest. With a combined heft of about 17 billion solar masses (nearly 100 times scrawnier than the Milky Way), the two dwarf galaxies are slowly being torn apart by the gravity of our galaxy, and by each other. 


This pair of merging black holes is the closest to Earth we’ve ever found

A pair of supermassive black holes that will soon become one has been discovered hiding in a nearby galaxy.
The two black holes dance around each other at the center of the galaxy NGC 7727, located some 89 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Scientists say they have never seen such a pair so close to our planet, but also so close to each other. 


Could humanity send astronauts to Alpha Centauri like in ‘Lost in Space’?

Will humans ever find themselves at home at Alpha Centauri?  With life on Earth facing increasing challenges as humans battle against massive problems like climate change and its ever-worsening consequences, people often wonder if humanity could possibly live on another planet. In the show “Lost in Space,” which got a 2018 revival on Netflix after its original iteration in the 1960s, the Space Family Robinson family pursues doing exactly that. The show sees the family journeying out to a planet in Alpha Centauri, the closest solar system to our own.


Private habitats, not just the International Space Station, may be needed to get astronauts to Mars: report

NASA aims to put astronauts on the moon in this decade and on the Red Planet in the 2030s. To help make these ambitious goals a reality, the agency is performing lots of research aboard the International Space Station (ISS) — monitoring astronaut health, behavior and performance on year-long orbital missions, for example, to better understand the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body and mind.