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Atlas rocket blasts off with secret U.S. military satellite

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Thursday to put a classified satellite into orbit for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The 20-story tall rocket, built by United Launch Alliance, blasted off its seaside launch pad at 1:45 p.m. ET (1745 GMT). United Launch Alliance is a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Russian cargo ship docks to space station

A Russian cargo ship has successfully docked with the International Space Station Thursday, bringing the crew crucial supplies and water, Russia's space agency said. The unmanned Progress M-23M ship, which was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, docked with the ISS at 2114 GMT, two minutes later than scheduled, the Roscosmos agency said. The station was flying over the west coast of Peru at the time, NASA said.

New Israeli spy satellite enters orbit: defence ministry

A new Israeli spy satellite entered orbit early Thursday, the defence ministry said, boosting the Jewish state's ability to monitor arch-foe Iran. The observation remote-sensing Ofek 10 satellite, launched into space on a Shavit rocket late Wednesday, outdoes earlier models with its ability to "skip" from one target to another rather than simply "sweep" areas, ministry officials told reporters. Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon noted Ofek 10 would "enable the security establishment to better deal with threats near and far, at all hours of the day and in any weather."

NASA says weird Mars lights are not a sign of life

A NASA robot has snapped pictures showing glints of light on the Martian horizon, which some UFO enthusiasts have seized on as a sign of alien life on the Red Planet. Not so, said the US space agency. More likely, the images of bright spots taken on April 2 and April 3 are a product of the sun's glare or cosmic rays, NASA said in a statement. In fact, similar glints of light are seen all the time in images taken by the Curiosity rover, a multibillion dollar unmanned vehicle equipped with cameras and drilling instruments that is exploring Mars.

Space memorabilia auction hits $1 million mark in New York

By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - An emblem that traveled with U.S. astronauts on the 1969 Apollo moon flight and a check list from that historic mission were the top-selling items in a sale of space memorabilia, Bonhams auction house said on Wednesday. Nearly 300 space enthusiasts and collectors, ranging in age from their late 20s upwards, from 17 countries on four continents bid by telephone, Internet or in person in New York on Tuesday.

Russia launches cargo ship to ISS

Russia successfully launched an unmanned cargo ship to the International Space Station on Wednesday evening after a spaceship carrying three astronauts experienced a technical glitch last month. "At 19:35 Moscow time (15:35 GMT), the cargo ship separated from the third-stage booster rockets on schedule," the Russian space agency said in a statement on its website after the Progress M-23M ship blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russia launches cargo ship to ISS

Russia successfully launched an unmanned cargo ship to the International Space Station on Wednesday evening after a spaceship carrying three astronauts experienced a technical glitch last month. "At 19:35 Moscow time (15:35 GMT), the cargo ship separated from the third-stage booster rockets on schedule," the Russian space agency said in a statement on its website after the Progress M-23M ship blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

U.S. Navy testing more sophisticated pilotless helicopters

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The helicopter kicked up a cloud of freshly fallen snow that partly obscured the ground below, but despite the poor visibility, it gently touched down in a landing that was unremarkable except for the fact no one was at the controls.

Europe launches satellite to monitor environment, disasters

By Victoria Bryan and Maria Sheahan DARMSTADT, Germany (Reuters) - Europe on Thursday launched the first satellite of its multibillion-euro Copernicus Earth observation project that will supply valuable images in the event of natural disasters or even a plane crash. The Sentinel-1a satellite, which blasted off into Earth's orbit from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana at 5.02 p.m. ET, will be used to monitor sea ice, oil spills and land use and to respond to emergencies such as floods and earthquakes.

Company that developed space cameras not affected by actions against Russia

MONTREAL - A top official with the Vancouver company behind two cameras on the International Space Station says it hasn't been affected by actions taken against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine. UrtheCast Corp. CEO Scott Larson says the situation is unsettling but hasn't had any impact on his firm. Except for co-operation related to the space station, NASA has severed ties with Russia and its employees are prohibited from travelling there.
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