Massimo Luciani

The MexSat-1/Centenario satellite blasting off atop a Proton-M rocket (Image courtesy Tsenki/Roscosmos. All rights reserved)

It was almost noon yesterday in Kazakhstan when the MexSat-1 satellite, also called Centenario to celebrate the centenary of the Mexican Revolution, was launched on a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about 10 minutes, however, something malfunctioned in the rocket’s third stage, causing the loss of the satellite.

Some antennas of the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (OV-LWA) with the center of the Milky Way in the background (Image courtesy Gregg Hallinan. All rights reserved)

A new radio telescope was recently activated in California, based at Caltech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO). It’s the Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (OV-LWA), a set of 256 small antennas developed by a consortium led by Caltech that includes NASA’s JPL, Harvard University, the University of New Mexico, Virginia Tech, and the Naval Research Laboratory. Its purpose is to observe the entire sky 24/7 at long radio wavelengths.

Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti during a press conference on November 22, 2014 (Photo ESA–S. Corvaja)

The schedule for the International Space Station crew rotation has been officially changed. Following the mishap with the Russian spacecraft Progress M-27M it was decided to postpone the launch of the next three members so the three ones of the Expedition 42/43 – Samantha Cristoforetti, Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov – will remain on the Station at least until the beginning of June.

Diagram showing the Andromeda galaxy, the halo that surrounds it and how its size was measured (Image NASA/STScI)

A team of scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the extent of the halo of the gas surrounds the Andromeda galaxy. It turned out to be much larger than expected stretching for about a million light-years from the galaxy. This means it reaches out to about half the distance that separates it from the Milky Way so if it was visible to the naked eye its size would be about a hundred times that of the full Moon. The results of this research were published in “Astrophysical Journal”.