Whether or not they get their electricity from solar panels, satellites still need fuel to keep themselves from eventually crashing back to Earth in an apocalyptic fireball that might, but probably won't, land right on your head. The only way to extend their lifespan is with in-flight refueling, and a new gas station on the ISS might make that possible.
On June 14, 1967 the Mariner 5 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, FL. Originally constructed as a backup, it was repurposed for a Venus flyby after Mariner 4 successfully completed its mission. Four months after takeoff, Mariner 5 got about 2,500 miles from Venus and came closer to the Sun than any previous probe.
The insignia on the side of Russia's Beriev A-60 shows a lightning bolt blasting what looks a lot like the Hubble Space Telescope. That's made more suspicious by the plane's megawatt laser turret hidden in the back that only points upward. Hubble doesn't seem like it would be much of a threat to anyone, but you do the math.
When Endeavour returned to Earth on June 1st, it marked the last flight for the spacecraft and the second to last flight of the entire Space Shuttle program. These 23 pictures were taken during the past few weeks as Endeavour carried out her last mission, and the image you're looking at above is especially wild.
See that? That gigantic solar explosion just barely missed the Earth. You probably didn't need to head to your nearest bomb shelter (you do know where your nearest bomb shelter is, right?), but here's some of the effects that solar storms can have on our planet.
This is an image from Landsat 5 taken on June fifth, showing what the scar from the EF3 tornado that tore through Massachusetts on June first looks like from 438 miles up in space.
After one intrepid Google Mars user reported spotting a structure on the surface of Mars, the Internet at large took it way too seriously, as the Internet is wont to do. But someone actually bothered to ask the guy in charge of one of the telescopic cameras currently orbiting Mars what the deal is, and his take probably won't surprise you. Or maybe it will.
Copenhagen Suborbitals launched their homebuilt, $70,000 HEAT-1X rocket for the first time today, complete with the Tycho Brahe single person standing room only spacecraft on top. After a few minor delays, everything went more or less according to plan. Well, everything except for the parachute deployment, that is.
On June 3, 1965, Gemini 4 launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Florida. For the first time ever, individuals around the world were able to view a take-off live — thanks to the Early Bird Satellite. And on the same day, Ed White made the United States' first spacewalk.
Think camping out in the great outdoors and earning all those badges in the Boy or Girl Scouts was impressive? Try pitching a tent on Mars and setting up a Sabatier reactor for producing water, fuel and oxygen to survive Mars' CO2 landscape.