On December 14, 2009 at 14:09 UTC a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket successfully boosted the WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) space telescope into polar orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The two-stage rocket-carrier deployed the craft into an orbit 325 miles above Earth. NASA promises to discover millions of objects never seen before and revolutionize our view of the Universe.
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer will use advanced technologies to scan the sky with the clarity of a modern digital camera to reveal asteroids, comets, brown dwarfs, ultraluminous galaxies and new born stars that humans haven't laid eyes on.
On November 30, 2009 the Manu Karere rocket was lifted off at 2.28 p.m. (local time) from Great Mercury Island (New Zealand) and performed an exemplary 22 second burn.
It was a 6-metre-long, 60kg rocket Atea-1. The rocket reached its target speed of up to Mach 5, or 5000 km/h, reaching at least 100 km altitude and spent between 10 and 20 minutes in the sky before splashing down.
The rocket was named Manu Karere which means Bird Messenger. The rocket was made by the Rocket Lab private company.
It is the first time a privately-owned rocket has been launched in the southern hemisphere.
On November 28, 2009 Japan successfully orbited an information gathering satellite.
A Japanese H-2A rocket carrying the satellite lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture at 10:21 a.m. local time (01:21 GMT).
Japan's national space agency JAXA launched the satellite, the third of its kind, to replace an earlier model. Japan spent $566 million to design the satellite, and it cost another $109 million to build and launch the rocket.
China's Xinhua news agency said the satellite whose digital cameras can identify objects of around 60 cm in size from space would reportedly be used to watch missile and military developments in North Korea.
On November 27, 2009 the "Atlantis” American space shuttle (STS-129) landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 14:44 UTC (9:44 a.m. EST).
The crew, led by U.S. astronaut Charles Hobaugh, spent a week at the station, delivering equipment including gyroscopes, thermal control components, and an oxygen tank, and carried out three spacewalks to install devices and conduct repairs.
For the return journey, the crew was joined by ISS flight engineer Nicole Stott, who had been on board the orbital station for three months.<
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Space shuttle Atlantis and its seven-astronaut crew undocked from the International Space Station at 4:43 a.m. EST (09:43 UTC) on November 25, 2009.
Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Friday.
The 11-day Atlantis mission will return ISS crew member Nicole Stott to Earth and is expected to be the final space shuttle crew rotation flight. Stott spent two and a half months on board the ISS.
When the mission completed, only five U.S. space shuttle flights will remain before the shuttle fleet is retired next year. Russian, European and Japanese space freighters will keep the ISS supplied until NASA deploys its new capsule-style Orion spacecraft.