Radarsat-2 gets ready for launch  (Source: CSA)
Radarsat-2 launches; Epoxi will look at a different satellite; and the ISS crew will conduct a spacewalk

The oft-delayed Canadian Radarsat-2 Earth observation satellite finally launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket vehicle.  The Canadian Space Agency expects the 4,850-pound satellite to capture high-quality radar images "as sharp as 10 feet and as as wide as 328 feet."

Radarsat-2 spent the past 10 years in mechanical gridlock due to Canadian space issues.  Canadian space and military officials specifically want Radarsat-2 to closely monitor the Canadian Arctic, while it orbits more than 800 kilometers above the Earth -- CSA also designed it to monitor marine surveillance, disaster management and global mapping while in orbit.

NASA will have its Epoxi spacecraft conduct a flyby of Comet Hartley 2 on Oct. 11, 2010, NASA announced in a press release during the American Geophysical Union.  The U.S. space agency originally was supposed to fly by comet Boethin, but Boethlin could not be found.  Astronomers hope Hartley 2 shows characteristics of other comets in the area, which will allow NASA to finally define the comets.  Mission managers have already reset the satellite's course towards the comet.

"When comet Boethin could not be located, we went to our backup, which is every bit as interesting but about two years farther down the road," said Tom Duxbury, Epoxi project manager working at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will conduct a space walk next week aimed at observing the troublesome joint responsible for moving a pair of solar panels.  The shuttle Atlantis crew was supposed to carry out the spacewalk, but problematic fuel gauges put the space walk burden on the ISS crew.  Two astronauts will walk out and observe the joint, with a third astronaut inside the station monitoring progress on cameras.

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