U.S. Pentagon To Buy Satellites

The Pentagon will buy and operate one or two commercial imagery satellites and plans to design and build another with more sophisticated spying capabilities, according to government and private industry officials.

The satellites could spy on enemy troop movements, spot construction at suspected nuclear sites and alert commanders to new militant training camps.

The Broad Area Surveillance Intelligence Capability (BASIC) satellite system will cost between $2 billion and $4 billion. It would add to the secret constellation of satellites that now circle the Earth, producing still images that are pieced together into one large mosaic.

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NASA Aircraft Deploying to Cold Lake

As the summer fire season heats up, NASA aircraft are set to follow the trail of smoke plumes from some of Earth's northernmost forest fires, examining their contribution to arctic pollution and implications for climate change.

Starting June 29, NASA's DC-8 and P-3B aircraft, based at [14 Wing] Cold Lake, Alberta, will begin their final three-week deployment of the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites, or ARCTAS, mission. A third NASA aircraft, the B-200 King Air, will fly from Yellowknife, Canada. The mission is the most extensive field campaign ever to study the chemistry of the Arctic's lower atmosphere. The three airborne laboratories are equipped to fly through the smoke plumes of northern-latitude forest fires. The resulting data, when combined with simultaneous satellite measurements, could reveal the impact of forest fires on the arctic atmosphere.

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Discovery Has Landed Safely

Space shuttle Discovery and its crew landed at 11:15 a.m. EDT Saturday, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., completing a 14-day journey of more than 5.7 million miles in space.

The STS-124 mission was the second of three flights to launch components to the International Space Station to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. Discovery delivered Kibo's tour bus-sized Japanese Pressurized Module, or JPM, which is the station's largest module. The mission included three spacewalks to install and outfit the JPM and activate its robotic arm system. The lab's logistics module, which was delivered and installed in a temporary location in March, was attached to its permanent position on top of the JPM.

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PreSat and NanoSail-D Beacon Alerts

Santa Clara University students invite amateur radio operators worldwide to participate with them by receiving beacon signals from PreSat and NanoSail-D, two pioneering cubesat missions that will launch from the Reagan Test Site (Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of Marshall Islands) on June 23, 2008 at about 7:00 pm PDT. Both spacecraft will go into Low Earth Orbit as secondary payloads aboard a SpaceX Falcon-1 launch vehicle. The vehicles will be launched into a 685x330 km, 9 degree orbit, with line of site communications only possible at low latitudes. PreSat is a 10 x 10 x 30 cm. spacecraft, that will evaluate the performance of a generic biofluidic sample management and handling system for future advanced in situ spaceborne biology experiments. NanoSail-D is a 10 x 10 x 30 cm. spacecraft, which will deploy a solar sail that also will be used as a drag sail to demonstrate orbital debris mitigation technology. These missions follow the earlier efforts of Santa Clara U. students in launching Genesat 1, in 2006.

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Discovery Set to Land Saturday

The space shuttle Discovery crew is expected to complete its 14-day flight to the International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:15 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 14.

The STS-124 mission began May 31 and delivered two new sections of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory to the station. During three spacewalks, the crew installed the Japanese Pressurized Module, or JPM, and Kibo's robotic arm system. Kibo's logistics module, which had been attached temporarily to the Harmony node during the STS-123 mission in March, was attached to the JPM. The flight also delivered station resident Greg Chamitoff to the outpost. Discovery will return with Garrett Reisman, who spent three months aboard the complex.

NASA managers will evaluate weather conditions at Kennedy before permitting Discovery to return to Earth. Saturday landing opportunities at Kennedy are at 11:15 a.m. and 12:50 p.m.

Crews Prepare for Discovery's Departure

The crews of space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station will prepare for the end of joint operations today.

The astronauts will transfer spacewalk equipment and at least one spacesuit back to Discovery. They will enjoy some off-duty time and also will check out the tools and equipment needed for undocking activities.

At 3:57 p.m. EDT, the two crews will bid farewell to one another and close the hatches between Discovery and the station.

Discovery is scheduled to undock from the station at 7:42 a.m. Wednesday and begin its journey back to Kennedy Space Center, Fla., landing Saturday at 11:15 a.m.

Fallen soldier, Capt. Jon Snyder Returning Home

Our fallen soldier, Captain Jonathan (Jon) Sutherland Snyder, a member of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta, is scheduled to return home to Canada tomorrow.

Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.

When: Wednesday, June 11, 2008, 2 p.m.

What: At the wishes of the family, there will be no media permitted on the tarmac and no interviews will be given.

Present to pay their respects will be the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.

Captain Snyder was killed Saturday, June 7, after falling into a well while conducting a night time security patrol in Zhari District, Afghanistan.

Canadian Soldier Dies on Night Foot Patrol

A Canadian soldier died Saturday after tumbling into a deep well during a night foot patrol in the Zhari district, a restive area southwest of Kandahar.

Capt. Jonathan Sutherland Snyder, a member of the First Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton, Alta., is the second officer to die while on duty in the war-ravaged country in less than a week.

“This tragic accident has deeply impacted us all,” Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, said in a prepared statement Sunday morning.

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Natynczyk Appointed as CF CDS

The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement today appointing Lt.-Gen. Walt Natynczyk as the new Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS). The appointment will be effective following the Change of Command ceremony which will take place in the coming weeks.

"I am very pleased that the command of the Canadian Forces is now being passed to the very capable hands of Lt.-Gen. Natynczyk, said Minister MacKay. “Lt.-Gen. Natynczyk assumes the position at a very important time for the Canadian Forces. His leadership and experience will be invaluable as we continue to move forward with the Canada First Defence Strategy and our mission in Afghanistan.  I have complete confidence in his ability to build on the foundation laid by General Rick Hillier."

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Fallen Soldier, Capt. Richard Leary Returning Home

Our fallen soldier, Captain Richard (Steve) Leary, a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba, is scheduled to return home to Canada tomorrow.

Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.

When: Friday, June 6, 2008, 2 p.m.

What: Media are invited to view the arrival; however, no interviews will be given.

Present to pay their respects will be the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.

Captain Leary was killed June 3, 2008, in a fire fight after the foot patrol he was leading came under small arms fire from insurgents in the Panjwayi District in Afghanistan.

Canadian Soldier Killed in Panjwaii District

Taliban militants killed a Canadian platoon commander in Afghanistan on Tuesday as he tried to guide his soldiers to safety, in an area of farmland west of Kandahar.

Capt. Richard (Steve) Leary, 32, was leading Canadian and Afghan troops in a foot patrol in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province when they were ambushed by small arms fire shortly after 9 a.m. local time.

The soldiers returned fire, then repositioned under Leary's leadership in what became a half-hour-long battle. Close air support was called in and the insurgents were pushed back.

Leary was struck at about 9:30 a.m., said Colonel Jamie Cade during a news conference.

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