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Spaceport announcement a 'momentous occasion'

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has hailed the Government's move to potentially build the UK's first spaceport.

Sir Richard, who is planning to get paying passengers into orbit, told ITV News that it was a "brave" plan and that it was "tremendous news for Britain going forward".

Read more: Eight sites shortlisted for Britain's first spaceport

Read: Possible UK spaceport sites to be announced


German astronaut watches World Cup final in space

Astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted a celebratory picture from space last night after his native Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup final.


Just like our @dfb_team_en I have fantastic support from my crew. Congrats from #ISS to the #WorldChamp. Great game!


The astronaut is currently onboard the International Space Station where he tweeted "congratulations" to the World Cup winners.

Pictures: Rihanna poses with German stars and cup after final

Possible UK spaceport sites to be announced

A list of eight possible locations across the UK for the first British spaceport will be announced this week at the Farnborough air show.

Representatives from the UK Space Agency will join government ministers to reveal the potential locations for a dedicated spaceport which they hope will be ready by 2018.

Virgin Galactic's rocket SpaceShipTwo Credit: Virgin Galactic

As part of ambitious plans the Government aims to capture 10% of the world's space market by 2030, citing figures that the UK sector has grown by just over 7% in the past two years, making it worth £11 billion and employing 34,000 people.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, who will make the announcement on Tuesday, said: "This week we will announce the next steps for this country's space race and how we will take one giant leap towards creating the first British spaceport, making space travel one step closer for all".

First of three 'supermoons' lights up the sky

The "supermoon" rises over houses in Olvera, Spain.
The "supermoon" rises over houses in Olvera, Spain. Credit: Reuters

The first of three anticipated "supermoons" was seen around the world last night.

A super moon is seen next to Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest broadcasting tower.
The "perigree moon" is seen next to Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest broadcasting tower. Credit: Reuters

The "perigree moon" phenomenon - which occurs when the moon reaches the closest point on its elliptical orbit - makes the satellite appear larger and brighter than usual.

A moon is seen over the neighbourhood of Vasco da Gama in Brazil.
A moon is seen over the neighbourhood of Vasco da Gama in Brazil. Credit: Reuters

It is the first of three anticipated in as many months - with the others expected on 10 August and 9 September.

Mystery 'blob' emitting cosmic rays discovered

Scientists have found an unusual "hot spot" centered just below the best-known star constellation visible from Earth, the Plough, which could help explain a decades-long mystery.

The 'blob', situated two hand-widths below the "handle" of the Plough, an arrangement of seven stars within the Great Bear constellation, may shed new light on the origin of ultra-high energy cosmic rays, scientists said.

This map, created by the University of Tokyo Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, shows where the "hot spot"  is in the northern sky.
This map, created by the University of Tokyo Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, shows where the "hot spot" is in the northern sky. Credit: PA

While lower energy cosmic rays come from stars, the origin of the highest energy rays still cannot be fully explained.

"All we see is a blob in the sky, and inside this blob there is all sorts of stuff - various types of objects that could be the source," said US astronomer Professor Gordon Thomson, from the University of Utah.

"Now we know where to look," added Prof Thomson.


Nasa astronauts hold a kick-about in zero gravity

The International Space Station crew have got into the World Cup spirit, by holding a zero gravity kick-about 155 miles above the Earths surface.

Commander Steve Swanson along with astronauts Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst are seen volleying and saving the ball in their living quarters to show their support.

The video obtained from NASA TV contains no sound.

More: World Cup 2014 kicks-off in Brazil today

New planet dubbed 'mega-Earth' discovered

A new rocky planet dubbed a "mega-Earth" has been discovered in a distant star system.

The heavyweight world is up to 17 times more massive than the Earth, scientists announced.

A new planet, known as Kepler-10c, has been discovered Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/PA

According to scientists, the planet should have evolved over time into a gaseous "mini-Neptune."

Instead, Kepler-10c has managed to remain solid despite being more than twice as old as the Earth.

"We were very surprised when we realised what we had found," said astronomer Dr Xavier Dumusque, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who has led the research.

The discovery suggests that potentially life-bearing rocky planets may be far more abundant than was thought, and some could be immensely ancient.

Cornish radio enthusiasts get message from outer space

Members of a Cornish radio who sent a morse code message to a Jupiter-bound satellite were surprised to receive a reply from Nasa.

Enthusiasts from the Poldhu Amateur Radio Club, sent the word 'hi' into space and they were amazed to hear that it was intercepted by the Juno spacecraft before it began its five-year mission to Jupiter.

Juno spacecraft above Jupiter's North Pole Credit: NASA

In 2011 radio clubs around the globe were asked to try to contact Juno on its orbit around the Earth.

Three years on, a letter was sent to enthusiasts Cliff Malcolm, Keith Matthew, Les Jones and Dave Usher thanking them for their contact

Read: Nasa's latest spacesuit revealed

Nasa's latest spacesuit revealed

Nasa's new Z-2 suit will be used one day to explore Mars Credit: Nasa

Nasa has finalised the look of its newest spacesuit, thanks to a public vote.

The US space exploration agency revealed this week the prototype Z-2 spacesuit which sports a hard cover-layer with glow-in-the-dark patterns, similar to those seen in sci-fi movie 'Tron'.

Future variations of this suit will be used to allow astronauts to explore the surface of Mars.

This layer, dubbed 'Technology', won Nasa's spacesuit design challenge with 147,354 votes, just over 63% of the total votes cast.

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