Monday morning outer-space thread

Three Chinese astronauts made a jubilant return to Earth on Sunday after successfully completing the country's first-ever spacewalk, an event the premier said was "a stride forward" in China's space history. | link |

Trailing an orange pillar of flame, a rocket designed and built by a company founded by a Silicon Valley billionaire became the first privately developed, privately financed rocket to reach Earth's orbit today, potentially blazing a much cheaper pathway to space. | link |

and, by contrast
Those who keep tabs on NASA's fortunes worry that the agency's plan to return Americans to the moon in a decade won't amount to more than a cluster of plywood frames in a hangar. As NASA marks its 50th anniversary Wednesday, space experts say NASA is adrift, its future disturbingly murky. | link |

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