Mishap ends NASA robotic test craft mission early
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. A mishap in space has brought an early end to the mission of a computer-controlled robotic spacecraft.NASA says the spacecraft came within 300 feet of a Pentagon satellite last night, then ended its approach and sent itself into orbit.
The 800-pound craft was launched from an aircraft yesterday.
The mission was supposed to last 24 hours. It was intended to help lay the groundwork for future projects like robotic delivery of cargo to space shuttles and automated docking between orbiting spacecraft.
A NASA spokesman says the mission "did accomplish many of its objectives." It was able to track the satellite 472 miles above Earth without the help of astronauts or human controllers.
NASA is convening an investigation board to determine what went wrong.
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