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This still image taken from video provided by NASA shows U.S. astronaut Shane Kimbrough, left and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet during a space walk outside the International Space Station, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. The astronauts are taking another spacewalk to plug in new and better batteries outside the space station. It's the same type of job conducted last Friday. Pesquet is the first French spacewalker in 15 years. (NASA via AP)

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antarctica_ice_shelf_crack_11550.jpg

This Nov. 10, 2016 aerial photo released by NASA, shows a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf. According to NASA, IceBridge scientists measured the Larsen C fracture to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep. (John Sonntag/NASA via AP)

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antarctica_ice_shelf_crack_72083.jpg

This Nov. 10, 2016 aerial photo released by NASA, shows a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf. According to NASA, IceBridge scientists measured the Larsen C fracture to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep. (John Sonntag/NASA via AP)

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space_station_61191.jpg

In this still image taken from video provided by NASA, astronaut Peggy Whitson takes a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday, Jan. 6, 2016. Whitson and Commander Shane Kimbrough went spacewalking to hook up fancy new batteries on the International Space Station's sprawling power grid.(NASA via AP)

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In this image made from video provided by NASA, U.S. astronauts Peggy Whitson, left, and Shane Kimbrough speak from the International Space Station during an interview on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. The two are scheduled to perform spacewalks to replace batteries for the station on Friday and the following week. (NASA via AP)

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NASA research pilot John A. Manke is seen here in front of the M2-F3 lifting body. Manke was hired by NASA on May 25, 1962, as a flight research engineer. He was later assigned to the pilot's office and flew various support aircraft including the F-104, F-5D, F-111 and C-47. The M2-F3 reached a top speed of l,064 mph (Mach 1.6). Highest altitude reached by the vehicle was 7l,500 feet on December 21, 1972, the date of its last flight with NASA pilot John Manke at the controls. The information the lifting body program generated contributed to the data base that led to development of today's Space Shuttle program. NASA donated The M2-F3 vehicle to the Smithsonian Institution in December 1973.

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jupiter_mission.jpeg

This undated artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno spacecraft making one of its close passes over Jupiter. NASA said Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, that the Juno spacecraft circling Jupiter went into safe mode, turning off its camera and instruments. The space agency said the Juno craft is healthy as engineers try to figure out what went wrong. (NASA via AP)

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The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Orbital ATK's sixth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station is delivering over 5,100 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

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ADDS INFORMATION ON THE LAUNCH DELAY - A barricade warns visitors as workers do final preparations for the launch of Orbital ATK Antares rocket at the NASA Wallops Island flight facility in Wallops Island, Va., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. A bad cable delayed a rocket launch from Virginia on Sunday by a NASA shipper eager to make a strong comeback. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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antares_rocket_raising.jpeg

In this Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 photo, an Orbital ATK Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft is raised into the vertical position on launch Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 scheduled cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station would be the company’s first Antares launch since an explosion seconds after liftoff in 2014, which destroyed the rocket and space station supply ship, and damaged the launch complex. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

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This Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 photo provided by NASA shows damage to the roof of the Beach House during an aerial survey of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Hurricane Matthew passed to the east of the state on Oct. 6 and 7, 2016. (Cory Huston/NASA via AP)

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In this image provided by NASA shows NASA'S Journey to Mars. President Barack Obama sought Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, to reinvigorate his six-year-old call for the U.S. to send humans to Mars by the 2030s, a mission NASA has been slowly and quietly trudging away at. (NASA via AP)

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This image provided by NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 shows Pluto's moon, Charon, in a mosaic of photographs acquired by the New Horizons spacecraft during its approach to the system from July 7-14, 2016. A new study finds that Pluto is "spray-painting" the red poles of its big moon Charon. The coloration is from Pluto's continually escaping atmosphere and a reaction with solar radiation. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute via AP)

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NASA Rocket Test.jpg

NASA released footage of its Orbital ATK’s QM-2 solid rocket booster test on Aug. 5, 2016, which was taken by a High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X) camera. (YouTube, NASA)

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In this image made from video provided by NASA, astronaut Kate Rubins, right, speaks during an interview aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. At left is Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams. Rubins will attempt to complete the first full-blown DNA decoding, or “sequencing,” in orbit. The device will be delivered to the International Space Station in the next SpaceX delivery. (NASA via AP)

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This artist's rendering made available by NASA/JPL-Caltech on July 7, 2015 shows the Juno spacecraft above Jupiter. The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the planet on July 4, 2016 to begin a nearly year-long study of the gas giant. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)

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This May 12, 2016, file image provided by NASA shows the planet Mars. (NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team - STScI/AURA, J. Bell - ASU, M. Wolff - Space Science Institute via AP)

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This still image taken from NASA TV shows a commercial cargo ship named Cygnus about to connect to the International Space Station on Saturday, March 26, 2016. It's the first of three shipments coming up in quick succession. A Russian cargo ship will lift off in a few days, followed by a SpaceX supply run on April 8. NASA has turned to private industry to keep the space station stocked. (NASA via AP)

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North American X-15 Top Speed: 4,520 MPH A hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the X-plane series of experimental aircraft. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. As of September 2015, the X-15 holds the official world record for the highest speed ever recorded by a manned, powered aircraft. It could reach a top speed of 4,520 miles per hour (7,274 km/h), or Mach 6.72. During the X-15 program, 13 flights by eight pilots met the Air Force spaceflight criterion by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80 km), thus qualifying these pilots as being astronauts. The Air Force pilots qualified for astronaut wings immediately, while the civilian pilots were eventually awarded NASA astronaut wings in 2005, 35 years after the last X-15 flight. The only Navy pilot in the X-15 program never took the aircraft above the requisite 50 mile altitude and so as a result, never earned himself astronaut wings.

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A solar powered guardian device under development at NASA is meant to push a threatening asteroid off course, and away from Earth. It is part of a new planetary defense effort by the federal space agency against threats from asteroids, comets and other inbound objects. (Image from NASA)