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Best Space Photos of the Week — March 15, 2015

Spectacular Night Launch Sends NASA Satellites on Hunt for Magnetic Collisions

NASA

NASA has successfully launched a quartet of satellites into orbit to study energy eruptions in Earth’s magnetic field caused by space weather. The satellites were launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. [Read the Full Story]

Click through this gallery to see more amazing space photos from the week.

World's Largest Solid Rocket Booster Fired in Ground Test for NASA

NASA TV

A giant rocket booster designed to help boost NASA’s next megarocket, the Space Launch System, soar into space roared to life in the Utah proving grounds of Orbital ATK on Wednesday, March 11. What it means for NASA’s new rocket. [Read the Full Story]

Sun Unleashes 1st Monster Solar Flare of 2015 (Photos, Video)

NASA/SDO

The sun unleashed its first superpowerful flare of 2015 today (March 11), and the intense eruption was aimed directly at Earth. [Read the Full Story]

US-Russian Space Station Crew Headed Back to Earth

NASA TV

An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are headed back to Earth tonight (March 11) after undocking from the International Space Station. [Read the Full Story]

US-Russian Space Crew Returns to Earth After 167 Days in Orbit

NASA TV

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft has returned three space travelers to Earth, wrapping up a six-month trek to the International Space Station. The Soyuz is due to land at 10:07 pm ET in Kazakhstan, where the local time will be early Thursday. [Read the Full Story]

World View Makes 1st Commercial Balloon Flight to Near Space

World View

A company that plans to send tourists to near-space by balloon has just completed its first commercial flight. [Read the Full Story]

Trifid Nebula Glows in Stunning Photo By Amateur Astronomer

Navaneeth Unnikrishnan

Astrophotographer Navaneeth Unnikrishnan captured the star factory using a DSLR camera and tracking mounted telescopes. [Read the Full Story]

On Mars, Opportunity Rover Spots Weird Rocks Near Marathon Finish Line

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is taking a break in the home stretch of its Red Planet marathon to study some rocks the likes of which it's never seen before. [Read the Full Story]

Lockheed's 'Jupiter' Space Tug Could Fly to Space Station, Moon and Beyond

Lockheed Martin Space Systems

The aerospace firm Lockheed Martin has unveiled a new spaceflight architecture that it says could take cargo to the International Space Station and help facilitate humanity's spread out into the solar system. [Read the Full Story]

NASA Eyeing Landing Site for 2016 Mars Mission

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA is leaning toward one particularly smooth patch of terrain just north of the Martian equator as the landing site for its next robotic Red Planet explorer. [Read the Full Story]

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