Today's theme is the new mission. We're exploring space today for very different reasons than we were 50 years ago. We need whole new institutions - not just new technologies - to do it.

 What has changed, and what has stayed the same?

The TDRS-4 satellite was only designed for a 10-year mission. Now it's being retired after 23 years of service.

The International Space Station has raised its orbit in order to perform maintenance before the private SpaceX Dragon capsule arrives.

SpaceX has a new launch date of May 19. Here's NASA's statement about the exciting milestone.

Meanwhile, SpaceX has passed NASA's test of its crew cabin.

Here's a gorgeous video of the Northern Lights from orbit to remind us of the magic of why we go up there.

Image via Shutterstock.

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