In this Sept. 25 photo, a Minotaur 4 rocket carrying the Space Based Space Surveillance satellite blasts off and heads toward orbit at 9:41 p.m., at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The satellite is designed to detect and monitor debris, satellites and other space objects that could be a threat to national security, communications and weather satellites. Andrew Lee/US Air Force/AP
The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft is seen as it lands near the town of Arkalyk, northern Kazakhstan September 25. A Soyuz capsule carrying Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko, and NASA's Tracy Caldwell Dyson came back to Earth from the International Space Station and landed safely in Kazakhstan on Saturday, a day after an initial attempt to return was aborted after latches holding the Soyuz TMA-18 craft to the orbital station failed to open. Maxim Shipenkov/Reuters
US astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson (l.), and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov (c.) and Mikhail Kornienko sit outside a Soyuz capsule just minutes after they landed near the town of Arkalyk, northern Kazakhstan September 25. The trio returned from the International Space Station and landed safely in Kazakhstan on Saturday, a day after an initial attempt to return was aborted after latches holding the Soyuz TMA-18 craft to the orbital station failed to open. Bill Ingalls/NASA/Reuters
The entrance to the San Jose copper and gold mine (white area just above and left of center), where 33 miners have been trapped since an accident on August 5, is seen near Copiapo (bottom), some 725 km (450 miles) north of Santiago, in this NASA satellite image taken Sept. 16 and released Sept. 25. NASA/Reuters
This false-color composite image, released by NASA September 23, is constructed from data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the glow of auroras streaking out about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the cloud tops of Saturn's south polar region, It is among the first images released from a study that identifies images showing auroral emissions out of the entire catalogue of images taken by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer.The composite image was made from 65 individual observations by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer on Nov. 1, 2008. University of Arizona/University of Leicester/JPL/NASA/Reuters
The moon is seen during the September or autumnal equinox at the Kokino megalithic observatory, in the northwestern town of Kumanovo, 43 miles north from Skopje, Macedonia, Sept. 23. The 3,800-year-old observatory was discovered in 2001 and is ranked as the fourth oldest observatory in the world, according to NASA. Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters
An animated image of the new Mars rover Curiosity is shown on a screen as engineers work on the rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Sept. 16. Curiosity is expected to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011. Jae C. Hong/AP
The Global Hawk is a robotic plane that can fly autonomously to altitudes above 60,000 feet -- twice as high as a commercial airliner -- and as far as 11,000 nautical miles -- half the circumference of Earth. Tony Landis/NASA
This photograph shows the Laser Ranging Facility at the Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The observatory helps NASA keep track of orbiting satellites. In this image, the lower of the two green beams is from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's dedicated tracker. The other laser originates from another ground system at the facility. Both beams are pointed at the moon -- specifically at LRO in orbit around the moon. NASA
Filled with trash and discarded items, the unpiloted ISS Progress 38 supply vehicle departed from the International Space Station at 7:22 a.m. (EDT) on Aug. 31. Russian flight controllers conduct thruster tests with the Progress to gather engineering data until it deorbited and burned up in Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. Its departure cleared the way for the arrival of the next Russian resupply vehicle, ISS Progress 39, Sept. 12. That vehicle delivered 2.5 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 24 crew. NASA
President Obama addressed concerns that Washington seems to give its most important Arab ally a pass on the terrorist funding that flows from the kingdom and about human rights abuses.
ByJulie Pace, Associated Press
President Barack Obama defended the U.S. government's willingness to cooperate closely with Saudi Arabia on national security despite deep concerns over human rights abuses, as he led an array of current and former American statesmen in paying respects Tuesday following the death of King Abdullah.