Spaceflight Insider

  • Soyuz rocket successfully delivers EKS-2 early-warning satellite to rare orbit

    Curt GodwinMay 25th Shortly after 2:34 a.m. EDT (06:34 GMT), May 25, 2017, a Russian Soyuz lifted off from site No. 43 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome and delivered the second of the EKS series of early-warning satellites to a rare Tundra orbit.

  • Cassini prepares for sixth ring-grazing orbit

    Paul KnightlyMay 25th NASA's Cassini spacecraft is currently completing its fifth ring-grazing orbit of Saturn as it conducts its Grand Finale nearing the end of its mission. It will reach its orbital apoapsis on May 25 at 08:50 UTC (4:50 a.m. EDT), at which point its sixth ring-grazing orbit will begin. The sixth ring crossing of the Grand Finale will occur on May 28 at 14:22 UTC (10:22 a.m. EDT).

  • Psyche mission to reach metallic asteroid 4 years earlier

    Bart LeahyMay 24th NASA announced on May 24, 2017, that it would be launching the Discovery-class Psyche mission one year earlier, which will enable it to reach the nickel-iron asteroid Psyche four years earlier than previously planned. Thanks to spacecraft and trajectory redesigns, Psyche is now scheduled to launch in 2022 and will reach its destination in 2026.

  • NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne conduct 2nd RS-25 controller test

    Bart LeahyMay 24th On May 23, 2017, Aerojet Rocketdyne completed the second in a series of RS-25 engine firings, testing a new controller system. Formerly known as Space Shuttle Main Engines, the RS-25s are being upgraded to serve as the main engines for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) super-heavy-lift launch vehicle.

  • NASA officials detail FY 2018 budget proposal

    Derek RichardsonMay 24th The Trump administration released its Fiscal Year 2018 budget request for the federal government on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Much of what was proposed for NASA remains the same as what was seen in the “skinny budget” back in March, including the elimination of the agency’s Office of Education and several Earth Sciences missions.

  • Juno spacecraft makes fifth science pass of Jupiter

    Jim SharkeyMay 24th NASA's Juno mission made a close flyby of the planet Jupiter on May 19, successfully completing the spacecraft's fifth science orbit of the gas giant. JunoCam and all of the spacecraft's science instruments were operating during the flyby. Juno's next close flyby, which will take it over Jupiter's Great Red Spot, will take place on July 11, 2017.

  • Grabbe joins Astrobotic’s team

    Jason RhianMay 24th Google Lunar X PRIZE contestant Astrobotic, at one time considered by many to be the frontrunner in the effort to land the first commercial rover on the surface of the Moon (they have since dropped out of the contest), has tapped Kit Grabbe to serve as the organization's Principal Systems Engineer.

  • Astronauts perform contingency spacewalk to replace failed data relay box

    Derek RichardsonMay 23rd Just three days after the failure of a key data relay box, a contingency spacewalk was planned by ground teams and executed by International Space Station astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer to replace the component.

  • EKS marks the spot: Russia set to launch 2nd of 6 early-warning satellites

    Curt GodwinMay 23rd Russia looks to enhance its missile detection system with the launch of the second in a series of six early-warning satellites. The EKS-2 satellite, alternately classed as a member of the 'Tundra' family of launch detection spacecraft, is designed to replace Russia's aging early-warning infrastructure and is targeting a launch at 2:33 a.m. EDT (0633 GMT) on May 25, 2017, from the Plesetsk Cosmodro...

  • Visitors ‘dare mighty things’ at Explore JPL event

    Jerome StrachMay 22nd PASADENA, Calif. — On a 177-acre campus built into a mountainside, engineers and flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) offered their time to provide an experience for the public. For many, the Explore JPL event, which occurred on May 20–21, 2017, was a rare opportunity to visit the facilities that build and control spacecraft like Cassini, Voyagers 1 and 2, and the Curio...

  • NASA astronaut resigned in 2016 after fraud revelation, according to Gizmodo

    Jason RhianMay 22nd NASA is arguably one of the most positively viewed organizations in all of the federal government. However, over the last decade, a number of incidents have placed the space agency in a bad light. The most recent one was revealed in a Gizmodo report indicating an astronaut resigned late in 2016 after it was found they had fraudulently filed multiple travel reimbursement claims.

  • NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtains ‘opposition surge’ images of Ceres

    Ocean McIntyreMay 22nd After more than two years orbiting Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft continues to tease out remarkable science from the enigmatic dwarf planet. On April 29, mission specialists were able to successfully place Dawn into opposition – a position directly between the Sun and Ceres.

  • Soyuz rocket successfully delivers EKS-2 early-warning satellite to rare orbit

    Curt GodwinMay 25th Shortly after 2:34 a.m. EDT (06:34 GMT), May 25, 2017, a Russian Soyuz lifted off from site No. 43 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome and delivered the second of the EKS series of early-warning satellites to a rare Tundra orbit.

  • Psyche mission to reach metallic asteroid 4 years earlier

    Bart LeahyMay 24th NASA announced on May 24, 2017, that it would be launching the Discovery-class Psyche mission one year earlier, which will enable it to reach the nickel-iron asteroid Psyche four years earlier than previously planned. Thanks to spacecraft and trajectory redesigns, Psyche is now scheduled to launch in 2022 and will reach its destination in 2026.

  • NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne conduct 2nd RS-25 controller test

    Bart LeahyMay 24th On May 23, 2017, Aerojet Rocketdyne completed the second in a series of RS-25 engine firings, testing a new controller system. Formerly known as Space Shuttle Main Engines, the RS-25s are being upgraded to serve as the main engines for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) super-heavy-lift launch vehicle.

  • NASA officials detail FY 2018 budget proposal

    Derek RichardsonMay 24th The Trump administration released its Fiscal Year 2018 budget request for the federal government on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Much of what was proposed for NASA remains the same as what was seen in the “skinny budget” back in March, including the elimination of the agency’s Office of Education and several Earth Sciences missions.

  • Astronauts perform contingency spacewalk to replace failed data relay box

    Derek RichardsonMay 23rd Just three days after the failure of a key data relay box, a contingency spacewalk was planned by ground teams and executed by International Space Station astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer to replace the component.

  • EKS marks the spot: Russia set to launch 2nd of 6 early-warning satellites

    Curt GodwinMay 23rd Russia looks to enhance its missile detection system with the launch of the second in a series of six early-warning satellites. The EKS-2 satellite, alternately classed as a member of the 'Tundra' family of launch detection spacecraft, is designed to replace Russia's aging early-warning infrastructure and is targeting a launch at 2:33 a.m. EDT (0633 GMT) on May 25, 2017, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

  • NASA astronaut resigned in 2016 after fraud revelation, according to Gizmodo

    Jason RhianMay 22nd NASA is arguably one of the most positively viewed organizations in all of the federal government. However, over the last decade, a number of incidents have placed the space agency in a bad light. The most recent one was revealed in a Gizmodo report indicating an astronaut resigned late in 2016 after it was found they had fraudulently filed multiple travel reimbursement claims.

  • Contingency spacewalk required to replace failed relay box

    Derek RichardsonMay 21st A data relay box failure outside the International Space Station (ISS) has prompted mission managers to begin planning a contingency spacewalk. On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will venture outside the Quest airlock to replace the failed component.

  • Rocket Lab to send Electron on maiden launch

    Jerome StrachMay 20th Rocket Lab is set to send its first Electron rocket into space. Officially labeled by the company as “It’s a Test", the launch will occur at the firm's private Launch Complex 1 in Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. The company has a 10-day launch window starting at 9:00 a.m. local time on May 22, 2017, to get the vehicle off the ground.

  • Astronaut Hall of Fame welcomes Foale, Ochoa to its ranks

    Jason RhianMay 20th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Two NASA astronauts joined the elite ranks of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's $100 million Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. Given that both Michael Foale and Ellen Ochoa flew on OV-104 (Atlantis), the duo makes the Friday, May 19, ceremony all the more poignant.

  • Spaceflight Industries purchases dedicated Electron rocket

    Derek RichardsonMay 19th While Rocket Lab is gearing up to perform the maiden launch of its Electron rocket, SpaceFlight Industries announced that it has purchased a flight on a future Electron to increase the number of its dedicated ride-share missions.

  • Arianespace delivers all-electric SES-15 to GTO on Flight VS17

    Curt GodwinMay 18th French multinational launch provider Arianespace continues to successfully clear its mission backlog induced by the "social movement" in French Guiana earlier in 2017. The company's Europeanized Soyuz ST-A medium-class rocket took to the skies with the SES-15 communications satellite at 7:54 a.m. EDT (11:54 GMT) May 18, 2017, from the Guiana Space Center in South America.

  • Elysium Space extending memorial frontiers aboard SpaceX Falcon 9

    Bart LeahyMay 18th SpaceX has launched communications and reconnaissance satellites into Earth orbit and cargo to the International Space Station, but it'll be lofting something new on an upcoming flight. Elysium Space, a company specializing in “memorial spaceflights”, will be placing a satellite with the cremated remains of 100 people aboard a Falcon 9 rocket scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

  • SLS structural test article arrives at Marshall

    Scott JohnsonMay 17th HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — On May 15, NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) core stage engine section structural test article (STA) arrived at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama. The STA will soon be placed in a test stand located in MSFC's Building 4619 and subjected to extreme loads to certify the section for flight.

  • Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine test hardware suffers failure

    Derek RichardsonMay 16th In a tweet on Sunday, May 14, 2017, NewSpace company Blue Origin announced it had lost a set of powerpack test hardware for its BE-4 engine in development. No details were released as to what happened or why.

  • Good to go for GTO: Soyuz to launch SES-15 satellite from French Guiana

    Curt GodwinMay 16th Arianespace's Europeanized variant of the workhorse Russian Soyuz rocket stands ready to launch the SES-15 telecommunications satellite. The medium-class launch vehicle, known for decades of reliable launches to low-Earth orbit, is being tapped for its second mission to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from the Guiana Space Center.

  • Expendable Falcon 9 launches Inmarsat-5 F4

    Curt GodwinMay 15th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla — Clear skies and a setting sun provided a stunning backdrop as SpaceX launched an expendable Falcon 9 with the last of four Inmarsat-5 Global Xpress (GX) telecommunications satellites.

  • SFI LIVE: SpaceX launching Inmarsat-5 F4 communications satellite

    Derek RichardsonMay 15th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX has an expendable Falcon 9 rocket ready to launch the Inmarsat-5 Flight 4 communications satellite to geostationary transfer orbit.

  • SpaceX set to launch rare Falcon 9 for Inmarsat-5 F4 mission

    Curt GodwinMay 13th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — With the static fire successfully concluded, SpaceX is clear to begin final launch preparations of the rarest variant of the company's active Falcon 9 launch fleet as it readies to loft the fourth of the Inmarsat-5 series of communications satellites. The company is targeting a 50-minute launch window opening at 7:20 p.m. EDT (23:20 GMT) May 15, 2017, at Launch Complex 39A.

  • NASA: No crew to fly on EM-1

    Jason RhianMay 13th NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot and other NASA officials provided an overview of the feasibility study of having crew fly on the first flight of the agency's new super-heavy-lift rocket – the Space Launch System (SLS). Both the studies primary areas came up with one answer to the question of whether astronauts could be included on the mission: No.

    The Range
  • Cassini prepares for sixth ring-grazing orbit

    May 25th
    NASA's Cassini spacecraft is currently completing its fifth ring-grazing orbit of Saturn as it conducts its Grand Finale nearing the end of its mission. It will reach its orbital apoapsis on May 25 at 08:50 UTC (4:50 a.m. EDT), at which point its sixth ring-grazing orbit will begin. The sixth ring crossing of the Grand Finale will occur on May 28 at 14:22 UTC (10:22 a.m. EDT).

  • Juno spacecraft makes fifth science pass of Jupiter

    May 24th
    NASA's Juno mission made a close flyby of the planet Jupiter on May 19, successfully completing the spacecraft's fifth science orbit of the gas giant. JunoCam and all of the spacecraft's science instruments were operating during the flyby. Juno's next close flyby, which will take it over Jupiter's Great Red Spot, will take place on July 11, 2017.

  • Grabbe joins Astrobotic’s team

    May 24th
    Google Lunar X PRIZE contestant Astrobotic, at one time considered by many to be the frontrunner in the effort to land the first commercial rover on the surface of the Moon (they have since dropped out of the contest), has tapped Kit Grabbe to serve as the organization's Principal Systems Engineer.

  • Visitors ‘dare mighty things’ at Explore JPL event

    May 22nd
    PASADENA, Calif. — On a 177-acre campus built into a mountainside, engineers and flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) offered their time to provide an experience for the public. For many, the Explore JPL event, which occurred on May 20–21, 2017, was a rare opportunity to visit the facilities that build and control spacecraft like Cassini, Voyagers 1 and 2, and the Curiosity Mars rover.

  • NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtains ‘opposition surge’ images of Ceres

    May 22nd
    After more than two years orbiting Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft continues to tease out remarkable science from the enigmatic dwarf planet. On April 29, mission specialists were able to successfully place Dawn into opposition – a position directly between the Sun and Ceres.

  • Curt Brown tapped as Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Chairman

    May 21st
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has a new chairman: former shuttle astronaut Curt Brown. He will be taking the reins of the organization from fellow space flight veteran Dan Brandenstein. The announcement was made during the 2017 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame induction Gala.

  • Third largest dwarf planet found to have moon

    May 21st
    Dwarf planet 2007 OR10, the third largest of nine known dwarf planets in the Solar System, is orbited by a small moon, scientists discovered using current and archival images gathered by three separate observatories.

  • Van Allen Probes detect barrier around Earth

    May 20th
    New results from NASA's Van Allen Probes have revealed the impact humans have on the environment is not limited to physical and chemical effects on the Earth's surface, but it also includes radio frequencies extending out into space.

  • NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover begins study of ‘Perseverance Valley’

    May 19th
    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover has reached the main objective of its current two-year extended mission – an ancient fluid-carved ravine, called "Perseverance Valley", on the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

  • Cassini image shows Saturn heading toward solstice

    May 18th
    A visible-light image of Saturn and one side of its rings taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on February 3, 2017, shows the planet's shrinking shadow on the rings as it approaches its May 2017 solstice.

  • Photo Gallery: SpaceX ramps up launch rate with Inmarsat-5 F4 mission

    May 17th

  • Alien planet-hunting camera successfully tested at International Space Station

    May 17th
    A highly advanced and specialized university-built camera has been successfully tested at the International Space Station (ISS). The instrument, known as the Charge Injection Device (CID), is designed to capture light from distant faint objects such as extrasolar worlds.

  • ‘Warm Neptune’ HAT-P-26b has primitive atmosphere

    May 16th
    Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, announced in a paper published on May 12, 2017, an exoplanet designated HAT-P-26b, which was confirmed in 2010, has a primitive atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

  • James Webb Space Telescope prepares for deep freeze

    May 15th
    The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) continued its long and meandering journey to space with a stop in Houston, Texas. The telescope has been moved to Johnson Space Center so it can undergo the last cryogenic test before the massive observatory is launched into space in 2018.

  • Nearby brown dwarf turns out to be a free-floating planetary-like object

    May 15th
    A new study has found that one of the nearest brown dwarfs to our Solar System, designated SIMP J013656.5+093347 (SIMP0136 for short), might actually be a planetary-mass object.