Spaceflight Insider

  • Vector, Virginia Space announce upcoming orbital launches from Wallops

    Jason RhianOctober 22nd NewSpace continues to make progress in terms of expanding its presence in the establishment. This past week, it was announced that nanosatellite launch service provider Vector had inked a deal with the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to conduct three commercial flights out of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) over the course of the next two years with possibly five additional l...

  • NASA gives Dawn mission second extension

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 22nd NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting Ceres since March 2015, has just been given a second extension, which will be used to bring the probe into the closest orbit yet around the dwarf planet.

  • Blue Origin conducts first hot-fire test of BE-4 engine

    Bart LeahyOctober 21st Blue Origin is moving forward with its rocket development program, hot-firing a 550,000-pound-force (2,446.5-kilonewton) thrust liquid natural gas / liquid oxygen BE-4 engine at its facility in Texas this week.

  • Gallery: Cygnus OA-8 named after late Moonwalker

    Derek RichardsonOctober 21st WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — The next Cygnus bound for the International Space Station has a name: The S.S. Gene Cernan. Liftoff is currently scheduled for 7:37 a.m. EDT (11:37 GMT) Nov. 11, 2017.

  • Mars hydrothermal deposits hint at habitable conditions

    Ocean McIntyreOctober 21st A recent report in Nature Communications indicates that ancient Mars may have had deep sea-floor hydrothermal activity. Hydrothermal deposits on Earth are associated with the earliest signs of life and habitable environments today. Their detection on Mars has implications for the possibility of ancient life on the Red Planet.

  • Reconstructing Cassini’s final moments

    Jim SharkeyOctober 21st During the Cassini spacecraft's final plunge into Saturn's upper atmosphere on Sept.15, 2017, the spacecraft live-streamed data from eight of its science instruments, providing readings from a variety of engineering systems. While it will take time to analyze all of the data from its plunge, engineers with the Cassini team already have a pretty clear understanding of how the spacecraft behaved as...

  • Astronauts complete 3rd spacewalk in 2 weeks

    Derek RichardsonOctober 21st International Space Station Expedition 53 astronauts Randy Bresnik and Joe Acaba stepped outside for the third spacewalk this month dedicated toward outpost maintenance activities.

  • Iridium-4 mission slips to December, taps ‘flight-proven’ Falcon 9 for launch

    Curt GodwinOctober 20th Though Iridium Communications is now targeting a launch date near the end of the year for the Iridium-4 mission, the company demonstrated its faith in the quality of SpaceX's hardware and refurbishing regime by opting to fly on a "flight-proven" Falcon 9 first stage.

  • Musk provides more insight on SpaceX’s Mars ambitions

    Curt GodwinOctober 20th Less than a month after Elon Musk revealed SpaceX's updated Mars mission architecture at the 2017 International Astronautical Congress, the billionaire CEO made himself available to the public to answer further questions about the company's ambitious undertaking. In a surprise tweet on Oct. 14, 2017, the SpaceX founder gave short notice to taking part in an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) on the popular w...

  • SpaceX mum about November ‘mystery’ launch

    Jason RhianOctober 20th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Much like the tile-matching video game of the same name, what the payload could be for a suggested Nov. 10, 2017, SpaceX "mystery" launch remains a puzzle. As was reported on SpaceFlight Now, regulatory findings suggest the company could attempt a launch 11 days after the planned Oct. 30 flight of Koreasat 5A.

  • Facebook Live chat kicks off ‘Year of Education’ at ISS

    Benjamin O'BrienOctober 20th NASA’s Year of Education on Station kicked off on October 16, 2017, via Facebook Live, when NASA Public Affairs Officers Brandi Dean and Kirk Shireman contacted NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli up at the ISS to talk with students and teachers across the nation about their lives on the station and the work they do.

  • Tiangong-1 space laboratory to crash to Earth within months

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 20th It could be just a matter of few weeks or months before China’s Tiangong-1 space laboratory will fall to Earth. The spacecraft is continuing its gradual descent toward the surface after control over the mission was lost in early 2016.

  • Blue Origin conducts first hot-fire test of BE-4 engine

    Bart LeahyOctober 21st Blue Origin is moving forward with its rocket development program, hot-firing a 550,000-pound-force (2,446.5-kilonewton) thrust liquid natural gas / liquid oxygen BE-4 engine at its facility in Texas this week.

  • Astronauts complete 3rd spacewalk in 2 weeks

    Derek RichardsonOctober 21st International Space Station Expedition 53 astronauts Randy Bresnik and Joe Acaba stepped outside for the third spacewalk this month dedicated toward outpost maintenance activities.

  • Iridium-4 mission slips to December, taps ‘flight-proven’ Falcon 9 for launch

    Curt GodwinOctober 20th Though Iridium Communications is now targeting a launch date near the end of the year for the Iridium-4 mission, the company demonstrated its faith in the quality of SpaceX's hardware and refurbishing regime by opting to fly on a "flight-proven" Falcon 9 first stage.

  • SpaceX mum about November ‘mystery’ launch

    Jason RhianOctober 20th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Much like the tile-matching video game of the same name, what the payload could be for a suggested Nov. 10, 2017, SpaceX "mystery" launch remains a puzzle. As was reported on SpaceFlight Now, regulatory findings suggest the company could attempt a launch 11 days after the planned Oct. 30 flight of Koreasat 5A.

  • Tiangong-1 space laboratory to crash to Earth within months

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 20th It could be just a matter of few weeks or months before China’s Tiangong-1 space laboratory will fall to Earth. The spacecraft is continuing its gradual descent toward the surface after control over the mission was lost in early 2016.

  • ULA, Bigelow Aerospace set sights on lunar orbit outpost

    Bart LeahyOctober 19th United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Bigelow Aerospace are teaming up to send an inflatable space station to low-lunar orbit by 2022. The effort will feature a series of launches aboard ULA’s new Vulcan rocket using its Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) to make Bigelow’s B330 habitat a depot to facilitate future exploration and development of the Moon.

  • Merging neutron stars emit both gravitational waves and light

    Laurel KornfeldOctober 18th In a major milestone for astronomy, the merger of two neutron stars in the galaxy NGC 4993 produced both gravitational waves and light, enabling scientists to observe the event in various wavelengths and pinpoint its source.

  • Debris disks may be signposts of giant exoplanets

    Ocean McIntyreOctober 17th Observations of star systems by an international group of researchers suggest that debris disks around stars may be indicative of giant exoplanets.

  • ULA launches classified NROL-52 mission for the NRO

    Jason RhianOctober 15th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — With a mighty roar, United Launch Alliance (ULA) finally launched the classified NROL-52 mission at 3:28 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, from Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida. The early morning flight marked the fourth mission of 2017 carried out on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the sixth flight of the year for the Atlas V rocket.

  • Progress MS-07 launches toward the International Space Station

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 14th Russia's Progress MS-07 cargo craft launched toward the International Space Station (ISS) at 4:46 a.m. EDT (08:46 GMT) Oct. 14, 2017, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome located in Kazakhstan. The cargo vessel was sent aloft atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket with liftoff taking place two days later than originally planned as the first attempt was scrubbed because of an undisclosed issue within the final minute of the countdown.

  • Sentinel-5P rides to orbit on former ICBM launcher

    Lloyd CampbellOctober 13th A Rockot three-stage launcher provided the boost into orbit for the European Space Agency’s newest environmental observation satellite, the Sentinel-5 Precursor – also known as Sentinel-5P.

  • Launch of Soyuz 2.1a with Progress MS-07 scrubbed seconds before liftoff

    Derek RichardsonOctober 12th Less than a minute before it was to take to the skies to deliver the Progress MS-07 cargo freighter to the International Space Station, an unknown issue with the Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle prompted a rare scrub for the Russian space agency’s workhorse rocket. Liftoff was expected at 5:32 a.m. EDT (09:32 GMT) Oct. 12, 2017, from Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

  • SpaceX notches 15th Falcon 9 launch in 2017 with SES-11 mission

    Paul KnightlyOctober 11th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Hot on the heels of a Falcon 9 launch on the West Coast, SpaceX sent its 15th rocket into space in 2017. The SES-11/EchoStar-105 mission came less than 60 hours after the NewSpace company sent 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit. Liftoff occurred at 6:53 p.m. EDT (22:53 GMT) Oct. 11, 2017, from Launch Complex 39A.

  • SFI LIVE: Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with SES-11

    Jason RhianOctober 11th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- SpaceX has a Falcon 9 rocket - primed and ready to launch the SES-11 / Echostar 105 satellites this evening (Wednesday Oct. 11). SpaceX has a two-hour long launch window which is slated to open at 6:53 p.m. EDT (22:53 GMT). SpaceFlight Insider is the only space news outlet to have an actual live show from the launch site and we're currently scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT (22:30 p.m. GMT).

  • Astronauts breeze through US EVA-45

    Derek RichardsonOctober 10th Less than a week after completing one spacewalk, International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 53 astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei set out on another extravehicular activity (EVA). This excursion, U.S. EVA-45 lasted about 6.5 hours.

  • SpaceX to launch SES-11 satellite Wednesday

    Paul KnightlyOctober 10th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Less than 60 hours after a Falcon 9 rocket launched 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into space from the West Coast, on the other side of the continent SpaceX is set to send the SES-11 spacecraft into orbit for a scheduled liftoff at 6:53 p.m. EDT (22:53 GMT) Oct. 11, 2017, from Launch Complex 39A.

  • JAXA launches Michibiki-4 satellite

    Paul KnightlyOctober 9th The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Michibiki-4 satellite aboard an H-IIA rocket at 7:01 a.m. Japan Standard Time on Oct. 10 (6:01 p.m. EDT / 22:01 GMT Oct. 9), 2017, from the Tanegashima Space Center. The satellite is the fourth in the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), which is a satellite-based positioning system similar to the U.S. operated GPS.

  • SpaceX launches 10 Iridium NEXT satellites on Iridium-3 mission

    Derek RichardsonOctober 9th VANDENBERG, Calif. — SpaceX flew the first Falcon 9 rocket in what could be a launch doubleheader for the NewSpace company. The Iridium-3 mission lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base and saw the third set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites placed into space.

  • Long March 2D blasts off with VRSS-2 Earth-observing satellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 9th A Long March 2D booster lifted off from Launch Area 4 at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province, China, carrying Venezuela's second remote sensing satellite known as VRSS-2. The launch took place at 04:13 UTC (0:13 a.m. EDT) on Monday, October 9, 2017.

  • SpaceX Falcon 9 set to fly Iridium-3 mission

    Derek RichardsonOctober 8th VANDENBERG, Calif. — Working to continue its breakneck launch pace, SpaceX is set to launch two Falcon 9 rockets in two days. First up is the Iridium-3 mission, which will launch on Oct. 9, 2017, from the company’s West Coast launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

    The Range
  • Vector, Virginia Space announce upcoming orbital launches from Wallops

    October 22nd
    NewSpace continues to make progress in terms of expanding its presence in the establishment. This past week, it was announced that nanosatellite launch service provider Vector had inked a deal with the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to conduct three commercial flights out of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) over the course of the next two years with possibly five additional launches in the offing.

  • NASA gives Dawn mission second extension

    October 22nd
    NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting Ceres since March 2015, has just been given a second extension, which will be used to bring the probe into the closest orbit yet around the dwarf planet.

  • Gallery: Cygnus OA-8 named after late Moonwalker

    October 21st

  • Mars hydrothermal deposits hint at habitable conditions

    October 21st
    A recent report in Nature Communications indicates that ancient Mars may have had deep sea-floor hydrothermal activity. Hydrothermal deposits on Earth are associated with the earliest signs of life and habitable environments today. Their detection on Mars has implications for the possibility of ancient life on the Red Planet.

  • Reconstructing Cassini’s final moments

    October 21st
    During the Cassini spacecraft's final plunge into Saturn's upper atmosphere on Sept.15, 2017, the spacecraft live-streamed data from eight of its science instruments, providing readings from a variety of engineering systems. While it will take time to analyze all of the data from its plunge, engineers with the Cassini team already have a pretty clear understanding of how the spacecraft behaved as it went in.

  • Musk provides more insight on SpaceX’s Mars ambitions

    October 20th
    Less than a month after Elon Musk revealed SpaceX's updated Mars mission architecture at the 2017 International Astronautical Congress, the billionaire CEO made himself available to the public to answer further questions about the company's ambitious undertaking. In a surprise tweet on Oct. 14, 2017, the SpaceX founder gave short notice to taking part in an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) on the popular website, Reddit.

  • Facebook Live chat kicks off ‘Year of Education’ at ISS

    October 20th
    NASA’s Year of Education on Station kicked off on October 16, 2017, via Facebook Live, when NASA Public Affairs Officers Brandi Dean and Kirk Shireman contacted NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli up at the ISS to talk with students and teachers across the nation about their lives on the station and the work they do.

  • Ring discovered orbiting dwarf planet Haumea

    October 19th
    Scientists were surprised to find a narrow ring circling the dwarf planet Haumea when they observed the small world pass in front of a background star in January 2017.

  • Parker Solar Probe approved for environmental testing

    October 18th
    The Parker Solar Probe, formerly called Solar Probe Plus, has been certified ready for environmental testing. This means that engineers have inspected the spacecraft and have decided it is ready to be subjected to simulations of the conditions it will face during its launch and operations in space.

  • Crash Scene Investigation: Resting place of ESA’s first lunar mission found

    October 17th
    By analyzing high-resolution images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), researchers have identified the final resting place of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first lunar mission, known as SMART-1. The spacecraft was deliberately crashed into the Moon 11 years ago.

  • Satellite data shows largest CO2 increase comes from Earth’s tropics

    October 16th
    Data collected by NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite, launched in 2014 to measure changing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) worldwide, indicate Earth's tropics have been the largest sources of recent CO2 emissions.

  • GAO: Even with production resumed, NASA plutonium supply at risk

    October 15th
    Some of NASA’s most accomplished deep-space missions—including Voyager, Cassini, and Mars Science Laboratory—have relied on radioactive plutonium-238 for onboard power and heat. However, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report states that despite efforts to restart domestic plutonium production, NASA is in danger of not having enough of the radioactive material for future missions by the mid-2020s.

  • ESA details construction of Sentinel-5P satellite and Tropomi instrument

    October 15th
    NOORDWIJK, Netherlands — The Sentinel-5P satellite was launched atop a Russian Rockot rocket at 12:37 p.m. local time (5:37 a.m. EDT / 09:27 GMT) Oct. 13, 2017, from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. During a webcast before liftoff, a number of the key players in the development of the mission discussed building the satellite and its state-of-the-art Tropomi instrument from the European Space Agency's technical heart in the Netherlands.

  • U.S. Air Force declares first GPS III satellite ‘Available for Launch’

    October 14th
    On Tuesday, October 10, 2017, the U.S. Air Force declared that the first Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite will be "Available for Launch" in 2018.

  • Rocket Crafters adds advisory board member

    October 14th
    TITUSVILLE, FL. – (October 10, 2017) – Rocket Crafters, Inc., (RCI) announced today that Dale Coxwell, CEO of Coastal Steel Manufacturing, LLC, of Cocoa, Florida, is joining its Board of Advisors. Coxwell is also the executive vice president and owner of Coastal Steel, Inc.