Spaceflight Insider

  • Skywalking: STS-80 Mission Highlights: Nov.–Dec. 1996

    NASANovember 19th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — An early morning landing on the Space Shuttle Columbia ended a more than 17-day mission to deploy and retrieve two science satellites, one that studied stars and another that made thin film wafers. Pilot Kent Rominger recounted how impressive it was to see the trailing satellites at sunrise. “It was incredible having two satellites out there at the same time. In th...

  • What does the payload fairing issue mean for the remainder of SpaceX’s 2017 launch manifest?

    Jason RhianNovember 18th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The classified "Zuma" mission has been delayed, and a report from an unconfirmed source suggests that the reason for the delay could cause a premature close to most of the remainder of SpaceX's 2017 launch manifest.

  • Atmospheric haze makes Pluto colder than previously thought

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 17th When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto in July 2015, its instruments found the dwarf planet’s atmospheric temperature to be significantly colder than scientists had expected.

  • Rocket Lab prepares Electron for its second test flight

    Curt GodwinNovember 17th Less than six months after the maiden flight of their Electron launch vehicle, Rocket Lab is preparing for the second flight of its new rocket. With the arrival of the vehicle at the company's Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, Rocket Lab now begins the pre-flight phase of their second mission.

  • SpaceX, ULA reschedule next launches

    Derek RichardsonNovember 16th Both SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) have rescheduled their next launches from the East and West Coasts, respectively. SpaceX, which will be sending the mystery “Zuma” payload into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket, opted to postpone by at least a day to examine data from a recent payload fairing test. ULA, on the other hand, is hoping to fly its Delta II after two scrubbed attempts.

  • NASA performs first test of Mars 2020 rover supersonic parachute

    Jim SharkeyNovember 16th On October 4, 2017, NASA completed the first supersonic parachute test in preparation for the space agency's Mars 2020 rover mission. A 58-foot (17.7-meter) Black Brandt IX sounding rocket launched the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) payload from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

  • Harry Kolcum Awards presented at NSCFLC November 2017

    Michael McCabeNovember 16th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — On November 14, 2017, the National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFLC) November 2017 luncheon kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance and the introduction of their 2017–2018 Chairperson Patty Stratton who was introduced by Dale Ketchum. The day’s event focused on the 2017 Harry Kolcum News & Communications Award.

  • Launch of JPSS-1 scrubbed again, high upper-level winds to blame

    Jason RhianNovember 15th The flight of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket with its payload of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Joint Polar Satellite System 1 (JPSS-1) spacecraft has been delayed for a second time. However, whereas yesterday's (Nov. 14) scrub was caused by wayward boaters, issues with the atmosphere were to blame for today's delay.

  • Ancient interior activity likely formed features on Ceres’ surface

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 15th A new analysis of surface features on Ceres sent back by NASA's Dawn spacecraft indicates that at least some of those features were created by the ancient movement of materials in the dwarf planet's interior.

  • Long March 4C sends Fengyun-3D and Head-1 into orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiNovember 14th Lifting off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) located in China’s Shanxi Province, a Long March 4C rocket has delivered the Fengyun-3D and Head-1 satellites into their orbits. The launch was conducted from TSLC's LC9 Launch Complex at 18:35 GMT (1:35 p.m. EST) on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.

  • S.S. Gene Cernan OA-8 Cygnus arrives at ISS

    Derek RichardsonNovember 14th After a two-day trek, Orbital ATK’s OA-8 Cygnus cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station. The vehicle was berthed to the outpost at 7:15 a.m. EST (12:15 GMT) Nov. 14, 2017, and will remain attached for several weeks.

  • Launch of NOAA’s JPSS-1 slips 24 hours

    Ocean McIntyreNovember 14th The launch of the first of NOAA’s planned four Joint Polar Satellite System satellites, JPSS-1, was scrubbed early in the morning of Nov. 14, 2017, due to a combination of wayward boats that had crossed into restricted space as well as a couple of positions that reported technical “no-goes” during the countdown and system checks.

  • Rocket Lab prepares Electron for its second test flight

    Curt GodwinNovember 17th Less than six months after the maiden flight of their Electron launch vehicle, Rocket Lab is preparing for the second flight of its new rocket. With the arrival of the vehicle at the company's Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, Rocket Lab now begins the pre-flight phase of their second mission.

  • Long March 4C sends Fengyun-3D and Head-1 into orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiNovember 14th Lifting off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) located in China’s Shanxi Province, a Long March 4C rocket has delivered the Fengyun-3D and Head-1 satellites into their orbits. The launch was conducted from TSLC's LC9 Launch Complex at 18:35 GMT (1:35 p.m. EST) on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.

  • S.S. Gene Cernan OA-8 Cygnus arrives at ISS

    Derek RichardsonNovember 14th After a two-day trek, Orbital ATK’s OA-8 Cygnus cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station. The vehicle was berthed to the outpost at 7:15 a.m. EST (12:15 GMT) Nov. 14, 2017, and will remain attached for several weeks.

  • Dream Chaser completes successful glide test

    Derek RichardsonNovember 14th Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spaceplane test article successfully performed a free-flight test at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. The spacecraft is being developed to send cargo to the International Space Station.

  • NOAA’s next-generation weather satellite JPSS-1 set to launch Tuesday

    Ocean McIntyreNovember 13th The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is eagerly anticipating the launch of the first satellite in the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). JPSS-1 is the newest and most advanced weather satellite to date using many of the same instruments on the Suomi NPP satellite launched on October 28, 2011.

  • “…We shall return!” S.S. Gene Cernan lifts off from MARS’ Pad 0A

    Jason RhianNovember 12th WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, Va. — With no wayward pilots to ruin their efforts, NASA and Orbital ATK sent the S.S. Gene Cernan (Cygnus CRS OA-8E) to orbit atop an Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at 7:19 a.m. EST (12:19 GMT) on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, on the OA-8 mission bound for the International Space Station.

  • Antares OA-8 launch scrubbed

    Lloyd CampbellNovember 11th The Orbital-ATK Antares 230 rocket with the S.S. Gene Cernan (Cygnus CRS OA-8E) spacecraft atop was poised for liftoff from NASA's Wallops Island Flight facility this morning at 7:37 a.m. EST (12:37 GMT), but the launch was aborted "due to aircraft in the restricted area" – according to the company's statement.

  • SFI LIVE: Orbital ATK Antares with OA-8 Cygnus

    Jason RhianNovember 11th WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., -- NASA and Orbital ATK are planning to launch the S.S. Gene Cernan, OA-8 Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station atop an Antares 230 rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad 0A sometime in a five minute long launch window that opens at 7:37 a.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 11. SpaceFlight Insider's exclusive Live Show will begin at 7 a.m. EST.

  • S.S. Gene Cernan set to conduct cargo run to International Space Station

    Lloyd CampbellNovember 10th WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, Va. — NASA and Orbital ATK are preparing to launch some 7,385 pounds (3,350 kg) of cargo, crew supplies, and experiments to the International Space Station. The mission is currently scheduled to fly on Nov. 11, 2017, at 7:37 a.m. EST from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad-0A.

  • SpaceX rocket engine explodes on test stand in McGregor

    Jason RhianNovember 9th A SpaceX Block 5 rocket engine encountered an anomaly on the test stand during a qualification test held on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, at the NewSpace firm's site located in McGregor, Texas. The accident was made public three days later on Wednesday and comes at a time when the company is experiencing an unprecedented rate of launch.

  • Vega rocket sends MOHAMMED VI–A satellite to orbit on next-to-last Kourou flight of 2017

    Jason RhianNovember 7th Lighting the skies above the jungles of Kourou, French Guiana, an Arianespace Vega rocket lifted off from the Kourou Space Centre's ELV at 10:42 p.m. GFT (8:42 p.m. EST) on November 7 (01:42 GMT on Nov. 8), 2017. The payload for this flight was the MOHAMMED VI–A satellite which Vega sent on its way to a Sun-synchronous orbit.

  • Apollo 12 astronaut Richard ‘Dick’ Gordon passes away at 88

    Derek RichardsonNovember 7th Former astronaut Richard Francis "Dick" Gordon, one of 24 people to fly to the Moon, died on Nov. 6, 2017, in his home in California, according to a statement by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. He was 88.

  • Mobile Launcher work moves forward with installation of umbilicals and arrival of crew access arm

    Curt GodwinNovember 6th Though the maiden launch of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) is still, at the earliest, more than two years away, work on the large rocket's Mobile Launcher (ML) moves forward in support of the first flight of the agency's next crew-rated launch vehicle.

  • China successfully launches a duo of BeiDou-3 navigation satellites

    Tomasz NowakowskiNovember 5th Using a Long March 3B booster, China successfully launched its newest duo of BeiDou-3 navigation satellites to orbit. The rocket took to the skies on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, at around 11:44 UTC (6:44 a.m. EST) from the LC3 Launch Complex at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, located in China’s Sichuan province.

  • Arianespace poised to launch Vega with MOHAMMED VI–A satellite

    Jason RhianNovember 5th Arianespace is ready to launch the MOHAMMED VI–A satellite on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco on November 7, 2017, at 10:42 p.m. local time (01:42 GMT Nov. 8). The spacecraft is slated to lift off from the Guiana Space Centre's Vega Launch Complex (SLV) and will mark the 10th flight of the year for the Courcouronnes, Essonne, France-based firm. 

  • Century-old data holds earliest evidence for existence of exoplanets

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 3rd Exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, were first discovered in the 1990s, but old photographic plates taken nearly 100 years ago and recently found in storerooms at Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, contain the first evidence of their existence.

  • Russia may select first crew for its Federation spacecraft next year

    Tomasz NowakowskiNovember 1st Russia may soon reveal the names of the cosmonauts assigned to the first space mission of the country’s next-generation spacecraft known as "Federation". According to the spacecraft’s manufacturer, RKK Energia, the crew could be selected as early as the first half of 2018.

  • Orbital ATK launches fleet of SkySat Earth observation satellites

    Ryan ChylinskiOctober 31st Orbital ATK’s Minotaur-C roared into the sky at 2:37 p.m. PDT (21:37 GMT) Oct. 31, 2017, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Halloween-day launch carried six of Planet Lab’s SkySat high-resolution imaging satellites and four Dove CubeSats into a Sun-synchronous orbit 310 miles (500 kilometers) above the Earth.

  • KoreaSat 5A marks 16th successful flight of 2017 for SpaceX

    Paul KnightlyOctober 30th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — KoreaSat 5A was lofted into orbit at 3:34 p.m. EDT (19:34 GMT) Oct. 30, 2017, aboard a Falcon 9 rocket under clear skies from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A). This marked the third SpaceX launch this month (October) alone, continuing an ambitious 2017 launch schedule for the Hawthorne, California-based company.

  • SFI Live: Launch of KoreaSat 5A on SpaceX Falcon 9

    Jason RhianOctober 30th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- SpaceX is preparing to launch the KoreaSat 5a telecommunications satellite from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch window will open at 3:34 p.m. EDT (19:34 GMT) and extend for about two hours and 24 minutes. The launch site will be KSC's historic Launch Complex 39A.

    The Range
  • Skywalking: STS-80 Mission Highlights: Nov.–Dec. 1996

    November 19th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — An early morning landing on the Space Shuttle Columbia ended a more than 17-day mission to deploy and retrieve two science satellites, one that studied stars and another that made thin film wafers. Pilot Kent Rominger recounted how impressive it was to see the trailing satellites at sunrise. “It was incredible having two satellites out there at the same time. In the morning when the Sun would rise, they were just tremendously bright stars, trailing along behind us.”

  • What does the payload fairing issue mean for the remainder of SpaceX’s 2017 launch manifest?

    November 18th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The classified "Zuma" mission has been delayed, and a report from an unconfirmed source suggests that the reason for the delay could cause a premature close to most of the remainder of SpaceX's 2017 launch manifest.

  • Atmospheric haze makes Pluto colder than previously thought

    November 17th
    When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto in July 2015, its instruments found the dwarf planet’s atmospheric temperature to be significantly colder than scientists had expected.

  • SpaceX, ULA reschedule next launches

    November 16th
    Both SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) have rescheduled their next launches from the East and West Coasts, respectively. SpaceX, which will be sending the mystery “Zuma” payload into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket, opted to postpone by at least a day to examine data from a recent payload fairing test. ULA, on the other hand, is hoping to fly its Delta II after two scrubbed attempts.

  • NASA performs first test of Mars 2020 rover supersonic parachute

    November 16th
    On October 4, 2017, NASA completed the first supersonic parachute test in preparation for the space agency's Mars 2020 rover mission. A 58-foot (17.7-meter) Black Brandt IX sounding rocket launched the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) payload from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

  • Harry Kolcum Awards presented at NSCFLC November 2017

    November 16th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — On November 14, 2017, the National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFLC) November 2017 luncheon kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance and the introduction of their 2017–2018 Chairperson Patty Stratton who was introduced by Dale Ketchum. The day’s event focused on the 2017 Harry Kolcum News & Communications Award.

  • Launch of JPSS-1 scrubbed again, high upper-level winds to blame

    November 15th
    The flight of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket with its payload of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Joint Polar Satellite System 1 (JPSS-1) spacecraft has been delayed for a second time. However, whereas yesterday's (Nov. 14) scrub was caused by wayward boaters, issues with the atmosphere were to blame for today's delay.

  • Ancient interior activity likely formed features on Ceres’ surface

    November 15th
    A new analysis of surface features on Ceres sent back by NASA's Dawn spacecraft indicates that at least some of those features were created by the ancient movement of materials in the dwarf planet's interior.

  • Launch of NOAA’s JPSS-1 slips 24 hours

    November 14th
    The launch of the first of NOAA’s planned four Joint Polar Satellite System satellites, JPSS-1, was scrubbed early in the morning of Nov. 14, 2017, due to a combination of wayward boats that had crossed into restricted space as well as a couple of positions that reported technical “no-goes” during the countdown and system checks.

  • Review: Weir focuses on the Moon with ‘Artemis’

    November 14th
    Over the course of the past year, public and private officials have altered their focus from Mars to a much closer target – Earth's Moon. Now, Andy Weir whose breakout success was based on the adventures of a castaway on the Red Planet has followed suit with his latest offering – Artemis.

  • Swarm of nanosatellites could visit over 300 asteroids

    November 12th
    European scientists have proposed a mission consisting of 50 tiny spacecraft, which could visit and study over 300 asteroids in a timespan of just over three years. The concept, named Asteroid Touring Nanosat Fleet, was presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2017 that took place in September in Riga, Latvia.

  • Orbital ATK successfully tests first motor case for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

    November 10th
    Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia, successfully reached another milestone last week in its development of an advanced solid rocket engine program to be used in intermediate- and large-class launch vehicles.

  • Chandrayaan-2 Moon mission to be launched in first quarter of 2018

    November 10th
    A. S. Kiran Kumar, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has recently revealed that Chandrayaan-2 – India’s second mission to the Moon – will be ready for launch sometime in the first quarter of 2018, noting that the spacecraft is currently in its final stages of integration.

  • X3 Hall thruster sets records at NASA Glenn

    November 10th
    GLENN RESEARCH CENTER,  Ohio — Researchers at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, have completed a round of important tests on a new ion thruster system that may one day provide propulsion for materials and crews on future missions to Mars.

  • NASA Exploration Mission-1 managing current challenges, but launch could slip to 2020

    November 9th
    On November 8, 2017, NASA released an update following a schedule review of Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the first uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft to the Moon.