Spaceflight Insider

  • TESS scientist explains what the Goldilocks orbit is

    Jim SiegelFebruary 21st KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- NASA is planning on launching the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission about mid-April aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. TESS is planned to operate from a "sweet spot" so to speak, but Goldilocks zones and Goldilocks orbits aren't the same. 

  • Bigelow Aerospace spawns spinoff company to market its space stations

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 21st After more than a week of teasing, Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace announced the creation of a sister company called Bigelow Space Operations (BSO). Its mission is to "market and operate space stations developed by Bigelow Aerospace that are so capable, so diverse and so large that they can accommodate virtually unlimited use almost anywhere."

  • Will the ISS continue beyond 2024?

    Jim SiegelFebruary 20th Buried in the middle of his Feb. 12, 2018, statement regarding NASA’s proposed 2019 FY budget, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot sent a bit of a shock wave through the space community with an announcement that could see the fate of the International Space Station forever altered.

  • NASA’s Opportunity rover still finding surprises on Mars

    Jim SharkeyFebruary 19th NASA's Opportunity Mars rover continues to make surprising discoveries during its fourteenth year exploring the red Planet. Most recently, the rover has observed evidence of possible "rock strips." In recent images from the rover, the texture of the ground looks like a smudged version of distinctive stone strips on some mountain slopes on Earth that are the result of reoccurring cycles of freezing...

  • Could the X3 ion thruster propel us to Mars?

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 19th The X3, a new ion thruster that could one day propel humans beyond Earth, was successfully tested a few months ago and is one design that could be selected by NASA as a component of propulsion system for future Mars missions.

  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in precautionary standby mode

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 18th NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) placed itself into a precautionary standby mode after experiencing a sudden low battery voltage on February 15. 

  • Opportunity rover has spent 5,000 Martian days on the Red Planet

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 18th NASA's Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, on a 90-sol (one sol equals one Martian day) mission, just marked its 5,000th sol roving and studying the Red Planet.

  • CASIS announces change of leadership

    Jason RhianFebruary 17th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL (February 16, 2018) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has announced that President and Executive Director Gregory H. Johnson plans to leave the nonprofit organization effective March 10, 2018, after serving in that position for nearly five years.

  • Spacewalking astronauts finish Canadarm2 work at breakneck speed

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 16th Two astronauts—one American, the other Japanese—suited up to venture outside the International Space Station to finish work upgrading the outpost’s robotic Canadarm2, a process that has now involved five extravehicular activities (EVAs) over some four months.

  • Fresh from successful Falcon Heavy launch, SpaceX prepares to fly Spain’s PAZ satellite

    Curt GodwinFebruary 16th Less than two weeks after the successful first launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, SpaceX looks to continue its string of successful flights with the delivery of Spain's PAZ radar imaging satellite to a Sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite, the first of its kind for the European nation,  is set to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at...

  • A chunk of Mars might soon return home

    Christopher PaulFebruary 15th A piece of a meteorite called Sayh al Uhaymir 008 (SaU008) is being prepared to be carried on board NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission, now being built at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This chunk will serve as target practice for a high-precision laser on the rover's arm.

  • Progress MS-08 cargo spacecraft arrives at ISS with food, fuel and supplies

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 15th After spending two days catching up with the International Space Station, the Progress MS-08 Russian cargo freighter docked with the orbiting outpost, bringing several metric tons of supplies for Expedition 54 and future crews.

  • Bigelow Aerospace spawns spinoff company to market its space stations

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 21st After more than a week of teasing, Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace announced the creation of a sister company called Bigelow Space Operations (BSO). Its mission is to "market and operate space stations developed by Bigelow Aerospace that are so capable, so diverse and so large that they can accommodate virtually unlimited use almost anywhere."

  • Will the ISS continue beyond 2024?

    Jim SiegelFebruary 20th Buried in the middle of his Feb. 12, 2018, statement regarding NASA’s proposed 2019 FY budget, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot sent a bit of a shock wave through the space community with an announcement that could see the fate of the International Space Station forever altered.

  • Could the X3 ion thruster propel us to Mars?

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 19th The X3, a new ion thruster that could one day propel humans beyond Earth, was successfully tested a few months ago and is one design that could be selected by NASA as a component of propulsion system for future Mars missions.

  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in precautionary standby mode

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 18th NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) placed itself into a precautionary standby mode after experiencing a sudden low battery voltage on February 15. 

  • Spacewalking astronauts finish Canadarm2 work at breakneck speed

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 16th Two astronauts—one American, the other Japanese—suited up to venture outside the International Space Station to finish work upgrading the outpost’s robotic Canadarm2, a process that has now involved five extravehicular activities (EVAs) over some four months.

  • Progress MS-08 cargo spacecraft arrives at ISS with food, fuel and supplies

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 15th After spending two days catching up with the International Space Station, the Progress MS-08 Russian cargo freighter docked with the orbiting outpost, bringing several metric tons of supplies for Expedition 54 and future crews.

  • Acting Administrator talks FY2019 NASA budget at Marshall

    Scott JohnsonFebruary 14th HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- On Monday, February 12, the Trump administration released its 2019 fiscal year (FY19) budget request. NASA, via a presentation by its Acting Administrator, Robert Lightfoot, at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) highlighted NASA portions of the request.

  • Progress MS-08 cargo ship launches on two-day trek to ISS

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 13th After a two-day launch delay, Progress MS-08, an autonomous Russian cargo spacecraft, is on its way to the International Space Station.

  • What really happened to GovSat-1’s Falcon 9 first stage?

    Jason RhianFebruary 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A report stating that the Falcon 9 first stage used to launch the GovSat-1 satellite was destroyed by an airstrike has been categorically denied both by SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force.

  • Long March 3B sends a doublet of BeiDou-3 navigation satellites to orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 12th A Long March 3B rocket lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) on Monday, Feb. 12 on a mission to replenish China’s homegrown satellite navigation system.

  • Launch of Progress MS-08 space station cargo freighter scrubbed

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 11th It was deja vu for the Russian state-run space corporation Roscosmos. Less than a minute before its planned launch to the International Space Station, the Progress MS-08 cargo mission was scrubbed. The issue appeared similar in nature to one that occurred in October 2017.

  • New Horizons breaks Voyager 1’s record for most distant images from Earth

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 10th NASA's New Horizons spacecraft broke yet another record by capturing the most distant images from Earth, photographing an open star cluster along with several dwarf planets, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and centaurs with its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).

  • China to launch another duo of BeiDou-3 navigation satellites on Sunday

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 9th China is gearing up to launch the nation's latest duo of BeiDou-3 satellites into space atop a Long March 3B rocket on Sunday, February 11.

  • Sierra Nevada Corporation targets late 2020 for first Dream Chaser resupply mission

    Lloyd CampbellFebruary 8th Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has announced that NASA has given its Authority to Proceed with the Dream Chaser spacecraft’s first cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

  • SFI LIVE: Inaugural flight of SpaceX Falcon Heavy

    Jason RhianFebruary 6th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- SpaceX has the company's first Falcon Heavy launch vehicle poised for flight at Launch Complex 39A in Florida. The window for the flight is currently set to open at 1:30 p.m. EST (18:30 GMT). SFI will begin broadcasting our exclusive live webcast one hour prior to T-0.

  • SpaceX set to attempt history again with Falcon Heavy’s first flight

    Bart LeahyFebruary 5th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — SpaceX is hoping to bring reusability to a whole new level with the launch of the company's Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, 2018. If successful, the heavy-lift vehicle should greatly increase the available payload capability of a single commercial launch. First things first, however: it needs to leave the pad on its inaugural test flight.

  • Tiangong-1 space laboratory to crash to Earth between mid-March and mid-April, according to new ESA estimates

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 5th ESA’s Space Debris Office has issued a new updated forecast for the imminent atmospheric re-entry of China’s Tiangong-1 space laboratory, which appears to have been floating in space out of control for almost two years.

  • OPINION: Ending ISS too soon would be an Apollo-sized mistake

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 4th It appears the Trump administration may look to end support for the International Space Station by 2025. This proposal, if approved by Congress, would be a huge mistake similar to that of ending the Apollo program in 1972.

  • Cosmonauts perform longest Russian spacewalk to upgrade high-gain antenna

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 3rd In the second spacewalk of 2018, two Russian cosmonauts went outside the International Space Station to upgrade an electronics box on the Lira high-gain antenna at the aft end of the outpost.

  • Soyuz-2.1a launches from Vostochny with 11 satellites

    Tomasz NowakowskiFebruary 2nd Russia conducted its first orbital mission of 2018 on Thursday, February 1, by launching a Soyuz-2.1a rocket with 11 satellites into space. The mission got underway under mostly clear skies and carried payloads from Germany as well as the U.S.

    The Range
  • TESS scientist explains what the Goldilocks orbit is

    February 21st
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- NASA is planning on launching the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission about mid-April aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. TESS is planned to operate from a "sweet spot" so to speak, but Goldilocks zones and Goldilocks orbits aren't the same. 

  • NASA’s Opportunity rover still finding surprises on Mars

    February 19th
    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover continues to make surprising discoveries during its fourteenth year exploring the red Planet. Most recently, the rover has observed evidence of possible "rock strips." In recent images from the rover, the texture of the ground looks like a smudged version of distinctive stone strips on some mountain slopes on Earth that are the result of reoccurring cycles of freezing and thawing of wet soil.  

  • Opportunity rover has spent 5,000 Martian days on the Red Planet

    February 18th
    NASA's Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, on a 90-sol (one sol equals one Martian day) mission, just marked its 5,000th sol roving and studying the Red Planet.

  • CASIS announces change of leadership

    February 17th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL (February 16, 2018) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has announced that President and Executive Director Gregory H. Johnson plans to leave the nonprofit organization effective March 10, 2018, after serving in that position for nearly five years.

  • Fresh from successful Falcon Heavy launch, SpaceX prepares to fly Spain’s PAZ satellite

    February 16th
    Less than two weeks after the successful first launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, SpaceX looks to continue its string of successful flights with the delivery of Spain's PAZ radar imaging satellite to a Sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite, the first of its kind for the European nation,  is set to lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at 6:16 a.m. PST (14:16 GMT) on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018.

  • A chunk of Mars might soon return home

    February 15th
    A piece of a meteorite called Sayh al Uhaymir 008 (SaU008) is being prepared to be carried on board NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission, now being built at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This chunk will serve as target practice for a high-precision laser on the rover's arm.

  • Orion spacecraft planned for lunar mission begins construction by Lockheed Martin

    February 14th
    Lockheed Martin has begun producing the Orion spacecraft that is planned to send NASA astronauts on a journey around the Moon. NASA's Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2) which is currently slated for a 2022 launch date has seen the first two components of the craft's pressure vessel welded together.

  • NASA prepares Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to support future missions

    February 11th
    Since arriving in orbit above the Red Planet in 2006, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has observed Mars with it scientific instruments and provided a vital communications link for mission on the Martian surface. The spacecraft has already operated for more than twice its planned mission lifetime. NASA is planning to keep using it well into the 2020's to support upcoming missions. The space agency is currently taking steps to increase the orbiter's longevity. 

  • New Horizons breaks Voyager 1’s record for most distant images from Earth

    February 10th
    NASA's New Horizons spacecraft broke yet another record by capturing the most distant images from Earth, photographing an open star cluster along with several dwarf planets, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and centaurs with its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).

  • Video: SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch highlights

    February 10th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- SpaceFlight Insider had more than 20 cameras pointed at SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday, Feb. 6 - and a number of those were video cameras placed at Launch Complex 39A. The following video package is made solely of video captured by SFI.

  • Newly discovered house-sized asteroid 2018 CB to zip close by Earth

    February 9th
    A newly detected house-sized asteroid, designated 2018 CB, is slated to fly by Earth on Friday, February 9, at around 22:30 UTC, with a velocity estimated at being some 26,000 mph (58,000 km/h).

  • Gallery: Falcon Heavy Demonstration Flight

    February 7th

  • New study shows TRAPPIST-1 planets are rocky and could have water

    February 7th
    A new study has revealed the compositions of the seven TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets in unprecedented detail, showing them to be rocky worlds that could potentially have water.

  • Two halves of James Webb Space Telescope come together for testing in California

    February 6th
    After years of development, and having undertaken rounds of discrete testing, the two major components of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have arrived in California for fully-integrated testing. The flagship mission is referred to as the scientific successor to the stalwart Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and is set to launch on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket in the Spring of 2019 from Kourou, French Guiana.

  • OPINION: Space – An economic engine for Florida

    February 4th
    Florida has been at the leading edge of our Nation’s space program, dating back to 1950 when Cape Canaveral became the location from which America’s space flights began with the launch of a Bumper 2 rocket. History was also written when Alan Shepard became the first American in space as his Freedom 7 spacecraft launched from Florida in 1961.