Spaceflight Insider

  • NASA’s Curiosity rover studies possible mud cracks

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 19th Researchers with NASA's "Curiosity" mission have recently been using the Mars rover to study slabs of rock cross-hatched with shallow ridges that may have begun as cracks in drying mud more than 3 billion years ago.

  • San Pedro welcomes SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage

    Jason RhianJanuary 18th After a triumphant return-to-flight conducted on Jan. 14, the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 (1029) rocket began its journey home with its entry into the port at San Pedro, California, on Tuesday, January 17.

  • Orion update for January 2017

    Mackenzie KaneJanuary 18th Before the end of 2016, progress on NASA's Orion capsule for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) took some significant leaps forward. The coming year looks to be no different – with the crew-rated spacecraft being prepared for its first flight atop SLS.

  • Next SBIRS missile detection satellite set for launch

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 18th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) is set to send the third Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO-3) into space for the U.S. military. The $1.2 billion satellite will be part of a system designed to spot missiles threatening the United States or its allies.

  • NASA delays contract awards for asteroid mission spacecraft

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 17th NASA is delaying contracts and other awards for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), originally planned for early this year, by a few months because of uncertainty about the space agency's budget.

  • Launch of classified NROL-79 mission delayed

    Jason RhianJanuary 16th United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Monday, Jan. 16, that the launch date of the Atlas V 401 rocket with the NROL-79 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office had fallen under review. ULA will use this additional time to ensure the rocket will perform normally.

  • Visions of the road to Mars

    Jason RhianJanuary 15th No planet is more steeped in lore, legend, and romance than Mars. For SpaceFlight Insider's illustrator James Vaughan, the Red Planet is a subject matter well suited for his unique style of photo-illustration. He spoke with us about how interest in Mars is increasing and how his work is racing to keep up.

  • Smallest orbital-class rocket launch ends in failure

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 14th Launching out of Japan’s Uchinoura Space Center at 8:33 a.m. Japan Standard Time Jan. 15 (23:33 GMT Jan. 14), 2017, was a rocket poised to be the smallest and lightest to ever send a payload into orbit. However, telemetry for the fin-stabilized sounding rocket, called SS-520-4, was lost after the first stage finished its 31-second burn.

  • SpaceX’s Falcon 9 soars skyward with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites

    Curt GodwinJanuary 14th After a nearly week-long delay due to weather and range conflicts, SpaceX successfully launched 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), marking the Falcon 9's first flight since the Sept. 1, 2016, AMOS-6 pad incident. As an added bonus, the first stage of the rocket successfully landed downrange on a drone ship.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 12 years ago, Huygens touched down on Titan

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 14th Twelve years ago, on January 14, 2005, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Huygens probe touched down on the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, where it collected images and data about a world viewed by many scientists as an analog of early Earth.

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex highlights NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Programs

    Jason RhianJanuary 14th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Just after the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday, NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveiled in the West wing of the IMAX Theater a display showcasing spacecraft that are being used on NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo endeavors.

  • Astronauts breeze through spacewalk, complete all get-ahead tasks

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 13th In the second of two planned to spacewalks up upgrade the International Space Station’s (ISS) power system, two astronauts finished the process of replacing 12 nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion units. The spacewalking duo worked so fast, they had time to complete all of the assigned get-ahead tasks.

  • Orion update for January 2017

    Mackenzie KaneJanuary 18th Before the end of 2016, progress on NASA's Orion capsule for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) took some significant leaps forward. The coming year looks to be no different – with the crew-rated spacecraft being prepared for its first flight atop SLS.

  • Next SBIRS missile detection satellite set for launch

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 18th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) is set to send the third Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO-3) into space for the U.S. military. The $1.2 billion satellite will be part of a system designed to spot missiles threatening the United States or its allies.

  • Launch of classified NROL-79 mission delayed

    Jason RhianJanuary 16th United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Monday, Jan. 16, that the launch date of the Atlas V 401 rocket with the NROL-79 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office had fallen under review. ULA will use this additional time to ensure the rocket will perform normally.

  • Smallest orbital-class rocket launch ends in failure

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 14th Launching out of Japan’s Uchinoura Space Center at 8:33 a.m. Japan Standard Time Jan. 15 (23:33 GMT Jan. 14), 2017, was a rocket poised to be the smallest and lightest to ever send a payload into orbit. However, telemetry for the fin-stabilized sounding rocket, called SS-520-4, was lost after the first stage finished its 31-second burn.

  • SpaceX’s Falcon 9 soars skyward with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites

    Curt GodwinJanuary 14th After a nearly week-long delay due to weather and range conflicts, SpaceX successfully launched 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), marking the Falcon 9's first flight since the Sept. 1, 2016, AMOS-6 pad incident. As an added bonus, the first stage of the rocket successfully landed downrange on a drone ship.

  • Astronauts breeze through spacewalk, complete all get-ahead tasks

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 13th In the second of two planned to spacewalks up upgrade the International Space Station’s (ISS) power system, two astronauts finished the process of replacing 12 nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion units. The spacewalking duo worked so fast, they had time to complete all of the assigned get-ahead tasks.

  • PCM for OA-7 mission arrives at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

    Jason RhianJanuary 13th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Orbital ATK's next Cygnus spacecraft, tapped to carry out the OA-7 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, has arrived at the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

  • SpaceX poised to return Falcon 9 to flight Saturday

    Curt GodwinJanuary 12th With FAA approval secured and a hold-down firing of the first stage conducted, SpaceX is continuing to move forward with preparations for the return to flight of its Falcon 9 rocket. Liftoff is currently scheduled for 10:22 a.m. PST (1:22 p.m. EST / 18:22 GMT) Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, at SLC-4E on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

  • Astronauts to finish installing batteries during ISS during Friday spacewalk

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 12th The International Space Station (ISS) crew is gearing up for the second of two spacewalks aimed at replacing aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion units. Two astronauts will leave the Quest airlock at around 7 a.m. EST (12:00 GMT) Jan. 13, 2017, for an estimated six-and-a-half-hour-long excursion.

  • Astronauts Baker and Fossum retire from NASA

    Rae Botsford EndJanuary 11th On Saturday, Jan. 7, astronauts Mike Baker and Mike Fossum both retired from NASA to pursue work in the private sector. Both of the spaceflight veterans served in the U.S. military, and both wore numerous hats during their time with the space agency.

  • Lockheed Martin tapped to build NASA’s Lucy spacecraft

    Jason RhianJanuary 9th NASA has recently announced that the U.S. space agency is planning on sending two new Discovery Program missions to investigate leftovers of the formation of the early Solar System. One of these two spacecraft, Lucy, will be built by Lockheed Martin.

  • SpaceX Falcon 9 RTF postponed to Jan. 14

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 8th The return to flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will have to wait another week. According to a report appearing in NoozHawk, industry sources say the company is now working toward a launch at 9:54 a.m. PST (12:54 p.m. EST / 17:54 GMT) Jan. 14, 2017. This has been confirmed by the customer, Iridium Communications, on Twitter.

  • 1st battery-replacement spacewalk completed at ISS

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 6th Two NASA astronauts on the first of two spacewalks outside the International Space Station (ISS) made swift work to help with the replacement of old batteries with new lithium-ion units. They even had enough time leftover to perform several get-ahead tasks.

  • NASA awards four more Commercial Crew missions

    Heather SmithJanuary 6th NASA has awarded four rotation missions to Boeing and SpaceX, allowing the partners to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The contracts are currently under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts which bring the number of missions awarded to each provider to six.

  • Chinese Long March 3B launches technology demonstrator

    Jason RhianJanuary 5th The China National Space Administration (CNSA) sent one of its Long March 3B launch vehicles aloft with the second Tongxin Jishu Shiyan (TJS) satellite to orbit.

  • NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite launch delayed to July

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 5th The flight of the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) has been postponed to a date no earlier than July 2017. According to SpaceNews, the delay was because of technical issues.

  • Source: RTF for Falcon 9 slips to Monday Jan. 9

    Jason RhianJanuary 5th The return to flight for SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has slipped to no-earlier-than Monday, Jan. 9. This is according to a report appearing on NoozHawk. The report also revealed that while the NewSpace firm might be considering the date for launch, it has not received approval to do so from the FAA.

  • NASA selects Lucy and Psyche for next Discovery missions

    Paul KnightlyJanuary 4th NASA announced in a news release its next Discovery-class missions will be Lucy and Psyche. The missions will study an array of unexplored asteroids, with Lucy embarking on a tour of Jupiter's Trojan asteroids and Psyche setting course for the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche.

  • Robotics work clears way for Friday spacewalk

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 4th On Friday, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson will venture outside the 400-metric-ton International Space Station (ISS) on the first of two spacewalks to begin a multi-year process of upgrading the outpost’s power system.

  • Cosmonaut Igor Volk dead at 79

    Jason RhianJanuary 4th Former Soviet cosmonaut Igor Volk passed away while on vacation in Bulgaria on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 – he was 79. Volk was a test pilot for the Mikoyan Aircraft Design Bureau. His accomplishments covered an array of vehicles and environments – including a mission to orbit.

    The Range
  • NASA’s Curiosity rover studies possible mud cracks

    January 19th
    Researchers with NASA's "Curiosity" mission have recently been using the Mars rover to study slabs of rock cross-hatched with shallow ridges that may have begun as cracks in drying mud more than 3 billion years ago.

  • San Pedro welcomes SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage

    January 18th
    After a triumphant return-to-flight conducted on Jan. 14, the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 (1029) rocket began its journey home with its entry into the port at San Pedro, California, on Tuesday, January 17.

  • NASA delays contract awards for asteroid mission spacecraft

    January 17th
    NASA is delaying contracts and other awards for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), originally planned for early this year, by a few months because of uncertainty about the space agency's budget.

  • Visions of the road to Mars

    January 15th
    No planet is more steeped in lore, legend, and romance than Mars. For SpaceFlight Insider's illustrator James Vaughan, the Red Planet is a subject matter well suited for his unique style of photo-illustration. He spoke with us about how interest in Mars is increasing and how his work is racing to keep up.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 12 years ago, Huygens touched down on Titan

    January 14th
    Twelve years ago, on January 14, 2005, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Huygens probe touched down on the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, where it collected images and data about a world viewed by many scientists as an analog of early Earth.

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex highlights NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Programs

    January 14th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Just after the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday, NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveiled in the West wing of the IMAX Theater a display showcasing spacecraft that are being used on NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo endeavors.

  • Massive SLS test stand completed at Marshall

    January 13th
    NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, located in Huntsville, Alabama, recently marked the completion of major construction for Test Stand 4693, wrapping up work that began in May 2014. Engineers will now connect networks of cables, pipes, valves control systems, cameras, and other equipment needed to test the massive Space Launch System (SLS) hydrogen tank.

  • Mars Curiosity rover pauses to check for dust in its eye

    January 13th
    NASA's "Curiosity" rover – a.k.a. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission – delayed its travels because a robotic arm fault prevented the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) from putting the dust cover over its lens overnight. Curiosity's science team put any further roving and science for Sol 1576 on hold pending resolution of the fault.

  • Charon protects Pluto’s atmosphere from solar wind

    January 12th
    Pluto's largest moon, Charon, acts as a barrier between the solar wind and Pluto's atmosphere, preventing that atmosphere from being stripped away when the large moon is positioned between the Sun and Pluto, according to a new study published in the journal Icarus.

  • Martian polar ice caps revealed in 3-D

    January 10th
    Three-dimensional subsurface images are revealing unprecedented new insights into the structure of the Martian polar ice caps. The 3-D images were produced by data from the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) over the course of more than 2,000 orbital passes over each Martian pole.

  • New NASA mission could solve mystery of asteroid Psyche’s water

    January 10th
    Although Psyche is thought to be made of metal, scientists have recently found the presence of water on this minor planet. The new findings could be confirmed and further studied by a newly announced NASA mission – also named Psyche.

  • Arianespace chosen to launch Intelsat 39

    January 9th
    On Jan. 4, French-based Arianespace announced that it had been selected as the launch service provider for the Intelsat 39 telecommunications satellite. Intelsat 39 is now scheduled to be launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

  • Pluto’s bladed terrain has snow, ice features similar to those on Earth

    January 8th
    Scientists using a computer model, much like those used to study Earth's climate, have identified bowl-shaped ridges in Pluto's bladed or "snakeskin" terrain that resemble similar structures on Earth.

  • OSIRIS-REx begins hunt for elusive ‘Trojan’ asteroids

    January 7th
    After successfully launching in September of last year (2016), OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) has been given a new task – to hunt for "Trojan" asteroids that may pose a danger to Earth.

  • Boeing’s T-X prototype takes flight

    January 5th
    NASA’s famous T-38 trainer, which has been flown by astronauts for fifty years, is being replaced. Boeing’s T-X made its first flight on Tuesday, Dec. 20. It heralds what could be a new age in training aircraft for NASA.