Is it or isn’t it? Confusion surrounds possibility Proton placed Ekspress AM-6 into wrong orbit

Shortly after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan at 1:09 p.m. EDT (1709 GMT) - it was discovered that the Ekspress AM-6 satellite had been placed in the wrong orbit. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

A report appearing on NASASpaceFlight (NSF) has indicated that while the initial phase of the launch of the Russian Ekspress AM-6 telecommunications satellite might have gone off as planned – the later stages of the mission were less than perfect. NSF’s Chris Bergin reported via Twitter that, although the spacecraft had been placed into the wrong orbit […]

Irish researchers develop new tool to protect Earth from space debris

Image Credit: ESA

Researchers from the Trinity College in Dublin have designed a risk assessment tool for spacecraft re-entry, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA ). The tool developed by the team of scientists from the School of Computer Science & Statistics, Professor of Statistics, Simon Wilson and Cristina De Persis is now being filed with […]

JSC Media Resource Center to close Oct. 23

Photo Credit: NASA

NASA’s Johnson Space Center Media Resource Center will close its doors on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. The rationale behind the closing was listed as “funding availability.” The space agency noted that supporting current events at JSC had received “highest priority.” Journalists can now call the JSC Newsroom via telephone to receive access to still and video […]

Italy’s first female astronaut prepares for launch to ISS

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti preparing for her upcoming mission as part of the Expedition 42 and 43 crews on the International Space Station. Photo Credit: ESA / NASA

Samantha Cristoforetti, Italy’s first female astronaut, is currently scheduled to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on Nov. 23. She will travel to orbit as part of the Expedition 42/43, and her five and a half month mission will be loaded with scientific experiments. Recently she presented the details of her research at the headquarters of the […]

Aerojet Rocketdyne selected to provide power system and thrusters for 2020 Mars rover

Aerojet Rocketdyne has been selected to produce the thrusters that will help guide NASA's next Mars rover to the surface of the Red Planet. Image Credit: JPL / NASA

With NASA preparing to send crews to travel to Mars some time in the 2030s, the space agency is developing mechanical pathfinders which will blaze the trail that their human counterparts will retrace when their time comes to make history. However, getting to the Martian surface – is more difficult than recent missions have made […]

Ekspress AM-6 satellite launches atop Proton-M

Photo Credit: NASA

The Ekspress AM-6 communications satellite was successfully launched atop a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 11:09 a.m. EDT (1509  GMT). The satellite was built by ISS Reshetnev and will be operated by the Russian Satellite Communications Company as part of its Ekspress network which provides communications services to Russia and surrounding territories. The launch […]

Busy week on station: cosmonauts prepare for spacewalk and Dragon is set for departure

An Expedition 41 crew member aboard the International Space Station photographed this view of the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship docked to the nadir port of the Harmony node as the station's Canadarm2 and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator prepare to remove external cargo from Dragon. Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene. Credit: NASA

A busy week has just started for the multi-national crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a pair of Russian cosmonauts suited up for a dry run of the planned Wednesday, Oct. 22 spacewalk. Meanwhile SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will remain with the ISS for a few more days. Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev […]

Proton-M rocket set to launch Ekspress AM-6 satellite

Image Credit: Roscosmos

Preparations are underway at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the upcoming launch of the Ekspress AM-6 communications satellite. A Proton-M rocket was rolled out to the launch pad at site 81/24  on Saturday. The launch is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21 at 15:09 UTC (10:09 AM EDT).

OPINION: Mars One should take MIT’s disturbing report seriously

Artist's conception of the Mars One colony. Image Credit: Mars One / Brian Versteeg

On May 11, 2014, Spaceflight Insider discussed Mars One, an ambitious plan to send a one-way mission to colonize the Red Planet. Four volunteers will travel on the first mission, slated to take place in 2024, followed by subsequent missions to expand the fledgling colony. But a disturbing computer simulation by students at MIT indicates that the Mars […]

Boeing reaches final Commercial Crew design milestone

The CST-100's RCS system will direct the path throughout the course of its mission. Image Credit: Boeing

This week it was announced that the Boeing Company’s CST-100 spacecraft had reached the final milestone outlined under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) Space Act Agreement. The progress comes three months after the space agency’s Critical Design Review Board approved Boeing’s blueprint for a crewed low-Earth orbit (LEO) vehicle and it follows on the heels of […]

Lockheed Martin claims breakthrough in compact fusion reactors: good news for space exploration?

Concept of a fusion reactor which could generate renewable, emission-free energy. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin (via YouTube)

Lockheed Martin announced this week that it plans to have a working compact nuclear fusion reactor (CFR) in ten years. If successful, the smaller, more portable size of the reactors could make them ideal sources of power for various transportation vehicles on Earth such as planes and ships. They could even one day more efficiently power spacecraft […]

Rosetta’s Philae lander given “green light” for upcoming landing

Close-up of landing site "J" as seen from 18 miles (30 km). Image Credit: ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) has officially given the go ahead for Rosetta’s lander, Philae, to touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The historic landing is now scheduled to occur on Nov. 12, and will mark the first time a spacecraft has landed on the surface of a comet. The chosen landing site, designated “Site J”, is […]

NASA eyes SpaceX soft-landing technology for future Mars missions

SpaceX and NASA launched the CRS-4 mission on Sept. 21, 2014. Upon its return - NASA and the company took a closer look at the rocket's return through Earth's atmosphere. Photo Credit: Jared Haworth / SpaceFlight Insider

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX ) has been working to develop technologies to increase capabilities in terms of spaceflight – while keeping related costs down. One such effort, the use of descent capabilities on the first stage of the company’s Falcon 9 v1.1 booster – has caught NASA’s attention. So much so – that the agency tasked […]

Our Spaceflight Heritage: International Incident averted – interplanetary success achieved – the flight of STS-34

Photo Credit: NASA

On Oct. 18, 1989, a group of astronauts launched aboard space shuttle Atlantis from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle carried some very special cargo, Galileo, an unmanned spacecraft heading for the Jupiter. It was the first planetary orbiter to carry out an extended observation of the Jovian system and it was charged with collecting a sampling […]

USAF’s X-37B closes out OTV-3 mission with successful Vandenberg landing

The USAF's X-37B completing a mission lasting some 674 days. Photo Credit: Boeing

The United States Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane wrapped up a long-duration orbital mission – one lasting some 674 days today, Oct. 17. The unmanned mini space shuttle touched down at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 9:24 a.m. PDT (1024 GMT). Built by Boeing, the spacecraft was launched on Dec. 11, 2012 on the third […]

First female ISS Cosmonaut adjusts to life in space

Yelena Serova poses for a picture with NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore. Photo Credit: NASA/Roscosmos

Yelena Serova who, in September, became the first female Russian cosmonaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS), is adjusting very fast to life in space and she’s now settling in as a permanent ISS inhabitant. On the ISS Mailbox blog, she writes about the everyday life of her crew, their work on the Kardiovektor […]

Sierra Nevada Corporation wins contract to develop U.S. DoD satellite

The STPSat-3 spacecraft. Photo Credit: Ball Aerospace

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been selected to develop and build a satellite which will carry four scientific payloads to low-Earth-orbit, allowing the Department of Defense (DoD ) to better understand the space environment and support national security space systems developed in the future.

Hubble detects New Horizons’ targets beyond Pluto

Artist's impression of a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO), like the ones New Horizons will flyby after Pluto. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

From its earliest days, NASA’s New Horizons mission was viewed as having a dual purpose–the first being to fly by and image the Pluto system and the second to visit one or more of the tiny Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) beyond Pluto — relics left intact from the solar system’s earliest days. With the help of the […]

Court of Federal Claims to hear latest SNC Commercial Crew complaint today

Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation

Those who thought that NASA’s Commercial Crew transportation Capability (CCtCap) could finally get underway with NASA’s decision to reactivate the program’s elements – might be mistaken. A report appearing on Space News details how Sierra Nevada Corporation opted, on Oct. 15, to pursue a lawsuit over the program’s fate. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims […]

Latin American Intelsat 30 and ARSAT 1 launch aboard Ariane 5

Ariane 5 ECA rocket launches out of Kourou, French Guiana. Photo Credit: ESA

Thursday evening, at 5:44 p.m. EST (2144 GMT), the Ariane 5 ECA rocket took to the skies in Kourou, French Guiana to deliver the Intelsat 30 (IS-30) and ARSAT 1 (Argentina Satellite-1) payloads. Operated by the French company ArianeSpace, this evening’s launch, designated Flight VA220, lifted off from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex. The Ariane […]