Leaving your mark: NASA’s Curiosity rover makes lasting impression

NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity landing marks on surface of Red Planet image credit NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter MRO posted on SpaceFlight Insider

Trails left by NASA’s fleet of rovers, with the assistance of the Martian winds and dust devils that scour the rust-colored plains of the Red Planet, usually fade with time. When the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity touched down on the surface of Mars, it did so via the innovative “Sky Crane” system. A jet […]

NASA’s “flying saucer” prepares for another spin

The main structural body of the second flight test vehicle in NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project is seen during its assembly in a cleanroom at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.   Photo Cedit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Project (LDSD ) is preparing to launch its second saucer-shaped, rocket powered test vehicle into near-space from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, in June. The first LDSD test flight was conducted on June 28, 2014. The suborbital flight was considered a success even though the test vehicle’s […]

NASA selects ‘Option B’ for Asteroid Redirect Mission

NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission Option B NASA image posted on SpaceFlight Insider

NASA has announced that it has selected “Option B” for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (more commonly referred to as ARM), meaning that rather than towing an entire asteroid into lunar orbit, it will instead retrieve a boulder from an asteroid and bring it into a distant retrograde lunar orbit. Using Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP), an […]

Two for two! Flight of Galileo navigational satellites marks dual launches of Soyuz booster


It’s not every day that two rockets take to the sky. Even rarer is the flight of two of the same family of boosters during that same time frame. Today was just such a day for the Soyuz rocket. In fact, a mere two hours and four minutes after a NASA astronaut and two Russian […]

Crew of veteran astronauts launch to the space station, prepare to begin one-year mission

Expedition 43 Soyuz launch as seen on Spaceflight Insider

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — A trio of veteran astronauts are on their way to the International Space Station (ISS) following a picture perfect  launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EDT Friday March 27 (1:42 a.m., March 28 Baikonur time).

Keeping an eye on Kim Jong-un: Japanese IGS-Optical 5 satellite lifts off

IGS Optical satellite launches atop JAXA H IIA rocket from Tanegashima Japan JAXA photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

On Thursday, March 26, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA ) successfully launched its fifth IGS optical satellite (IGS-Optical 5) atop a H-IIA F28 launch vehicle. The launch occurred at 9:21 p.m. EST on Wednesday (10:21 a.m. JST on Thursday) from the space agency’s Yoshinobu Launch Complex on Tanegashima Island. At the time of launch, Tanegashima […]

Rosetta detects molecular nitrogen on comet 67P

Comet 67P on March 14 as seen on Spaceflight Insider

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft is a mission of firsts – first to rendezvous with a comet, first to land on a comet, and now first to detect molecular nitrogen on a comet. The latest data collected at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is providing clues about the temperature environment in which it formed.

ULA adds two names to NGLS naming competition


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – United Launch Alliance (ULA ) has added two more names to the competition to name   the company’s new launch system (currently dubbed the Next Generation Launch System or “NGLS”). The two new names, “Vulcan” and”Zeus” join the three earlier names, “Eagle”, “Freedom” and “GalaxyOne.” 

ULA successfully delivers ninth GPS IIF satellite to orbit

ULA Delta IV launch with GPS IIF-9

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — A United Launch Alliance (ULA ) Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) rocket launched today, Wednesday, March 25, from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37). It carried with it the ninth GPS IIF satellite for the U.S. Air Force. Liftoff occurred right on time and at the beginning of an 18-minute window at 2:36 p.m. […]

Florida Space Day / Launch of GPS IIF-9 LIVE coverage!


TALLAHASSEE, Fla — SpaceFlight Insider is at the Florida State Capitol today, Wednesday, March 25, for Florida Space Day. Today’s launch is scheduled to take place at 2:36 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37 and will see the ninth (of twelve planned) Block IIF Global Positioning Satellite sent aloft. […]

EFT-1 Orion heat shield and Marshall Space Flight Center building 4705

Deepak Bose - MSFC - EFT-1 Orion Heat Shield

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — SpaceFlight Insider recently reported on the transport of the EFT-1 Orion heat shield to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) for additional inspection, analysis and testing. This past week we had the opportunity to be on-site, at MSFC Building 4705, to take a last look at the heat shield, prior to the […]

Touchdown! SNC inks agreement for Dream Chaser to land at Ellington Airport

SIerra Nevada Corporation has entered into an agreement to have the cargo version of the Dream Chaser space plane to land at Ellington Airport (archive photo). Credit: Ken Ulbrich / NASA

Not being selected to proceed under NASA’s Commercial Crew transportation Capability has not slowed the manufacturers of the Dream Chaser space plane down one bit. Sierra Nevada Corporation announced on Tuesday, March 24, that it had entered into an agreement to have an uncrewed version of Dream Chaser land at Ellington Airport’s Spaceport. SNC signed this agreement […]

GPS IIF-9 set to launch atop ULA Delta IV Medium

Delta IV Medium launch as seen on Spaceflight Insider

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA ) is prepping a Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) launch vehicle to ferry the ninth GPS Block IIF satellite to orbit. Liftoff is currently scheduled to take place on Mar. 25 and will have a launch window which will last a total of 18-minute window, which opens at 2:36 p.m. EDT (18:36 GMT). […]

Vostochny report part 2: Into the darkness

Vostochny Cosmodrome construction site

Pay the debts or go into the darkness, that is what the operators of the Vostochny Cosmodrone were told recently, relating to energy bills – and crippling debt. Cutting the power supplies is a serious setback for the project, and it could even be recognized as an act of sabotage when an investment of national […]

Launch Viewing Guide: ULA Delta IV with GPS IIF-9

ULA is preparing to launch one of the company's Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) rockets with the AFSPC-4 mission. Photo Credit: ULA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — United Launch Alliance (ULA ) is preparing to launch a Delta IV Medium+ (4.2) rocket with the ninth Block two GPS satellite (GPSIIF 9) along with the Automated Navigation satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37 ) in Florida. More commonly referred to as GPSIIF 9, this mission is poised […]

NASA amends CCiCap agreement for Dream Chaser

Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser NASA space plane photo credit Ken Ulbrich NASA posted on SpaceFlight Inisder

NASA has decided to amend the Space Act Agreement (SAA) that it has with Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corporation under the space agency’s Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap ) agreement. This amendment will, in essence, add a milestone under the contract that saw SNC receive an estimated $213 million on Aug. 5, 2012. This will mean […]

ULA holds competition to name Next Generation Launch System rocket

United Launch Alliance sent the 8th Block IIF GPS satellite today, Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 1:22 p.m. EDT (1722 GMT). Photo Credit: Mike Deep SpaceFlight Insider

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — Colorado-based United Launch Alliance initiated a competition to name the company’s new Next Generation Launch System booster on Monday, March 23. The contest allows U.S. citizens to vote on one of three names that have been selected for the rocket which ULA  plans to have replace both the Atlas V and […]

Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 50 years since the launch of Gemini 3

gemini 3 crew as seen on Spaceflight Insider

The United States’ first dual crew member mission, Gemini 3, lifted off fifty years ago on Tuesday March 23, 1965, at 9:24 a.m. Eastern time from Launch Complex 19 in Cape Canaveral, FL. This was just 5 days after the Soviet Alexei Leonov’s first spacewalk.

Rockets for Commercial Crew launches begin to come together

Chris Ferguson reviews a United Launch Alliance ULA Atlas V booster core NASA photo

The codes AV-073 and AV-080 may not mean much to many, but they mean a whole lot to former astronaut Chris Ferguson and the team of engineers and technicians who will assemble the first Atlas V rocket to launch a crew to the International Space Station. That test and a precursor flight without crew are part of […]

Melbourne Air & Space Show rocks Florida’s Space Coast

An U.S. F-22 Raptor tears through the atmosphere at the Melbourne Air & Space Show on March 21. Photo Credit: Michael Seeley / SpaceFlight Insider

MELBOURNE, Fla — The skies above the Melbourne International Airport roared with the sounds of jet and propeller-driven aircraft this weekend. The show was held from March 21-22 and included the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the F-22 Raptor demonstration team, U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team – and an array of other government and civilian organizations.