Spaceflight Insider

  • Shotwell, Cabana discuss SpaceX’s future

    Bart LeahyFebruary 18th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — In front of Launch Complex 39A, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell, along with space center Director Bob Cabana, answered questions from a mixed crowd of journalists and invited social media enthusiasts.

  • KSC showcases its future as multi-user spaceport

    Bart LeahyFebruary 17th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA has made major strides in its seven-year effort to transform Kennedy Space Center (KSC) into a multi-user spaceport for both itself as well as private rocket companies.

  • NASA studying farming in space to support trips to Mars

    Bart LeahyFebruary 17th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Children might not want to hear this, but, if they want to be the first astronaut on Mars, they’ll need to eat their vegetables. To account for that painful truth, NASA has several space farming projects to ensure people living and working in space get fresh green stuff as part of their diet.

  • SpaceX Dragon delivering the science on CRS-10

    Bart LeahyFebruary 16th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — For the first time since 2011, a rocket will be sending supplies and a collection of science experiments for the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A). However, the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) 10 mission, scheduled for Feb. 18, 2017, is not being flown by a NASA launch vehicle, but SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket...

  • Trump space advisors considering Hubble servicing mission

    Bart LeahyFebruary 16th The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump administration advisers are considering a public-private crewed mission aboard the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft to keep the aging Hubble Space Telescope (HST) operational. The proposed mission, which would not happen before 2019, would require support from the next NASA administrator.

  • NASA studying the possibility of adding crew to EM-1

    Curt GodwinFebruary 16th On Feb. 15, 2017, Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, announced that he was ordering a study on the feasibility of adding a crew to Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1). This would mark a significant change from the agency's current mission roadmap, which has EM-1 flying uncrewed in 2018, with crew ultimately launching several years later on EM-2.

  • Potential Landing Sites for Mars 2020 Narrowed Down to Three

    Paul KnightlyFebruary 16th The number of potential landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover has been narrowed down to three, from a list of eight, following a conference of scientists last week. The top three landing sites that were selected were in Northeast Syrtis Major, Jezero Crater, and the Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater.

  • NASA Glenn researchers develop electronics for longer Venus surface missions

    Michael ColeFebruary 15th GLENN RESEARCH CENTER, Ohio — Venus is our closest planetary neighbor. However, its mean surface temperature is at a horrendous 863 °F (462 °C) with a crushing atmospheric pressure 90 times that of Earth; consequently, the operating lifespan of any spacecraft visiting its surface has been very short. The work of a group of scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, may chan...

  • OSIRIS-REx begins search for Earth-Trojan asteroids

    Jim SharkeyFebruary 15th On Feb. 9, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft began searching for an elusive type of near-Earth object known as Earth-Trojan asteroids. The spacecraft, currently on a two-year outbound journey to the asteroid Bennu, will spend nearly two weeks looking for evidence of these small bodies.

  • Record 104 satellites launched atop Indian PSLV rocket

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 15th In its first launch of the year, India sent a record 104 satellites into space atop the country's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The mission, PSLV-C37, lifted off at 10:58 p.m. EST Feb. 14 (03:58 GMT Feb. 15) from the First Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

  • Arianespace successfully deploys two communication satellites in first Ariane 5 launch of 2017

    Curt GodwinFebruary 14th Arianespace notched another successful mission with the launch of its Ariane 5 rocket with two communication satellites – SKY Brasil-1 and Telkom 3S. This marks the first Ariane 5 launch of the year for Arianespace and follows their successful Soyuz launch just 17 days prior.

  • New Horizons posters, studies, to be presented at Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

    Laurel KornfeldFebruary 14th Seven poster sessions and seven studies based on data returned by the New Horizons mission will be presented at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, which will be held in The Woodlands, Texas, on March 20–24 of this year (2017).

  • Shotwell, Cabana discuss SpaceX’s future

    Bart LeahyFebruary 18th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — In front of Launch Complex 39A, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell, along with space center Director Bob Cabana, answered questions from a mixed crowd of journalists and invited social media enthusiasts.

  • KSC showcases its future as multi-user spaceport

    Bart LeahyFebruary 17th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA has made major strides in its seven-year effort to transform Kennedy Space Center (KSC) into a multi-user spaceport for both itself as well as private rocket companies.

  • SpaceX Dragon delivering the science on CRS-10

    Bart LeahyFebruary 16th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — For the first time since 2011, a rocket will be sending supplies and a collection of science experiments for the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A). However, the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) 10 mission, scheduled for Feb. 18, 2017, is not being flown by a NASA launch vehicle, but SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

  • Trump space advisors considering Hubble servicing mission

    Bart LeahyFebruary 16th The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump administration advisers are considering a public-private crewed mission aboard the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft to keep the aging Hubble Space Telescope (HST) operational. The proposed mission, which would not happen before 2019, would require support from the next NASA administrator.

  • NASA studying the possibility of adding crew to EM-1

    Curt GodwinFebruary 16th On Feb. 15, 2017, Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, announced that he was ordering a study on the feasibility of adding a crew to Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1). This would mark a significant change from the agency's current mission roadmap, which has EM-1 flying uncrewed in 2018, with crew ultimately launching several years later on EM-2.

  • OSIRIS-REx begins search for Earth-Trojan asteroids

    Jim SharkeyFebruary 15th On Feb. 9, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft began searching for an elusive type of near-Earth object known as Earth-Trojan asteroids. The spacecraft, currently on a two-year outbound journey to the asteroid Bennu, will spend nearly two weeks looking for evidence of these small bodies.

  • Record 104 satellites launched atop Indian PSLV rocket

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 15th In its first launch of the year, India sent a record 104 satellites into space atop the country's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The mission, PSLV-C37, lifted off at 10:58 p.m. EST Feb. 14 (03:58 GMT Feb. 15) from the First Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

  • Arianespace successfully deploys two communication satellites in first Ariane 5 launch of 2017

    Curt GodwinFebruary 14th Arianespace notched another successful mission with the launch of its Ariane 5 rocket with two communication satellites – SKY Brasil-1 and Telkom 3S. This marks the first Ariane 5 launch of the year for Arianespace and follows their successful Soyuz launch just 17 days prior.

  • Arianespace preps 2 satellites for launch atop workhorse Ariane 5

    Curt GodwinFebruary 13th With its Launch Readiness Review complete, Arianespace continues to make preparations to launch its first Ariane 5 rocket of 2017. The delivery into space of two communications satellites, SKY Brasil-1 and Telkom 3S, is scheduled for the beginning of an 86-minute launch window that opens at 4:39 p.m. EST (21:39 GMT) on Feb. 14, 2017.

  • Falcon 9 static fire test performed at LC-39A

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 12th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Launch Complex 39A roared to life for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle era, albeit for only a few seconds, as SpaceX conducted a static test fire of its Falcon 9 rocket.

  • SpaceX Falcon 9 vertical at historic Launch Complex 39A

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 10th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — In a sign that SpaceX is finally ready to launch from Kennedy Space Center's historic Launch Complex 39A, the company rolled its Falcon 9, mounted atop a brand-new transporter erector, up the incline to the top of the pad.

  • NanoRacks’ proposed airlock paves way for a more commercial ISS

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 10th In early February, NASA accepted a proposal from NanoRacks to send the first commercial airlock to the International Space Station in 2019. This milestone is only the latest of many that has seen the orbiting laboratory gain increased commercial use.

  • Insider Exclusive: JSC’s Astronaut Office innovating a path forward

    Jason RhianFebruary 10th HOUSTON, Texas — A model of NASA's Orion spacecraft is prominently placed within the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center. We sat down with Rick Mastracchio, a four-time spaceflight veteran with more than 227 days on orbit about how the Astronaut Office at JSC is working to make the agency's new Orion spacecraft more self-sufficient than those that preceded it.

  • First SpaceX flight from Launch Complex 39A slated for Feb. 18

    Bart LeahyFebruary 8th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with NASA's CRS-10 is targeted for Feb. 18 and will herald the rebirth of one of Kennedy Space Center's most iconic launch sites.

  • Tornado damages NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility

    Jason RhianFebruary 7th NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) was the site of a confirmed tornado strike at 11:25 a.m. CST (12:25 p.m. EST / 17:25 GMT). So far, only minor injuries have been reported and NASA is accounting for all of its personnel and contractors as well as assessing damage caused by the storm.

  • Bill introduced to redirect NASA to Moon, establish sustained presence

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 7th A bill that would direct NASA to return to the Moon and establish a sustained presence was referred to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Feb. 3, 2017.

  • Audit of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission warns of potential delays

    Jim SharkeyFebruary 7th In a report issued on Jan. 30, 2017, NASA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) voiced concerns about issues that could delay the planned July 2020 launch of the space agency's next Mars rover. An optimal 20-day window for a journey from Earth to Mars occurs once every 26 months. Missing the 2020 launch date would result in increased costs while waiting for the next launch opportunity.

  • Japan’s Kounotori 6 re-enters Earth’s atmosphere

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 6th Japan’s sixth Kounotori spacecraft, also called the H-II Transfer Vehicle or HTV, re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Feb. 5, 2017, after spending nearly two months in space to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) and test new technologies.

  • First SpaceX Falcon 9 scheduled to be re-flown tested at McGregor

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 6th SpaceX recently tested the previously-flown Falcon 9 first stage assigned to send the SES-10 communications satellite into space. That mission will mark the first time the company has re-flown one of its recovered boosters.

  • Preliminary GAO report calls commercial crew vehicles into question

    Bart LeahyFebruary 6th The Wall Street Journal stated in a recent report that the GAO has expressed new concerns about the safety of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in a preliminary report to Congress. The early version of the document, which has not yet been posted online, reported cracks in the turbopump blades of the Merlin engine, among other faults.

    The Range
  • NASA studying farming in space to support trips to Mars

    February 17th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Children might not want to hear this, but, if they want to be the first astronaut on Mars, they’ll need to eat their vegetables. To account for that painful truth, NASA has several space farming projects to ensure people living and working in space get fresh green stuff as part of their diet.

  • Potential Landing Sites for Mars 2020 Narrowed Down to Three

    February 16th
    The number of potential landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover has been narrowed down to three, from a list of eight, following a conference of scientists last week. The top three landing sites that were selected were in Northeast Syrtis Major, Jezero Crater, and the Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater.

  • NASA Glenn researchers develop electronics for longer Venus surface missions

    February 15th
    GLENN RESEARCH CENTER, Ohio — Venus is our closest planetary neighbor. However, its mean surface temperature is at a horrendous 863 °F (462 °C) with a crushing atmospheric pressure 90 times that of Earth; consequently, the operating lifespan of any spacecraft visiting its surface has been very short. The work of a group of scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, may change all that.

  • New Horizons posters, studies, to be presented at Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

    February 14th
    Seven poster sessions and seven studies based on data returned by the New Horizons mission will be presented at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, which will be held in The Woodlands, Texas, on March 20–24 of this year (2017).

  • Pathfinder for Minotaur IV rocket stacked at SLC-46

    February 13th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In an effort to ready Space Launch Complex (SLC) 46 for launching an Orbital ATK Minotaur IV rocket later this year, three inert pathfinder motors were stacked at the pad. Space Florida invited the media to see the completed stack on Feb. 12, 2017.

  • Review: Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System

    February 12th
    A new book is set for release – "Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System" by Michael Summers and James Trefil. There are, at present, 3,700 exoplanets (that we're aware of) and counting, which makes this a welcomed addition to a space enthusiast's library.

  • MRO data utilized for Mars 2020 landing-site selection

    February 11th
    NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is providing the basis for evaluating eight prospective landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover mission.

  • ULA confirms March 1 for launch attempt of NROL-79

    February 9th
    ULA has issued a statement announcing it is targeting a March 1, 2017, launch date for the flight of an Atlas V 401 rocket with a classified payload for the NRO. The NROL-79 mission had been delayed before this due to issues with the Atlas V's Centaur upper stage.

  • Goals for NASA’s proposed Europa Lander begin to crystallize

    February 9th
    Members of a NASA Science Definition Team (SDT) recently completed a report on the science value for a proposed Europa lander and gave design recommendations for the notional explorer. The search for evidence life on the icy moon is near the top of the list.

  • Curiosity rover findings raise new questions about ancient environment on Mars

    February 8th
    While NASA's "Curiosity" Mars rover has discovered considerable evidence that there was once liquid water on the Red Planet's surface, a recent study has posed a new question: How was the surface of Mars warm enough to keep the water unfrozen?

  • Six New Horizons scientists propose geophysical planet definition

    February 8th
    Six scientists who work on NASA's New Horizons mission propose a geophysical planet definition in an abstract from a presentation to be made at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

  • Scientists propose first astrophysics mission to the Moon

    February 7th
    A team of researchers led by Richard Miller of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has recently proposed a next-generation mission to the Moon called the Lunar Occultation Explorer (LOX), which is now under review by NASA. If accepted by the agency, it will be the first dedicated astrophysics lunar mission.

  • LunaH-Map CubeSat to map the Moon’s water deposits

    February 5th
    Arizona State University (ASU) is developing a small satellite that will search for hydrogen in lunar craters with the ultimate goal of creating the most detailed map of the Moon’s water deposits. The spacecraft, named the Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map), is expected to shed new light on the depth and distribution of water ice on the Moon.

  • Cassini reveals Saturn’s rings in unprecedented detail

    February 3rd
    Fresh images returned from NASA's Cassini spacecraft are revealing fascinating new details of Saturn's famous rings. Cassini is conducting a series of 22 ring-grazing orbits to study Saturn's innermost rings and moons as it refines its trajectory before concluding its 20-year mission in September.

  • Pluto’s red regions may have been created by Charon-forming impact

    February 3rd
    The dark red regions around Pluto's equator may have their origins in the giant impact that formed its moon Charon four billion years ago, according to a team of Japanese researchers.