Spaceflight Insider

  • Video: SpaceX reveals its Interplanetary Transport System

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 27th SpaceX released a video about its new Interplanetary Transportation System. More details are being presented at the 67th International Astronautical Congress today (Sept. 27) at 2:30 p.m. EDT (18:30 GMT).

  • NASA: Europa may have plumes of water being jettisoned into space

    Jason RhianSeptember 26th NASA announced on Monday, Sept. 26, a discovery regarding the Galilean moon Europa. Hubble Space Telescope observations show the moon appears to be jettisoning plumes of water out into space.

  • SpaceX shows mach diamonds are a rocket’s best friend with Raptor sneak peek

    Curt GodwinSeptember 26th SpaceX conducted the first firing of the company's Raptor engine. The test comes as the NewSpace firm prepares to make a major announcement about its plans to send crews to the Red Planet.

  • India’s PSLV rocket sends eight satellites into two different orbits

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 26th India’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has successfully launched on Monday, Sept. 26, with eight satellites, delivering them into two different orbits. The rocket lifted off at exactly 9:12 a.m. local time (03:42 GMT; 11:42 p.m. EDT on Sept. 25) from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.

  • Falcon 9 explosion narrowed to helium system failure

    Curt GodwinSeptember 24th The first sign of an anomaly and the loss of the Falcon 9 rocket with the AMOS-6 satellite during a pre-flight test propellant loading operation on Sept. 1, 2016, took place in the blink of an eye. After poring over data, SpaceX engineers have narrowed down the likely cause of the explosion to a failure in the upper stage's helium system.

  • PSLV rocket to send eight satellites to orbit on its longest flight

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 24th The Indian Space Research Organisation is preparing a PLSV rocket with an array of satellites to launch from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, at 9:12 a.m. local time (03:42 GMT; 11:42 p.m. EDT on Sept. 25).

  • China’s Tiangong-1 space laboratory to fall to Earth in 2017

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 23rd China’s first space laboratory, Tiangong-1 (“Heavenly Palace” in Chinese), is expected to re-enter the atmosphere in the second half of 2017, according to Chinese officials. While most parts of the spacecraft will burn up, there are worries some pieces may hit the ground.

  • Orion heat shield arrives at Kennedy Space Center

    Scott JohnsonSeptember 22nd The titanium truss structure component (along with its composite "skin") of the Exploration Mission (EM) -1 Orion crew capsule heat shield has arrived at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. With this new portion of hardware in place, NASA is one step closer to conducting the maiden flight of the SLS rocket.

  • Russia sets new date for Soyuz MS-02 mission, confirms decision to cut ISS crews

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 21st Russia has set Nov. 1 as the new launch date for the next crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS), designated Soyuz MS-02. The announcement came just days after the country approved the plan of reducing its space station crew from three to two cosmonauts. These two decisions force reschedules in Russia’s spaceflight program.

  • Soyuz TMA-03M capsule now on display in the Netherlands

    Jacques van OeneSeptember 20th NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands — The Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft found its permanent new home in the Space Expo Museum in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. An event was hosted at the museum to honor the spacecraft component.

  • Orbital ATK targeting Oct. 9–13 for Antares launch

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 20th Orbital ATK is targeting Oct. 9–13 for the launch of the company’s upgraded Antares 230 rocket. Liftoff will occur from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport to send the OA-5 Cygnus spacecraft, called S.S. Alan G. Poindexter, to the International Space Station (ISS).

  • NASA provides update on Asteroid Redirect Mission

    Curt GodwinSeptember 19th NASA discussed the status of the space agency's Asteroid Redirect Mission recently. Interesting facts came out during a panel discussion held which included NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and others.

  • Nearby wildfire prompts delay in Atlas V launch

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 18th LOMPOC, Calif. — The planned Sept. 18 launch of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket with the WorldView-4 satellite has been postponed due to a wildfire burning on Vandenberg Air Force Base south of the launch pad – Space Launch Complex 3E. The delay allows firefighters to remain in the area to try to put out the fire.

  • ASF marks 35-year anniversary since flights of STS-1 & STS-2

    Jason RhianSeptember 18th HOUSTON, Texas — It has been three-and-a-half decades since the Space Shuttle Columbia carried out her first and second flights – heralding the start of the Shuttle era. The ASF held a three-day event, starting on Thursday, Sept. 15, to mark the occasion.

  • Soyuz MS-02 launch postponed for technical reasons

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 17th The next crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS), Soyuz MS-02, has been postponed “for technical reasons after tests at the Baikonur Space Center,” according to the Roscosmos State Corporation. The flight was scheduled for a Sept. 23 launch and subsequent two-day rendezvous with the orbital outpost.

  • Leaky liquid hydrogen line causes scrub of WorldView-4 launch – UPDATE

    Curt GodwinSeptember 16th A small liquid hydrogen (LH2) leak triggered a scrub of today's scheduled launch of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401. The rocket was slated to loft the WorldView-4 Earth-imaging satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

  • Vega launcher sends PerúSAT-1 and four SkySat satellites into orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 16th Arianespace has successfully conducted its seventh mission of the year on Thursday, Sept. 15, sending PerúSAT-1 spacecraft and four SkySat micro-satellites into space atop a Vega launcher. The rocket lifted off at 10:43 p.m. local time on Sept. 15 (9:43 p.m. EDT; 1:43 GMT on Sept. 16), from the Vega Launch Complex (SLV) in Kourou, French Guiana.

  • China launches Tiangong-2 space laboratory into orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 15th On Sept. 15, China successfully launched a Long March 2F rocket carrying the country’s second space lab – Tiangong-2 (meaning "Heavenly Palace" in Chinese). Liftoff took place at 10:04 p.m. local time (14:04 GMT; 10:04 a.m. EDT) from Launch Area 4 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located in China’s Gansu Province.

  • ULA preparing to launch WorldView-4 satellite from Vandenberg

    Eric ShearSeptember 15th ULA is ready to launch the the WorldView-4 satellite from SLC-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday, Sept. 16. Previously known as GeoEye-2, the spacecraft was manufactured by Lockheed Martin and is operated by DigitalGlobe.

  • Vega launcher to orbit five satellites on its seventh mission

    Tomasz NowakowskiSeptember 14th Arianespace is gearing up for the seventh launch of the Vega rocket in its series, which will place into orbit PerúSAT-1 and four SkySat satellites. The launcher is scheduled to lift off from the Vega Launch Complex (SLV) in Kourou, French Guiana, at 10:43 p.m. local time on Sept. 15 (9:43 p.m. EDT; 1:43 GMT on Sept. 16).

    The Range
  • New data sheds light on composition of Pluto’s frozen ‘heart’

    September 27th
    Computer models based on data collected by the New Horizons mission team are shedding light on the formation and structure of Sputnik Planum, the left side of Pluto's iconic 'heart' feature.

  • Video: Orbital ATK showcases its Cygnus-derived space habitat concept

    September 26th
    After being one of six companies selected last month for NASA's second Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2), Orbital ATK shed a little more light on its concept for creating a deep space habitat based on the Cygnus cargo spacecraft currently servicing the International Space Station.

  • OPINION: What are the 2016 presidential contenders’ views on space?

    September 25th
    Voters are likely having a hard time learning about how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump feel about space exploration. Neither of their websites mentions NASA or space exploration. The platforms for each Party only give a cursory mention of these topics. Space exploration simply doesn't top the agenda during this election.

  • Video: The first captive carry test of VSS Unity

    September 23rd
    Virgin Galactic recently released a video discussing the path traveled in getting VSS Unity ready for flight testing. This video, titled "Elevating Unity – Episode 1: Captive Carry", showcases The Spaceship Company and Virgin Galactic preparing for and conducting the first captive carry test the vehicle.

  • Rocket Crafters notes safety of hybrid rockets after SpaceX disaster

    September 22nd
    SpaceFlight Insider spoke with former NASA astronaut and current Rocket Crafters CEO and Chairman Sid Gutierrez about the potential of hybrid rockets in the wake of the Sept. 1, 2016, explosion that consumed a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, its Amos-6 satellite, and damaged the launch site at Cape Canaveral's SLC-40.

  • NASA extends science operations of IRIS solar observation spacecraft

    September 21st
    NASA has decided to extend science operations of its IRIS space observatory dedicated to studying the Sun's lower atmosphere. The $19.4 million extension contract awarded by the agency secures the manufacturer’s support for the mission through September 2018 and provides additional cooperation with ground observatories worldwide.

  • Wildfire at Vandenberg Air Force Base zero percent contained

    September 20th
    LOMPOC, Calif. — The wildfire that prompted a delay of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket scheduled to blast out of Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex 3-East (SLC-3E) on Sept. 18 has yet to be contained.

  • Cassini begins daring final year at Saturn

    September 19th
    After over 12 years at Saturn, studying the planet and its rings and moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its mission. Before the spacecraft's long journey ends in September 2017, Cassini will complete a daring two-part endgame that will take it close to Saturn's F ring, and finally into the gap between the rings and Saturn itself.

  • NASA’s Mars 2020 rover to produce oxygen on the Red Planet

    September 19th
    NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will not only investigate the Red Planet, searching for evidence of past life on Mars, but also it is expected to lay the foundations for future human exploration of the planet. One of the mission’s instruments, called MOXIE, will have a special task – testing technology essential for Mars colonization.

  • Some ancient Martian lakes more recent than previously thought

    September 18th
    A new study using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and other spacecraft indicate that lakes and streams on Mars formed much later in the planet's history than previously thought possible.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: JWST – the once and future thing

    September 18th
    Conceived in 1989 by the Space Telescope Science Institute and backed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the Next Generation Space Telescope, predecessor to the James Webb Space Telescope, was to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope. The journey that the JWST would take has been a long and winding one.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: The second flight of Rotary Rocket’s Roton ATV

    September 17th
    MOJAVE, Calif. — On Sept. 16, 1999, the Roton Atmospheric Test Vehicle (ATV) made its second successful test flight. The conical rotorcraft rose to a planned altitude of 20 ft (6.1 m) above the runway of Mojave Air and Space Port, propelled by hydrogen peroxide tip rockets, and hovered for two-and-a-half minutes.

  • Chandra detects Pluto X-rays; Charon’s red polar cap mystery solved

    September 16th
    Observations conducted with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory for comparison with data from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft surprised scientists by discovering X-rays coming from Pluto.

  • ULA to offer ‘RapidLaunch’ service

    September 15th
    The United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Sept. 13, 2016, a new service that allows a customer to place a launch order and fly in as little as three months. According to a news release, the service, called RapidLaunch, will be the fastest schedule from initial order to launch in the industry.

  • Contest seeks designs for 3-D printer in space

    September 15th
    Mouser Electronics, an electronics warehouse company, is sponsoring contest for the design of a 3-D device for use in space. The device can be anything that improves the job or daily life of an astronaut in space. Entries must be submitted by Oct. 7.