Spaceflight Insider

  • How to slow down an interstellar spacecraft at Alpha Centauri

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 25th While one of the most important challenges for future interstellar travel is how to send a probe to other stellar systems relatively fast, another issue that needs to be resolved is how to successfully slow down such a spacecraft once it gets there.

  • EVA-40 spacewalkers prepare ISS docking module for relocation

    Derek RichardsonMarch 24th Two International Space Station (ISS) astronauts ventured outside the outpost on the first of three planned spacewalks to prepare for the arrival of a second docking adapter for the Commercial Crew Program. The 6.5-hour long spacewalk began at 7:24 a.m. EDT (11:24 GMT) March 24, 2017.

  • SpaceX expands Space Coast footprint with long-term lease at Port Canaveral

    Curt GodwinMarch 24th After occupying a 52,000-square-foot (4,831-square-meter) facility on a month-to-month lease since August 2016, SpaceX has made a long-term commitment to the former SpaceHab property at Port Canaveral.

  • PUFFER: An origami-inspired robot may go places rovers can’t

    Jim SharkeyMarch 24th JPL is developing a small, origami-inspired robot that may serve as a scout for the next rovers to explore another planet. The new design could revolutionize the manner in which future space exploration missions are carried out.

  • Wheel treads break on Curiosity rover

    Paul KnightlyMarch 23rd At nearly five years old, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is starting to show signs of its age following a routine inspection of the rover's six wheels that revealed two small breaks in the treads on the middle left wheel.

  • NASA engineers evaluate ECLSS for Commercial Crew missions

    Jose FloresMarch 23rd NASA engineers are hard at work performing evaluations on the life support systems vital to successful flight tests for the Commercial Crew missions as NASA prepares to return human spaceflight to the United States.

  • ‘Social movement’ continues to delay Ariane 5 launch

    Derek RichardsonMarch 23rd Arianespace has delayed the flight of its Ariane 5 rocket for a third day in a row due to a “social movement” at the Guiana Space Centre. The company has not set a new launch date. The mission, dubbed VA236, is set to send two communications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit.

  • Rosetta images show changes on Comet 67P as it approached the Sun

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 23rd Two separate studies of images captured by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta probe highlight increasing activity on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it approached perihelion, the point in its orbit closest to the Sun.

  • Technical issues postpone launch of ULA Atlas V with OA-7 mission to ISS

    Jason RhianMarch 22nd CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Wednesday, March 22, that the seventh flight of a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station had been postponed.

  • Trump signs NASA Transition Authorization act of 2017

    Derek RichardsonMarch 21st President Donald Trump signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization act of 2017 into law on March 21, 2017. The bill is the first such act passed by Congress and subsequently signed by the president since 2010.

  • Flight-proven Falcon 9 with SES-10 scheduled for NET March 29

    Derek RichardsonMarch 21st CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s first launch using a recovered Falcon 9 first stage will now take place no earlier than March 29, 2017. The two-day postponement of the SES-10 mission was due to range availability.

  • Arianespace delays launch of Ariane 5 Flight VA236 due to ‘social movement’

    Curt GodwinMarch 20th Arianespace has announced a 24-hour delay, at least, of Flight VA236 due to a "social movement" at The Spaceport in French Guiana. It is not entirely clear what constitutes a "social movement", though there are reports that indicate the workers who are responsible for the rollout of the vehicle to the ELA-3 launch site called for a strike.

  • EVA-40 spacewalkers prepare ISS docking module for relocation

    Derek RichardsonMarch 24th Two International Space Station (ISS) astronauts ventured outside the outpost on the first of three planned spacewalks to prepare for the arrival of a second docking adapter for the Commercial Crew Program. The 6.5-hour long spacewalk began at 7:24 a.m. EDT (11:24 GMT) March 24, 2017.

  • NASA engineers evaluate ECLSS for Commercial Crew missions

    Jose FloresMarch 23rd NASA engineers are hard at work performing evaluations on the life support systems vital to successful flight tests for the Commercial Crew missions as NASA prepares to return human spaceflight to the United States.

  • Technical issues postpone launch of ULA Atlas V with OA-7 mission to ISS

    Jason RhianMarch 22nd CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Wednesday, March 22, that the seventh flight of a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station had been postponed.

  • Trump signs NASA Transition Authorization act of 2017

    Derek RichardsonMarch 21st President Donald Trump signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization act of 2017 into law on March 21, 2017. The bill is the first such act passed by Congress and subsequently signed by the president since 2010.

  • Flight-proven Falcon 9 with SES-10 scheduled for NET March 29

    Derek RichardsonMarch 21st CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s first launch using a recovered Falcon 9 first stage will now take place no earlier than March 29, 2017. The two-day postponement of the SES-10 mission was due to range availability.

  • Arianespace delays launch of Ariane 5 Flight VA236 due to ‘social movement’

    Curt GodwinMarch 20th Arianespace has announced a 24-hour delay, at least, of Flight VA236 due to a "social movement" at The Spaceport in French Guiana. It is not entirely clear what constitutes a "social movement", though there are reports that indicate the workers who are responsible for the rollout of the vehicle to the ELA-3 launch site called for a strike.

  • Arianespace set to launch two telecom satellites in second Ariane 5 mission of 2017

    Curt GodwinMarch 20th Arianespace is gearing up to loft two communication satellites aboard its workhorse Ariane 5 rocket. Flight VA236 is set to launch from the spaceport in French Guiana in a nearly 3-hour launch window opening at 4:31 p.m. EDT (20:31 GMT) on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

  • CRS-10 Dragon unberthed, recovered in Pacific Ocean

    Derek RichardsonMarch 19th The 10th SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to visit the International Space Station (ISS) left the outpost on March 19, 2017, and fell back to Earth. The capsule was recovered off the coast of Baja California.

  • Japanese Information Gathering Satellite sent into orbit

    Derek RichardsonMarch 17th After a 24-hour delay, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched its H-IIA rocket with the Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) Radar 5 reconnaissance spacecraft. The vehicle soared out of the Tanegashima Space Center at 9:20 p.m. EDT March 16 (01:20 GMT March 17), 2017.

  • ULA to launch WGS-9 comsat to continue updating defense communications

    Bart LeahyMarch 16th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After a delay of more than one week, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is preparing to launch the ninth planned Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-9) spacecraft aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (5,4) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex (SLC) 37 on March 18, 2017.

  • Expendable Falcon 9 launches indispensable EchoStar 23

    Derek RichardsonMarch 16th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Lighting up the Florida night skies, an expendable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soared toward space with the EchoStar 23 satellite after lifting off from historic Launch Complex 39A. Liftoff took place at 2 a.m. EDT (06:00 GMT) March 16, 2017, some 25 minutes into a 2.5-hour long window.

  • ULA: OA-7 confirmed for launch on March 24, WGS-9 set for March 18

    Jason RhianMarch 16th ULA and NASA noted on March 15 that the seventh flight of Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft was now confirmed for March 24. Interestingly, ULA has requested the option to launch the day prior on March 23, pending Eastern Range availability. The move of the launch date for OA-7 as well as WGS-9 denotes the packed launch schedule at Florida's Space Coast.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Apollo 11’s Columbia CM preparing for 4 city tour

    Lloyd CampbellMarch 15th The Apollo 11 Command Module, Columbia, is currently being prepared for its first trip in more than 40 years. Having completed its first major trip, a journey to the Moon in 1969, the spacecraft toured the country before being turned over to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in 1971.

  • Zero 2 Infinity launches its first rocket from high-altitude balloon

    Derek RichardsonMarch 14th Zero 2 Infinity, a small startup with an unconventional plan to send small satellites into orbit, has successfully performed its first rocket test flight – from beneath a high-altitude balloon.

  • Weather wins as SpaceX scrubs launch of Falcon 9 with EchoStar 23

    Derek RichardsonMarch 14th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket remained firmly attached to the launch mount as the weather did not want to cooperate. Liftoff was targeted for the beginning of a 2.5-hour long launch window that opened at 1:34 a.m. EDT (05:34 GMT) March 14.

  • Live Show: Launch of Echostar XXIII on SpaceX Falcon 9

    Jason RhianMarch 14th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX is set to launch the Echostar XXIII satellite from KSC's Launch Complex 39A – the first commercial payload to fly from the historic pad via the NewSpace firm's Falcon 9 rocket. The roughly two-and-a-half hour long launch window opens at 1:34 a.m. EDT (05:34 GMT). SFI Live will be broadcast from the SFI's headquarters at 1 a.m. EDT (05:00 GMT).

  • Japanese reconnaissance satellite set for Thursday launch atop H-IIA rocket

    Curt GodwinMarch 13th Preparations are underway at JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center for the launch of the IGS-RADAR-5 radar reconnaissance satellite. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket, in the 202 configuration, is set to launch within a 2-hour window opening at 9:00 p.m. EDT March 15 (01:00 GMT March 16), 2017.

  • EchoStar 23 set for launch atop SpaceX Falcon 9 at KSC

    Derek RichardsonMarch 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX is set to launch its second Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Liftoff is targeted for the beginning of a 2.5-hour long window that opens at 1:34 a.m. EDT (05:34 GMT) March 14, 2017.

  • Atlas V technical issue delays OA-7 Cygnus flight to NET March 21

    Derek RichardsonMarch 10th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The launch of Orbital ATK’s S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft has been postponed by two days to March 21, 2017, due to a technical issue discovered on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V set to send the freighter toward the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Orbital ATK names next Cygnus after John Glenn

    Derek RichardsonMarch 10th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Orbital ATK announced it has named the next Cygnus spacecraft to be sent to the International Space Station after former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn, who died on Dec. 8, 2016, at the age of 95.

    The Range
  • How to slow down an interstellar spacecraft at Alpha Centauri

    March 25th
    While one of the most important challenges for future interstellar travel is how to send a probe to other stellar systems relatively fast, another issue that needs to be resolved is how to successfully slow down such a spacecraft once it gets there.

  • SpaceX expands Space Coast footprint with long-term lease at Port Canaveral

    March 24th
    After occupying a 52,000-square-foot (4,831-square-meter) facility on a month-to-month lease since August 2016, SpaceX has made a long-term commitment to the former SpaceHab property at Port Canaveral.

  • PUFFER: An origami-inspired robot may go places rovers can’t

    March 24th
    JPL is developing a small, origami-inspired robot that may serve as a scout for the next rovers to explore another planet. The new design could revolutionize the manner in which future space exploration missions are carried out.

  • Wheel treads break on Curiosity rover

    March 23rd
    At nearly five years old, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is starting to show signs of its age following a routine inspection of the rover's six wheels that revealed two small breaks in the treads on the middle left wheel.

  • ‘Social movement’ continues to delay Ariane 5 launch

    March 23rd
    Arianespace has delayed the flight of its Ariane 5 rocket for a third day in a row due to a “social movement” at the Guiana Space Centre. The company has not set a new launch date. The mission, dubbed VA236, is set to send two communications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit.

  • Rosetta images show changes on Comet 67P as it approached the Sun

    March 23rd
    Two separate studies of images captured by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta probe highlight increasing activity on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it approached perihelion, the point in its orbit closest to the Sun.

  • Launch of OA-7 Cygnus mission slips to NET March 27

    March 20th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) needs a bit more time before sending Orbital ATK's S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). This is according to a March 20, 2017, announcement made by ULA on its website.

  • GRACE mission reaches 15-year mark

    March 20th
    The twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission have been collecting data about how water moves and is stored around Earth 15 years – three times longer than originally planned. GRACE, a joint effort between NASA and two German agencies, was launched on March 17, 2002.

  • Start-Ups at the Final Frontier: Space 2.0 Event Aims to Skyrocket NewSpace Companies to Success

    March 19th
    NewSpace companies seeking their place in a rapidly growing and demanding commercial space market will have an unmissable opportunity in late April to reach new heights. A business event known as Space 2.0 is coming to Silicon Valley with the aim of boosting the development and growth of NewSpace start-ups.

  • Nitrogen in Titan’s lakes may cause them to fizz

    March 18th
    The hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may contain nitrogen that, at times, causes them to bubble and fizz, according to a NASA study that simulated conditions on Titan's surface.

  • Trump Administration proposes 2018 NASA budget

    March 17th
    The recent release of the Trump administration’s 2018 budget blueprint reveals that many of the items he said he would cut for NASA are actually being cut in favor of continuing other NASA priorities. The overall cut to the NASA budget is less than 1 percent of the 2017 budget which is good news for the space agency. The total NASA budget as proposed is $19.1 billion.

  • Seven co-investigators join New Horizons team

    March 17th
    In anticipation of New Horizons' flyby of its second target – Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 – on January 1, 2019, NASA and Principal Investigator Alan Stern have added seven new co-investigators to the mission team.

  • SHERLOC could solve the mystery of life on Mars

    March 17th
    Just like Sherlock Holmes solved complicated criminal cases, a scientific instrument named SHERLOC is being prepared to investigate one of the most fundamental mysteries of the Red Planet. The tool will be one of the most important instruments of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, which is slated to study the possibility of past life on Mars.

  • OneWeb and Airbus break ground on new satellite manufacturing facility

    March 17th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Ground was broken for a new high-volume satellite manufacturing facility where OneWeb plans to produce the spacecraft at Exploration Park, located near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. While the Cape is known for rockets, this new venture will underscore Canaveral's connection to the spacecraft that fly on them.

  • U.S Air Force awards SpaceX $96.5M contract to launch GPS III satellite

    March 16th
    HAWTHORNE, Calif. — For the second time in two years, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has been awarded a contract to launch a payload for the U.S. Department of Defense. This award is a vote of confidence in SpaceX’s ongoing launch operations.