Spaceflight Insider

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: The first solar observatories in orbit

    Christopher PaulJune 17th As NASA prepares to launch its latest and most ambitious mission to study the Sun, it will join NASA missions launched to study Earth’s closest star. Since its creation in 1958, NASA has made the study of the Sun one of its priority. Given the importance of the Sun for all life on Earth, this mission's importance becomes clearer.

  • New data reveals supermassive black hole eating a star

    Laurel KornfeldJune 17th An international team of scientists captured the first ever images produced by a supermassive black hole devouring a star.

  • Engine for Phantom Express assembled and prepped for tests

    Heather SmithJune 16th Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed the assembly of the first AR-22 rocket engine at Stennis Space Center. The engine was built for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Experimental Spaceplane program. The purpose of the new spaceplane, called Phantom Express, is to demonstrate more routine and affordable access to space.

  • Astronaut Peggy Whitson retires from NASA

    Derek RichardsonJune 16th Peggy Whitson retired from NASA on June 15, 2018, after 32 years with the space agency—22 as an astronaut. Between 2002 and 2017, she participated in three long-duration International Space Station expeditions, accumulating 665 days orbit—a record for any U.S. space flyer.

  • Juno solves lightning mystery, gets mission extension

    Joe LatrellJune 15th NASA's Juno probe, which has been in orbit around Jupiter since July, 2016 has provided scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) opportunities for research. One such research paper, recently published in Nature, helps explain the nature of Jupiter’s polar lightning.

  • RL-10 successfully completes hotfire tests

    Collin SkocikJune 15th The use of 3D printing in spaceflight took another step forward in early 2018 when Aerojet Rocketdyne completed a series of hotfire tests of a new model of the RL10 rocket engine which was built almost entirely of 3D-printed parts.

  • NASA creates, and fills, high-level position dedicated to exploration

    Curt GodwinJune 14th One of NASA's principal functions is to provide leadership in space exploration, and now the agency has a position that is the embodiment of that responsibility. Jim Bridenstine, NASA's new Administrator, recently named Steve Clarke as the agency's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration.

  • ISS 2018 mission patch revealed

    Laurel KornfeldJune 14th The 2018 International Space Station (ISS) mission patch, which represents all science payloads on the space station during the calendar year, has been unveiled.

  • NOAA releases first images of Sun taken by GOES 17

    Jason RhianJune 13th Launched on March 1, 2018 atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket, the GOES-17 spacecraft has beamed back its first images of the Sun. 

  • NASA’s Opportunity rover goes silent as massive dust storm engulfs Mars

    Derek RichardsonJune 13th NASA’s long-lived Opportunity rover is currently weathering a massive dust storm—the largest the solar-powered rover has had to endure in its nearly 15 years of surface operations. The vehicle has been operating in Meridiani Planum since January 2004.

  • H-IIA takes to the skies with Japan’s IGS-Radar 6 spy satellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 12th An H-IIA rocket took to the skies on June 12, on a classified mission to deliver the IGS-Radar 6 (Information Gathering Satellite) reconnaissance satellite for Japan’s Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre.

  • Launch of NASA ICON mission postponed

    Jason RhianJune 10th NASA and Northrop Grumman have decided to delay the launch of the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission due to what has been described as "off-nominal data" discovered from the mission's launch vehicle.

  • Astronaut Peggy Whitson retires from NASA

    Derek RichardsonJune 16th Peggy Whitson retired from NASA on June 15, 2018, after 32 years with the space agency—22 as an astronaut. Between 2002 and 2017, she participated in three long-duration International Space Station expeditions, accumulating 665 days orbit—a record for any U.S. space flyer.

  • NASA creates, and fills, high-level position dedicated to exploration

    Curt GodwinJune 14th One of NASA's principal functions is to provide leadership in space exploration, and now the agency has a position that is the embodiment of that responsibility. Jim Bridenstine, NASA's new Administrator, recently named Steve Clarke as the agency's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration.

  • NASA’s Opportunity rover goes silent as massive dust storm engulfs Mars

    Derek RichardsonJune 13th NASA’s long-lived Opportunity rover is currently weathering a massive dust storm—the largest the solar-powered rover has had to endure in its nearly 15 years of surface operations. The vehicle has been operating in Meridiani Planum since January 2004.

  • H-IIA takes to the skies with Japan’s IGS-Radar 6 spy satellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 12th An H-IIA rocket took to the skies on June 12, on a classified mission to deliver the IGS-Radar 6 (Information Gathering Satellite) reconnaissance satellite for Japan’s Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre.

  • International Space Station population doubles with arrival of Soyuz MS-09

    Derek RichardsonJune 8th Expedition 56 has three new crew members with the arrival of Soyuz MS-09. The two spent the last two days catching up with the International Space Station before rendezvousing and docking with the 400-metric-ton complex at 9:01 a.m. EDT (13:01 GMT) June 8, 2018.

  • Aliens discovered on Mars? Don’t believe the hype

    Laurel KornfeldJune 7th NASA's Mars Curiosity rover, which has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012, has discovered organic molecules in Martian rocks and atmospheric methane levels that change seasonally, according to an announcement and a live discussion the space agency held on Thursday, June 7. Proof of alien life? Not so much.

  • Curiosity’s laboratories resume analysis of Mars surface samples

    Laurel KornfeldJune 6th After more than a year and a half of inactivity, the laboratories on NASA's Mars Curiosity rover are once again analyzing surface samples collected from the Red Planet.

  • Soyuz MS-09 on its way to ISS after textbook launch

    Derek RichardsonJune 6th BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — Three space flyers are on their way to the International Space Station after launching to orbit inside their Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft atop a Soyuz-FG rocket. Liftoff took place at 4:12 p.m. local time (7:12 a.m. EDT / 11:12 GMT) June 6, 2018.

  • Soyuz MS-09 rolled to Baikonur launch pad for Wednesday flight

    Derek RichardsonJune 5th BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — A Russian Soyuz-FG rocket with the encapsulated Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft sits at Pad 1/5 and is set to launch three new crew members bound for the International Space Station to join Expedition 56.

  • Elon Musk: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service meets key performance metric

    Curt GodwinJune 4th While casual followers of Elon Musk's ventures may only know of his foray into electric vehicles and space launch services, the CEO of SpaceX also has his eyes set on being a major player in providing worldwide broadband internet services via a constellation of orbiting satellites.

  • SES-12 flies to orbit in early morning SpaceX launch

    Jim SiegelJune 4th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX carried out yet another successful launch, but it didn't retrieve the rocket's first stage, nor did it use the Block 5 version of the launch vehicle. The NewSpace company did, however, work to recover one element of the booster.

  • Long March 2D launches Gaofen 6 and Luojia 1 to orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 3rd A Long March 2D booster took to the skies on Saturday, June 2, to deliver the Gaofen 6 Earth-observing satellite and Luojia 1 CubeSat into space.

  • Soyuz MS-07 crew back on Earth after 168 days in orbit.

    Derek RichardsonJune 3rd Three members of the International Space Station's Expedition 54/55 crew returned to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft after having spent 168 days in orbit performing hundreds of science experiments and upgrading equipment outside the outpost.

  • Contact lost with China’s DSLWP-A1 lunar microsatellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 1st China has apparently lost contact with one of its two lunar radio astronomy microsatellites sent into space last week together with a communications relay spacecraft for Chang’e 4 lunar mission.

  • SpaceFlight Insider heading to Kazakhstan for Soyuz MS-09 launch coverage

    Derek RichardsonJune 1st Next week, three fresh crew members are set to launch to the International Space Station for a six-month stay as members of the Expedition 56/57 crews. A member the SpaceFlight Insider team is expected to be present in Kazakhstan to cover these events.

  • Alan Bean, Don Peterson remembered at ceremony at Kennedy Space Center

    Jason RhianMay 31st KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- Two astronauts who passed away in recent days were the subject of a memorial held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Many colleagues paid their respects to Alan Bean and Don Peterson each of whom added their own legacies to space flight history.

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with SES-12 slips to NET June 4

    Jason RhianMay 31st The launch of the SES-12 communications satellite has been pushed back at least three days as SpaceX reviews the condition of the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage.

  • NASA awards WFIRST contract to Ball Aerospace

    Joe LatrellMay 30th The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is starting to become a reality as NASA begins awarding contracts for the construction of key components. Ball Aerospace recently received one of these contracts for the projected $3.2-billion project.

  • Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity makes second powered flight

    Joe LatrellMay 29th Within less than two months, The SpaceShip Company has conducted a second test flight of the VSS Unity. This signals an increase in testing as the NewSpace company prepares for its first commercial flights.

  • SpaceX prepping Falcon 9 to launch SES-12 mission

    Jim SiegelMay 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Following the successful launch of a communications satellite on May 11, 2018, from Kennedy Space Center SLC-39A,  SpaceX is scheduled to launch another communications satellite from Florida on May 31, 2018, this time from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's SLC-40.  The customer is SES, a giant European communications conglomerate.  If everything goes as planned, this will be the sixth launch of an SES satellite by SpaceX.

    The Range
  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: The first solar observatories in orbit

    June 17th
    As NASA prepares to launch its latest and most ambitious mission to study the Sun, it will join NASA missions launched to study Earth’s closest star. Since its creation in 1958, NASA has made the study of the Sun one of its priority. Given the importance of the Sun for all life on Earth, this mission's importance becomes clearer.

  • New data reveals supermassive black hole eating a star

    June 17th
    An international team of scientists captured the first ever images produced by a supermassive black hole devouring a star.

  • Engine for Phantom Express assembled and prepped for tests

    June 16th
    Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed the assembly of the first AR-22 rocket engine at Stennis Space Center. The engine was built for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Experimental Spaceplane program. The purpose of the new spaceplane, called Phantom Express, is to demonstrate more routine and affordable access to space.

  • Juno solves lightning mystery, gets mission extension

    June 15th
    NASA's Juno probe, which has been in orbit around Jupiter since July, 2016 has provided scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) opportunities for research. One such research paper, recently published in Nature, helps explain the nature of Jupiter’s polar lightning.

  • RL-10 successfully completes hotfire tests

    June 15th
    The use of 3D printing in spaceflight took another step forward in early 2018 when Aerojet Rocketdyne completed a series of hotfire tests of a new model of the RL10 rocket engine which was built almost entirely of 3D-printed parts.

  • ISS 2018 mission patch revealed

    June 14th
    The 2018 International Space Station (ISS) mission patch, which represents all science payloads on the space station during the calendar year, has been unveiled.

  • NOAA releases first images of Sun taken by GOES 17

    June 13th
    Launched on March 1, 2018 atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket, the GOES-17 spacecraft has beamed back its first images of the Sun. 

  • Launch of NASA ICON mission postponed

    June 10th
    NASA and Northrop Grumman have decided to delay the launch of the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission due to what has been described as "off-nominal data" discovered from the mission's launch vehicle.

  • New Horizons exits hibernation to prepare for KBO flyby

    June 9th
    NASA's New Horizons probe has been awakened from nearly six months in hibernation to enable the mission team to start preparations for its flyby of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Ultima Thule (also known as 2014 MU69) in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2019.

  • Tiny asteroid disintegrates hours after being discovered

    June 7th
    On Saturday, June 1 a boulder-sized asteroid designated 2018 LA was discovered and determined to be on a collision course with Earth, with impact predicted to be just a few hours later. The event proved that Earth is still in the cosmic shooting gallery and could be struck with little-to-no notice.

  • GALLERY: Roscosmos Soyuz-FG rocket carries Expedition 56 trio to International Space Station

    June 6th

  • Long March 3A lifts off with Fengyun 2H weather satellite

    June 5th
    A Long March 3A booster was launched June 5, 2018, by China to deliver the Fengyun 2H meteorological spacecraft into space. The rocket lifted off the pad at 9:07 a.m. EDT (13:07 GMT) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center situated in the country's Sichuan Province.

  • ExoMars rover will search for evidence of life on Mars

    June 4th
    Could the Red Planet be a bastion for life (either now or in the past)? ESA and NASA are preparing to send a mission to find out.

  • Pluto’s surface may have dunes of methane ice

    June 2nd
    A new study of Pluto surface images captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft suggests the dwarf planet has dunes likely composed of methane ice.

  • Dawn will enter lowest ever orbit around Ceres

    June 2nd
    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has begun maneuvers that should bring it to its lowest and final orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres.