Spaceflight Insider

  • SFI LIVE: Launch of CRS-13 Dragon on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

    Jason RhianDecember 15th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX has rescheduled its launch of a "flight proven" Falcon 9 rocket with its payload of the CRS-13 Dragon spacecraft to liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40. This will mark the first flight from the historic launch site since the Sept. 1, 2016 explosion of another Falcon 9 rocket. SFI LIVE will begin at 10 a.m. EST (14:00 GMT).

  • Artificial intelligence doesn’t find aliens – does find new exoplanets in old Kepler data

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 15th Contrary to what other outlets attempted to suggest, NASA did not announce it had discovered aliens today. Rather, a computer trained to find exoplanets by identifying weak signals in data collected by NASA's Kepler mission discovered two new planets, each in multi-planet systems.

  • Three companies tapped to produce prototypes for NASA’s ‘FabLab’ initiative

    Jason RhianDecember 14th NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program has selected three companies to produce prototypes of machines that can be used for space-based, on-demand fabrication.

  • RUAG Space lands contract extension to develop crucial parts for Galileo satellites

    Tomasz NowakowskiDecember 14th OHB System AG, the prime contractor for Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites, has extended its contract with RUAG Space to produce 12 additional Control and Data Units for these spacecraft.

  • Final RS-25 hot-fire test of 2017 completed

    Michael McCabeDecember 13th NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne have conducted the final RS-25 hot-fire test of 2017 at their Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The six-minute, 40-second test was conducted at Stennis' A-1 Test Stand. The test also continued the development of components that utilized additive manufacturing (a.k.a. "3-D printing").

  • Occultation data hints New Horizons’ next flyby target may have a moon

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 13th New Horizons' second target – Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69 – may have a small moon, mission science team member Marc Buie of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, reported on Monday, December 11, 2017, at this week's meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Ariane 5 Flight VA240 launches four Galileo satellites

    Collin SkocikDecember 13th At 3:36 p.m. local time (1:36 p.m. EST / 18:36 GMT) on December 12, 2017, an Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying four Galileo satellites, bringing the total number of spacecraft in the Galileo constellation to 22.

  • SNC taps AZUR SPACE to produce cargo Dream Chaser solar panels

    Jason RhianDecember 13th Sierra Nevada Corporation has tapped AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH to provide solar panels for the first Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft. The announcement was made via a release issued by AZUR SPACE, denoting that the new automated shuttle is getting ready for its first flight – currently slated to take to the skies in 2019.

  • Launch of SpaceX CRS-13 mission slips to Friday

    Derek RichardsonDecember 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After announcing a 24-hour slip to Dec. 12, SpaceX has pushed back the flight of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the CRS-13 Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station again to Friday, Dec. 15.

  • Blue Origin returns to flight with New Shepard launch

    Lloyd CampbellDecember 12th Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ up-and-coming space launch company Blue Origin sent the latest version of the company's New Shepard sub-orbital rocket today (December 12). Liftoff occurred around midday EST from the firm's launch facility outside of Van Horn, Texas.

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with CRS-13 Dragon slips 24 hours

    Jason RhianDecember 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has slipped an additional 24 hours to "allow for additional time for pre-launch ground checks." This information is per a post made on Twitter by SpaceX at 6:50 p.m. EST (10:50 GMT) on Monday, Dec. 11. 

  • Engine burn refines New Horizons’ journey to KBO 2014 MU69

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 12th To optimize the timing of New Horizons' closest flyby of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69, mission engineers carried out the spacecraft's last engine burn during the long "cruise" phase of its journey – between Pluto and its second target (MU69) – on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017.

  • SFI LIVE: Launch of CRS-13 Dragon on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

    Jason RhianDecember 15th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX has rescheduled its launch of a "flight proven" Falcon 9 rocket with its payload of the CRS-13 Dragon spacecraft to liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40. This will mark the first flight from the historic launch site since the Sept. 1, 2016 explosion of another Falcon 9 rocket. SFI LIVE will begin at 10 a.m. EST (14:00 GMT).

  • Artificial intelligence doesn’t find aliens – does find new exoplanets in old Kepler data

    Laurel KornfeldDecember 15th Contrary to what other outlets attempted to suggest, NASA did not announce it had discovered aliens today. Rather, a computer trained to find exoplanets by identifying weak signals in data collected by NASA's Kepler mission discovered two new planets, each in multi-planet systems.

  • Final RS-25 hot-fire test of 2017 completed

    Michael McCabeDecember 13th NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne have conducted the final RS-25 hot-fire test of 2017 at their Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The six-minute, 40-second test was conducted at Stennis' A-1 Test Stand. The test also continued the development of components that utilized additive manufacturing (a.k.a. "3-D printing").

  • Ariane 5 Flight VA240 launches four Galileo satellites

    Collin SkocikDecember 13th At 3:36 p.m. local time (1:36 p.m. EST / 18:36 GMT) on December 12, 2017, an Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying four Galileo satellites, bringing the total number of spacecraft in the Galileo constellation to 22.

  • Launch of SpaceX CRS-13 mission slips to Friday

    Derek RichardsonDecember 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After announcing a 24-hour slip to Dec. 12, SpaceX has pushed back the flight of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the CRS-13 Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station again to Friday, Dec. 15.

  • Blue Origin returns to flight with New Shepard launch

    Lloyd CampbellDecember 12th Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ up-and-coming space launch company Blue Origin sent the latest version of the company's New Shepard sub-orbital rocket today (December 12). Liftoff occurred around midday EST from the firm's launch facility outside of Van Horn, Texas.

  • Trump policy directive makes Moon NASA’s official goal for human exploration

    Bart LeahyDecember 12th In a brief but pointed Dec. 11, 2017, ceremony at the White House, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, which officially directs NASA to send astronauts back to the Moon as a precursor effort to exploring Mars.

  • SpaceX’s CRS-13 mission set for Tuesday launch

    Paul KnightlyDecember 11th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX is making final preparations to launch CRS-13 in what should be the company's 17th launch of the year. The flight-proven Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles are scheduled to lift off on Dec. 12 during an “instantaneous” launch window that opens at 11:46 a.m. EST (16:46 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida.

  • Blue Origin set to launch next New Shepard

    Derek RichardsonDecember 10th Blue Origin is getting ready to fly a New Shepard suborbital rocket sometime between Dec. 11–14. On Dec. 9, 2017, the company issued a notice to airmen, also called a NOTAM, for the area around its rocket site near Van Horn, Texas.

  • Muratore: Safety and efficiency went hand-in-hand in rebuild of SLC-40

    Bart LeahyDecember 10th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX hosted a briefing to members of the media on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, to provide an overview of work that has been done to return to service Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) after the Sept. 1, 2016, explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket caused severe damage to the site.

  • NASA Glenn reinventing the wheel to aid future Mars rovers

    Michael ColeDecember 8th GLENN RESEARCH CENTER, Ohio — One of the most important high-tech components of future Mars rovers may be, of all things, its wheels.

  • Bigelow’s piece of ISS gets approval for extended stay

    Derek RichardsonDecember 7th The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) has been given the green light to stay attached to the aft portion of the International Space Station's Tranquility node for a further three years. The new contract began in November 2017, according to NASA. 

  • Cygnus OA-8 cargo spacecraft departs ISS

    Heather SmithDecember 6th The Orbital ATK Cygnus OA-8 cargo spacecraft departed from the International Space Station at 8:11 a.m. EST (13:11 GMT) on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, after delivering almost 7,400 pounds (3,356 kg) of cargo to support science experiments.

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with CRS-13 slips again

    Jason RhianDecember 6th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the CRS-13 Dragon spacecraft has slipped again, with NASA stating that the new launch time is now Dec. 12, with the "instantaneous" launch window opening at 11:46 a.m. EST (16:46 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida.

  • Long March 2D sends Yaogan Weixing 31 satellite aloft

    Tomasz NowakowskiDecember 3rd Using a Long March 2D booster, China has successfully sent its newest Yaogan Weixing remote sensing satellite into orbit. The launch was conducted at 04:11 GMT on Sunday, Dec. 3 (11:11 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 2), 2017, from the LC43 Launch Complex at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's Gansu Province.

  • Soyuz 2.1b launches military satellite into orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiDecember 2nd The recent failure of a Soyuz 2.1b mission, which was unable to place a fleet of 19 satellites into their targeted orbits, has not stopped Russia from sending another such booster into space. This time, lifting off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 10:43 GMT (5:43 a.m. EST) on Saturday, December 2, 2017, a Soyuz 2.1b successfully orbited the Lotos-S1 (№ 803) military spacecraft for the Russian Defense Ministry.

  • Rocket Lab sets launch window for next Electron launch

    Curt GodwinDecember 2nd Following the recent announcement about the company's preparations for the upcoming launch of its Electron rocket, Rocket Lab is now targeting a 10-day window in early December. Opening at 2:30 p.m. New Zealand Time (01:30 GMT) Dec. 8, 2017, the window will last for four hours during each of the attempts.

  • NASA plans ‘souped-up’ rover for Mars 2020 mission

    Jim SharkeyDecember 1st The rover for NASA's Mars 2020 mission bears a strong resemblance to the Curiosity rover currently exploring the surface of Mars. However, it will have a number of improvements and instruments to carry out its search for signs of past microbial life on the Red Planet. A recent NASA press release described the rover as a "souped-up science machine".

  • Meteor-M 2-1, 18 secondary payloads lost after apparent Fregat-M failure

    Derek RichardsonNovember 29th A Soyuz 2.1b launched with 19 satellites, including the Earth-observation satellite Meteor-M 2-1, at 2:41 p.m. local time (12:41 a.m. EST / 05:41 GMT) Nov. 28, 2017, from Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East. While the initial ascent appeared to go according to plan, communications with the Fregat-M upper stage and the payload was not established as planned.

  • SpaceX CRS-13 launch slips to Dec. 8

    Jason RhianNovember 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the CRS-13 cargo Dragon spacecraft has slipped to no-earlier-than Dec. 8 with the instantaneous (1 second) launch window now slated to open at 1:20 p.m. EST (6:20 p.m. GMT). 

    The Range
  • Three companies tapped to produce prototypes for NASA’s ‘FabLab’ initiative

    December 14th
    NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program has selected three companies to produce prototypes of machines that can be used for space-based, on-demand fabrication.

  • RUAG Space lands contract extension to develop crucial parts for Galileo satellites

    December 14th
    OHB System AG, the prime contractor for Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites, has extended its contract with RUAG Space to produce 12 additional Control and Data Units for these spacecraft.

  • Occultation data hints New Horizons’ next flyby target may have a moon

    December 13th
    New Horizons' second target – Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69 – may have a small moon, mission science team member Marc Buie of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, reported on Monday, December 11, 2017, at this week's meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • SNC taps AZUR SPACE to produce cargo Dream Chaser solar panels

    December 13th
    Sierra Nevada Corporation has tapped AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH to provide solar panels for the first Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft. The announcement was made via a release issued by AZUR SPACE, denoting that the new automated shuttle is getting ready for its first flight – currently slated to take to the skies in 2019.

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with CRS-13 Dragon slips 24 hours

    December 12th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has slipped an additional 24 hours to "allow for additional time for pre-launch ground checks." This information is per a post made on Twitter by SpaceX at 6:50 p.m. EST (10:50 GMT) on Monday, Dec. 11. 

  • Engine burn refines New Horizons’ journey to KBO 2014 MU69

    December 12th
    To optimize the timing of New Horizons' closest flyby of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69, mission engineers carried out the spacecraft's last engine burn during the long "cruise" phase of its journey – between Pluto and its second target (MU69) – on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017.

  • China launches Algerian communications satellite atop Long March 3B

    December 10th
    China successfully launched a Long March 3B rocket on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, with the first Algerian geostationary communications satellite, known as Alcomsat-1. Liftoff took place at 16:40 GMT (11:40 a.m. EST) from the Launch Complex 2 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) in China’s Sichuan Province.

  • NASA has the angle on Opportunity’s longevity

    December 8th
    Operating long past its original mission of 90 Martian solar days – also known as "sols" – NASA's Opportunity rover has survived another passage through the deepest part of the Martian winter. Drawing on years of experience, operators positioned the stalwart robot on a northward-facing incline to give Opportunity's solar panels the best chance of generating enough electricity to survive the Martian winter.

  • Launch of ULA Delta IV rocket with NROL-47 delayed

    December 7th
    The launch of a Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office has been delayed until no earlier than Jan. 10, 2018, in order to perform additional validation of the software and systems associated with Common Avionics. The launch was originally scheduled for Dec. 13, 2017, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

  • New Russian lunar orbiter contracted to be built

    December 6th
    The Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) is proceeding with a new project to build a lunar orbiter which will be the first of numerous new lunar missions the agency is planning.

  • GOES-S spacecraft delivered to Astrotech Space Operations in preparation for March flight

    December 5th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy cargo transport aircraft has delivered the Geostationary Operation Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) spacecraft to Florida's Space Coast in preparation for a planned March 1, 2018, flight atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket. 

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Voyager 1 – the Energizer Bunny

    December 4th
    The Energizer Bunny keeps going and going – and so does NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft. More to the point, so does the craft's thrusters. Over three-and-a-half decades after they were last fired, the probe's thrusters were successfully fired on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. 

  • Vote on names for New Horizons’ second target extended to Dec. 6

    December 3rd
    NASA's public campaign seeking name suggestions for New Horizons' second target, 2014 MU69, has garnered so many creative suggestions that its deadline has been extended for another five days.

  • Elon Musk trolls the Internet with Falcon Heavy tweets

    December 3rd
    It has been long-known that SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has a sense of humor. Indeed, Mr. Musk once quipped that the company would fund their Mars ambitions by selling underwear. Therefore, it is usually fairly easy to know when Musk is messing around.

  • U.S. Navy accepts control of MUOS-5

    November 30th
    The Naval Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC) has accepted operational control of MUOS-5 from Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy’s Communications Satellite Program Office.