Spaceflight Insider

Our SpaceFlight Heritage: First steps – the story of Surveyor 1

Larry KlaesMay 30th Fifty years ago, on May 30, 1966, an Atlas LV-3C Centaur-D rocket lifted off from what was called Cape Kennedy's Launch Complex 36A in F...

Soyuz-2.1b blasts off from Plesetsk with latest GLONASS-M satellite

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 29th Russia successfully launched its newest GLONASS-M spacecraft on Sunday, May 29, in order to replenish the country's homegrown navigation...

James Webb Space Telescope now fully equipped with science instruments

Laurel KornfeldMay 29th A team of some two dozen NASA technicians and engineers have successfully installed the package of four science instruments that will ac...

BEAM successfully expanded at International Space Station

Derek RichardsonMay 28th The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was successfully expanded today, May 28, on board the International Space Station, two day...

Russia to launch its latest GLONASS-M navigation satellite on Sunday

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 28th A Soyuz-2.1b rocket is all set to launch the newest satellite for Russia’s homegrown GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS). The...

Photo Gallery: SpaceX Launches Thaicom 8

Mike DeepMay 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX successfully launched the Thaicom 8 telecommunications satellite atop a “Full Thrust” Falcon...

Boeing, SpaceX update progress on commercial crew spacecraft

Larry KlaesMay 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — When one talks of a space race these days, it is no longer just between geopolitical superpowers. Now several U...

Antares static test fire slated for NET May 31

Jason RhianMay 28th Orbital ATK and NASA are planning on conducting a static test fire of the Antares 230 rocket's first stage on May 31 at the Mid-Atlantic...

Juno spacecraft nears July 4 rendezvous with Jupiter

Jim SharkeyMay 27th NASA's Juno spacecraft is poised to arrive and enter into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016, completing a nearly six-year-long...

Next launch of Delta IV Heavy delayed

Derek RichardsonMay 27th The flight of United Launch Alliance's next Delta IV Heavy, with a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), has been delaye...

Life on Ceres? Mysterious changes in the bright spots still baffle scientists

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 26th Bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres continue to puzzle researchers. Recently, when a team of astronomers, led by Paolo Molaro of the...

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scrubbed due to ‘tiny glitch’

Derek RichardsonMay 26th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX scrubbed the launch of Thaicom 8 atop a Falcon 9 rocket today, May 27, due to what the company founder,...

Soyuz-2.1b blasts off from Plesetsk with latest GLONASS-M satellite

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 29th Russia successfully launched its newest GLONASS-M spacecraft on Sunday, May 29, in order to replenish the country's homegrown navigation satellite system. The spacecraft took to the skies atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket at exactly 4:45 a.m. EDT (08:45 GMT) from the Site 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

BEAM successfully expanded at International Space Station

Derek RichardsonMay 28th The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was successfully expanded today, May 28, on board the International Space Station, two days after an attempt to inflate the module brought an unexpected pressure increase with little-to-no increase in size.

Russia to launch its latest GLONASS-M navigation satellite on Sunday

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 28th A Soyuz-2.1b rocket is all set to launch the newest satellite for Russia’s homegrown GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS). The spacecraft will blast off at 4:44 a.m. EDT (08:44 GMT) Sunday, May 29, from the Site 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

Boeing, SpaceX update progress on commercial crew spacecraft

Larry KlaesMay 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — When one talks of a space race these days, it is no longer just between geopolitical superpowers. Now several U.S. corporations are in a race to develop and launch their own brands of crewed spacecraft for NASA, hopefully starting as soon as 2018.

Antares static test fire slated for NET May 31

Jason RhianMay 28th Orbital ATK and NASA are planning on conducting a static test fire of the Antares 230 rocket's first stage on May 31 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility located in Virginia. The test of the two RD-181 rocket engines in the launch vehicle's first stage will take 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Next launch of Delta IV Heavy delayed

Derek RichardsonMay 27th The flight of United Launch Alliance's next Delta IV Heavy, with a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), has been delayed, according to a May 27 statement on the company's website.

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scrubbed due to ‘tiny glitch’

Derek RichardsonMay 26th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX scrubbed the launch of Thaicom 8 atop a Falcon 9 rocket today, May 27, due to what the company founder, Elon Musk, called a "tiny glitch". The company will try again tomorrow (Friday) at the same time—5:40 p.m. EDT (21:40 GMT).

SFI Live: Launch coverage of SpaceX ‘Full Thrust’ Falcon 9 with Thaicom 8

Jason RhianMay 26th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX is preparing to launch a "Full Thrust" rocket from Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida. The payload for this flight will be the Thaicom 8 telecommunications satellite produced by Orbital ATK. SFI's live webcast will begin at 5:10 p.m. EDT.

After initial inflation, BEAM expansion put on hold

Derek RichardsonMay 26th After preliminary inflation, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) was expected to expand to its full volume today. However, because the expansion procedure was taking much longer than planned, the ground teams postponed the remaining process in order to determine the cause of the problem.

After hiatus, ULA to launch two rockets in June

Scott JohnsonMay 25th After a two month hiatus, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is ready to resume launches from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) with a Delta IV mission on June 4 from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 37, followed by an Atlas V 551 three weeks later.

Soyuz soars into space with two Galileo navigation satellites

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 24th Arianespace has successfully launched a Soyuz ST-B rocket into orbit carrying two navigation satellites for Europe’s Galileo network. Liftoff occurred, as planned, at 4:48 a.m. EDT (8:48 GMT) from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) in Sinnamary, French Guiana.

India successfully launches its indigenously made ‘space shuttle’

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 24th The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched on Monday, May 23, its mini 'space shuttle' – the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) – from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, atop an HS9 solid rocket booster.

OSIRIS-REx arrives at Cape Canaveral

Larry KlaesMay 23rd The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) planetoid and surface sample return probe is one step closer to the celestial object known as 101955 Bennu with its delivery to Cape Canaveral in Florida on Friday, May 20.

Soyuz ST-B to launch Galileo satellite duo on Tuesday

Tomasz NowakowskiMay 22nd A Soyuz ST-B rocket will take to the skies Tuesday, May 24, to orbit a duo of European Galileo navigation satellites. The spacecraft, designated Galileo 13 and 14, are slated to be lifted off at 4:48 a.m. EDT (08:48 GMT) from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) in Sinnamary, French Guiana.

International Space Station crew deploys CubeSats

Derek RichardsonMay 21st Another round of CubeSats, including eight Planet Lab Dove Satellites, were deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) by the Expedition 47 crew. A total of 17 tiny spacecraft were deployed from NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) at the end of the Japanese Remote Manipulator System.

Orbital ATK proposes lunar orbit habitat

Larry KlaesMay 21st Orbital ATK unveiled a proposal for the creation of a four-person lunar orbit habitat which could be sent to the Moon as early as 2020. The outpost would utilize a modified version of the company’s Cygnus cargo ship as well as NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Lockheed Martin awarded Phase 1 contract for future GPS III satellites

Derek RichardsonMay 20th Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $5 million contract for phase one of the U.S. Air Force’s procurement process for future GPS III satellites. Over the course of the next 26 months, the company will demonstrate the value of a modular design for the positioning constellation.

Final Journey: Last Space Shuttle External Tank arrives in California

Matthew KuhnsMay 19th MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — Under low clouds, ET-94 moved into Marina Del Rey, east of Los Angeles. After moving slowly through the harbor, the barge was tied to the dock around 8 a.m. PDT on May 18. It has been a long and eventful journey from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility.

Lockheed Martin outlines plan to send humans to Mars orbit by 2028

Derek RichardsonMay 19th A plan to send humans to Martian orbit was outlined by members of Lockheed Martin during the Humans to Mars Summit and, at the same time, the U.S. House of Representatives Space Subcommittee in Washington, DC. The plan calls for a laboratory around the Red Planet to be occupied by six astronauts by 2028.

International Space Station completes 100,000th orbit

Derek RichardsonMay 16th The International Space Station (ISS) completed its 100,000th orbit around Earth recently. For the past 17 years, since its first components arrived on orbit, the outpost has been a hub of scientific advancement, international cooperation and fantastic views of our home world.

The Range

Our SpaceFlight Heritage: First steps – the story of Surveyor 1

May 30th
Fifty years ago, on May 30, 1966, an Atlas LV-3C Centaur-D rocket lifted off from what was called Cape Kennedy's Launch Complex 36A in Florida. Perched atop the launch vehicle was a robotic probe named Surveyor 1.

James Webb Space Telescope now fully equipped with science instruments

May 29th
A team of some two dozen NASA technicians and engineers have successfully installed the package of four science instruments that will accompany the James Webb Space Telescope.

Photo Gallery: SpaceX Launches Thaicom 8

May 28th

Juno spacecraft nears July 4 rendezvous with Jupiter

May 27th
NASA's Juno spacecraft is poised to arrive and enter into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016, completing a nearly six-year-long voyage. Juno is scheduled to orbit the largest planet in the Solar System for 20 months as it studies Jupiter's atmosphere, interior, and magnetic fields.

Life on Ceres? Mysterious changes in the bright spots still baffle scientists

May 26th
Bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres continue to puzzle researchers. Recently, when a team of astronomers, led by Paolo Molaro of the Trieste Astronomical Observatory in Italy, conducted observations of these features, they found out something unexpected: The scientists were surprised to detect that the spots brighten during the day and also show other variations; the variability still remains a mystery.

USAF’s secretive X-37B spacecraft’s AFSPC-5 mission passes one year mark

May 25th
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B spaceplane has launched four times since its first flight in 2010; it has only landed three times. The current mission, OTV-4, has been in space for more than a year, having been launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 20, 2015. Little is known as to what the vehicle is doing in orbit.

SpaceX eyeing Thursday afternoon launch, landing of Falcon 9 with Thaicom 8

May 23rd
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The rate of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., (SpaceX) launches is set to accelerate with the planned flight of one of the NewSpace firm's Falcon 9 rockets on Thursday, May 26. The Hawthorne, California-based company has one hour and 40 minutes in which to get the rocket and its precious cargo off the pad – and into the sky.

China reveals design for planned Tiangong 3 space station

May 22nd
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) presented several slides of the design of its future space station, called Tiangong 3—meaning "Heavenly Palace" in Chinese. The station is expected to be built between 2018 and 2022.

Journey’s End: ET-94 arrives at California Science Center

May 21st
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — Under the light of a full Moon and followed by a full jazz band, astronauts, dancers, and revelers in full Mardi Gras-style apparel, ET-94 left the dock at Marina Del Rey and started its 16.5-mile (26.5 km) journey to its new home at the California Science Center. Leading the revelry was Lynda Oschin and numerous astronauts proudly wearing their blue flight jackets and mission patches.

Kepler-223 system provides clues about planetary migration

May 20th
At first, the four exoplanets that make up the planetary system Kepler-223 seemed to have little in common with the planets of our solar system. In a recent study, scientists using data from NASA's Kepler space telescope found that the two systems may have had more in common in the distant past.

Pluto’s atmosphere studied during stellar occultation; New Horizons images distant KBO

May 19th
NASA's New Horizons mission continues to send back valuable information about the Pluto system even as the spacecraft begins taking its first images of a more distant Kuiper Belt Object (KBO).

Subsurface ocean on Europa could be habitable for life

May 18th
Jupiter's moon Europa has long been thought to harbor a subsurface ocean of liquid water. Now, a study conducted by a group of scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) suggests that ocean may have a balance of hydrogen and oxygen similar to that found in oceans on Earth.

Mars rover scientist hopes to find more evidence of liquid water on the Red Planet

May 18th
Although the existence of liquid water on the Red Planet was confirmed by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) last year, the scientific community is gearing up for a more thorough analysis of the topic. This investigation could be provided by NASA's Curiosity rover as it studies the Martian surface from its vantage point in Gale Crater.

New company aims to store cloud data in space

May 17th
A small startup called Cloud Constellation Corporation has announced plans to build a space-based cloud storage network called SpaceBelt.

David Saint-Jacques named next Canadian astronaut to fly to ISS

May 16th
OTTAWA, Ontario — Today, Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced the answer to a longstanding question: which of the two active Canadian astronauts would be next to fly a mission among the stars, performing research and representing Canada’s contribution to the International Space Station.

Insider illustrations: The art of James Vaughan

May 16th
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The work of James Vaughan is as visually stunning as they are historically important, and the thought process that goes behind them is based on both passion and history.

‘Three’s Company’: SpaceX hangar houses three used boosters

May 15th
About a week after SpaceX landed its third Falcon 9 first stage on a solid surface—the second on a drone ship at sea—and brought it back to Port Canaveral, the company posted images of the three boosters in the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) at Launch Complex 39A.

Pluto’s moon Hydra has icy surface; New Horizons team wins awards

May 14th
The first New Horizons data on the Pluto system's four small moons reveals that outermost moon, Hydra, has a surface composed mostly of pristine water ice. Returned nearly ten months after the spacecraft's historic flyby, the findings came just as the New Horizons team was recognized publicly with several prestigious awards.

Curiosity finishes second Martian year with weather report

May 14th
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover completed its second Martian year at Gale Crater on Wednesday, May 11. The mission's science team commemorated this important milestone by issuing a weather report of the rover's observations of two full cycles of Martian seasons. Having data on at least two seasonal cycles on Mars helps to distinguish seasonal effects from sporadic events.

Russia runs first tests of its next-generation “Federation” manned spacecraft

May 12th
The first tests of the Russian next-generation manned spacecraft called “Federation” have just been conducted, according to the vehicle’s manufacturer RKK Energia. The company announced last week that the spacecraft’s man-machine interface elements were successfully examined on a unique ergonomic simulator.