Spaceflight Insider

Planning for failure, NASA tests Orion parachute system

Joe LatrellAugust 29th Failing to plan - is planning to fail is a staple of modern proverbs. NASA is taking that motto to heart with the latest test of the space agency's Orion capsule. The latest test involved a full sized, mass accurate mock-up loaded with sensors and computer systems to measure the stresses on the capsule as it landed in the Arizona desert. Unlike past tests however, this one was designed to test the limits of parachute failure in the even a real accident should occur.

Proton-M returns to flight with launch of Inmarsat 5-F3

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 28th A Russian Proton-M launch vehicle successfully launched the British Inmarsat 5-F3 comsat into orbit. The flawless launch took place on Friday, Aug 28, at 7:44 a.m. EDT (11:44 GMT) from Launch Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Buzz Aldrin Space Institute formed at Florida Institute of Technology

Press ReleaseAugust 28th MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology today held a signing ceremony formalizing the establishment of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the university. Opening this fall and led by legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the Institute will promote the settlement of Mars through research.

India successfully launches GSAT-6 communications satellite

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 27th The ISRO successfully launched the GSAT-6 satellite to orbit on Aug. 27. The mission, designated GSLV-D6, started with a lift-off at 4:52 p.m. local time (7:22 a.m. EDT) from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR) located in Sriharikota.

Bolden explains accident investigation methods to Congressman

Joe LatrellAugust 27th NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden had to explain to Congressman Lamar Smith (R. Texas) as to why NASA was treating the Orbital ATK mishap differently from the SpaceX flight mishap. They are both accidents that need investigation so why treat them differently?

With launch of British communications satellite, Proton-M rocket set to return to flight

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 27th The Russian Proton-M rocket is well on track to return to regular flights after the May 16 accident when it failed to deliver the Mexican Mexsat-1 communications satellite. On Friday, Aug. 28, the International Launch Services (ILS) company will use the booster to send the British Inmarsat 5-F3 satellite into a supersynchronous transfer orbit.

Dawn sends sharper scenes from Ceres

NASAAugust 26th The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

May tapped as Deputy Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Jason RhianAugust 26th Todd May has been selected to succeed Teresa Vanhooser as the deputy director of the space agency's Marshall Space Flight Center. The announcement was made on Tuesday, Aug. 25, and is being made as Vanhooser is retiring from NASA after a career that has spanned some 35 years.

India to launch GSAT-6 communication satellite Thursday

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 26th The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is slated to deliver the country’s GSAT-6 (also known as INSAT-4E) communications satellite to orbit on Thursday, Aug. 27. It will employ the heavy-lift version of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

Kounotori-5 successfully delivers cargo to ISS crew

Britt RawcliffeAugust 25th At 10:02 a.m. EDT (14:02 GMT) on Aug. 24, Japan’s HTV-5 spacecraft was berthed with the International Space Station. After a final approach that started in the very early hours of the day, the initial capture made was with the Canadarm2 at 6:28 a.m. EDT (10:28 GMT).

Russian reusable spacecraft ambitions revived

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 25th The Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center plans to revive the former Soviet Union’s winged space shuttle program, known as Buran. Started in 1974, Buran was a Soviet reusable spacecraft project undertaken as a response to NASA’s Space Shuttle program.

OSIRIS-REx cameras delivered for integration and testing

Joe LatrellAugust 25th The cameras for NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) are being integrated onto the spacecraft in preparation for flight.

Proton-M returns to flight with launch of Inmarsat 5-F3

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 28th A Russian Proton-M launch vehicle successfully launched the British Inmarsat 5-F3 comsat into orbit. The flawless launch took place on Friday, Aug 28, at 7:44 a.m. EDT (11:44 GMT) from Launch Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

India successfully launches GSAT-6 communications satellite

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 27th The ISRO successfully launched the GSAT-6 satellite to orbit on Aug. 27. The mission, designated GSLV-D6, started with a lift-off at 4:52 p.m. local time (7:22 a.m. EDT) from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR) located in Sriharikota.

Bolden explains accident investigation methods to Congressman

Joe LatrellAugust 27th NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden had to explain to Congressman Lamar Smith (R. Texas) as to why NASA was treating the Orbital ATK mishap differently from the SpaceX flight mishap. They are both accidents that need investigation so why treat them differently?

With launch of British communications satellite, Proton-M rocket set to return to flight

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 27th The Russian Proton-M rocket is well on track to return to regular flights after the May 16 accident when it failed to deliver the Mexican Mexsat-1 communications satellite. On Friday, Aug. 28, the International Launch Services (ILS) company will use the booster to send the British Inmarsat 5-F3 satellite into a supersynchronous transfer orbit.

May tapped as Deputy Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Jason RhianAugust 26th Todd May has been selected to succeed Teresa Vanhooser as the deputy director of the space agency's Marshall Space Flight Center. The announcement was made on Tuesday, Aug. 25, and is being made as Vanhooser is retiring from NASA after a career that has spanned some 35 years.

India to launch GSAT-6 communication satellite Thursday

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 26th The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is slated to deliver the country’s GSAT-6 (also known as INSAT-4E) communications satellite to orbit on Thursday, Aug. 27. It will employ the heavy-lift version of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

Kounotori-5 successfully delivers cargo to ISS crew

Britt RawcliffeAugust 25th At 10:02 a.m. EDT (14:02 GMT) on Aug. 24, Japan’s HTV-5 spacecraft was berthed with the International Space Station. After a final approach that started in the very early hours of the day, the initial capture made was with the Canadarm2 at 6:28 a.m. EDT (10:28 GMT).

Russian reusable spacecraft ambitions revived

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 25th The Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center plans to revive the former Soviet Union’s winged space shuttle program, known as Buran. Started in 1974, Buran was a Soviet reusable spacecraft project undertaken as a response to NASA’s Space Shuttle program.

Blue Origin to make commercial space announcement at Cape Canaveral

Jason RhianAugust 24th Blue Origin's founder, Jeff Bezos, will host an event at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Sept. 15. Not much has been said about the event other than it will be about the emerging commercial launch industry. Speculation has it, a new launch vehicle might be joining those already at the Cape.

Why NASA’s space lettuce is a game changer

Jason RhianAugust 24th While there has been a lot said about how NASA has used its VEGGIE experiment on the International Space Station, the "why" of how this could revolutionize spaceflight. The quickest, most obvious way to highlight the importance of this is by asking a question: "What's lighter – a spacecraft loaded with meals for crew members or a packet of seeds?"

CYGNSS readied for flight on wings of Pegasus

Jason RhianAugust 21st NASA's CYGNSS mission is being prepared for a launch currently set to take place in 2016. It will be used to better predict hurricanes. With the satellite currently undergoing construction in Texas, and having completed significant milestones – SFI provides the following review of the flight.

Ariane 5 rocket lifts off with two communications satellites

Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 20th Arianespace successfully sent two communications satellites into space on Thursday, Aug. 20, using the company’s Ariane 5 heavy launcher. Liftoff occurred at 4:34 p.m. EDT (5:34 local time; 20:34 GMT) from the Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana. It delivered the EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34 comsats into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

Planning for failure, NASA tests Orion parachute system

August 29th
Failing to plan - is planning to fail is a staple of modern proverbs. NASA is taking that motto to heart with the latest test of the space agency's Orion capsule. The latest test involved a full sized, mass accurate mock-up loaded with sensors and computer systems to measure the stresses on the capsule as it landed in the Arizona desert. Unlike past tests however, this one was designed to test the limits of parachute failure in the even a real accident should occur.

Buzz Aldrin Space Institute formed at Florida Institute of Technology

August 28th
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology today held a signing ceremony formalizing the establishment of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the university. Opening this fall and led by legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the Institute will promote the settlement of Mars through research.

Dawn sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 26th
The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

OSIRIS-REx cameras delivered for integration and testing

August 25th
The cameras for NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) are being integrated onto the spacecraft in preparation for flight.

Two of a kind: Ward’s split effort a treat for space fans

August 24th
The history of NASA's Kennedy Space Center is one with a lot of twists and turns, many of them have already been covered in detail. Jonathan Ward, recently wrote a book designed to help provide a review of the development of NASA's Kennedy Space Center under the Apollo Program. Ward's book had an interesting journey - one split in two.

NASA Ames celebrates aviation history and employee’s 90th birthday

August 22nd
As NASA commemorated National Aviation Day on Wednesday, Aug. 19, one long-time NASA Ames Research Center employee also celebrated his 90th birthday.

Kennedy Space Center highlights progress of SLS’ Mobile Launcher

August 21st
NASA hosted an event near Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B - providing an update as to upgrades that have been made to the Mobile Launcher or "ML." The structure has been in a state of ongoing development since the close of the shuttle era in 2011. Now, it is being refurbished to enable the agency's deep space human space exploration ambitions.

China successfully tests power system of Long March 5 rocket

August 20th
China conducted an engine test on Monday, Aug. 17, for the second stage of its Long March 5 rocket. The engines of the rocket were test-fired using non-toxic and non-polluting liquefied propellant. The test marks the completion of ground testing for the launch vehicle and ends its manufacturing phase.

Cassini makes final flyby of Saturn’s moon Dione

August 19th
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its final close flyby of Saturn’s moon Dione on Monday, August 17. The spacecraft’s closest approach, which brought it within 295 miles (474 kilometers) of Dione’s surface, occurred at 2:33 p.m. EDT. The Cassini team expects fresh images from the encounter to arrive on Earth in a few days.

Send your name to Mars on NASA’s next Red Planet mission

August 19th
Mars enthusiasts around the world can participate in NASA’s journey to Mars by adding their names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s InSight Mars lander, scheduled to launch next year.

Bad weather again delays launch of Japanese cargo ship to Space Station

August 16th
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has postponed the launch of its H-II Transport Vehicle (HTV)-5 to the International Space Station to 7:50 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Aug. 19. NASA Television will carry live coverage of the event beginning at 7 a.m.

ESA signs contracts for the development of Ariane 6 and Vega C launch vehicles

August 15th
On Aug. 12, ESA signed contracts for the development of its two new launch vehicles. Under the first contract, worth 2.4 billion euros, the French company Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) will build Ariane 6 launcher in its two versions, Ariane 62 and 64. This was just the start of ESA's recent efforts to develop launch vehicles.

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