Spaceflight Insider

  • Orbital ATK’s OA-5 Cygnus spacecraft arrives at the ISS

    Curt GodwinOctober 23rd Nearly a week after its launch, Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft berthed with the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, at 10:53 a.m. EDT (14:53 GMT), 250 miles (402 kilometers) above the Indian Ocean, and is attached to the nadir (Earth-facing) port on the station's Unity module.

  • Space Florida seeking funding to help SpaceX modify LC-39A

    Bart LeahyOctober 23rd KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Space Florida, the state’s space business development organization, is helping SpaceX obtain funding from the Florida Department of Transportation. The $5 million would help the Hawthorne, California-based company modify LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center.

  • NASA spacecraft eyes remains of ESA’s Schiaparelli lander

    Eric ShearOctober 22nd NASA's MRO has confirmed the worst fears of the ExoMars team by identifying new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to Europe's "Schiaparelli" test lander, which arrived at Mars on Oct. 19. Schiaparelli’s signal cut off about 50 seconds before its planned touchdown.

  • Soyuz MS-02 crew arrives at International Space Station

    Jason RhianOctober 21st Three members of Expedition 49 arrived at their home for the next four months. Transported via their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft, the new crew members will now get to work integrating with the crew already aboard the International Space Station and preparing to conduct some serious orbital science.

  • Lost on Mars: Schiaparelli lander falls silent shortly before touchdown

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 20th ESA still awaits a signal from its ExoMars "Schiaparelli" module, which was expected to land on Mars at 10:48 a.m. EDT (14:48 GMT) on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Contact with the spacecraft was lost about a minute before the planned touchdown on the Martian surface.

  • ExoMars mission arrives at the Red Planet after seven-month journey

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 19th Europe’s ExoMars 2016 mission has finally arrived at the Red Planet on October 19, completing a lengthy interplanetary trip. The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) has been inserted into Martian orbit and the "Schiaparelli" module descended to the planet’s surface. However, the fate of the lander is currently unknown as ESA still awaits for the confirmation of the touchdown.

  • Shenzhou 11 spacecraft successfully docks with Tiangong 2 space laboratory

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 18th A duo of Shenzhou 11 taikonauts entered the Tiangong 2 orbital laboratory after a flawless docking of the two spacecraft at 3:31 a.m. China Standard Time on Oct. 19 (3:31 p.m EDT / 19:31 GMT on Oct. 18). The two-person crew will spend 30 days aboard the space lab testing advanced life support systems and conducting various science experiments.

  • Antares lights up Virginian night skies in return-to-flight OA-5 mission

    SpaceFlight InsiderOctober 18th WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — NASA and Orbital ATK returned the Antares launch vehicle to service on Monday, Oct. 17, with its payload of 5,100 lbs (2,313 kg) of cargo bound for the International Space Station. The rocket lifted off at 7:45 p.m. EDT from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

  • SFI LIVE: Launch Coverage of Orbital ATK Antares 230 with OA-5 Cygnus

    Jason RhianOctober 17th WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, Va. — Orbital ATK is preparing to launch an Antares 230 rocket with the OA-5, S.S. Alan Poindexter Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station this evening. SpaceFlight Insider's live webcast will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT (23:30 GMT). The launch window is scheduled to open at 8:03 p.m. EDT (00:03 GMT on Oct. 17) and extend for 5 minutes.

  • Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft finally ready for launch

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 17th After delays triggered by technical difficulties, the upcoming crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), designated Soyuz MS-02, is finally ready for its launch from Kazakhstan. The spacecraft, with the Expedition 49 trio aboard, will fly atop a Soyuz-FG booster at 4:05 a.m. EDT (08:05 GMT) Oct. 19 from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

  • China launches two taikonauts into space aboard Shenzhou 11

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 16th China has successfully launched its sixth manned space mission, sending two taikonauts into orbit aboard the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft. The crewed vehicle was lifted atop a Long March 2F rocket at 7:30 a.m. local time on Oct. 17 (7:30 p.m. EDT / 23:30 GMT on Oct. 16) from Launch Area 4 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert.

  • Antares launch postponed 24 hours

    Derek RichardsonOctober 16th The launch of Orbital ATK's Antares 230 rocket will have to wait another 24 hours. The company announced a ground support equipment cable did not perform as expected during the pre-launch check out.

  • China set to launch Shenzhou 11 crewed mission

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 15th Under a shroud of secrecy, China is completing final steps toward the launch of its Shenzhou 11 spacecraft with two taikonauts on board. On Oct. 10, the country rolled out the Long March 2F rocket that will be used to send the crewed mission into space.

  • NASA not planning to buy more Soyuz seats

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 15th NASA has no plans to sign another agreement with the Roscosmos State Corporation to continue astronaut transportation services to the International Space Station (ISS) via the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The last half-billion dollar deal for six Soyuz seats, which was signed last year, ends with the Soyuz MS-11 mission scheduled for launch in November 2018 and landing in early 2019.

  • With little damage to tracking station, OA-5 set to launch Sunday

    Jason RhianOctober 15th WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK and NASA are preparing to launch the first of their upgraded Antares-230 rockets from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The mission will mark the return-to-flight of Antares, but it has to have a critical asset survive Mother Nature first before it can take off on Sunday, Oct. 16.

  • Aeroskirt added to Atlas V configuration for CST-100 Starliner

    Eric ShearOctober 14th United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Boeing unveiled an add-on aeroskirt to the Atlas V rocket that will launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule for NASA. It was developed after engineers encountered difficulties with aerodynamic stability and loads resulting from the difference in width between the capsule and the rocket.

  • Kennedy Space Center Hurricane Matthew damage less than feared

    Curt GodwinOctober 14th Many feared the worst for NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the early morning hours of Oct. 7, 2016, as Hurricane Matthew lashed the Cape Canaveral area with wind speeds up to 135.8 mph (218.5 km/h). Though expected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm, Matthew remained offshore slightly weakened to Category 3, sparing KSC from the full fury of the Atlantic basin storm.

  • CST-100 testing delayed until 2018

    Bart LeahyOctober 13th Space News reported testing for Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft will be delayed from December 2017 to June 2018. This delay shifts CST-100’s first operational flight to the International Space Station, as part of NASA commercial crew program, to late 2018.

  • DREAMS of Mars: Europe’s ExoMars mission in the middle of dust season

    Tomasz NowakowskiOctober 13th The joint ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars 2016 mission is a week away from arriving at Mars to answer important astrobiological questions. While the mission’s "Schiaparelli" demonstrator will focus on testing landing technologies, one of its scientific instruments will be in the right place at the right time to investigate the planet’s intense dust storms.

  • President Obama reaffirms NASA’s Mars-centric exploration plan

    Curt GodwinOctober 12th In an opinion piece written for CNN on Oct. 11, 2016, President Barack Obama reiterated his support for NASA's Journey to Mars. Under current plans, the U.S. space agency hopes to send astronauts to the Red Planet in the next 15–20 years.

    The Range
  • Photo Gallery: Light, shadow and fog – the flight of OA-5

    October 23rd

  • Dramatic seasonal changes on Titan captured by Cassini

    October 23rd
    As those in the Northern Hemisphere mark the seasonal changes in the glorious colors of the leaves changing, NASA's Cassini orbiter is also seeing changes on a world far removed from our own. The spacecraft, in orbit around the Saturn system since 2004, has observed the planet and its moons long enough to capture seasonal changes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

  • Missile Space and Range Pioneers mark 50 years

    October 22nd
    The Missile Space and Range Pioneers marked their 50th anniversary during an event held at the Courtyard Marriott located in Cocoa Beach, Florida, on Oct. 21.

  • SFI Video: Launch of Antares 230 with S.S. Alan Poindexter Cygnus spacecraft

    October 22nd
    WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, Va. — With mission managers pushing the flight to the very close of a five-minute long launch window, Orbital ATK and NASA launched an Antares 230 rocket from MARS' Pad 0A at 7;45 p.m. EDT (23:45 GMT) on Oct. 17, 2016. SFI captured the entire event on video.

  • MAVEN captures detailed ultraviolet images of Mars’ atmosphere

    October 21st
    NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has taken hundreds of high-resolution photos of the Red Planet's atmosphere in ultraviolet light, revealing unprecedented details of its cloud formation and high-altitude wind circulation.

  • Juno spacecraft goes into safe mode prior to flyby

    October 20th
    NASA's Juno spacecraft entered safe mode on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 10:47 p.m. PDT (Oct. 19 at 1:47 a.m. EDT / 05:47 GMT). For reasons that aren't fully known yet, a software performance monitor induced a reboot of the spacecraft's onboard computer. Juno restarted successfully and is healthy.

  • New Horizons shows possible clouds on Pluto, target KBO reddish

    October 20th
    Data presented by New Horizons mission scientists at the current American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) Conference suggest possible clouds in Pluto's hazy atmosphere, and also show the spacecraft's second target, Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69, to have the same reddish color as Pluto.

  • Air Force Space & Missile History Center renamed

    October 20th
    The Air Force Space & Missile History Center, located near the south gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, has been renamed the Sands Space History Center in honor of retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Harry James Sands Jr.

  • NASA’s JPL looks to boost power from nuclear batteries

    October 19th
    Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) have been the power source for many of the most ambitious exploration missions in NASA's history, powering spacecraft in areas too remote, or too impractical, for solar panels to provide sufficient electricity. A new development to this power-generating workhorse may soon substantially improve the capabilities of the RTG, possibly benefiting both interplanetary missions and daily life here on Earth.

  • Herschel reveals role of starlight in forming building blocks of life

    October 16th
    ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has observed that ultraviolet light from stars plays a vital role in creating the precursor molecules that are essential for life.

  • Flame experiments among cargo being sent to ISS with OA-5 Cygnus

    October 15th
    WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, Va. — As members of Orbital ATK made their way to the OA-5 Launch Readiness Review, NASA held a “What’s On Board” briefing on Oct. 15 at the auditorium located at the Visitor Complex at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

  • SpaceX still expects to resume launches by end of year

    October 14th
    SpaceX will continue operations to resume launches despite their payload processing facility being damaged by Hurricane Matthew last week. The storm caused damage to the building's roof and siding as well as blowing out its windows. Still, this has not deterred the company's plans to continue launching its Falcon 9 rockets by the end of the year.

  • New instrument on ISS to study ultra-cold quantum gases

    October 13th
    A new science instrument, slated to be installed on board the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2017, is expected to yield interesting results regarding quantum phenomena. The Cold Atom Laboratory, or CAL, will study degenerate quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the orbital outpost.

  • Opportunity rover to explore Martian gully

    October 12th
    NASA's Mars rover "Opportunity" will drive down an ancient Martian gully carved by a fluid that may have been water. The rover will also visit, for the first time, the interior of the crater that it has been working beside for the last five years.

  • ULA targeting late October/early November for WorldView-4 launch

    October 11th
    United Launch Alliance (ULA) is still feeling the effect of the recent wildfire at Vandenberg Air Force Base, prompting the company to target late October or early November for the launch of WorldView-4.