Spaceflight Insider

  • Cassini returns images from first dive between Saturn and its rings

    Laurel KornfeldApril 28th NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed the first of its 22 Grand Finale dives between Saturn and its rings, sending back images and data after more than 20 hours of being out of contact with Earth.

  • SpaceX ready to launch its first dedicated NRO mission

    Bart LeahyApril 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two days before SpaceX is scheduled to launch its first dedicated National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) mission, all appears to be go for NROL-76. The Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch sometime between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT (11:00 and 13:00 GMT) April 30, 2017.

  • NASA’s Dawn spacecraft experiences reaction wheel malfunction

    Jim SharkeyApril 28th During preparations for observing Ceres' Occator Crater, NASA's Dawn spacecraft's remaining reaction wheels stopped functioning. The probe controls its orientation in space by changing the speed these gyroscope-like devices spin.

  • MUOS-5 Now Supporting Troops with UHF Communications

    Paul KnightlyApril 28th The fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite is now delivering secure communications to troops using its Ultra High Frequency (UHF) telecommunications system. This comes as the U.S. Navy, partnered with the Army Forces Strategic Command, have worked to bring MUOS-5 into operation after it successfully completed on-orbit testing on January 19, 2017.

  • Veteran Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, 3 others resigning

    Derek RichardsonApril 27th At least four Russian cosmonauts, including veteran space flyer Gennady Padalka, are set to leave the Russian cosmonaut corps either by free will or because of health reasons, according to a report from the Russian government news agency Tass.

  • Arianespace sets May 4 for Ariane 5 launch

    Derek RichardsonApril 27th After a resolution to the month-long protests that halted launches at the South American spaceport in French Guiana, Arianespace announced new dates for its next three flights to space.

  • University students testing space technologies on ZERO-G aircraft

    Bart LeahyApril 27th ORLANDO, Fla. — Students from three U.S. universities (the University of Florida, Carthage College, and the University of Maryland) have been using Zero Gravity Corporation’s microgravity Boeing 727-200 aircraft, dubbed "G-FORCE ONE", to test useful space technologies.

  • Paving the way to the Moon: Estonian CubeSat to test new technologies

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 26th Estonia plans to launch a CubeSat into space in early 2019 with the aim to test advanced technologies, including a plasma brake for deorbiting satellites and an electric sail propulsion system. The mission, named ESTCube-2, is expected to serve as a prototype for Estonia’s future Moon-orbiting spacecraft.

  • Falcon 9 hotfire test blazes way for classified NROL-76 mission

    Derek RichardsonApril 25th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A month after flying its first used Falcon 9 booster, SpaceX placed another rocket on historic Launch Complex 39A to perform a static fire test in advance of its upcoming flight for the National Reconnaissance Office: the classified NROL-76 mission.

  • Earth seen between Saturn’s rings

    Jerome StrachApril 25th A recent snapshot digitally transmitted from Cassini revealed a view of Earth from the perspective of Saturn’s icy rings.

  • Titan flyby launches Cassini into Grande Finale

    Laurel KornfeldApril 25th NASA's Cassini orbiter conducted its last and closest flyby of Saturn's large moon Titan in the early morning hours of April 22, 2017, putting it on course for the mission's Grand Finale of 22 orbits between the innermost rings and the giant planet.

  • Vive la resolution!: French Guiana protests end, spaceport operations resume

    Curt GodwinApril 24th More than a month into a "social movement" that halted Arianespace launches, an agreement between French politicians and Guianan MPs has cleared the way for the France-based multinational launch provider to resume flights from the South American spaceport.

  • Cassini returns images from first dive between Saturn and its rings

    Laurel KornfeldApril 28th NASA's Cassini spacecraft has successfully completed the first of its 22 Grand Finale dives between Saturn and its rings, sending back images and data after more than 20 hours of being out of contact with Earth.

  • SpaceX ready to launch its first dedicated NRO mission

    Bart LeahyApril 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two days before SpaceX is scheduled to launch its first dedicated National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) mission, all appears to be go for NROL-76. The Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch sometime between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT (11:00 and 13:00 GMT) April 30, 2017.

  • NASA’s Dawn spacecraft experiences reaction wheel malfunction

    Jim SharkeyApril 28th During preparations for observing Ceres' Occator Crater, NASA's Dawn spacecraft's remaining reaction wheels stopped functioning. The probe controls its orientation in space by changing the speed these gyroscope-like devices spin.

  • Veteran Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, 3 others resigning

    Derek RichardsonApril 27th At least four Russian cosmonauts, including veteran space flyer Gennady Padalka, are set to leave the Russian cosmonaut corps either by free will or because of health reasons, according to a report from the Russian government news agency Tass.

  • Arianespace sets May 4 for Ariane 5 launch

    Derek RichardsonApril 27th After a resolution to the month-long protests that halted launches at the South American spaceport in French Guiana, Arianespace announced new dates for its next three flights to space.

  • Falcon 9 hotfire test blazes way for classified NROL-76 mission

    Derek RichardsonApril 25th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A month after flying its first used Falcon 9 booster, SpaceX placed another rocket on historic Launch Complex 39A to perform a static fire test in advance of its upcoming flight for the National Reconnaissance Office: the classified NROL-76 mission.

  • Titan flyby launches Cassini into Grande Finale

    Laurel KornfeldApril 25th NASA's Cassini orbiter conducted its last and closest flyby of Saturn's large moon Titan in the early morning hours of April 22, 2017, putting it on course for the mission's Grand Finale of 22 orbits between the innermost rings and the giant planet.

  • S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus berthed to ISS

    Derek RichardsonApril 22nd After a four-day cruise to the International Space Station, Orbital ATK’s OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft, named S.S. John Glenn, was captured and berthed to the outpost.

  • China’s Tianzhou-1 docks with Tiangong-2 space station

    Derek RichardsonApril 22nd Just two days after launching from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island in China, the Tianzhou-1 cargo freighter docked with the country’s Tiangong-2 space station.

  • Cassini to conduct last, closest flyby of Titan

    Laurel KornfeldApril 21st As NASA's Cassini spacecraft moves toward its Grand Finale, it will conduct its final and closest flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on April 22, 2017. This last visit is a targeted flyby, meaning Cassini will use either its rocket engine or thrusters to alter its course.

  • Soyuz MS-04 arrival increases ISS crew size to 5

    Derek RichardsonApril 20th The population of the International Space Station has increased to five people with the docking and hatch opening of the Soyuz MS-04 with two new Expedition 51 crew members.

  • China launches Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft on space station refueling test flight

    Curt GodwinApril 20th With the launch of the Tianzhou-1 automated cargo ship, China has taken a significant step in being able to support a long-term crewed presence in space. The spacecraft, mounted atop China's Long March 7 carrier rocket, lifted off at 7:40 a.m. EDT (11:40 GMT) April 20, 2017, from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center (WSLC) on Hainan Island.

  • Soyuz MS-04 sends two-man crew on fast-track to ISS

    Curt GodwinApril 20th The two newest International Space Station (ISS) inhabitants are on their way to the orbiting outpost. Soyuz MS-04 lifted off at 3:13 a.m. EDT (07:13 GMT) April 20, 2017, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

  • SFI Video: ULA Atlas V rocket launches ‘S.S. John Glenn’ Cygnus to ISS

    Jason RhianApril 19th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — ULA, Orbital ATK, and NASA sent the OA-7 "S.S. John Glenn" Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station on Tuesday, April 18. The mission got underway at the very opening of a 30-minute launch window at 11:11 a.m. EDT (15:11 GMT). SpaceFlight Insider captured the launch from numerous angles and produced the following video.

  • China’s Tianzhou-1 cargo ship readied for launch toward Tiangong-2

    Curt GodwinApril 18th Crucial to China's goal of sustaining and resupplying its own space stations, a Long March 7 rocket has been rolled out to the launch pad at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center (WSLC) with the Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft encapsulated in its payload fairing.

  • New ISS crew set to lift off on Soyuz-FG from Baikonur on first crewed launch of 2017

    Curt GodwinApril 17th Final preparations are underway for the launch of Expedition 51/52 crew members, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, to the International Space Station. Liftoff will take place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EDT (07:13 GMT) on April 20, 2017, and will be the first crewed Soyuz launch of 2017.

  • OA-7 Cygnus set to bring science and supplies to ISS

    Bart LeahyApril 16th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Orbital ATK’s OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft, named S.S. John Glenn in honor of America’s first orbital astronaut, is set to launch over 7,500 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS).

  • NASA OIG: SLS unlikely to launch in 2018

    Jason RhianApril 15th NASA.s Office of Inspector General has issued an audit detailing how the agency's Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) will likely not launch in 2018. This might be a moot point as NASA is considering flying EM-1 with a crew, which would push the launch to 2019 anyway. These are some of the issues facing the first flight of the agency's new rocket.

  • Ocean worlds Enceladus and Europa could be habitable for microbial life

    Laurel KornfeldApril 14th New data obtained by NASA's Cassini mission and by the Hubble Space Telescope indicate Saturn's moon Enceladus and Jupiter's moon Europa, both referred to as ocean worlds because they harbor subsurface oceans, could be habitable for microbial life.

  • MAVEN finds metal in Mars’ atmosphere

    Jim SharkeyApril 13th NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft has discovered electrically charged metal atoms (ions) high in the atmosphere of Mars. The metal ions help provide clues about previously invisible activity with Mars' electrically charged upper atmosphere (ionosphere).

    The Range
  • MUOS-5 Now Supporting Troops with UHF Communications

    April 28th
    The fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite is now delivering secure communications to troops using its Ultra High Frequency (UHF) telecommunications system. This comes as the U.S. Navy, partnered with the Army Forces Strategic Command, have worked to bring MUOS-5 into operation after it successfully completed on-orbit testing on January 19, 2017.

  • University students testing space technologies on ZERO-G aircraft

    April 27th
    ORLANDO, Fla. — Students from three U.S. universities (the University of Florida, Carthage College, and the University of Maryland) have been using Zero Gravity Corporation’s microgravity Boeing 727-200 aircraft, dubbed "G-FORCE ONE", to test useful space technologies.

  • Paving the way to the Moon: Estonian CubeSat to test new technologies

    April 26th
    Estonia plans to launch a CubeSat into space in early 2019 with the aim to test advanced technologies, including a plasma brake for deorbiting satellites and an electric sail propulsion system. The mission, named ESTCube-2, is expected to serve as a prototype for Estonia’s future Moon-orbiting spacecraft.

  • Earth seen between Saturn’s rings

    April 25th
    A recent snapshot digitally transmitted from Cassini revealed a view of Earth from the perspective of Saturn’s icy rings.

  • Vive la resolution!: French Guiana protests end, spaceport operations resume

    April 24th
    More than a month into a "social movement" that halted Arianespace launches, an agreement between French politicians and Guianan MPs has cleared the way for the France-based multinational launch provider to resume flights from the South American spaceport.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne consolidating, optimizing operations

    April 23rd
    Aerojet Rocketdyne recently announced the next phase of what it calls its Competitive Improvement Program (CIP), a plan to consolidate and optimize the company's operation. It is hoped that this will result in an annual savings of $230 million.

  • Opportunity Mars rover leaves ‘Tribulation’ for ‘Perseverance’

    April 23rd
    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is leaving "Cape Tribulation" – the crater-rim segment it has investigated since late 2014 – and driving south toward its next destination, "Perseverance Valley". The rover team plans to explore the valley to determine what type of activity carved it billions of years ago: water, wind, or flowing debris carried by water.

  • Russia claims U.S. will continue to purchase RD-180 engines

    April 22nd
    On Friday, April 14, 2017, Yuri Vlasov, CEO of the United Rocket and Space Corporation, stated that the RD-180 engines, which currently power the Atlas V booster, would be delivered to the United States until 2024–2025.

  • NASA scientists contemplate using LISA Pathfinder as ‘comet crumb’ detector

    April 22nd
    Launched on Dec. 3, 2015, from the European Spaceport in French Guiana, the European Space Agency’s Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Pathfinder mission is turning out to reveal far more than the elusive gravitational waves it was designed to detect.

  • NASA approves instruments for ESA’s ‘JUICE’ mission

    April 21st
    NASA's contributions to an upcoming European Space Agency mission have been moved from preliminary design to implementation phase. The "JUICE" mission is scheduled to launch in 2022 and arrive at Jupiter in Oct. 2029. JUICE will spend nearly four years investigating Jupiter's environment and its icy Galilean moons.

  • Where’s the Beef? NASA OA-7 mission takes a look at astronauts’ menu

    April 21st
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — One of many challenges of long-duration space travel is storing the necessary food and other supplies. Without a way to replenish supplies, a mission to Mars would have to be self-sustaining. One way of reducing the very large amount of food required for such a trip would be to grow some of that food on the way.

  • Photo Gallery: ULA launches S.S. John Glenn to orbit

    April 19th

  • Orbital ATK completes development milestones in Next Generation Launch program

    April 17th
    Orbital ATK announced on April 3, 2017, that it has made progress developing its next generation launch vehicle. Over the last 18 months, it has been developing a booster with advanced solid rocket propulsion to be used in intermediate- and large-class vehicles.

  • Planets orbiting double-star systems could support life, study suggests

    April 16th
    When NASA's Kepler spacecraft first discovered a planet that orbited two stars, comparisons were made to Luke Skywalker's desert home planet Tatooine in the "Star Wars" movies.

  • NASA Video: Saturn moon Enceladus has ingredients for life

    April 13th
    Using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn and the Hubble Space Telescope around Earth, scientists have determined that the ringed planet's moon Enceladus, which has a global ocean under its icy surface, has a source of chemical energy – an ingredient for life.