Spaceflight Insider

  • SFI Live: Launch of Bulgariasat-1 on SpaceX Falcon 9

    Jason RhianJune 23rd KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- SpaceX is set to launch Bulgaria's first satellite atop one of their Falcon 9 rockets from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Bulgarisat-1 is poised to liftoff at 2:10 p.m. EDT (18:10 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A. SpaceFlight Insider's exclusive live webcast will begin at 12:45 p.m. EDT (16:45 GMT).

  • New Horizons scientists study KBO by observing star occultation

    Laurel KornfeldJune 23rd A total of 54 New Horizons observation teams successfully obtained crucial data about the spacecraft's second target, 2014 MU69, when the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) occulted (or passed in front of) a star on the night of June 2–3.

  • U.S. astronauts may continue to launch aboard Soyuz into 2020

    Curt GodwinJune 23rd According to a report from the Russian news agency Tass, not only will U.S. astronauts launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in a Soyuz spacecraft through 2019, but also there is a strong possibility that Boeing will engage their Russian counterpart to continue the service through 2020.

  • India launches Cartosat-2E, 30 small satellites atop 40th PSLV rocket

    Derek RichardsonJune 23rd Lifting off just before midnight EDT (03:59 GMT) June 23, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket sent CartoSat-2E and 30 smaller satellites into space. The 40th launch of the PSLV placed all the spacecraft in a polar orbit some 300 miles (500 kilometers) in altitude.

  • Boeing reorganizing for more agile performance

    Bart LeahyJune 22nd Boeing is looking to make its operations leaner and more competitive by breaking up its Defense, Space & Security (BDS) unit into smaller business units reporting directly to BDS CEO Leanne Caret.

  • Former astronaut Rick Mastracchio joins Orbital ATK

    Christopher PaulJune 22nd Orbital ATK has hired former NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio as its new senior director of operations for the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program. The company made the announcement via a June 19, 2017, press release welcoming the three-time Space Shuttle astronaut to its Space Systems Group team.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: SpaceShipOne, Government Zero – 13 years later

    Jason RhianJune 21st It was a heady time for the emerging NewSpace movement, Scaled Composites had sent Mike Melvill in SpaceShipOne on flight 15P up 62 miles into space. This set the stage for them to win the Ansari X-PRIZE and from there send the first tourists on suborbital hops. Or, so they hoped. Thirteen years later, the follow-on vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, has yet to send a single tourist to sub-orbit.

  • SpaceX to launch, land 2 Falcon 9 rockets just days apart

    Lloyd CampbellJune 21st Due to an adjustment in its mission manifest, SpaceX will attempt to fly two Falcon 9 rockets a little more than 50 hours apart – from opposite sides of the United States. Using two different launch teams, it would set a new record for successive launches by the company.

  • Kepler discovers 10 Earth-like exoplanets from 219 planet candidates

    Laurel KornfeldJune 21st NASA's Kepler mission has released the most extensive list of exoplanet findings: a total of 219 planet candidates, of which ten are Earth-like and occupy their stars' habitable zones – where temperatures allow liquid water to exist on the surface.

  • Martian crater provides reminder of Apollo 16 mission

    Jim SharkeyJune 20th During the 45th anniversary of Apollo 16's voyage to the Moon, NASA's Opportunity Mars rover drove by a relatively young crater on Mars' surface, providing a connection between the two missions. The feature was informally named "Orion Crater" by the Opportunity mission team, in honor of the Apollo 16 lunar module – Orion.

  • Comedian Bill Dana, creator of ‘José Jiménez,’ dead at 92

    Bart LeahyJune 20th Comedian and comedy writer Bill Dana, who became famous through his “José Jiménez” character in the 1950s and 1960s, died June 15 at the age of 92. The Jiménez character, a stereotyped cowardly astronaut, was a favorite performer with television audiences and with the “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts.

  • Full-scale Crew Dragon recovery trainer being built at KSC

    Jerome StrachJune 19th Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is continuing with their development of the Crew Dragon capsule, which is being built for NASA per the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) agreements. The evolution in Dragon design has been shaped by the CRS contract drawing a line between a cargo version and a crew version.

  • SFI Live: Launch of Bulgariasat-1 on SpaceX Falcon 9

    Jason RhianJune 23rd KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- SpaceX is set to launch Bulgaria's first satellite atop one of their Falcon 9 rockets from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Bulgarisat-1 is poised to liftoff at 2:10 p.m. EDT (18:10 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A. SpaceFlight Insider's exclusive live webcast will begin at 12:45 p.m. EDT (16:45 GMT).

  • India launches Cartosat-2E, 30 small satellites atop 40th PSLV rocket

    Derek RichardsonJune 23rd Lifting off just before midnight EDT (03:59 GMT) June 23, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket sent CartoSat-2E and 30 smaller satellites into space. The 40th launch of the PSLV placed all the spacecraft in a polar orbit some 300 miles (500 kilometers) in altitude.

  • SpaceX to launch, land 2 Falcon 9 rockets just days apart

    Lloyd CampbellJune 21st Due to an adjustment in its mission manifest, SpaceX will attempt to fly two Falcon 9 rockets a little more than 50 hours apart – from opposite sides of the United States. Using two different launch teams, it would set a new record for successive launches by the company.

  • Kepler discovers 10 Earth-like exoplanets from 219 planet candidates

    Laurel KornfeldJune 21st NASA's Kepler mission has released the most extensive list of exoplanet findings: a total of 219 planet candidates, of which ten are Earth-like and occupy their stars' habitable zones – where temperatures allow liquid water to exist on the surface.

  • Comedian Bill Dana, creator of ‘José Jiménez,’ dead at 92

    Bart LeahyJune 20th Comedian and comedy writer Bill Dana, who became famous through his “José Jiménez” character in the 1950s and 1960s, died June 15 at the age of 92. The Jiménez character, a stereotyped cowardly astronaut, was a favorite performer with television audiences and with the “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts.

  • Long March 3B/E launches Zhongxing-9A satellite, fate uncertain

    Curt GodwinJune 19th A Chinese Long March 3B/E rocket lifted off at 12:12 EDT (16:12 GMT), June 18, 2017, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China to deliver the Zhongxing-9A indigenous television satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). However, according to a belated official announcement, the satellite has failed to reach its designated orbit.

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with Bulgariasat-1 delayed to NET Friday, June 23

    Jason RhianJune 18th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The launch of Bulgaria's first satellite has been delayed to no-earlier-than Friday, June 23, due to the need by SpaceX to replace a fairing valve on the rocket. The mission was set to launch on June 19 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

  • SpaceX to loft first Bulgarian geostationary satellite

    Derek RichardsonJune 18th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — When SpaceX launches its second “flight-proven” Falcon 9 rocket, it will be sending Bulgaria’s first geostationary communications satellite into space. Liftoff is currently slated for the beginning of a two-hour launch window opening at 2:10 p.m. EDT (18:10 GMT) on June 19 from Launch Complex 39A.

  • Long March 3B to launch Zhongxing-9A television satellite

    Curt GodwinJune 17th China is preparing to launch the Zhongxing-9A direct-to-home (DTH) television service satellite aboard the country's Long March 3B/E carrier rocket. Although news from the country's tight-lipped space agency is difficult to come by, information from the GBTimes indicates the launch may occur as soon as June 18, 2017, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

  • China launches X-ray space telescope to unravel mysteries of universe

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 16th A Long March 4B rocket took to the skies on Thursday, June 15, 2017, carrying an important astronomy mission for China. The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope, dubbed “Insight”, will search for black holes, pulsars, and other phenomena with the aim of uncovering the most intriguing secrets of the universe.

  • Five Seconds of Fury: Orbital ATK conducts test fire of Launch Abort Motor

    Jason RhianJune 16th PROMONTORY, Utah — With a brief flash of highly controlled power, Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK, along with NASA and Lockheed Martin, successfully conducted a test of a system designed to increase safety and to save lives.

  • Progress MS-06 docks with International Space Station

    Derek RichardsonJune 16th Pulling into port at 7:37 a.m. EDT (11:37 GMT) on June 16, 2017, the autonomous Russian Progress MS-06 cargo spacecraft glided in for a docking at the aft port of the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module.

  • Hotfire test performed on next ‘flight-proven’ Falcon 9 booster

    Derek RichardsonJune 15th White plumes and a brief flash of flame from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket announced another static fire test in advance of another upcoming launch by the NewSpace company, a mission that will send the BulgariaSat-1 communications satellite into space.

  • Orbital ATK OA-8E Cygnus cargo mission slated for late summer

    Jerome StrachJune 15th On the heels of Orbital ATK’s successful OA-7 Cygnus cargo run, teams at Virginia’s Wallops Flight Facility are preparing for the OA-8E mission. The 139-foot (42.5-meter) tall Antares rocket is slated to take an enhanced Cygnus and several tons of science and cargo to the International Space Station on Sept. 12, 2017.

  • SFI Live: QM-1 Launch Abort Motor test fire

    Jason RhianJune 15th PROMONTORY, Utah — Orbital ATK and NASA are planning to conduct a static test fire of the Orion spacecraft's Launch Abort Motor. The Qualification Motor 1 test is set to begin at 1 p.m. MDT and last for approximately five seconds. SFI will be on hand providing you with exclusive coverage from the T-97 viewing site about a half mile away. Tune into our Live Webcast starting at 12:30 MDT.

  • Progress MS-06 freighter on its way to space station

    Derek RichardsonJune 14th Taking to overcast skies at 5:20 a.m. EDT (09:20 GMT) June 14, 2017, from Site 31 at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a modernized Soyuz 2.1a rocket powered toward orbit. Three stages and nine minutes later, the Progress MS-06 freighter was deployed into its proper orbit to begin a two-day, 34-orbit journey to the International Space Station.

  • Orbital ATK poised to test Orion Launch Abort Motor

    Jason RhianJune 14th PROMONTORY, Utah — On Thursday, June 15, 2017, NASA, Orbital ATK, and Lockheed Martin are slated to carry out the first of three qualification ground tests (QM-1) of the Launch Abort Motor being developed for use on the space agency's Orion spacecraft.

  • OA-7 Cygnus re-enters Earth’s atmosphere after 2-month mission

    Derek RichardsonJune 12th Burning up in a blaze of glory, Orbital ATK’s OA-7 Cygnus cargo ship re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on June 11, 2017, ending its nearly two-month-long flight.

  • Progress MS-06 spacecraft set for supply run to ISS

    Curt GodwinJune 12th Progress MS-06, Russia's first supply delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) in nearly four months, is closing in on its targeted launch date of June 14, 2017.

  • Insider Q & A: From concept to reality – KSC as a Multi-User Spaceport

    Jason RhianJune 11th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Anyone who spends time in or around Florida's Space Coast has heard one phrase repeatedly used in the past few years: Multi-User Spaceport. What does that mean? To find out, SFI spoke with two NASA representatives intimately aware of the agency's efforts to expand the diverse array of organizations operating out of the center.

    The Range
  • New Horizons scientists study KBO by observing star occultation

    June 23rd
    A total of 54 New Horizons observation teams successfully obtained crucial data about the spacecraft's second target, 2014 MU69, when the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) occulted (or passed in front of) a star on the night of June 2–3.

  • U.S. astronauts may continue to launch aboard Soyuz into 2020

    June 23rd
    According to a report from the Russian news agency Tass, not only will U.S. astronauts launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in a Soyuz spacecraft through 2019, but also there is a strong possibility that Boeing will engage their Russian counterpart to continue the service through 2020.

  • Boeing reorganizing for more agile performance

    June 22nd
    Boeing is looking to make its operations leaner and more competitive by breaking up its Defense, Space & Security (BDS) unit into smaller business units reporting directly to BDS CEO Leanne Caret.

  • Former astronaut Rick Mastracchio joins Orbital ATK

    June 22nd
    Orbital ATK has hired former NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio as its new senior director of operations for the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program. The company made the announcement via a June 19, 2017, press release welcoming the three-time Space Shuttle astronaut to its Space Systems Group team.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: SpaceShipOne, Government Zero – 13 years later

    June 21st
    It was a heady time for the emerging NewSpace movement, Scaled Composites had sent Mike Melvill in SpaceShipOne on flight 15P up 62 miles into space. This set the stage for them to win the Ansari X-PRIZE and from there send the first tourists on suborbital hops. Or, so they hoped. Thirteen years later, the follow-on vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, has yet to send a single tourist to sub-orbit.

  • Martian crater provides reminder of Apollo 16 mission

    June 20th
    During the 45th anniversary of Apollo 16's voyage to the Moon, NASA's Opportunity Mars rover drove by a relatively young crater on Mars' surface, providing a connection between the two missions. The feature was informally named "Orion Crater" by the Opportunity mission team, in honor of the Apollo 16 lunar module – Orion.

  • Full-scale Crew Dragon recovery trainer being built at KSC

    June 19th
    Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is continuing with their development of the Crew Dragon capsule, which is being built for NASA per the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) agreements. The evolution in Dragon design has been shaped by the CRS contract drawing a line between a cargo version and a crew version.

  • OPINION: Radiation hucksters strike again

    June 16th
    Dr. Robert Zubrin states his opinion on recent claims by a professor that the cancer risk from cosmic-ray radiation on a mission to Mars is greater than expected.

  • Boeing/DARPA XS-1 to operate from Cape Canaveral

    June 15th
    A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) spokesman has stated that Boeing will be launching and landing the agency’s XS-1 spaceplane from Cape Canaveral, Florida, as soon as 2020.

  • Dynetics to build SLS universal stage adapter

    June 14th
    NASA has announced that the applied science and information technology company Dynetics, Inc. of Huntsville, Alabama, has been awarded a $221.7 million prime contract to develop and build a universal stage adapter (USA) for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

  • NASA’s NEOWISE mission discovers 97 new asteroids, comets

    June 13th
    During its third year of operation, NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) discovered 97 hitherto unknown objects in the Solar System: 64 are main-belt asteroids, 28 are near-Earth objects (NEOs), and five are comets.

  • Study suggests increased cancer risk on Mars missions

    June 13th
    A new study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) suggests the cancer risk for astronauts on a mission to Mars could be higher than expected. The results of the study were published in the May issue of Scientific Reports and show the risk is effectively doubled compared with previous models.

  • Deep Space Network – providing communications for over 50 years

    June 11th
    The NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) comprises three sites across the globe which provide telecommunications with interplanetary spacecraft located throughout the Solar System and beyond.

  • MIT students studying mission to asteroid Apophis

    June 10th
    Apophis, an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier, will make a close approach to Earth in 2029. It will come within approximately 18,300 miles (29,500 kilometers), less than one-tenth the distance from Earth to the Moon. A group of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is designing a mission to study the asteroid up close as it passes by.

  • 3 CubeSats win rides on 1st flight of NASA’s SLS

    June 9th
    On Thursday, June 8, NASA announced the three winning teams of the semi-final round of the space agency's Cube Quest Challenge. In addition to winning $20,000 each in prize money, the three teams have also secured spots to launch their spacecraft on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) – the first flight of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) with the Orion spacecraft.