Astronomers observe nearly 500 exocomets around nearby star

Artist's conception of exocomets around the star Beta Pictoris. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

Comets have been in the news a lot recently, with the ongoing investigation of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the Rosetta spacecraft and the close flyby of Mars by comet Siding Spring this past week. But there is also another comet discovery – one far out from our solar system. With the help of the HARPS instrument, on the […]

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, mission complete, returns home

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft can be seen here drifting down to the Pacific Ocean where it splashed down at 3:39 p.m. EDT. Photo Credit: SpaceX

The Expedition 40 crew said goodbye to  a fellow space traveler with the departure of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX )Dragon cargo vessel which arrived at the space station on Saturday, Oct. 25. After being instructed to carry out a burn, the spacecraft and its new payload of used experiments and equipment splashed down off an […]

Report examines KSC commercial space launch activities

NASA has completed steps that the space agency has deemed as being important to the conversion of Kennedy Space Center to a modern spaceport - one capable of supporting multiple users. Photo Credit: Kim Shiflett / NASA

On Thursday, Oct. 23 NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a 33-page report detailing an audit of the agency’s efforts to transform Kennedy Space Center (KSC) into a multi-user spaceport. So far NASA has leased about half of the 23 facilities at KSC which are no longer in use following the end of the Space […]

Report: Orbital to seek new engine for Antares booster

Photo Credit: Elliot Severn / SpaceFlight Insider

SpaceFlight Now has posted a report detailing how Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation is looking into a new, as yet unnamed, rocket engine for use on the first stage of the firm’s Antares launch vehicle. The article, appearing on Oct. 19, came just slightly more than a week before the company is set to launch its Cygnus spacecraft […]

Orbital’s Antares booster moved to Wallops’ Pad-0a in prepartion for Orb-3 launch

Photo Credit: Joel Kowsky / NASA

Orbital Sciences Corporation and NASA rolled the Antares booster and Cygnus spacecraft which will carry out the Orb-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) out of Wallops’ Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) at 4:45 p.m. EDT (2045 GMT). The duo were ferried out to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A in preparation for a launch […]

China launches Chang’e 5-T1 test probe as precursor to 2017 lunar sample return mission

Photo Credit: Xinhuanet.com

On Thursday, Oct. 24 China launched the Chang’e 5-T1 spacecraft on a demonstration mission to orbit the Moon and return to the surface of the Earth as part of its Lunar Exploration Program. The Chinese Long March 3C launch vehicle lifted off at 2 p.m. EDT (2 a.m. local time) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, which lies in […]

NASA’s fleet of Mars orbiters capture detailed views of comet nucleus

Hubble image of comet Siding Spring as it passes Mars. Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s fleet of Martian orbiters were poised at the ready, turning their cameras to the skies in hopes of catching a glimpse of comet Siding Spring on Oct. 19. In this historic flyby, Siding Spring made the closest pass of any known comet to the Red Planet. Scientists took advantage of this opportunity and collected […]

Judge allows NASA to move forward on production of Commercial Crew spacecraft

Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft sits just in front of NASA's space shuttle Atlantis in this image. Photo Credit: SNC

Judge Marian Blank Horn of the United States Court of Federal Claims has cleared the way for NASA to proceed with its plans to have Boeing and SpaceX develop their spacecraft under the Commercial Crew transportation Capability (CCtCap). The move is the latest tangle in a drama stretching back to Sept. 16 of this year […]

Russian cosmonauts successfully complete 184th overall ISS spacewalk

Maxim Suraev poses for a picture while completing the final spacewalk of 2014. Photo Credit: NASA

Two Russian cosmonauts, Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev completed the final spacewalk of 2014 yesterday, on Oct. 22. Following a three hour, 38-minute spacewalk, the two cosmonauts closed the Pirs docking hatch ahead of schedule at 1:06 p.m. EDT (0506 GMT). This marked the 184th overall spacewalk, and focused on maintenance and assembly on the […]

Obama taps Dava Newman as NASA’s new Deputy Administrator

Photo Credit: MIT

More than a year since the departure of Lori Garver as NASA’s Deputy Administrator, President Barack Obama has tapped Dava J. Newman, who was a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Newman is known for her efforts with the Space Agency in developing new space suits.

Is it or isn’t it? Confusion surrounds possibility Proton placed Ekspress AM-6 into wrong orbit

Shortly after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan at 1:09 p.m. EDT (1709 GMT) - it was discovered that the Ekspress AM-6 satellite had been placed in the wrong orbit. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

A report appearing on NASASpaceFlight (NSF) has indicated that while the initial phase of the launch of the Russian Ekspress AM-6 telecommunications satellite might have gone off as planned – the later stages of the mission were less than perfect. NSF’s Chris Bergin reported via Twitter that, although the spacecraft had been placed into the wrong orbit […]

Irish researchers develop new tool to protect Earth from space debris

Image Credit: ESA

Researchers from the Trinity College in Dublin have designed a risk assessment tool for spacecraft re-entry, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA ). The tool developed by the team of scientists from the School of Computer Science & Statistics, Professor of Statistics, Simon Wilson and Cristina De Persis is now being filed with […]

JSC Media Resource Center to close Oct. 23

Photo Credit: NASA

NASA’s Johnson Space Center Media Resource Center will close its doors on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. The rationale behind the closing was listed as “funding availability.” The space agency noted that supporting current events at JSC had received “highest priority.” Journalists can now call the JSC Newsroom via telephone to receive access to still and video […]

Italy’s first female astronaut prepares for launch to ISS

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti preparing for her upcoming mission as part of the Expedition 42 and 43 crews on the International Space Station. Photo Credit: ESA / NASA

Samantha Cristoforetti, Italy’s first female astronaut, is currently scheduled to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on Nov. 23. She will travel to orbit as part of the Expedition 42/43, and her five and a half month mission will be loaded with scientific experiments. Recently she presented the details of her research at the headquarters of the […]

NASA Ames Celebrates 75th anniversary with open house

This inflatable mock-up of a space station module was part of a large display dedicated to science being conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: Jim Sharkey

NASA’s Ames Research Center welcomed about 120,000 visitors on Saturday, Oct. 18 during an Open House held in celebration of the Center’s 75th anniversary. The event featured a 2-mile self-guided walking tour, panel discussions, “Ask-An-Expert” sessions, static aircraft displays and “Backstage Pass” guided tours of Ames Research labs and wind-tunnel facilities. The role of Ames […]

Aerojet Rocketdyne selected to provide power system and thrusters for 2020 Mars rover

Aerojet Rocketdyne has been selected to produce the thrusters that will help guide NASA's next Mars rover to the surface of the Red Planet. Image Credit: JPL / NASA

With NASA preparing to send crews to travel to Mars some time in the 2030s, the space agency is developing mechanical pathfinders which will blaze the trail that their human counterparts will retrace when their time comes to make history. However, getting to the Martian surface – is more difficult than recent missions have made […]

Ekspress AM-6 satellite launches atop Proton-M

Photo Credit: NASA

The Ekspress AM-6 communications satellite was successfully launched atop a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 11:09 a.m. EDT (1509  GMT). The satellite was built by ISS Reshetnev and will be operated by the Russian Satellite Communications Company as part of its Ekspress network which provides communications services to Russia and surrounding territories. The launch […]

Busy week on station: cosmonauts prepare for spacewalk and Dragon is set for departure

An Expedition 41 crew member aboard the International Space Station photographed this view of the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship docked to the nadir port of the Harmony node as the station's Canadarm2 and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator prepare to remove external cargo from Dragon. Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene. Credit: NASA

A busy week has just started for the multi-national crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a pair of Russian cosmonauts suited up for a dry run of the planned Wednesday, Oct. 22 spacewalk. Meanwhile SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will remain with the ISS for a few more days. Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineer Alexander Samokutyaev […]

Proton-M rocket set to launch Ekspress AM-6 satellite

Image Credit: Roscosmos

Preparations are underway at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the upcoming launch of the Ekspress AM-6 communications satellite. A Proton-M rocket was rolled out to the launch pad at site 81/24  on Saturday. The launch is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21 at 15:09 UTC (10:09 AM EDT).

OPINION: Mars One should take MIT’s disturbing report seriously

Artist's conception of the Mars One colony. Image Credit: Mars One / Brian Versteeg

On May 11, 2014, Spaceflight Insider discussed Mars One, an ambitious plan to send a one-way mission to colonize the Red Planet. Four volunteers will travel on the first mission, slated to take place in 2024, followed by subsequent missions to expand the fledgling colony. But a disturbing computer simulation by students at MIT indicates that the Mars […]