NASA puts composite cryotank through its paces

NASA Cryotank NASA photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider Photo Credit Fred Deaton

NASA successfully completed a multitude of tests on what the space agency described as one of the largest composite cryogenic fuel tanks ever manufactured. Meeting this milestone means the aerospace industry is one step closer to designing, building, and flying lightweight, composite tanks (“cryotanks”) on launch vehicles. Composite systems, and other next-generation technologies, have the […]

Russian Foton-M4 capsule lands with dead “sex Geckos”

Photo Credit: Roscosmos

The Foton-M4 descent capsule with famed reptilian cosmonauts, known affectionately as the “sex geckos” (owing to the carnal nature of their space voyage), and also with drosophila fruit flies, seeds of plants, has landed in the Orenburg Region, an official in the press service of Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) told ITAR-TASS on Monday.

OPINION: What will it take to reignite U.S. interest in space?

Photo Credit: Jason Rhian / SpaceFlight Insider

Few would dispute that NASA has been in turmoil since President Obama canceled the Constellation Program in 2010, or at least in a state of declining activity. Faced with a vague and undefined mission, inadequate funding, poor leadership, and mounting political tension with Russian, the country that’s providing astronauts with transportation to and from the International […]

NASA and contractors accelerate testing on 3D-printed rocket engine components

Photo Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne

As NASA prepares the materials and machines to send humans to destinations far beyond the gravitational influence of Earth, the space agency is turning its attention on new game-changing technologies to help them in their efforts. The company’s that enable NASA to accomplish its objectives are also taking an active role in developing new methods to facilitate space […]

NASA’s Spitzer Telescope Witnesses Asteroid Smashup

This artist’s concept shows the immediate aftermath of a large asteroid impact around NGC 2547-ID8, a 35-million-year-old sun-like star. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope witnessed a giant surge in dust around the star, likely the result of two asteroids colliding. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets.

Memory reformat planned for Opportunity rover

Image Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell / D. Maas - Synthetic Image: Z. Gorjian, K. Kuramura, M. Stetson, E. De Jong

An increasing frequency of computer resets on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has prompted the rover team to make plans to reformat the rover’s flash memory. The resets, including a dozen this month, interfere with the rover’s planned science activities, even though recovery from each incident is completed within a day or two. Flash memory […]

Our Spaceflight Heritage: The first flight of Discovery – STS-41D

Space shuttle Discovery thunders off of Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo Credit: NASA

On August 30, 1984, space shuttle Discovery launched at 8:42 a.m. EDT (1242 p.m.GMT) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The STS-41D crew was led by Commander Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr. and Pilot Michael L. Coats. The crew also included Judith A. Resnik, Steven A. Hawley, and Richard M. Mullane as Mission Specialists and Charles D. […]

Decision on Commercial Crew Program likely to be made after Labor Day weekend

Image Credit: NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — For the primary competitors under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program one day next week could be a very good day for one or two of them. CCP, the effort to cede responsibility in delivering astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) is poised to undergo yet another selection process. SpaceFlight Insider has […]

Scrub of AsiaSat 6 could impact launch of SpaceX’s CRS-4 mission

Photo Credit: SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – The launch of a commercial satellite, AsiaSat-6, has become one of the determining factors as to whether-or-not SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will take to the skies on Sept. 19 as is currently planned. With the recent delay of the flight of the AsiaSat payload, the U.S. Air Force’s Eastern Range could potentially see as […]

NASA touts progress made on Space Launch System, says booster will be ready to fly in 2018

NASA's Space Launch System has passed a critical milestone on its path toward being used to send humans to destinations beyond the orbit of Earth. Image Credit: NASA

NASA officials presented the latest developments to get their new heavy-lift boosters off the pad and into the skies to the media on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The meeting was announced a few hours prior to its 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) time and worked to convey how the space agency had completed a pivotal […]

Our Spaceflight Heritage: remembering STS-128, five years later

Photo Credit: NASA

On August 29, 2009, space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A at 11:59 pm EDT (0359 GMT) with the STS-128 crew onboard. Led by Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Kevin Ford, the crew included Jose Hernandez, Danny Olivas, Nicole Stott, Christer Fuglesang, and Patrick Forrester as mission specialists. Discovery carried the Leonardo Multi-Purpose […]

In leadup to selections – NASA’s Commercial Crew Program announces ‘Summer of Advancements’

Image Credit: NASA

NASA engineers and program managers met throughout the course of last month (July 2014) to review the various spacecraft designs under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP ). Covering both the spacecraft as well as the launch vehicles which will send them to orbit, the review of progress made was part of the space agency’s Commercial […]

Search for Rosetta’s Philae landing site narrows

Five possible landing sites have been identified for Rosetta's Philae lander. Image Credit: NASA

Two weeks after the European Space Agency’s (ESA ) Rosetta spacecraft arrived at Comet 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, scientists have been busy gathering data in preparation for an upcoming landing on the comet’s surface. If all goes according to plan, in November, Philae will be the first spacecraft to ever land on the surface of a comet. […]

Sea Launch reduces staff due to lull in launches

Sea Launch's Zenit-3SL rocket aboard the platform Odyssey. Photo Credit: Sea Launch

Sea Launch has announced staff reductions due to a lack of launches for 2014.  The cutbacks will be made at the company’s headquarters located in Nyon, Switzerland and its prime contractor Energia Logistics in Calif. Satellite Today reported that Sea Launch will also be taking its vessels Sea Launch Commander and Odyssey out of service, […]

New Horizons crosses paths with Neptune on way to Pluto

Image Credit: NASA

In an unusual coincidence, NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons probe, now an estimated 2.75 billion miles from Earth, crossed the orbit of the ice giant Neptune on August 25, 2014 – 25 years to the day that the Voyager 2 spacecraft conducted its closest flyby of the Neptune system. The space agency responsible for both of these iconic […]

SpaceX AsiaSat 6 launch scrubbed – UPDATE

Photo Credit: SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — Tonight’s planned launch of the AsiaSat 6 satellite by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX ) has been scrubbed, with no new launch date provided. SpaceX has since issued a statement that the Aug. 22 accident, which saw the loss of a Falcon 9 Reusable test article, was not the cause for this delay.

James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield unfurled according to plan

First deployment of the sunshield test unit for James Webb Space Telescope. Photo Credit: NASA

The most visually-striking element of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), currently scheduled for launch in four years time, is a giant sunshade, designed to protect the spacecraft’s sensitive science instruments from the Sun’s glare. Shown in this story’s featured image, this vital component is shown during the first complete test of its deployment in a clean […]

Opinion: Do Russian lunar plans signal end to ISS?

Photo Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense

At the start of 2014, NASA announced its support for an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) program until at least 2024. Recent news out of Russia, however, suggests that at least one ISS partner may view that date as the end of the line – if not even sooner.

Launch of Falcon 9 with AsiaSat 6 slips to Aug. 27

Photo Credit: SpaceX

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX ) has opted to delay the launch of the commercial AsiaSat 6 by 24 hours. Liftoff is now scheduled to take place no-earlier-than Aug. 27 at 12:50 a.m. EDT (0450 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 located in Florida. SpaceX has cited the […]

Galileo satellites launched into wrong orbit

Two Galileo satellites were launched into orbit on August 22. Image Credit: ESA

The first two functional satellites in the European Galileo constellation lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana at 9:27 a.m. local time (8:27 a.m. EDT, 1227 GMT) atop a Soyuz ST-B launch vehicle. Initially labeled a success, subsequent data shows that the satellites are in a lower-than-planned orbit. The European Space Agency initially claimed that all was […]