Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Bart Leahy

Bart Leahy is a freelance technical writer living in Orlando, Florida. Leahy's diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.

Articles By Bart Leahy

  • SpaceX does it for the first time again: Falcon Heavy sends a Tesla to deep space

    February 6th, 2018

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — It isn't often a test flight goes almost flawlessly—what space people quietly call "nominal." Yet, SpaceX made history again Feb. 6, 2018, after successfully launching its super heavy-lift rocket, the Falcon Heavy, for the very first time.

  • SpaceX set to attempt history again with Falcon Heavy’s first flight

    February 5th, 2018

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — SpaceX is hoping to bring reusability to a whole new level with the launch of the company's Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, 2018. If successful, the heavy-lift vehicle should greatly increase the available payload capability of a single commercial launch. First things first, however: it needs to leave the pad on its inaugural test flight.

  • SpaceX Falcon Heavy warms up LC-39A during static test fire

    January 24th, 2018

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- This afternoon, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time, SpaceX static-fired all 27 of the engines on its Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. Live video on NASASpaceflight.com shows that the rocket fired for at least 10 seconds. This test indicates SpaceX is moving closer to a launch date for its new heavy-lift vehicle.

  • NASA planning 2 spacewalks to replace Canadarm2 ‘hand’ despite US government shutdown

    January 20th, 2018

    Despite budget battles in Washington, D.C. resulting in a temporary shutdown of the U.S. federal government, NASA and the International Space Station's Expedition 54 crew still plan to carry out a pair of spacewalks to replace one of the 16-year-old "hands" on the outpost's robotic arm.

  • ULA Atlas V 411 lights up the night with SBIRS GEO 4 launch

    January 19th, 2018

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- United Launch Alliance (ULA) saw its launch window open at 7:48 p.m. Eastern (00:48 GMT on Jan. 20) and soon thereafter sent its Atlas V rocket thundering into the Florida sky. The payload, the fourth geosynchronous satellite in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Space Based Infrared Sensor (SBIRS) program, is now headed for geosynchronous orbit.

  • ULA readies for U.S. Air Force SBIRS GEO 4 launch

    January 16th, 2018

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- After a slight delay from late 2017, United Launch Alliance is readying an Atlas V 411 to launch the fourth geosynchronous element of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Space Based Infrared Sensor (SBIRS) program. The launch, is currently set to take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex (SLC) 41 on January 18.

  • SpaceX conducts rehearsal for classified Zuma launch

    January 3rd, 2018

    After being rescheduled twice, once in late 2017 due to an issue with the Falcon 9 fairing, and once this month due to cold weather in Florida—SpaceX conducted a “wet” dress rehearsal (WDR) for the Zuma mission today (Wednesday Jan. 3), according to a report on NASASpaceflight.com.

  • SpaceX Falcon Heavy raised for 1st time at Kennedy Space Center

    December 28th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — For the first time, SpaceX used its “strongback” hydraulic mechanism to lift its three-core Falcon Heavy rocket into a vertical position at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. The vehicle will likely face more ground tests and preparations in advance of its liftoff, which is currently slated for no earlier than January 2018.

  • Trump policy directive makes Moon NASA’s official goal for human exploration

    December 12th, 2017

    In a brief but pointed Dec. 11, 2017, ceremony at the White House, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, which officially directs NASA to send astronauts back to the Moon as a precursor effort to exploring Mars.

  • Muratore: Safety and efficiency went hand-in-hand in rebuild of SLC-40

    December 10th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX hosted a briefing to members of the media on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, to provide an overview of work that has been done to return to service Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) after the Sept. 1, 2016, explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket caused severe damage to the site.

  • Lockheed Martin completes assembly of third GPS III satellite

    November 30th, 2017

    Using its advanced cleanroom facility near Denver, Colorado, Lockheed Martin has fully assembled the third of its ten contracted third-generation Global Positioning System (GPS III) satellites. Lockheed Martin did not state an official delivery date for the spacecraft, dubbed GPS III Space Vehicle 03 (GPS III SV03).

  • First SLS hardware turned over to Ground Systems for EM-1 flight

    November 22nd, 2017

    NASA reports that the rocket stage designated to accelerate the Orion spacecraft to the Moon in 2019 has been turned over to the Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) team at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The flight stage – called the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) – is being processed for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the first integrated flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion.

  • NASA Exploration Mission-1 managing current challenges, but launch could slip to 2020

    November 9th, 2017

    On November 8, 2017, NASA released an update following a schedule review of Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the first uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft to the Moon.

  • U.S. Air Force accepts first block of next-generation GPS control system

    November 6th, 2017

    After several delays, Raytheon has delivered part of the Operational Control System (OCX) to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for use on the USAF’s next-generation global positioning system (GPS III) satellites. The new OCX improves the accuracy of positioning information for all users.

  • Blue Origin conducts first hot-fire test of BE-4 engine

    October 21st, 2017

    Blue Origin is moving forward with its rocket development program, hot-firing a 550,000-pound-force (2,446.5-kilonewton) thrust liquid natural gas / liquid oxygen BE-4 engine at its facility in Texas this week.