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

  • 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.

  • ULA, Bigelow Aerospace set sights on lunar orbit outpost

    October 19th, 2017

    United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Bigelow Aerospace are teaming up to send an inflatable space station to low-lunar orbit by 2022. The effort will feature a series of launches aboard ULA’s new Vulcan rocket using its Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) to make Bigelow’s B330 habitat a depot to facilitate future exploration and development of the Moon.

  • GAO: Even with production resumed, NASA plutonium supply at risk

    October 15th, 2017

    Some of NASA’s most accomplished deep-space missions—including Voyager, Cassini, and Mars Science Laboratory—have relied on radioactive plutonium-238 for onboard power and heat. However, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report states that despite efforts to restart domestic plutonium production, NASA is in danger of not having enough of the radioactive material for future missions by the mid-2020s.

  • Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop taking the long view to the stars

    October 12th, 2017

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — While NASA and commercial operators plan to send human beings beyond low-Earth orbit, the participants of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop (TVIW) spent this past week contemplating something incomparably more ambitious: seeking practical ways to travel to the stars.

  • Ariane 5 pulls double duty launching two comsats from Kourou

    September 29th, 2017

    Shortly after sunset on September 29, 2017, in Kourou, French Guiana, an Arianespace Ariane 5 lofted 23,894 pounds (10,838 kilograms) of payload into space in the form of two communications satellites. The Intelsat 37e satellite will support Africa, Europe, Central Africa, and Latin America, while the BSAT-4a satellite will provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) television service in Japan.

  • Boeing hints at delayed first crewed flight of Starliner

    September 29th, 2017

    Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, on September 26, 2017, Chris Ferguson, director of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner crew and mission systems, discussed testing of the company’s commercial crew spacecraft.

  • SpaceX gears up for a busy autumn

    September 25th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — October and November are lining up to be busy months for SpaceX. If everything goes according to plan, the NewSpace firm is poised to launch (and land) three Falcon 9 rockets, and it also hopes to carry out the first launch of a “Falcon Heavy” in November. These efforts promise a challenging autumn for Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial space company.

  • Ariane 5 to launch 2 satellites to geostationary transfer orbit

    September 4th, 2017

    For the fifth time in 2017, Arianespace will send an Ariane 5 rocket into space. The flight will orbit commercial communication satellites for two international customers: Intelsat and Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), a leading broadcasting satellite operator in Japan.

  • NASA’s Centennial Challenges awards $400K in 3D-printed habitat challenge

    August 31st, 2017

    NASA has recently awarded two teams a combined $400,000 for their winning entries in an agency Centennial Challenge designed to test the feasibility of systems that build 3D-printed human habitats on other worlds using local materials. This was the second of a three-part Challenge to advance the ability to “live off the land” on the Moon or Mars.

  • NASA’s EM-1 Orion powers up for the first time

    August 24th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA and Lockheed Martin powered up the computer systems of the Orion spacecraft for the first time last week at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. The uncrewed spacecraft will fly atop the Space Launch System (SLS) on Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) in 2019.

  • Falcon 9 set to launch Taiwanese Formosat-5 from California

    August 23rd, 2017

    As SpaceX prepares for its third Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in 2017, its customer looks forward to a payload “first”. The Formosat-5 spacecraft that will be launched on this mission is the first satellite designed and built entirely in Taiwan.

  • SpaceX’s CRS-12 mission sends experiments, crew supplies to space station

    August 14th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Without so much as a flinch, SpaceX sent the CRS-12 Dragon cargo spacecraft off to the International Space Station. Liftoff took place at 12:31 p.m. EDT (16:31 GMT) Aug. 14, 2017, within its one-second "instantaneous" launch window. This flight is poised to deliver more than 6,400 pounds (2,900 kilograms) of equipment and supplies to the orbiting outpost in the next 36 hours.

  • JAXA H-IIA launch of GPS satellite canceled

    August 12th, 2017

    In a brief media statement, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that it has canceled today's planned launch of an H-IIA rocket, which is carrying a navigation satellite that is designed to augment the Global Positioning System (GPS) for the Japanese region.

  • Independent contractor to blame for Electron rocket failure

    August 9th, 2017

    An internal review of Rocket Lab's May 25, 2017, test flight of an Electron rocket from its Mahia, New Zealand, launch site determined the vehicle was terminated due to an issue with an independent contractor’s ground equipment. A statement issued by the company's investigation board announced the incident's root causes and corrective actions.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne tests third SLS engine controller

    July 27th, 2017

    Propulsion hardware testing for NASA’s SLS rocket continues at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Aerojet Rocketdyne just completed its third 500-second test of the controller unit for the RS-25 main engine on July 25.