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

  • 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.

  • 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.