Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Derek Richardson

Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor. @TheSpaceWriter

Articles By Derek Richardson

  • Gallery: Controllers receive last signals before Cassini spacecraft demise

    September 15th, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — With its fuel nearly depleted, Cassini made a final plunge toward Saturn to get as much science as possible before burning up in the planet's atmosphere. Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) lost telemetry with the spacecraft, as expected, at about 7:55 a.m. EDT (11:55 GMT) Sept. 15, 2017.

  • LIVE: Cassini spacecraft ends its mission at Saturn

    September 15th, 2017

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is making a final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere to end its mission some 13 years after reaching the ringed world. Flight controllers at NASA are receiving the probe’s final data before it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere.

  • Video: SpaceX shows ‘how not to land an orbital rocket booster’

    September 14th, 2017

    SpaceX has landed a Falcon 9 first stage successfully 16 times since December 2015. Seven of those have been at Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, while the rest have been on ocean-going platforms in either the Pacific or Atlantic. But that was after years of tests and multiple "rapid unscheduled disassembly" events – otherwise known as explosions.

  • International Space Station crew size returns to 6

    September 13th, 2017

    The population of the International Space Station returned to six people as the crew of Soyuz MS-06 docked with and entered the outpost. The spacecraft hard-mated with its docking port at about 10:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 12 (02:55 GMT Sept. 13), 2017.

  • Next International Space Station crew launches atop Soyuz rocket

    September 12th, 2017

    Launching atop a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, three people are heading toward the International Space Station. The trio will arrive at the $100 billion complex in just under six hours.

  • SpaceX beats odds, Hurricane Irma to launch Falcon 9 with X-37B

    September 7th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — With weather iffy at best and Hurricane Irma on the approach, SpaceX managed to launch its 13th Falcon 9 rocket this year. The flight sent the U.S. Air Force’s secretive robotic X-37B spaceplane into orbit.

  • As Hurricane Irma looms, X-37B poised for first flight atop SpaceX Falcon 9

    September 6th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Continuing its breakneck launch pace, SpaceX is preparing to fly its 13th Falcon 9 rocket in the 2017 calendar year. The booster is scheduled to loft one of the U.S. Air Force's two reusable robotic X-37B spaceplanes.

  • Ariane 5 aborts moments after engine ignition

    September 5th, 2017

    It was an otherwise smooth countdown. An Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket was poised to launch two communications satellites into orbit, but moments after the ignition of the vehicle's main engine, the onboard computer triggered an abort. Liftoff was planned for 5:51 p.m. EDT (21:51 GMT) Sept. 5, 2017.

  • Gallery: Soyuz MS-04 crew back on Earth

    September 3rd, 2017

    Blazing through Earth's atmosphere and coming to a parachute assisted touchdown in Kazakhstan, three International Space Station crew members returned home in their Soyuz MS-04 capsule. The landing took place at 9:21 p.m. EDT Sept. 2 (7:21 a.m. local time / 01:21 GMT Sept. 3), 2017.

  • Space station trio returns to Earth in Soyuz MS-04

    September 3rd, 2017

    Three members of Expedition 52 returned to Earth inside their Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft. The landing took at 9:21 p.m. EDT Sept. 2 (7:21 a.m. Kazakh Time / 01:21 GMT Sept. 3), 2017, in Kazakhstan.

  • Rep. James Bridenstine nominated as NASA Administrator

    September 2nd, 2017

    Late in the evening, Sept. 1, 2017, the White House announced that President Trump had nominated Rep. James Bridenstine, R-Okla., to be the next NASA Administrator. The U.S. Senate, which returns from its August break on Sept. 5, will need to confirm him before he can take up the role as the head of the U.S. space agency.

  • Indian navigation satellite launch suffers failure

    August 31st, 2017

    On Aug. 31, 2017, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched its latest navigation satellite. During the flight, however, the payload fairing did not separate several minutes after liftoff like it was supposed to, leaving the spacecraft trapped inside the clamshell-like aerodynamic nose cone.

  • Johnson Space Center closed through Labor Day to evaluate safety after Harvey

    August 30th, 2017

    Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, has prompted NASA to cancel an in-flight question and answer session with Expedition 52 astronaut Peggy Whitson, who is currently aboard the International Space Station. Additionally, the Johnson Space Center will remained closed until Sept. 5, 2017, to all but mission mission-essential personnel while officials evaluate the safety of the center.

  • Falcon 9 launches all-Taiwanese Formosat-5 into orbit

    August 24th, 2017

    VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Lifting off on its 40th flight, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket soared skyward to send into space Taiwan’s first domestically designed and built satellite: Formosat-5. The launch took place at 11:51 a.m. PDT (18:51 GMT) on Aug. 24, 2017, from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) in California.

  • Gallery: Atlas V launches TDRS-M into orbit

    August 20th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Rising into the sky atop a column of flame, United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket sent NASA’s latest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) into orbit. TDRS-M was the 12th spacecraft orbited for the space agency’s communications network, the first one launching in 1983.