Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Jason Rhian

Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Articles By Jason Rhian

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: The atheist and Apollo 8

    December 25th, 2017

    When most people think of Apollo 8, they think of how the Book of Genesis was read from the vicinity of the Moon and the well-wishes the trio of astronauts gave the world. The year 1968 was not a good one in terms of U.S. history, and Apollo 8 ended that dark year on a high note – for most Americans. One exception, an atheist who opted to sue the U.S. government over violations of the first amendment by reading from Genesis on a government-sponsored mission. Who was this person and what happened to them?

  • Untethered: Humanity’s first free flying astronaut, Bruce McCandless, passes away aged 80

    December 22nd, 2017

    The first person to conduct a free, untethered spacewalk, Bruce McCandless II, has passed away at the age of 80. McCandless was a naval aviator and the son of a U.S. Medal of Honor recipient who served as the CAPCOM when Neil Armstrong successfully placed humanity’s first footprints on the Moon and who helped redefine what it was believed astronauts can do.

  • Fueling operations for SBIRS GEO-4 mission begin

    December 21st, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The flight of the fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite is getting closer to its targeted January 2018 launch date.

  • SLS launch pad undergoes water tests in preparation for EM-1

    December 21st, 2017

    NASA conducted a wet flow test at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. The test helped validate a system designed to protect NASA's new super-heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System. It also served to confirm it is ready to support the launch vehicle's first flight, Exploration Mission 1, currently slated to take place in 2019.

  • U.S.A.F’s first GPS III satellite connects with OCX system

    December 20th, 2017

    The first GPS III spacecraft slated to be sent aloft has had its communications system successfully tested when the Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) sent commands to a prototype in what was deemed a "validation" of the USAF's new Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite. In so doing, it has cleared the GPS III satellite for launch.

  • Orion’s parachutes tested in high deserts of Arizona

    December 19th, 2017

    NASA tested parachutes for the space agency’s Orion spacecraft on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground located in Arizona. This test was the fifth meant to validate the design of the parachute system for NASA's crew-rated spacecraft.

  • Juno delves deep into Jupiter’s Red Spot

    December 18th, 2017

    NASA's Juno mission, which was launched on Aug. 5, 2011, has uncovered some interesting data after its first pass over the largest planet in our Solar System – the gas giant Jupiter. This data suggests that the massive, fiery-red and centuries-old hurricane known as the Great Red Spot descends farther below the planet's cloud tops than was previously believed.

  • OPINION: How NASA became a ping-pong ball

    December 17th, 2017

    For 30 years, NASA's human space flight program was in a secure, albeit uninspiring, trajectory – low-Earth orbit. The loss of the Shuttle Columbia and her seven-member crew on Feb. 1, 2003, changed all that. The Shuttle era was set to end and the agency would discover there's something even more dangerous than re-entering Earth's atmosphere with damaged heat tiles – politicians.

  • SFI LIVE: Launch of CRS-13 Dragon on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

    December 15th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX has rescheduled its launch of a "flight proven" Falcon 9 rocket with its payload of the CRS-13 Dragon spacecraft to liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40. This will mark the first flight from the historic launch site since the Sept. 1, 2016 explosion of another Falcon 9 rocket. SFI LIVE will begin at 10 a.m. EST (14:00 GMT).

  • Three companies tapped to produce prototypes for NASA’s ‘FabLab’ initiative

    December 14th, 2017

    NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program has selected three companies to produce "FabLab" prototypes of machines that can be used for space-based, on-demand fabrication.

  • SNC taps AZUR SPACE to produce cargo Dream Chaser solar panels

    December 13th, 2017

    Sierra Nevada Corporation has tapped AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH to provide solar panels for the first Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft. The announcement was made via a release issued by AZUR SPACE, denoting that the new automated shuttle is getting ready for its first flight – currently slated to take to the skies in 2019.

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with CRS-13 Dragon slips 24 hours

    December 12th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has slipped an additional 24 hours to "allow for additional time for pre-launch ground checks." This information is per a post made on Twitter by SpaceX at 6:50 p.m. EST (10:50 GMT) on Monday, Dec. 11. 

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with CRS-13 slips again

    December 6th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the CRS-13 Dragon spacecraft has slipped again, with NASA stating that the new launch time is now Dec. 12, with the "instantaneous" launch window opening at 11:46 a.m. EST (16:46 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida.

  • GOES-S spacecraft delivered to Astrotech Space Operations in preparation for March flight

    December 5th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy cargo transport aircraft has delivered the Geostationary Operation Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) spacecraft to Florida's Space Coast in preparation for a planned March 1, 2018, flight atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket. 

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Voyager 1 – the Energizer Bunny

    December 4th, 2017

    The Energizer Bunny keeps going and going – and so does NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft. More to the point, so does the craft's thrusters. Over three-and-a-half decades after they were last fired, the probe's thrusters were successfully fired on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017.