Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Jim Sharkey

Jim Sharkey is a lab assistant, writer and general science enthusiast who grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the hometown of Skylab and Shuttle astronaut Owen K. Garriott. As a young Star Trek fan he participated in the letter-writing campaign which resulted in the space shuttle prototype being named Enterprise. While his academic studies have ranged from psychology and archaeology to biology, he has never lost his passion for space exploration. Jim began blogging about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004. Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landing and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.

Articles By Jim Sharkey

  • Trump calls for creation of ‘Space Force’

    June 22nd, 2018

    During a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House on June 18, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he was ordering the creation of a sixth branch of the U.S. military - to focus on space.

  • GRACE-FO uses ‘Range Finder’ to see mountain effects

    June 18th, 2018

    NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission has successfully completed its first mission phase and demonstrated the performance of the precise microwave ranging system that allows it to measure how mass migrates around the Earth. GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which began orbiting the Earth on March 17, 2002.

  • Tiny asteroid disintegrates hours after being discovered

    June 7th, 2018

    On Saturday, June 1 a boulder-sized asteroid designated 2018 LA was discovered and determined to be on a collision course with Earth, with impact predicted to be just a few hours later. The event proved that Earth is still in the cosmic shooting gallery and could be struck with little-to-no notice.

  • ExoMars rover will search for evidence of life on Mars

    June 4th, 2018

    Could the Red Planet be a bastion for life (either now or in the past)? ESA and NASA are preparing to send a mission to find out.

  • Update: Curiosity rover successfully drills hole in ‘Duluth’

    May 23rd, 2018

    NASA's Curiosity rover has successfully tested a new method of drilling rocks on Mars. On Sunday, May 20, the rover drilled a hole about 2 inches (50 millimeters) into a target rock named "Duluth." It was the first rock sample acquired by Curiosity in more than a year.

  • NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover tests new drilling method

    May 23rd, 2018

    NASA's Curiosity Mars rover may soon be back to drilling rocks on the Red Planet. Engineers with the rover team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have been working for the past year to restore the rover's full drilling capabilities, which were hampered by a mechanical problem in 2016.

  • Fly the (red) skies: Helicopter to fly on NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission

    May 16th, 2018

    In over five decades of robotic exploration, NASA has sent  orbiters, landers, rovers and even Cubesats to Mars. The space agency announced on Friday, May 11, 2018 that their next robotic mission to the Red Planet will carry a helicopter. The Mars Helicopter, a small autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, […]

  • NASA satellite spots Kilauea fissures

    May 11th, 2018

    The May 3, 2018, eruption of Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii created a number of gas-spewing and lava-oozing fissures in the volcano's East Rift Zone. Lava flows and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas prompted evacuations in the area, including the Leilani Estates subdivision near the town of Pahoa.

  • Marsbound!: NASA InSight lander launches toward Red Planet

    May 5th, 2018

    LOMPOC, Calif. — Initially flying through early-morning fog, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air force Base's Space Launch Complex 3 to send NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander on a six-month journey to Mars.

  • NASA’s InSight Mars spacecraft ready for launch

    May 3rd, 2018

    LOMPOC, Calif. — NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are set to fly the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) Mars lander atop an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base to begin a 6.5-month journey to the Red Planet.

  • Twin MarCO CubeSats launching alongside NASA’s InSight Mars mission

    April 28th, 2018

    When the InSight Mars mission launches atop an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, two mini-satellites will be riding on the same rocket. The twin spacecraft, called Mars Cube One (MarCO), are the first NASA CubeSats designed to operate in deep space.

  • Lockheed Martin submits proposal for US Air Force’s GPS IIIF program

    April 23rd, 2018

    Lockheed Martin has submitted a proposal for the U.S. Air Force's GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, which would add new capabilities to new GPS satellites. Up to 22 next-generation spacecraft are expected to be produced under this program.

  • NASA announces James Webb Space Telescope Independent Review Board members

    April 12th, 2018

    NASA recently announced the formation of an external Independent Review Board for the space agency's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The board will study a variety of factors impacting the mission's success and reinforce NASA's strategy for completing the observatory's final integration and testing phase, launch phase and commissioning.

  • Hubble spots farthest star ever seen

    April 7th, 2018

    Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an enormous blue star, nicknamed 'Icarus,' located more than halfway across the universe. Icarus is the farthest individual star ever seen. Normally it would be too faint to observe even with the world's largest telescopes, but the astronomers were able to take advantage of a phenomenon known as "gravitational lensing" that greatly magnified the star's faint glow.

  • NASA InSight lander set to measure Marsquakes

    April 1st, 2018

    NASA's next robotic mission to Mars should provide researchers their first look into the Red Planet's interior. InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, is set to measure Marsquakes to learn about the Martian crust, mantle and core.