Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Paul Knightly

Paul is currently a graduate student in Space and Planetary Sciences at the University of Akransas in Fayetteville. He grew up in the Kansas City area and developed an interest in space at a young age at the start of the twin Mars Exploration Rover missions in 2003. He began his studies in aerospace engineering before switching over to geology at Wichita State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in 2013. After working as an environmental geologist for a civil engineering firm, he began his graduate studies in 2016 and is actively working towards a PhD that will focus on the surficial processes of Mars. He also participated in a 2-week simluation at The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in 2014 and remains involved in analogue mission studies today. Paul has been interested in science outreach and communication over the years which in the past included maintaining a personal blog on space exploration from high school through his undergraduate career and in recent years he has given talks at schools and other organizations over the topics of geology and space. He is excited to bring his experience as a geologist and scientist to the Spaceflight Insider team writing primarily on space science topics.

Articles By Paul Knightly

  • SpaceX notches 15th Falcon 9 launch in 2017 with SES-11 mission

    October 11th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Hot on the heels of a Falcon 9 launch on the West Coast, SpaceX sent its 15th rocket into space in 2017. The SES-11/EchoStar-105 mission came less than 60 hours after the NewSpace company sent 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit. Liftoff occurred at 6:53 p.m. EDT (22:53 GMT) Oct. 11, 2017, from Launch Complex 39A.

  • SpaceX to launch SES-11 satellite Wednesday

    October 10th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Less than 60 hours after a Falcon 9 rocket launched 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into space from the West Coast, on the other side of the continent SpaceX is set to send the SES-11 spacecraft into orbit for a scheduled liftoff at 6:53 p.m. EDT (22:53 GMT) Oct. 11, 2017, from Launch Complex 39A.

  • JAXA launches Michibiki-4 satellite

    October 9th, 2017

    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Michibiki-4 satellite aboard an H-IIA rocket at 7:01 a.m. Japan Standard Time on Oct. 10 (6:01 p.m. EDT / 22:01 GMT Oct. 9), 2017, from the Tanegashima Space Center. The satellite is the fourth in the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), which is a satellite-based positioning system similar to the U.S. operated GPS.

  • United Arab Emirates to build ‘Mars Science City’

    October 1st, 2017

    A new project to build a Mars Science City in the United Arab Emirates was unveiled during annual government meetings on Sept. 26, 2017, in Abu Dhabi. The ambitious $136 million (AED 500 million) project was launched by Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The goal is to inspire youth to pursue careers in science and engineering as the UAE continues to position itself as an emerging player in space exploration.

  • Highlights from 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention

    September 15th, 2017

    IRVINE, Calif. — The 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention happened at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), during September 7–10, 2017. A variety of presentations were made by keynote speakers regarding various aspects of the exploration of Mars.

  • Elon Musk releases image of full SpaceX spacesuit

    September 11th, 2017

    On Sept. 8, 2017, SpaceX Founder and CEO Elon Musk teased a full body image of the current SpaceX spacesuit concept next to a Crew Dragon capsule. It was the first official image showing the entire front side of the suit. A previous post showed just the helmet and torso, but not the bottom half.

  • Cape Canaveral prepares for Hurricane Irma

    September 7th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — While Hurricane Irma continues to aim at Florida, it is not expected to have any significant impact on the Sept. 7, 2017, launch attempt of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the U.S. military's reusable X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. However, it will eventually affect operations on the Space Coast regardless of whether the OTV-5 mission gets underway on time.

  • Elon Musk teases SpaceX spacesuit concept

    August 25th, 2017

    On Aug. 23, 2017, Elon Musk released a photograph teasing the SpaceX spacesuit design that will be used on crewed flights of the Dragon 2 spacecraft. The post, which was made on both Twitter and Instagram, provided few details on the specifications of the suit beyond indicating the company has a functional design in place.

  • Mars 160: Crew returns to ‘Earth’

    August 21st, 2017

    The Mars Society's Mars 160 mission simulation has concluded and the six members of the international crew have started making their way home to “Earth”. The simulation in the Canadian high Arctic ended on Aug. 14, 2017, and the crew was flown out from the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Aug. 16.

  • Mars 160: Study evaluates crew performance, EVA procedures for future missions

    August 14th, 2017

    Over the last week, a break in the weather allowed the crew of the Mars Society's Mars 160 mission to conduct multiple science extravehicular activities (EVAs). The six-person crew wrapped up its last full week in simulation, capping off a shortened "Mars" mission at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in the Canadian high Arctic.

  • Mars 160: EVA’s traverse nearly 500 million years of geological history

    August 5th, 2017

    The crew of Mars 160 continued to carry out its science research objectives despite poor weather as the second part of the Mars Society's twin analog Mars 160 mission wrapped up its third of five weeks in the Canadian high arctic. The shortened mission timeline, caused by lingering snow melt at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), has meant expediting the research schedule.

  • Mars 160: Crew enters simulation, conducts first EVA’s

    July 31st, 2017

    The Mars 160 mission entered into simulation on July 20, 2017. It has since had a busy week in the arctic with its six crew members carrying out their science and research goals for the mission. Mars 160 is a two-phase Mars analog mission sponsored by the Mars Society.

  • Mars 160: 6-person crew arrives at Arctic station

    July 22nd, 2017

    The second phase of the Mars Society’s Mars 160 mission began at the end of June 2017 in the Canadian high Arctic. A six-person crew is staying at the organization's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) for several weeks. However, due to inclement weather, the crew was unable to make it to FMARS until July 17.

  • Study suggests increased cancer risk on Mars missions

    June 13th, 2017

    A new study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) suggests the cancer risk for astronauts on a mission to Mars could be higher than expected. The results of the study were published in the May issue of Scientific Reports and show the risk is effectively doubled compared with previous models.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne ‘kill vehicle’ performs successful test

    June 6th, 2017

    Last week, Aerojet Rocketdyne announced the 10th successful test of its Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) on its Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) in the first live-fire missile defense test against an ICBM-class target.