Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Missions

  • Orion update for January 2017

    Mackenzie KaneJanuary 18th, 2017

    Before the end of 2016, progress on NASA's Orion capsule for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) took some significant leaps forward. The coming year looks to be no different – with the crew-rated spacecraft being prepared for its first flight atop SLS.

  • NASA delays contract awards for asteroid mission spacecraft

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 17th, 2017

    NASA is delaying contracts and other awards for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), originally planned for early this year, by a few months because of uncertainty about the space agency's budget.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 12 years ago, Huygens touched down on Titan

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 14th, 2017

    Twelve years ago, on January 14, 2005, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Huygens probe touched down on the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, where it collected images and data about a world viewed by many scientists as an analog of early Earth.

  • Astronauts breeze through spacewalk, complete all get-ahead tasks

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 13th, 2017

    In the second of two planned to spacewalks up upgrade the International Space Station’s (ISS) power system, two astronauts finished the process of replacing 12 nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion units. The spacewalking duo worked so fast, they had time to complete all of the assigned get-ahead tasks.

  • Mars Curiosity rover pauses to check for dust in its eye

    Bart LeahyJanuary 13th, 2017

    NASA's "Curiosity" rover – a.k.a. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission – delayed its travels because a robotic arm fault prevented the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) from putting the dust cover over its lens overnight. Curiosity's science team put any further roving and science for Sol 1576 on hold pending resolution of the fault.

  • Astronauts to finish installing batteries during ISS during Friday spacewalk

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 12th, 2017

    The International Space Station (ISS) crew is gearing up for the second of two spacewalks aimed at replacing aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion units. Two astronauts will leave the Quest airlock at around 7 a.m. EST (12:00 GMT) Jan. 13, 2017, for an estimated six-and-a-half-hour-long excursion.

  • Charon protects Pluto’s atmosphere from solar wind

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 12th, 2017

    Pluto's largest moon, Charon, acts as a barrier between the solar wind and Pluto's atmosphere, preventing that atmosphere from being stripped away when the large moon is positioned between the Sun and Pluto, according to a new study published in the journal Icarus.

  • Martian polar ice caps revealed in 3-D

    Paul KnightlyJanuary 10th, 2017

    Three-dimensional subsurface images are revealing unprecedented new insights into the structure of the Martian polar ice caps. The 3-D images were produced by data from the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) over the course of more than 2,000 orbital passes over each Martian pole.

  • New NASA mission could solve mystery of asteroid Psyche’s water

    Tomasz NowakowskiJanuary 10th, 2017

    Although Psyche is thought to be made of metal, scientists have recently found the presence of water on this minor planet. The new findings could be confirmed and further studied by a newly announced NASA mission – also named Psyche.

  • Arianespace chosen to launch Intelsat 39

    Jason RhianJanuary 9th, 2017

    On Jan. 4, French-based Arianespace announced that it had been selected as the launch service provider for the Intelsat 39 telecommunications satellite. Intelsat 39 is now scheduled to be launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

  • Pluto’s bladed terrain has snow, ice features similar to those on Earth

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 8th, 2017

    Scientists using a computer model, much like those used to study Earth's climate, have identified bowl-shaped ridges in Pluto's bladed or "snakeskin" terrain that resemble similar structures on Earth.

  • 1st battery-replacement spacewalk completed at ISS

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 6th, 2017

    Two NASA astronauts on the first of two spacewalks outside the International Space Station (ISS) made swift work to help with the replacement of old batteries with new lithium-ion units. They even had enough time leftover to perform several get-ahead tasks.

  • NASA awards four more Commercial Crew missions

    Heather SmithJanuary 6th, 2017

    NASA has awarded four rotation missions to Boeing and SpaceX, allowing the partners to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The contracts are currently under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts which bring the number of missions awarded to each provider to six.

  • NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite launch delayed to July

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 5th, 2017

    The flight of the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) has been postponed to a date no earlier than July 2017. According to SpaceNews, the delay was because of technical issues.

  • NASA selects Lucy and Psyche for next Discovery missions

    Paul KnightlyJanuary 4th, 2017

    NASA announced in a news release its next Discovery-class missions will be Lucy and Psyche. The missions will study an array of unexplored asteroids, with Lucy embarking on a tour of Jupiter's Trojan asteroids and Psyche setting course for the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche.