Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Missions

  • First-ever laser communications terminal to be tested on the Moon

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 25th, 2017

    ATLAS Space Operations Inc., a company specializing in cloud-based satellite management and control services, has announced that it will test the first-ever laser communications terminal on the lunar surface. The company has recently signed a contract with Astrobotic Technology Inc., which could see their system fly to the Moon in late 2019.

  • Giant asteroid crashed into Mars billions of years ago, study suggests

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 24th, 2017

    The complex geology of Mars and the origin of its two small irregular moons has mystified planetary scientists for some time. A new study, published in June in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reveals that the Red Planet had suffered a giant asteroid collision nearly four-and-a-half billion years ago which could account for some of Mars' geological oddities.

  • New Horizons team obtains wealth of data from 2014 MU69 occultation

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 24th, 2017

    NASA's New Horizons team captured crucial data on Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69 – the spacecraft's second target – during a third organized observation of the KBO occulting a star on Monday, July 17, 2017.

  • Cassini images Enceladus’ south polar jets

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 20th, 2017

    NASA's Cassini orbiter has captured a distant view of the mysterious jets emanating from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus, a world that likely harbors a subsurface ocean. The jets are believed to be liquid water being vented from the ocean underneath the moon's icy crust.

  • AIDA mission to validate crucial asteroid deflection technology

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 16th, 2017

    NASA and ESA are developing the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission; its main goal is to demonstrate the kinetic impact technique that could change the motion of a potentially hazardous asteroid.

  • TDRS-M spacecraft damaged during closeout activities

    Jason RhianJuly 16th, 2017

    TITUSVILLE, Fla. — During closeout activities for the final third-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M), an "incident" occurred to the spacecraft's Omni S-band antenna. This occurred on Friday, July 14, about two-and-a-half weeks prior to the satellite's scheduled launch.

  • NASA prepares its Martian explorers for solar conjunction radio silence

    Curt GodwinJuly 16th, 2017

    For more than twenty years, NASA has had explorers surveying the Red Planet. Dutifully, the stalwart robotic travelers have followed commands beamed from their Earth-bound handlers and returned gigabytes of information of their Martian observations.

  • NASA releases New Horizons flyover video

    NASAJuly 15th, 2017

    Using actual New Horizons data and digital elevation models of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, mission scientists have created flyover movies that offer spectacular new perspectives of the many unusual features that were discovered and which have reshaped our views of the Pluto system – from a vantage point even closer than the spacecraft itself.

  • Juno completes historic flyby over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 12th, 2017

    NASA's Juno spacecraft successfully completed the first ever close flyby of the mysterious storm on Jupiter known as the Great Red Spot, and early images of the phenomenon are already being returned to Earth.

  • Creating trends in space: An interview with NanoRacks CEO Jeffrey Manber

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 10th, 2017

    Founded in 2009, the Houston, Texas-based company NanoRacks LLC provides commercial hardware and services on board the International Space Station (ISS) for government and commercial customers. In an interview with Astrowatch.net, Jeffrey Manber, the founder and CEO of NanoRacks, talks about the company’s future and past achievements.

  • Occultation data raises questions about New Horizons’ target KBO

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 8th, 2017

    Data collected on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft's second flyby target, 2014 MU69, during its June 3 occultation of a star, may indicate the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) is smaller and brighter than previously thought.

  • As space debris concerns grow, AMC-9 satellite appears to be adding to the problem

    Jason RhianJuly 6th, 2017

    Ever since the start of the Space Age in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik, humanity has left an ever-increasing amount of debris in orbit, comprising satellites, probes, and spent rockets. However, not all of this debris harmlessly retraces arcs above Earth – as the AMC-9 satellite is currently demonstrating.

  • Dragon splashes down in Pacific with time-critical experiments

    Derek RichardsonJuly 3rd, 2017

    SpaceX’s CRS-11 Dragon capsule splashed down at 8:12 a.m. EDT (12:12 GMT) on July 3, 2017, in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Baja California after some 28 days attached to the International Space Station.

  • ESA and NASA to collaborate on mission to detect gravitational waves

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 1st, 2017

    The European Space Agency (ESA) is partnering with NASA on a new space mission that will study gravitational waves from space. Known as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, the project was approved by ESA's Cosmic Vision science program on June 20. Both space agencies will now work together to design the mission and outline a budget for it prior to construction.

  • Space sector stable but still dwarfed by the aviation sector: AIA Vice President

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 30th, 2017

    The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), a trade association representing leading aerospace and defense (A&D) companies in the U.S., has recently published its report entitled “2017 Facts & Figures”, which reveals key numbers about A&D industry’s economic impact. Among other things, the summary highlights the condition of the space systems sector as part of the A&D industry.