Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Missions

  • Trio of observatories reveal rare double asteroid

    Jim SharkeyJuly 16th, 2018

    Observations by three of the world's largest radio telescopes have revealed that a near-Earth asteroid discovered in 2017 is actually two objects, each about 3,000 feet (900 meters) in size, orbiting each other. The two bodies are nearly equal in mass and not touching each other.

  • Northrop Grumman’s OA-9 Cygnus leaves International Space Station

    Derek RichardsonJuly 15th, 2018

    Following two months attached to the International Space Station, the ninth Cygnus resupply spacecraft was unberthed and released from the orbiting outpost to perform a secondary two-week free-flight mission.

  • Fermi Telescope discovers neutrino’s origin as supermassive black hole

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 15th, 2018

    A cosmic neutrino detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was found to have originated in a gamma ray emitted by a supermassive black hole 3.7 billion light years away at the center of a galaxy in the constellation Orion.

  • Topographic maps reveal surface details on Pluto and Charon

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 14th, 2018

    Researchers on NASA's New Horizons team have put together global topographic maps of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, which vividly depict the stunning variety of terrains on both worlds.

  • Israeli company eyes Moon landing in early 2019

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 14th, 2018

    SpaceIL has unveiled its plan to land an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon in early 2019. The company announced that the mission would be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket in December 2018.

  • GAO report on Commercial Crew suggests: ‘The hell they will launch (operational crew) before 2019’

    Jason RhianJuly 13th, 2018

    Predictions by SpaceX's president, Gwynn Shotwell, that the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft would fly with astronauts by 2018 appear to be inaccurate. Similarly Boeing's entry in NASA's Commercial Crew Program are not expected to able to achieve key certification objectives this year either, according to a government report.

  • Russian Progress MS-09 spacecraft reaches International Space Station in record time

    Derek RichardsonJuly 10th, 2018

    Russia’s Progress MS-09 freighter launched atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked with the International Space Station in less than four hours—a mere 2.5 laps around Earth.

  • Running on Empty: NASA’s Kepler spacecraft pauses observations

    Jim SharkeyJuly 9th, 2018

    The Kepler mission team recently received an indication that the spacecraft is running very low on fuel. The team has paused the spacecraft's planet-hunting science observations and placed it in a hibernation-like state to prepare to download the science data collected during its most recent observation campaign. Once the data is downloaded, the team expects to begin a new observation campaign w...

  • Progress MS-09 set for fast-track rendezvous with ISS

    Derek RichardsonJuly 7th, 2018

    Continuing a busy period for the International Space Station’s Expedition 56 crew, an automated Russian Progress cargo spacecraft is set to launch to the orbiting outpost. Liftoff is scheduled for 5:51 p.m. EDT (21:51 GMT) July 9, 2018, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

  • Parker Solar Probe heat shield installed

    Curt GodwinJuly 7th, 2018

    Engineers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab recently attached the Parker Solar Probe's 160-pound (72.6-kilogram) thermal protection system, or heat shield, to the body of the spacecraft in preparation for its launch, scheduled for no earlier than Aug. 4, 2018.

  • NASA tests solar sail for Exploration Mission 1’S NEA Scout

    Jim SharkeyJuly 5th, 2018

    On June 28, 2018 NASA conducted a successful deployment test of the solar sail for the space agency's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (NEA Scout) CubeSat mission. NEA Scout is a small satellite designed to study asteroids close to the Earth and is scheduled to launch on Exploratory Mission-1 (EM-1). The test was conducted inside a clean room at the NeXolve facility in Huntsville, Alabama. 

  • NASA seeking industry proposals for first element of Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway

    Lloyd CampbellJuly 5th, 2018

    NASA is asking for proposals from industry to partner with the space agency in developing the first piece of its proposed Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway through a draft broad agency announcement. The space station proposed to be a cislunar outpost for deep space exploration missions, both robotic and human.

  • Saturn’s moon Enceladus has conditions that could support microbial life

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 4th, 2018

    Complex organic molecules have been discovered in the plumes of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The data transmitted back to Earth by the Cassini Saturn orbiter, which ended its service above the ringed world on Sept. 16, 2017.

  • Dawn spacecraft captures new images of Ceres’ Occator Crater

    Jason RhianJuly 4th, 2018

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft has entered into its final planned orbital position from which it will study the dwarf planet Ceres, the lowest the probe has descended to the tiny world since it arrived in orbit on March 6, 2015.

  • Crew Dragon undergoes more tests as it progresses to operational readiness

    Curt GodwinJuly 3rd, 2018

    After recently being subjected to electromagnetic interference (EMI) testing, SpaceX's Crew Dragon inches closer to operational readiness with the completion of two key tests.