Spaceflight Insider

  • Merah Putih poised to bring SpaceX’s launch tempo to almost two per month

    Jason RhianAugust 5th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. --  SpaceX is planning to launch its fifteenth mission of the year on Tuesday, Aug. 7. As has been the case with several of the flights successfully carried out in 2018, this week's planned launch is set to send a communications satellite to orbit.

  • First major piece of NASA’s Space Launch System assembled

    Lloyd CampbellAugust 5th NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) has completed a major milestone with the first major piece of the rocket's core stage being fully assembled and ready for integration into other hardware in advance of the vehicle’s first test flight—Exploration Mission-1.

  • SpaceX’s CRS-15 Dragon splashes down in Pacific

    Derek RichardsonAugust 4th SpaceX’s CRS-15 Dragon returned to Earth on Aug. 3, 2018, after a month-long stay at the International Space Station. The capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean with cargo and research samples that were returned for further analysis.

  • New Horizons scientists observe stellar occultation by Ultima Thule

    Laurel KornfeldAugust 4th As they did three times last summer, NASA's New Horizons team will observe a stellar occultation by the spacecraft's second target, Ultima Thule, from the narrow path where the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) will cast its shadow.

  • Gallery: NASA Announces astronauts who will fly first Commercial Crew missions

    Jason RhianAugust 3rd HOUSTON, Texas -- On Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 NASA announced the astronauts who would fly the first flights of the capsules developed under the space agency's Commercial Crew Program. It was a pomp-filled event that could herald a new era in NASA's history.

  • And the winners are… NASA announces first astronauts to fly under Commercial Crew Program

    Joe LatrellAugust 3rd HOUSTON — The race to develop new U.S. spacecraft to ferry astronauts to space reached another milestone with the announcement of the first crews that will fly on commercially-produced spacecraft. On Aug. 3, 2018, NASA selected the astronauts who will fly on the first Boeing Starliner and SpaceX Crewed Dragon capsules.

  • Understanding Venus: New facility to simulate conditions on Earth’s twin planet

    Tomasz NowakowskiAugust 3rd The German Space Agency (DLR) has opened a new simulation facility at its Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) in Berlin. The facility could help scientists better understand the surface of Venus hidden behind the planet’s dense atmosphere.

  • NASA’s Parker Solar Probe attached to Delta IV Heavy rocket

    Jim SharkeyAugust 2nd CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A spacecraft that has been designed and built to "touch the Sun" has completed two critical milestones that place it one step closer to flight.

  • TESS primed and ready to discover distant worlds

    Jason RhianAugust 2nd NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has successfully reached its desired orbit and has begun science operations. The spacecraft was constructed by Northrop Grumman, who will operate the vehicle. This milestone sets the spacecraft on a path to continue the search for alien worlds.

  • NASA Administrator visits Langley Research Center

    Steve HammerAugust 1st LANGLEY, Va. -- NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made his second stop on a tour of NASA research facilities Tuesday, July 31 at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

  • China launches Gaofen 11 Earth-observing satellite atop Long March 4B

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 31st A Long March 4B rocket took to the skies on Tuesday, July 31, on a mission to deliver China’s Gaofen 11 high-resolution Earth-observing spacecraft to orbit.

  • NASA’s MISR views raging fires in California

    Press ReleaseJuly 31st More than a dozen wildfires are burning in the state of California, with several of them threatening life and property. The Ferguson Fire ignited July 13 in the Sierra National Forest west of Yosemite National Park. Much of the forest in this area suffered extreme stress due to the extended drought of 2012 through 2017, and bark beetle damage, leaving many dead trees through which the fire has bur...

  • Wish upon a Telstar: SpaceX poised to loft 1st of 3 rockets in 11 days

    Jason RhianJuly 20th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Working to maintain an average flight tempo of once every two weeks, SpaceX is preparing to send another of its Falcon 9 rockets aloft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's SLC-40. The upcoming Telstar 19 VANTAGE flight marks a critical milestone in terms of the company's 2018 flight manifest.

  • Blue Origin’s 9th New Shepard flight tests high-altitude abort mode

    Derek RichardsonJuly 18th For the second time in 2018, Blue Origin has launched its New Shepard rocket system. This particular uncrewed flight evaluated a high-altitude abort mode for the capsules launch escape system.

  • Iridium NEXT Flight 7 being readied for launch atop SpaceX Falcon 9

    Jason RhianJuly 18th SpaceX is working to rack up yet another successful launch for its 2018 manifest in the next several days. As is often the case with the NewSpace firm, this mission will be a commercial flight meant to further a long-standing collaboration with one of the company’s most loyal customers.

  • Jettison Motor readied for integration into Orion’s LAS

    Jason RhianJuly 17th NASA and the agency's commercial partners have been preparing for the Orion spacecraft's Ascent Abort Test (AA-2) currently slated to take place in 2019. Aerojet Rocketdyne's jettison motor is a critical part of this test and is being prepped for use.

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

    Derek RichardsonJuly 15th 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.

  • Israeli company eyes Moon landing in early 2019

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 14th 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 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.

  • Canaveral’s Delta II launch site demolished, paving the way for Moon Express

    Jason RhianJuly 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A piece of the Cape's launch history came to an end on Thursday, July 12, with the demolition of Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 17. The site where NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers began their epic voyage to the Red Planet have been reduced to rubble - paving the way for use by Moon Express.

  • Long March 2C orbits two Earth-observing satellites for Pakistan

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 10th Lifting off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) in China’s Shanxi Province, a Long March 2C rocket orbited the PRSS-1 and PakTES 1A Earth-observing spacecraft for Pakistan on Monday, July 9.

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

    Derek RichardsonJuly 10th 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.

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

    Derek RichardsonJuly 7th 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 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.

  • India conducts pad abort test for its crewed space flight program

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 6th On Thursday, July 5, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carried out an emergency Pad Abort Test (PAT), marking the first step to qualify India’s indigenous Crew Escape System technology for launching astronauts into space.

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

    Lloyd CampbellJuly 5th 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 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.

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

    Curt GodwinJuly 3rd 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.

  • CRS-15 Dragon brings science experiments, artificial intelligence to ISS

    Derek RichardsonJuly 2nd SpaceX’s CRS-15 Dragon cargo resupply ship has been attached to the International Space Station. the spacecraft rendezvoused with the orbiting outpost in the early-morning hours of July 2, 2018, and is expected to remain berthed for about a month.

  • Inside Opportunity: ‘Oppy’ fights for its life in massive Martian dust storm

    James RiceJuly 1st Our intrepid Opportunity rover is currently in the midst of riding out a massive global dust storm that began May 30. This storm moved south down the well-known Acidalia storm track into Xanthe Terra. A few days later the storm had stretched from eastern Valles Marineris to northern Arabia Terra. It then moved across the equator and south toward Meridiani Planum where Opportunity is located.

  • Swan song: Final SpaceX Block 4 Falcon 9 launches CRS-15 cargo mission

    Curt GodwinJune 29th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla -- Clear weather and a Moonlit pre-dawn sky provided perfect conditions as SpaceX launched its final Block 4 Falcon 9 on its fifteenth cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The rocket lifted off at 5:42 a.m. EDT (9:42 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40).

  • SFI Live: Launch of CRS-15 atop SpaceX Falcon 9

    Jason RhianJune 29th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX is set to launch its last Block 4 Falcon 9 rocket on June 29, 2018. Join Jim Siegel as he hosts SpaceFlight Insider's live webcast leading up to the opening of the launch window at 5:41 a.m. EDT (09:41 GMT). The mission is poised to get under way from Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida, SpaceFlight Insider's live coverage is slated to open at 5:11 a.m. EDT.