Spaceflight Insider

  • Japanese Epsilon rocket sends ASNARO-2 radar satellite to orbit

    Christopher PaulJanuary 17th A Japanese Epsilon rocket successfully delivered the ASNARO-2 radar Earth observation satellite to orbit this afternoon. The Epsilon rocket launched from Uchinoura Space Center at (6:00 to 6:35 a.m.) Japan Standard Time, or (4:00 to 4:35 p.m.) Eastern Standard Time.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne starts off a busy 2018 with hot fire of RS-25 engine

    Lloyd CampbellJanuary 17th NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne conducted another successful test firing of the Space Launch System’s core stage main engine, the RS-25, on Jan 16 2018.

  • Long March 11 scheduled to orbit nine small satellites Friday

    Tomasz NowakowskiJanuary 17th China is preparing to perform its fourth launch of this year, with the flight scheduled for Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. The mission will see a Long March 11 booster sending nine satellites into space.

  • Titan’s haze captured in Cassini photo

    Jason RhianJanuary 17th Downtown L.A. has got nothing on Saturn's moon Titan, at least in terms of smoggy haze that is. Imagery captured by the Cassini spacecraft prior to its plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017 shows a world blanketed in a dense mist.

  • Florida space leaders to visit capitol on February 14

    Press ReleaseJanuary 16th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL (January 16, 2018) – Promoting the economic impact of the space industry, Florida’s aerospace leaders will visit Tallahassee on February 14, 2018, for Florida Space Day, sharing with legislators the opportunities the industry brings to Florida and the nation.

  • ULA readies for U.S. Air Force SBIRS GEO 4 launch

    Bart LeahyJanuary 16th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- After a slight delay from late 2017, United Launch Alliance is readying an Atlas V 411 to launch the fourth geosynchronous element of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Space Based Infrared Sensor (SBIRS) program. The launch, is currently set to take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex (SLC) 41 on January 18.

  • Steep Martian slopes reveal structure of underground ice sheets

    Jim SharkeyJanuary 15th Scientists using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have located eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath the Martian surface are exposed in the faces of steep eroding slopes known as scarps. The eight scarps, have slopes as steep as 55 degrees, provide researchers with new information about the internal structure of previously-discovered layered subsurface ice sheets in Mars's middle...

  • NASA to study weather in boundary layer between Earth and space

    Curt GodwinJanuary 14th While most people tune-in to their local weather forecasts, and there are those who keep their eyes to the sky for the latest in space weather, the region in which they interact has been largely uncharted. NASA - with the help of two satellites planned for launch in 2018 - hopes to change that.

  • NASA video simulation takes viewers on a journey through the Orion Nebula

    Laurel KornfeldJanuary 14th A new 3D video simulation that uses images taken by both the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes takes viewers on a stunning simulated journey within the Orion Nebula.

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides sneak peek at new Astronaut Training Experience®

    Ryan ChylinskiJanuary 14th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- Hazy with excitement, you regain your composure. Your vision clears. The sound of heavy boots on metal echos loudly despite the noise around you. The iconic orange gantry comes into view and you wave to the automated cameras. Millions around the world are watching. You are poised to travel to Mars via the Astronaut Training Experience.

  • Long March 2D lifts off with LKW-3 Earth-observing satellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiJanuary 13th China has performed its third orbital launch of this year (2018) by sending its Long March 2D booster carrying the LKW-3 Earth observation spacecraft aloft. 

  • SpaceX’s CRS-13 Dragon capsule departs ISS after 4-week stay

    Derek RichardsonJanuary 13th The first visiting vehicle activity at the International Space Station in 2018 concluded Jan. 13 with the unberthing, departure and splashdown of SpaceX’s CRS-13 Dragon cargo ship after spending nearly a month at the orbiting outpost.

  • Intelsat S.A. orders Mission Extension Vehicle 2 to increase life span of Intelsat spacecraft

    Jason RhianJanuary 5th Intelsat S.A. has awarded a contract for use of the second Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-2) spacecraft. Produced by Orbital ATK, the MEVs provide mission extension services to satellites already on orbit and are slated to begin undertaking their tasks within the coming months.

  • Boeing CST-100 Starliner one step closer to flight with completion of DCR

    Jason RhianJanuary 4th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The first flight of Boeing's CST-100 "Starliner" craft is one step closer to flight with the successful completion of an Atlas V Launch Segment Design Certification Review (DCR). Colorado-based United Launch Alliance announced on Thursday, Jan. 4, that the review had been completed in support of Boeing's efforts to send astronauts to the ISS via Starliner.

  • SpaceX conducts rehearsal for classified Zuma launch

    Bart LeahyJanuary 3rd After being rescheduled twice, once in late 2017 due to an issue with the Falcon 9 fairing, and once this month due to cold weather in Florida—SpaceX conducted a “wet” dress rehearsal (WDR) for the Zuma mission today (Wednesday Jan. 3), according to a report on NASASpaceflight.com.

  • Area 51? Forget it! In terms of SpaceX Crew Dragon – it’s all Area 59

    Jason RhianJanuary 2nd CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- With 2018 just taking its initial steps SpaceX is already moving forward with plans for the new year. The company's COO, Gwynne Shotwell, noted during a 2016 press conference, the "hell" they won't launch crew in 2018. That year has come and, according to Florida Today's James Dean, Crew Dragon is being readied for this mission via a recent agreement signed between SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force.

  • SpaceX Falcon Heavy raised for 1st time at Kennedy Space Center

    Bart LeahyDecember 28th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — For the first time, SpaceX used its “strongback” hydraulic mechanism to lift its three-core Falcon Heavy rocket into a vertical position at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. The vehicle will likely face more ground tests and preparations in advance of its liftoff, which is currently slated for no earlier than January 2018.

  • Progress MS-06 freighter undocks from ISS

    Derek RichardsonDecember 28th Closing out visiting vehicle comings-and-goings for 2017, the unpiloted Russian Progress MS-06 cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station in preparation for an eventual deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.

  • Zenit rocket launches AngoSat-1 but ground control loses contact

    Tomasz NowakowskiDecember 27th A Russian-Ukrainian Zenit rocket was launched on Tuesday, December 26, 2017, with the aim of delivering into orbit Angola’s first satellite, known as AngoSat-1. However, it appears that contact with the spacecraft was lost after its deployment into orbit.

  • Long March 2C sends a triplet of Yaogan-30 satellites into orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiDecember 26th On Tuesday, December 26, 2017, at 3:44 a.m. local time (19:44 GMT / 2:44 p.m. EST on Dec. 25), China launched its Long March 2C rocket with a trio of Yaogan-30 satellites into space.

  • Japan launches H-IIA rocket with two Earth-observing satellites

    Tomasz NowakowskiDecember 23rd An H-IIA 202 rocket took to the skies on Saturday, December 23, 2017, carrying GCOM-C1 (nicknamed SHIKISAI) and SLATS (dubbed TSUBAME) Earth-observing satellites.

  • Long March 2D sends China’s second Land Surveying Satellite to orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiDecember 23rd China launched into space its second Land Surveying Satellite (LKW-2) on Saturday, December 23, 2017, atop a Long March 2D booster. Liftoff took place at exactly 04:14 UTC from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) in China’s Gansu Province.

  • Painting the sky: Iridium launch closes banner year for SpaceX

    Derek RichardsonDecember 22nd Rounding out 2017 with its 18th flight, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with 10 more Iridium NEXT satellites. Liftoff took place at 5:27 p.m. PST (8:27 p.m. EST / 01:27 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 4 E (East) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

  • NASA selects finalists for next New Frontiers mission

    Curt GodwinDecember 22nd Choosing from a field of twelve proposals, NASA has recently whittled the group down to two finalists for the agency's next New Frontiers mission. Receiving the nod to receive additional funding and study in 2018 were missions to Saturn's moon Titan and the recent European Space Agency (ESA) target, Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

  • SLS launch pad undergoes water tests in preparation for EM-1

    Jason RhianDecember 21st NASA conducted a wet flow test at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. The test helped validate a system designed to protect NASA's new super-heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System. It also served to confirm it is ready to support the launch vehicle's first flight, Exploration Mission 1, currently slated to take place in 2019.

  • U.S.A.F’s first GPS III satellite connects with OCX system

    Jason RhianDecember 20th The first GPS III spacecraft slated to be sent aloft has had its communications system successfully tested when the Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) sent commands to a prototype in what was deemed a "validation" of the USAF's new Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite. In so doing, it has cleared the GPS III satellite for launch.

  • 3-person Soyuz MS-07 docks with ISS

    Derek RichardsonDecember 19th The population of the International Space Station returned to six people when Soyuz MS-07 with three fresh crew members autonomously docked with the outpost's Rassvet module. Contact between the two vehicles occurred at 3:39 a.m. EST (08:39 GMT) Dec. 19, 2017.

  • Orion’s parachutes tested in high deserts of Arizona

    Jason RhianDecember 19th NASA tested parachutes for the space agency’s Orion spacecraft on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground located in Arizona. This test was the fifth meant to validate the design of the parachute system for NASA's crew-rated spacecraft.

  • OPINION: How NASA became a ping-pong ball

    Jason RhianDecember 17th For 30 years, NASA's human space flight program was in a secure, albeit uninspiring, trajectory – low-Earth orbit. The loss of the Shuttle Columbia and her seven-member crew on Feb. 1, 2003, changed all that. The Shuttle era was set to end and the agency would discover there's something even more dangerous than re-entering Earth's atmosphere with damaged heat tiles – politicians.

  • CRS-13 Dragon berthed with International Space Station

    Derek RichardsonDecember 17th Just hours after Soyuz MS-07 and its three-person crew launched on a two-day trek toward the International Space Station, SpaceX’s CRS-13 Dragon, having launched days earlier atop a Falcon 9 rocket, rendezvoused with and was attached to the orbiting laboratory.

  • Soyuz MS-07 crew begins two-day trek toward ISS

    Derek RichardsonDecember 17th Just three days after one trio left the International Space Station, another launched toward it. A Soyuz-FG rocket lofted the Soyuz MS-07 mission spacecraft into orbit where it and its crew will spend some two days catching up with the outpost.

  • Return, return, return: CRS-13 mission marks triple-play in terms of SpaceX reuse

    Paul KnightlyDecember 15th CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. - The 13th SpaceX Commercial Resupply Service (CRS-13) mission roared into the Florida sky aboard a 'Full Thrust' Falcon 9 launch vehicle Friday morning. The flight-proven spacecraft and Falcon 9 first stage launched at 10:35 a.m. (15:35 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40.

    The Range
  • China launches two BeiDou-3 spacecraft to replenish its homegrown satellite navigation system

    January 12th
    China has conducted its second flight of 2018 by launching a Long March 3B rocket with a duo of BeiDou-3 spacecraft for its homegrown BieDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).

  • Launch of Delta IV with NROL-47 scrubbed for second day in a row

    January 11th
    United Launch Alliance scrubbed the second launch attempt of a Delta IV Medium+ (5,2) with the classified NROL-47 for the National Reconnaissance Office. However, the reason for today's scrub differed from the prior day's attempt.

  • Long March 3B to deliver two BeiDou-3 satellites into orbit

    January 11th
    A Long March 3B booster is in its final stage of preparations for the delivery of two BeiDou-3 satellites for China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).

  • Launch of ULA Delta IV Medium+(5,2) scrubbed

    January 10th
    Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) will have to wait a little longer to conduct its first flight of 2018. Weather at the launch site forced a scrub for the launch of a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

  • India looks to return its workhorse PSLV rocket to service with launch of 31 satellites

    January 9th
    Nearly four and a half months after its last launch ended in failure, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is looking to return its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to service with the flight of the Cartosat-2ER Earth-observation satellite and 30 smaller, secondary payloads. ISRO is currently targeting a launch date of January 11, 2018, at 10:58 p.m. EST (January 12, 2018, at 03:58 GMT).

  • Delta IV launch of NROL-47 to be ULA’s first of 2018

    January 8th
    United launch Alliance’s (ULA) first flight of 2018 is currently scheduled for Wednesday, January 10. A Delta IV Medium+(5,2) rocket is set to carry the  classified NROL-47 payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 6 at 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST). The mission will be ULA’s 27th flight for the National Reconnaissance Office […]

  • Long March 2D to send a duo of SuperView-1 satellites into orbit

    January 7th
    China is gearing up to conduct its first orbital flight of 2018. The mission, scheduled for Tuesday, January 9, will employ a Long March 2D booster to send two SuperView-1 Earth-observing satellites into space.

  • New Horizons mission invites public to celebrate New Year’s KBO flyby

    January 5th
    The world may have celebrated New Year's 2018 just days ago, but NASA's New Horizons mission is already inviting the public to welcome 2019 with a visit to Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69.

  • Launch of Zuma now TBD or is it Jan. 6? – UPDATE

    January 4th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX's planned launch of the classified "Zuma" mission has slipped from 2017 to Thursday Jan. 4, to Friday Jan. 5 and now is listed as "To Be Determined." The announcement of the latest delay was made by the 45th Space Wing on their website. Some sources, meanwhile, are stating the secretive launch will take place on Saturday, Jan. 6. So which is it?

  • 2 external instruments installed on ISS over New Year’s holiday

    January 3rd
    While many around the world celebrated the arrival of 2018 with champagne, fireworks and social gatherings, robotics operators at NASA’s Johnson Space Center rang in the New Year by working to remotely install new external instruments recently brought to International Space Station inside the trunk of SpaceX’s CRS-13 Dragon cargo spacecraft.

  • NASA’s MAVEN mission providing insights into life on distant worlds

    December 31st
    Mars. Long a destination dreamed of by the public in general and space enthusiasts in particular, is providing insights about the length of time that other planets can support life. How long would a planet like Mars, orbiting a distant red dwarf star be habitable? One of NASA's Scout Program missions is helping to develop an answer.

  • Astronomy satellite deployed by JPL

    December 30th
    With research dollars and room on launch vehicles at a premium, the miniaturization of payloads has become an ever-more used means in which researchers and those seeking to prove out their technologies can fly in space. The ASTERIA CubeSat that was recently deployed from the International Space Station could serve to further validate the emerging technology for astronomy purposes.

  • Russia restores contact with AngoSat-1 satellite

    December 29th
    Russia has stated that it has restored contact with Angola’s first satellite, AngoSat-1, that was launched by a Zenit rocket on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. 

  • Gallium nitride processor: Next-generation technology for space exploration

    December 28th
    A material known as gallium nitride (GaN), poised to become the next semiconductor for power electronics, could also be essential for various space applications. Yuji Zhao, an expert in electrical and computer engineering at Arizona State University (ASU), plans to develop the first ever processor from gallium nitride, which could revolutionize future space exploration missions.

  • Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-6 ready for launch

    December 27th
    After years of development, the Planetary Resources-built Arkyd-6 is finally on the last leg of its journey into space. It is scheduled to be launched as a secondary payload atop India’s PSLV-C40 mission in January 2018.