Spaceflight Insider

  • Proton-M launches Blagovest 12L satellite for Russian Aerospace Forces

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 18th The Russian military has expanded its fleet of communications satellites with the launch of the Blagovest 12L spacecraft on Wednesday, April 18.

  • Not quite business time: Rocket Lab delays next Electron launch

    Joe LatrellApril 18th Unusual behavior in a motor controller has prompted the delay of the next flight of Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher. During the wet dress rehearsal for the mission dubbed "It’s Business Time," the pad operations team found the anomaly.

  • IAU approves names for features on Charon

    Laurel KornfeldApril 18th The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has accepted a list of names for features on Pluto's largest moon, Charon, submitted by NASA's New Horizons mission team.

  • The alpha of the OmegA: Orbital ATK’s new rocket gains name

    Jason RhianApril 17th Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK has announced the name of the company's new, large-class rocket: OmegA. This new launch vehicle is meant for the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

  • SES-12 arrives at Cape Canaveral for launch

    Bart LeahyApril 17th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SES delivered its SES-12 communications satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on April 12. SpaceX's Falcon 9 is being prepped to launch the spacecraft to geosynchronous orbit.

  • Russia to launch Blagovest 12L military comsat April 18

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 17th Russia is in the final stage of preparations to launch its Proton-M rocket with the Blagovest 12L military communications satellite. Liftoff is scheduled to take place at 6:12 p.m. EDT (22:12 GMT) April 18, 2018, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

  • Launch of exoplanet-hunting TESS satellite delayed to Wednesday

    Derek RichardsonApril 16th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The launch of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Spacecraft (TESS) has been postponed by at least 48 hours, according to SpaceX. The satellite had been scheduled to launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 6:32 p.m. EDT (22:23 GMT) April 16, 2018.

  • Yuri’s Night comes to Kennedy Space Center

    Bart LeahyApril 16th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Yuri’s Night, the world’s largest space party, made its first appearance at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The event occurred April 13, 2018, and brought together over 750 space professionals and fans for the space-themed merriment beneath Space Shuttle Atlantis.

  • Putin lays out priorities of Russia’s space program on Cosmonautics Day

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 15th Russian President Vladimir Putin made remarks regarding essential elements of his nation’s space program on Thursday, April 12, when the country celebrated Cosmonautics Day.

  • Gallery: AFSPC-11 mission soars skyward

    Derek RichardsonApril 15th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Lifting off during the "golden hour" of photography, United Launch Alliance flew its Atlas V rocket with the AFSPC-11 mission into space. SpaceFlight Insider was able to capture vivid imagery via remote cameras on the pad and from team members on a causeway several miles away.

  • Exoplanet-hunting TESS spacecraft ready for launch

    Michael ColeApril 15th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA and SpaceX are set to launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). If everything goes according to plan, the observatory will conduct a two-year mission to survey more than 85 percent of the sky, searching for exoplanets around bright stars in the 300-light-year distance range.

  • ULA notches another successful mission with flight of USAF payloads on AFSPC-11

    Curt GodwinApril 14th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Amidst scattered clouds, United Launch Alliance (ULA) notched its fourth successful flight of 2018. The April 14, 2018, AFSPC-11 mission was a classified one, however, carried out on behalf of the United States Air Force.

  • Companies test spacecraft parachutes as first Commercial Crew flights near

    Collin SkocikApril 5th NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which will employ private contractors to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, has taken a step closer to crewed flights as the two prime contractors conduct the latest round of tests of their spacecraft parachute systems.

  • CRS-14 Dragon berths with International Space Station

    Derek RichardsonApril 4th The CRS-14 Dragon capsule rendezvous and berthed with the International Space Station after a two-day trek to the orbiting outpost. Capture by the robotic Canadarm2 took place at 6:40 a.m. EDT (10:40 GMT) April 4, 2018.

  • SpaceX CRS-14 Dragon heading toward ISS after successful Falcon 9 launch

    Derek RichardsonApril 2nd CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX launched its sixth Falcon 9 of 2018, this time to send the unpiloted CRS-14 Dragon cargo ship on its way toward the International Space Station with several thousand pounds of food, experiments and hardware for the six-person Expedition 55 crew.

  • Long March 4C orbits trio of Gaofen-1 Earth-observing satellites

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 2nd A Long March 4C rocket took to the skies in an unannounced launch to deliver a triplet of Gaofen-1 Earth-observing satellites for China. Liftoff occurred at 11:22 p.m. EDT March 30 (3:22 GMT March 31), 2018, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the country's Shanxi Province.

  • Tiangong-1 re-enters atmosphere, burns up over South Pacific

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 2nd China’s Tiangong-1 space laboratory is now in the history books after it burned up almost entirely on re-entry above the southern Pacific Ocean. While most parts of the defunct station are believed to have burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere, some pieces may have survived and plummeted into the water.

  • Opinion: Mutants, airstrikes and more: Space ‘fake news’ on the rise

    Jason RhianApril 1st Fake news, a relatively new term that has entered the public lexicon. Stories regarding space flight have recently seen an uptick in incorrect information being reported and given the complexity of the subject matter, it might be understandable—but it is also preventable.

  • SpaceX CRS-14 mission all set for science

    Bart LeahyMarch 31st SpaceX is set to send its next Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station with three tons of supplies and science. The CRS-14 mission will include materials to help the Expeditions 55 and 56 crews conduct and monitor more than 200 science and technology investigations.

  • Parker Solar Probe prepped for delivery to Kennedy Space Center

    Michael ColeMarch 31st GREENBELT, MD -- NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP) is getting ready for its flight to space. The spacecraft is currently scheduled for launch in July or August of this year (2018). PSP is NASA's long-awaited mission to explore the Sun's corona and is designed to discover more about the solar wind, and learn how conditions there interact to create space weather.

  • 10 more Iridium NEXT satellites launched by SpaceX Falcon 9

    Lloyd CampbellMarch 30th After a stellar 2017 with 18 launches of its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX continues its rapid launch rate for 2018 with its successful launch of the Iridium-5 mission from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg  Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.

  • China launches another pair of BeiDou-3 navigation satellites into space

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 30th China successfully launched a Long March 3B rocket carrying two BeiDou-3 spacecraft for its satellite navigation system. The booster took to the skies at 1:56 p.m. EDT (17:56 GMT) March 29, 2018, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China’s Sichuan province.

  • Astronauts complete all US EVA-49 tasks despite limited duration

    Derek RichardsonMarch 29th Less than a week after arriving at the International Space Station in Soyuz MS-08 for a five-month stay, two astronauts donned spacesuits to venture outside the complex for a six-hour spacewalk—U.S. EVA-49.

  • GSLV rocket carries new Indian communications satellite to orbit

    Christopher PaulMarch 29th A Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has sent the GSAT-6A communications and technology demonstrator satellite into orbit. Liftoff occurred at 7:26 a.m. EDT (11:26 GMT) March 29, 2018.

  • SpaceX readies Falcon 9 for launch with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites

    Lloyd CampbellMarch 29th The next 10 satellites that will form the Iridium NEXT constellation of communication satellites are slated to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:14 a.m. PDT (10:14 a.m. EDT / 14:14 GMT) March 30, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.

  • NASA delays launch of James Webb Space Telescope to 2020

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 28th The highly anticipated launch of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been delayed to May 2020 due to the need for extensive testing and integration of its parts, which the agency says it now recognizes will take longer than previously anticipated.

  • UPDATE: Iridium-5 launch postponed to March 30

    Lloyd CampbellMarch 27th Due to an issue with one of the 10 Iridium NEXT satellites bound for space atop the next Falcon 9 launch from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Iridium-5 flight has been delayed.

  • Era ends as Kepler planet hunting satellite runs out of fuel

    Joe LatrellMarch 26th With fuel tanks low and no gas gauge, the Kepler spacecraft is in the final months of operations. The planet hunting satellite was launched in March 2009 and had a planned mission duration was 3.5 years, but the spacecraft has exceeded all expectations and continues to function.

  • Tiangong-1 to fall to Earth over Easter weekend

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 25th According to new calculations, China’s Tiangong-1 space laboratory will most likely fall to Earth over Easter weekend. More specifically, the European Space Agency and The Aerospace Corporation predict that the out-of-control spacecraft will re-enter the atmosphere between March 29 and April 4.

  • Next Generation Launcher considered under U.S. Air Force’s EELV program

    Jason RhianMarch 24th The U.S. Air Force is considering Orbital ATK's Next Generation Launcher under its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. What does this new launch vehicle look like? How tall will it be? What will it capable of? To find the answers to these questions, SpaceFlight Insider spoke with one of the officials responsible for the new booster's development.

  • International Space Station crew size doubles with Soyuz MS-08 docking

    Derek RichardsonMarch 24th The International Space Station returned to its full crew compliment of six people after the three-person Soyuz MS-08 docked with the orbiting outpost to join the ongoing Expedition 55.

  • Reports: NewSpace firm launched four satellites – without permission

    Curt GodwinMarch 22nd With NewSpace companies garnering headlines by completing previously unthinkable feats, one could be forgiven for thinking that these forward-focused startups could do little wrong. Recent events have shown this same "can do" attitude can be pushed too far.

    The Range
  • NEXT-C electric propulsion engine poised for production

    April 14th
    The NEXT-C ion propulsion engine has successfully completed a Critical Design Review conducted by NASA and is planned for use on the agency's 2021 DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission. With the CDR finished, the next step in the process should be the production of actual flight units.

  • Astronomy college homework guide: The best space documentaries

    April 13th
    Space has always been perceived as an exceedingly fascinating place. If you need to solve some mysteries for your astronomy college homework, you should check out these best documentaries.

  • Belarus eyes launch of its second remote sensing satellite

    April 12th
    According to recent statement made by the country’s prime minister, Belarus is planning to launch its second remote sensing satellite. However, the officials have not yet revealed the exact launch date of the spacecraft.

  • NASA announces James Webb Space Telescope Independent Review Board members

    April 12th
    NASA recently announced the formation of an external Independent Review Board for the space agency's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The board will study a variety of factors impacting the mission's success and reinforce NASA's strategy for completing the observatory's final integration and testing phase, launch phase and commissioning.

  • China conducts surprise launch of Long March 4C rocket, lofts four satellites into space

    April 11th
    Without any prior notice, China sent a Long March 4C booster aloft on Tuesday, April 10, carrying three Yaogan-31 spacecraft along with one microsatellite.

  • Latest Juno image shows Jupiter’s cloud tops in intricate detail

    April 10th
    Among the most recent JunoCam images released by NASA is an intricate, color-enhanced photo of Jupiter's cloud tops taken April 1, 2018, that has the appearance of a watercolor painting.

  • Think failure isn’t an option? NASA has a job for you

    April 9th
    Have you ever envisioned yourself as one of NASA's flight directors overseeing space exploration missions from Houston’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center? Well, now is your chance as the U.S. space agency has recently posted the flight director position on USAJobs.

  • Remembering the U.S.’ first space station: Searching for Skylab

    April 8th
    Dwight Steven-Boniecki was intrigued. Why did it seem the Skylab missions generated so little interest among space enthusiasts? Curious, he decided to find out more about the subject. That interest has grown into a full-blown project.

  • Hubble spots farthest star ever seen

    April 7th
    Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered an enormous blue star, nicknamed 'Icarus,' located more than halfway across the universe. Icarus is the farthest individual star ever seen. Normally it would be too faint to observe even with the world's largest telescopes, but the astronomers were able to take advantage of a phenomenon known as "gravitational lensing" that greatly magnified the star's faint glow.

  • Ariane 5 returns to flight with launch of two satellites

    April 6th
    The latest launch of an Ariane 5 rocket took place today at 21:34 UTC (5:34 p.m. EDT) from the company's launch complex in French Guiana. The Ariane 5 lifted off from Guiana Space Center (GSG) carrying two satellites to orbit. Today’s flight saw the release of both the DSN-1/Superbird-8 satellite as well as the HYLAS 4 spacecraft.

  • Interstellar ‘Oumuamua gives scientists new insights into formation of planetary systems

    April 5th
    Interstellar asteroid 'Oumuamua spent only a short time traveling through the Solar System, but its passage is providing scientists with new insights into the formation processes of planetary systems.

  • Video: CRS-14 launches to International Space Station

    April 4th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Lifting off at 4:30 p.m. EDT (20:30 GMT) April 2, 2018, a SpaceX Falcon 9 sent the CRS-14 Dragon capsule on its way toward the International Space Station. The following video was captured and put together by the SpaceFlight Insider visual team.

  • Gallery: Used CRS-14 Dragon capsule flies atop used Falcon 9 rocket

    April 3rd

  • ICPS umbilical installed on SLS mobile launcher

    April 3rd
    The road to the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) took another step forward March 21, 2018, when one of the last of the big swing arms was installed on the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

  • Scientists use Kepler telescope to study supernovae

    April 2nd
    NASA's Kepler space telescope was designed to discover exoplanets, but throughout its initial and extended missions, scientists have used its precision and ability to continuously collect data to study supernovae, the explosions produced by dying massive stars.