Spaceflight Insider

  • NASA engineers evaluate ECLSS for Commercial Crew missions

    Jose FloresMarch 23rd NASA engineers are hard at work performing evaluations on the life support systems vital to successful flight tests for the Commercial Crew missions as NASA prepares to return human spaceflight to the United States.

  • ‘Social movement’ continues to delay Ariane 5 launch

    Derek RichardsonMarch 23rd Arianespace has delayed the flight of its Ariane 5 rocket for a third day in a row due to a “social movement” at the Guiana Space Centre. The company has not set a new launch date. The mission, dubbed VA236, is set to send two communications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit.

  • Rosetta images show changes on Comet 67P as it approached the Sun

    Laurel KornfeldMarch 23rd Two separate studies of images captured by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta probe highlight increasing activity on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it approached perihelion, the point in its orbit closest to the Sun.

  • Technical issues postpone launch of ULA Atlas V with OA-7 mission to ISS

    Jason RhianMarch 22nd CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Wednesday, March 22, that the seventh flight of a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station had been postponed.

  • Trump signs NASA Transition Authorization act of 2017

    Derek RichardsonMarch 21st President Donald Trump signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization act of 2017 into law on March 21, 2017. The bill is the first such act passed by Congress and subsequently signed by the president since 2010.

  • Flight-proven Falcon 9 with SES-10 scheduled for NET March 29

    Derek RichardsonMarch 21st CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s first launch using a recovered Falcon 9 first stage will now take place no earlier than March 29, 2017. The two-day postponement of the SES-10 mission was due to range availability.

  • Arianespace delays launch of Ariane 5 Flight VA236 due to ‘social movement’

    Curt GodwinMarch 20th Arianespace has announced a 24-hour delay, at least, of Flight VA236 due to a "social movement" at The Spaceport in French Guiana. It is not entirely clear what constitutes a "social movement", though there are reports that indicate the workers who are responsible for the rollout of the vehicle to the ELA-3 launch site called for a strike.

  • Launch of OA-7 Cygnus mission slips to NET March 27

    Jason RhianMarch 20th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) needs a bit more time before sending Orbital ATK's S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). This is according to a March 20, 2017, announcement made by ULA on its website.

  • GRACE mission reaches 15-year mark

    Jim SharkeyMarch 20th The twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission have been collecting data about how water moves and is stored around Earth 15 years – three times longer than originally planned. GRACE, a joint effort between NASA and two German agencies, was launched on March 17, 2002.

  • Arianespace set to launch two telecom satellites in second Ariane 5 mission of 2017

    Curt GodwinMarch 20th Arianespace is gearing up to loft two communication satellites aboard its workhorse Ariane 5 rocket. Flight VA236 is set to launch from the spaceport in French Guiana in a nearly 3-hour launch window opening at 4:31 p.m. EDT (20:31 GMT) on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

  • Start-Ups at the Final Frontier: Space 2.0 Event Aims to Skyrocket NewSpace Companies to Success

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 19th NewSpace companies seeking their place in a rapidly growing and demanding commercial space market will have an unmissable opportunity in late April to reach new heights. A business event known as Space 2.0 is coming to Silicon Valley with the aim of boosting the development and growth of NewSpace start-ups.

  • CRS-10 Dragon unberthed, recovered in Pacific Ocean

    Derek RichardsonMarch 19th The 10th SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to visit the International Space Station (ISS) left the outpost on March 19, 2017, and fell back to Earth. The capsule was recovered off the coast of Baja California.

  • Japanese reconnaissance satellite set for Thursday launch atop H-IIA rocket

    Curt GodwinMarch 13th Preparations are underway at JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center for the launch of the IGS-RADAR-5 radar reconnaissance satellite. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA rocket, in the 202 configuration, is set to launch within a 2-hour window opening at 9:00 p.m. EDT March 15 (01:00 GMT March 16), 2017.

  • EchoStar 23 set for launch atop SpaceX Falcon 9 at KSC

    Derek RichardsonMarch 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX is set to launch its second Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Liftoff is targeted for the beginning of a 2.5-hour long window that opens at 1:34 a.m. EDT (05:34 GMT) March 14, 2017.

  • Atlas V technical issue delays OA-7 Cygnus flight to NET March 21

    Derek RichardsonMarch 10th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The launch of Orbital ATK’s S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft has been postponed by two days to March 21, 2017, due to a technical issue discovered on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V set to send the freighter toward the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Orbital ATK names next Cygnus after John Glenn

    Derek RichardsonMarch 10th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Orbital ATK announced it has named the next Cygnus spacecraft to be sent to the International Space Station after former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn, who died on Dec. 8, 2016, at the age of 95.

  • EchoStar 23 launch postponed to NET March 14

    Bart LeahyMarch 8th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — SpaceX’s second Falcon 9 to fly out of Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) will likely lift off no earlier than March 14, 2017. This postponement could be the result of delays with the static fire test.

  • NASA authorization bill passes Congress

    Derek RichardsonMarch 8th The first NASA authorization act in more than six years has cleared Congress and is on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 7, 2017.

  • Blue Origin to launch Eutelsat satellite on New Glenn rocket

    Jim SharkeyMarch 8th French-based satellite provider Eutelsat Communications announced on March 7, 2017, at the Satellite 2017 Convention in Washington, D.C., that it had signed a contract with Blue Origin for a launch on the New Glenn rocket, which is expected to begin flights in 2020.

  • Vega flight VV09 sends Sentinel-2B satellite to space

    Curt GodwinMarch 7th Cloudy skies posed no issue as Arianespace's Vega launch vehicle successfully delivered its Sentinel-2B payload into orbit on Flight VV09.

  • Report: ULA to layoff Vandenberg staff, potentially change name

    Jason RhianMarch 6th A recent report on Space News 360 noted that, according to an inside source, layoffs are imminent for United Launch Alliance (ULA). While news about a workforce for the company is not new (ULA stated as much in 2016), the report went on to note that the launch provider was considering changing its name.

  • Sentinel-2B satellite set for launch atop European Vega rocket

    Curt GodwinMarch 5th Arianespace, a France-based multinational commercial launch provider, is in the final stages of readying its Vega rocket to send the Sentinel-2B Earth-observation satellite into a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).

  • DigitalGlobe Acquired by MDA

    Lloyd CampbellMarch 4th DigitalGlobe, a satellite imagery company based in Westminster, Colorado, and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) – a Canadian radar, telecommunications, and imagery corporation – will merge into one company later in 2017.

  • China launches new Kaituozhe-2 rocket with Tiankun-1 satellite

    Curt GodwinMarch 3rd Just after sunrise at China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC), the China National Space Administration (CNSA) successfully flew its first Kaituozhe-2 rocket.

  • MAVEN avoids crashing into Mars’ moon Phobos

    Derek RichardsonMarch 3rd NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, spacecraft just avoided colliding with Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons. An avoidance maneuver was performed on Feb. 28, 2017, to safely alter the trajectory of the orbiter.

  • China readying Kaituozhe-2A rocket for launch with experimental payload

    Curt GodwinMarch 2nd There are indications that the China National Space Administration (CNSA) is preparing to launch its Kaituozhe-2A (KT-2A) rocket on a mission to deliver an experimental satellite into orbit. The rocket may lift off as soon as March 3, 2017.

  • Atlas V sends classified NROL-79 payload to space

    Derek RichardsonMarch 1st A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket roared out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. The NROL-79 mission lifted off at 9:50 a.m. PST (12:50 p.m. EST / 17:50 GMT) March 1, 2017, from Space Launch Complex 3E.

  • Trump: ‘American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream’

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 28th During President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress, he made a single reference to human space exploration. However, the Feb. 28, 2017, speech, which included a number of priority policy items, did not give any clue to any proposed direction the 45th U.S. president has in mind for NASA.

  • SpaceX to fly 2 people around Moon in 2018

    Derek RichardsonFebruary 27th SpaceX announced on Feb. 27, 2017, that it will be sending two people on a free-return trajectory around the Moon in late 2018 using the company’s yet-to-be-flown Crew Dragon spacecraft. The announcement came with less than 24 hours notice when NewSpace company CEO and founder tweeted about it.

  • ULA readies Atlas V for launch of NROL-79 reconnaissance satellite

    Curt GodwinFebruary 27th After enduring several delays – most recently from an issue with the second stage of its Atlas V launch vehicle – United Launch Alliance (ULA) is set to launch the classified NROL-79 mission. Liftoff is planned for Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at about 9:50 a.m. PST (12:50 p.m. EST / 17:50 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

  • Coleman Aerospace opens new facility on Space Coast

    Heather SmithFebruary 26th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — On Feb. 24, 2017, Coleman Aerospace unveiled its new Space Coast Integration & Test Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The new site was previously used by the U.S. Air Force for rocket processing.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne conducts record setting AR1 test

    Jose FloresFebruary 25th Aerojet Rocketdyne set the record for the highest chamber pressure of any United States-produced liquid oxygen and kerosene main combustion system during a Feb. 22, 2017, test at NASA's Stennis Space Center.

    The Range
  • SHERLOC could solve the mystery of life on Mars

    March 17th
    Just like Sherlock Holmes solved complicated criminal cases, a scientific instrument named SHERLOC is being prepared to investigate one of the most fundamental mysteries of the Red Planet. The tool will be one of the most important instruments of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, which is slated to study the possibility of past life on Mars.

  • OneWeb and Airbus break ground on new satellite manufacturing facility

    March 17th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Ground was broken for a new high-volume satellite manufacturing facility where OneWeb plans to produce the spacecraft at Exploration Park, located near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. While the Cape is known for rockets, this new venture will underscore Canaveral's connection to the spacecraft that fly on them.

  • U.S Air Force awards SpaceX $96.5M contract to launch GPS III satellite

    March 16th
    HAWTHORNE, Calif. — For the second time in two years, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has been awarded a contract to launch a payload for the U.S. Department of Defense. This award is a vote of confidence in SpaceX’s ongoing launch operations.

  • SpaceX’s 2018 Moon mission faces significant challenges

    March 15th
    Last month's announcement that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the Moon in late 2018 – fresh on the heels of a similar announcement from NASA – has ignited considerable debate among industry insiders, pundits, and followers of the New Space company.

  • NASA scientists will discuss Venus exploration with Russian colleagues

    March 15th
    After releasing a joint report proposing a robotic mission to Venus, American and Russian scientists will meet this week to identifying shared scientific goals for the potential project.

  • NASA conducts successful Orion parachute test

    March 14th
    NASA conducted another Orion parachute test on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, and the test vehicle performed perfectly. A C-17 aircraft lifted the Orion engineering model equipped with instrumentation to document the test, to a height of 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) before releasing it for its controlled descent.

  • Lost Moon orbiter found using new radar technique

    March 14th
    NASA has spotted a lost spacecraft orbiting the Moon as well as its own Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter thanks to a newly developed radar technique.

  • JAXA’s H-IIA with IGS Radar 5 delayed by 1 day

    March 14th
    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has delayed the launch of its H-IIA rocket with the Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) Radar 5 reconnaissance satellite by one day due to weather. Liftoff is now targeted for 9:20 p.m. EDT March 16 (01:20 GMT March 17), 2017.

  • Orion update: progress and setbacks in February 2017

    March 13th
    NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Hensel Phelps Construction Co. successfully completed the modifications to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in early February, making room for the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

  • Traffic Jam: Space Coast could see 3 launches in 8 days

    March 12th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Three different rockets are expected to take to the skies from the Space Coast in as little as eight days. March 2017 is expected to be a busy month in a year that could see as many as 30 rockets lift off from one of the busiest spaceports in the world.

  • NASA’s Jupiter moon mission named ‘Europa Clipper’

    March 12th
    NASA announced on Thursday, March 9, that the space agency's upcoming mission to study the habitability of Jupiter's frozen moon Europa will be named the "Europa Clipper". The name harkens back to the wooden clipper ships that sailed Earth's oceans in the 19th century.

  • Launch of WGS-9 moves to NET March 17

    March 11th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance announced Saturday, March 11, that the Delta IV Medium+ (5,4) rocket carrying the ninth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite would lift off no earlier than March 17. The reason provided was Eastern Range availability.

  • NASA’s Kepler provides new data on TRAPPIST-1

    March 11th
    Last month, researchers announced that TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star approximately 40 light-years from Earth, hosts seven planets that are probably rocky, including three in the habitable zone. On Wednesday, March 8, NASA released new data from Kepler's investigations of the dwarf star to the scientific community.

  • Falcon 9 for Echostar 23 conducts static fire test

    March 10th
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — On March 9, 2017, SpaceX successfully conducted a static fire test of the Hawthorne, California-based company's "Full Thrust" Falcon 9 rocket. This is the final milestone in advance of a planned launch set to take place Tuesday, March 14.

  • Ceres’ bright spots significantly younger than crater they inhabit

    March 9th
    Researchers who studied images of Ceres' Occator Crater captured by the Dawn spacecraft's scientific imaging system have determined that its bright spots, composed largely of carbonate salts, are significantly younger than the crater in which they sit.