Spaceflight Insider

  • Want your own spacesuit? We know a guy…

    Jason RhianJuly 15th We've all been there: watching the astronauts get suited up for their missions beyond our world and come walking out of Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building (M7-355 O&C) decked out in their flight suits – and wishing it was us. While boarding a spacecraft bound for the black sky is not in the offing anytime soon, one man is working to at least provide you with the appropriate apparel.

  • Curiosity eyes new ridge in exploration of the Red Planet

    Ocean McIntyreJuly 15th After nearly five years of its exploration of the Red Planet, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, more commonly known as the Curiosity rover, will begin its long-awaited study of a tantalizing ridge formation along a slope of Mount Sharp in the center of Gale Crater.

  • Super Guppy transports SLS test hardware from Marshall

    Scott JohnsonJuly 14th HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA's Super Guppy aircraft made an appearance in Huntsville earlier this week at the Redstone Arsenal airfield, adjacent to the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The aircraft was in town to retrieve the MSFC-manufactured Space Launch System Orion Stage Adapter structural test article and transport the hardware to Lockheed Martin's facilities in Colorado.

  • Moon Express announces trio of expeditions to the Moon

    Curt GodwinJuly 14th On July 12, 2017, NewSpace company Moon Express announced plans for a trio of missions to the Moon, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for late in 2017 – potentially making them the first commercial company to reach Earth's natural satellite.

  • Soyuz-2.1a to launch assortment of satellite cargo

    Jerome StrachJuly 13th A Russian-built Soyuz-2.1a rocket will launch from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday, July 14, 2017, at 09:36 MSK time (06:36 GMT / 2:36 a.m. EDT). Its primary mission will be an orbiting spacecraft, known as Kanopus-V-IK, with built-in remote sensing and imaging, along with a cluster of 72 miniature satellites referred to as CubeSats.

  • Webb telescope to spend summer chilling in Houston

    Jim SharkeyJuly 13th While Houston, Texas, may be sweltering in 95-degree Fahrenheit (35 °C) heat this week, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will soon be chilling in a vibration-insolation "hammock", hanging from the ceiling of Chamber A – an enormous thermal vacuum testing facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

  • Juno completes historic flyby over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

    Laurel KornfeldJuly 12th NASA's Juno spacecraft successfully completed the first ever close flyby of the mysterious storm on Jupiter known as the Great Red Spot, and early images of the phenomenon are already being returned to Earth.

  • Webb project scientist speaks at NSCFC luncheon

    Michael McCabeJuly 12th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — On Tuesday, July 11, the National Space Club Florida Committee held its monthly luncheon at the Radisson Resort in Port Canaveral. Each month members of the group meet and invite a keynote invitee to showcase a certain aspect or particular project in the aerospace industry.

  • Multiple fatalities prompt Roscosmos to step up safety measures

    Curt GodwinJuly 11th The death of two workers following the June 14, 2017, launch of a Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress MS-06 resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station has prompted Roscosmos officials to step up safety efforts.

  • Creating trends in space: An interview with NanoRacks CEO Jeffrey Manber

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 10th Founded in 2009, the Houston, Texas-based company NanoRacks LLC provides commercial hardware and services on board the International Space Station (ISS) for government and commercial customers. In an interview with Astrowatch.net, Jeffrey Manber, the founder and CEO of NanoRacks, talks about the company’s future and past achievements.

  • Gallery: Falcon 9 sends Intelsat 35e skyward

    Derek RichardsonJuly 9th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — On July 5, 2017, SpaceX sent its 10th Falcon 9 into space in 2017. The Intelsat 35e launch was also the third launch in only 12 days for the NewSpace company. Even though the pace of launches for SpaceX and the Space Coast has been increasing, SpaceFlight Insider has been there to provide the best possible coverage of each event.

  • Advanced Electric Propulsion System successfully tested at NASA’s Glenn Research Center

    Jason RhianJuly 8th A new propulsion system, funded by the Space Technology Mission Directorate, underwent a series of tests at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio. The tests were conducted on a Power Processing Unit, or "PPU", for an Advanced Electric Propulsion System that is hoped could be used on either NASA's deep space missions or by the space agency's commercial partners.

  • CSA announces new astronaut candidates

    Sean CostelloJuly 1st OTTAWA, Quebec — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced big news on the 150th anniversary of the nation's Confederation: the next astronaut candidates that the space agency would prepare for trips beyond Earth's atmosphere. The announcement was made by Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on Parliament Hill, the nation's capital, during the Canada Day festivities.

  • ULA wins competitive contract award for USAF’s STP-3 mission

    Jason RhianJuly 1st Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) has been awarded a contract to send the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission to orbit on behalf of the United States Air Force. The announcement was made via a release on Thursday, June 29.

  • Raytheon continues support for astronaut training at NBL

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 30th NASA has awarded Raytheon Company a new contract to continue mission support at the agency’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) in Houston, Texas. The new $154-million contract allows the company to provide technical and engineering support at the facility for the next seven years.

  • Falcon 9 for Intelsat 35e tested; flown boosters return to ports

    Derek RichardsonJune 29th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Hot off the heels of its weekend launch doubleheader, SpaceX performed a static fire test for another Falcon 9 rocket. Just three days from now, the rocket will deliver the Intelsat 35e telecommunications satellite into space.

  • Arianespace closes the first half of 2017 with launch of Flight VA238

    Curt GodwinJune 28th After a minor technical glitch interrupted the countdown for five minutes, Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket, Flight VA238, left the pad at the Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 5:15 p.m. EDT (21:15 GMT) on June 28, 2017, to deploy two satellites – Hellas Sat 3 / Inmarsat S EAN and GSAT-17 – into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).

  • NASA’s TDRS-M satellite makes big entrance in Florida

    Bart LeahyJune 28th A massive U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft delivered NASA’s latest Tracking and Data Relay System (TDRS) satellite to the Space Coast Regional Airport on June 23, 2017. The spacecraft is slated to launch atop an Atlas V 401 rocket within a 30-minute window opening at 9:02 a.m. EDT (13:02 GMT) on August 3.

  • SpaceFlight Insider has joined Patreon!

    SpaceFlight InsiderJune 27th SpaceFlight Insider is proud to announce it has joined Patreon, a crowdfunding website that is a simple way for our loyal audience to contribute every month to our coverage of the space industry and get exclusive rewards in return!

  • Arianespace to close out June with Flight VA238 launch of two satellites

    Curt GodwinJune 26th Final preparations are underway for the launch of two satellites aboard Arianespace's workhorse Ariane 5 rocket for delivery to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). The launch is scheduled for Wednesday, June 28, 2017, during a 77-minute window opening at 4:59 p.m. EDT (20:59 GMT).

  • 2 launches, 2 landings, 2 days: Falcon 9 sends Iridium-2 satellites into space

    Derek RichardsonJune 25th VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — SpaceX launched, and landed, its second Falcon 9 in as many days when it sent 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into space. The mission, designated Iridium-2, launched at 1:25 p.m. PDT (4:25 p.m. EDT / 20:25 GMT) on June 25, 2017, from Space Launch Complex 4E (east).

  • Launch of BulgariaSat-1 kicks off busy weekend for SpaceX

    Jason RhianJune 23rd CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Perhaps the best word to use to describe the launch tempo for Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) would be: relentless. With a mission launching about every two or three weeks from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, the flight of the Bulgariasat-1 mission on Friday, June 23, only served to underscore that theme.

  • Russia launches covert payload on rare Soyuz variant

    Curt GodwinJune 23rd A rare Soyuz-2-1v rocket lifted off from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome to deliver a covert payload to a highly inclined polar orbit. The rocket departed at 2:04 p.m. EDT (18:04 GMT) on June 23, 2017, from Plesetsk's Site 43, and was only the third flight of this uncommon launch vehicle.

  • SFI Live: Launch of Bulgariasat-1 on SpaceX Falcon 9

    Jason RhianJune 23rd KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- SpaceX is set to launch Bulgaria's first satellite atop one of their Falcon 9 rockets from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Bulgarisat-1 is poised to liftoff at 2:10 p.m. EDT (18:10 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A. SpaceFlight Insider's exclusive live webcast will begin at 12:45 p.m. EDT (16:45 GMT).

  • India launches Cartosat-2E, 30 small satellites atop 40th PSLV rocket

    Derek RichardsonJune 23rd Lifting off just before midnight EDT (03:59 GMT) June 23, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket sent CartoSat-2E and 30 smaller satellites into space. The 40th launch of the PSLV placed all the spacecraft in a polar orbit some 300 miles (500 kilometers) in altitude.

  • SpaceX to launch, land 2 Falcon 9 rockets just days apart

    Lloyd CampbellJune 21st Due to an adjustment in its mission manifest, SpaceX will attempt to fly two Falcon 9 rockets a little more than 50 hours apart – from opposite sides of the United States. Using two different launch teams, it would set a new record for successive launches by the company.

  • Kepler discovers 10 Earth-like exoplanets from 219 planet candidates

    Laurel KornfeldJune 21st NASA's Kepler mission has released the most extensive list of exoplanet findings: a total of 219 planet candidates, of which ten are Earth-like and occupy their stars' habitable zones – where temperatures allow liquid water to exist on the surface.

  • Comedian Bill Dana, creator of ‘José Jiménez,’ dead at 92

    Bart LeahyJune 20th Comedian and comedy writer Bill Dana, who became famous through his “José Jiménez” character in the 1950s and 1960s, died June 15 at the age of 92. The Jiménez character, a stereotyped cowardly astronaut, was a favorite performer with television audiences and with the “Original Seven” Mercury astronauts.

  • Long March 3B/E launches Zhongxing-9A satellite, fate uncertain

    Curt GodwinJune 19th A Chinese Long March 3B/E rocket lifted off at 12:12 EDT (16:12 GMT), June 18, 2017, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China to deliver the Zhongxing-9A indigenous television satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). However, according to a belated official announcement, the satellite has failed to reach its designated orbit.

  • Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 with Bulgariasat-1 delayed to NET Friday, June 23

    Jason RhianJune 18th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The launch of Bulgaria's first satellite has been delayed to no-earlier-than Friday, June 23, due to the need by SpaceX to replace a fairing valve on the rocket. The mission was set to launch on June 19 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

  • SpaceX to loft first Bulgarian geostationary satellite

    Derek RichardsonJune 18th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — When SpaceX launches its second “flight-proven” Falcon 9 rocket, it will be sending Bulgaria’s first geostationary communications satellite into space. Liftoff is currently slated for the beginning of a two-hour launch window opening at 2:10 p.m. EDT (18:10 GMT) on June 19 from Launch Complex 39A.

  • Long March 3B to launch Zhongxing-9A television satellite

    Curt GodwinJune 17th China is preparing to launch the Zhongxing-9A direct-to-home (DTH) television service satellite aboard the country's Long March 3B/E carrier rocket. Although news from the country's tight-lipped space agency is difficult to come by, information from the GBTimes indicates the launch may occur as soon as June 18, 2017, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

    The Range
  • NASA scientists designing Martian dust filter

    July 7th
    One of the challenges that astronauts will face on Mars is the presence of the fine Martian dust. Not only can the dust get into equipment and cause damage, but also it is extremely toxic with perchlorates.

  • Made In Space: 3-D printing to revolutionize space construction

    July 5th
    Made In Space, Inc., the startup company out of Singularity University which, on Sept. 23, 2014, supplied the first 3-D printer to the International Space Station (ISS), has developed a program that it hopes will revolutionize construction in space, called the Archinaut Development Program.

  • Problems aside, NASA moves toward SLS structural testing at Marshall

    July 5th
    Moving beyond a site selection controversy and production problems that caused headlines in May, NASA is working to complete a Space Launch System (SLS) structural test article at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in Louisiana.

  • SpaceX acquires 2 more acres at Port Canaveral

    July 4th
    PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Last week, the Canaveral Port Authority authorized the leasing and development of an additional 2.17 acres (8,780 square meters) to expand SpaceX’s current property along Highway 401 and Payne Way. The company currently has property through a long-term lease option in Port Canaveral.

  • New driving algorithm helps protect Curiosity rover’s wheels

    July 4th
    The six wheels of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover have experienced considerable wear and tear since the one-ton rover landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. However, a new algorithm is helping the rover drive more carefully over rocks on the Martian surface to reduce wheel wear.

  • ESA and NASA to collaborate on mission to detect gravitational waves

    July 1st
    The European Space Agency (ESA) is partnering with NASA on a new space mission that will study gravitational waves from space. Known as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or LISA, the project was approved by ESA's Cosmic Vision science program on June 20. Both space agencies will now work together to design the mission and outline a budget for it prior to construction.

  • Space sector stable but still dwarfed by the aviation sector: AIA Vice President

    June 30th
    The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), a trade association representing leading aerospace and defense (A&D) companies in the U.S., has recently published its report entitled “2017 Facts & Figures”, which reveals key numbers about A&D industry’s economic impact. Among other things, the summary highlights the condition of the space systems sector as part of the A&D industry.

  • NASA sounding rocket releases artificial clouds above mid-Atlantic

    June 29th
    On Thursday, June 29, after numerous delays, the early morning skies along the mid-Atlantic coast came alive with luminescent clouds as NASA checked out a new deployment system that supports science studies of the ionosphere and aurora.

  • CHESS mission measures light filtered through interstellar medium

    June 29th
    In New Mexico, from the White Sands Missile Range, NASA launched a Black Brant IX sounding rocket at 1:10 a.m. EDT on June 27, 2017. The mission known as CHESS – Colorado High-Resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph – has given every indication to NASA mission handlers that the flight appeared very promising with science data being received as anticipated.

  • NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover on walkabout near crater rim

    June 28th
    NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is investigating rocks near the rim of Endeavour Crater for signs that they were either transported by a flood or eroded in place by the Martian wind. These are two of several possible explanations for features observed the crater rim's crest above "Perseverance Valley", which is carved into the inner slope of the crater's rim.

  • Could a dedicated mission to Enceladus detect microbial life there?

    June 27th
    Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus is best known for its numerous geysers ejecting plumes of water and ice. These eruptive fountains are perplexing researchers searching for signs of microbial life beyond Earth. A dedicated spacecraft designated to study the plume-like features sprouting from Enceladus could definitely tell us whether they contain alien microorganisms.

  • Minotaur IV launch postponed 6 weeks

    June 25th
    A Minotaur IV rocket scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in mid-July has been delayed to late August, according to the U.S. Air Force. The entirely solid-fueled Minotaur IV was scheduled to fly out of Launch Complex 46 at CCAFS in mid-July.

  • New Horizons scientists study KBO by observing star occultation

    June 23rd
    A total of 54 New Horizons observation teams successfully obtained crucial data about the spacecraft's second target, 2014 MU69, when the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) occulted (or passed in front of) a star on the night of June 2–3.

  • U.S. astronauts may continue to launch aboard Soyuz into 2020

    June 23rd
    According to a report from the Russian news agency TASS, not only will U.S. astronauts launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in a Soyuz spacecraft through 2019, but also there is a strong possibility that Boeing will engage their Russian counterpart to continue the service through 2020.

  • Boeing reorganizing for more agile performance

    June 22nd
    Boeing is looking to make its operations leaner and more competitive by breaking up its Defense, Space & Security (BDS) unit into smaller business units reporting directly to BDS CEO Leanne Caret.