Spaceflight Insider

  • GALLERY: Roscosmos Soyuz-FG rocket carries Expedition 56 trio to International Space Station

    Sean CostelloJune 6th 'Poyekhali!' SpaceFlight Insider was at the Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan to cover the flight of three Expedition 56 crew members to the International Space Station. Here are some of the images captured of the events leading up to - and of the launch.

  • Soyuz MS-09 on its way to ISS after textbook launch

    Derek RichardsonJune 6th BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — Three space flyers are on their way to the International Space Station after launching to orbit inside their Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft atop a Soyuz-FG rocket. Liftoff took place at 4:12 p.m. local time (7:12 a.m. EDT / 11:12 GMT) June 6, 2018.

  • Long March 3A lifts off with Fengyun 2H weather satellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 5th A Long March 3A booster was launched June 5, 2018, by China to deliver the Fengyun 2H meteorological spacecraft into space. The rocket lifted off the pad at 9:07 a.m. EDT (13:07 GMT) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center situated in the country's Sichuan Province.

  • Soyuz MS-09 rolled to Baikonur launch pad for Wednesday flight

    Derek RichardsonJune 5th BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — A Russian Soyuz-FG rocket with the encapsulated Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft sits at Pad 1/5 and is set to launch three new crew members bound for the International Space Station to join Expedition 56.

  • ExoMars rover will search for evidence of life on Mars

    Jim SharkeyJune 4th Could the Red Planet be a bastion for life (either now or in the past)? ESA and NASA are preparing to send a mission to find out.

  • Elon Musk: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service meets key performance metric

    Curt GodwinJune 4th While casual followers of Elon Musk's ventures may only know of his foray into electric vehicles and space launch services, the CEO of SpaceX also has his eyes set on being a major player in providing worldwide broadband internet services via a constellation of orbiting satellites.

  • SES-12 flies to orbit in early morning SpaceX launch

    Jim SiegelJune 4th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX carried out yet another successful launch, but it didn't retrieve the rocket's first stage, nor did it use the Block 5 version of the launch vehicle. The NewSpace company did, however, work to recover one element of the booster.

  • Long March 2D launches Gaofen 6 and Luojia 1 to orbit

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 3rd A Long March 2D booster took to the skies on Saturday, June 2, to deliver the Gaofen 6 Earth-observing satellite and Luojia 1 CubeSat into space.

  • Soyuz MS-07 crew back on Earth after 168 days in orbit.

    Derek RichardsonJune 3rd Three members of the International Space Station's Expedition 54/55 crew returned to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft after having spent 168 days in orbit performing hundreds of science experiments and upgrading equipment outside the outpost.

  • Pluto’s surface may have dunes of methane ice

    Laurel KornfeldJune 2nd A new study of Pluto surface images captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft suggests the dwarf planet has dunes likely composed of methane ice.

  • Dawn will enter lowest ever orbit around Ceres

    Laurel KornfeldJune 2nd NASA's Dawn spacecraft has begun maneuvers that should bring it to its lowest and final orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres.

  • Contact lost with China’s DSLWP-A1 lunar microsatellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 1st China has apparently lost contact with one of its two lunar radio astronomy microsatellites sent into space last week together with a communications relay spacecraft for Chang’e 4 lunar mission.

  • Hubble, Galileo data provide more evidence of plumes over Europa

    Bart LeahyMay 15th After reviewing data from a previous mission to the Jovian system, scientists found evidence of a plume erupting from Jupiter's moon Europa, which NASA said indicates that the moon's subsurface ocean may indeed be venting water vapor through cracks in its icy surface.

  • Block 5 Falcon 9 roars spaceward with Bangabandhu-1 satellite

    Derek RichardsonMay 11th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In the sunny afternoon skies of Florida, SpaceX launched what it calls the final major upgrade of its Falcon 9—the Block 5. The rocket’s mission was to send the Bangabandhu-1 geostationary communications satellite into orbit for the country of Bangladesh.

  • SFI Live: Launch of Bangabandhu-1 on SpaceX’s Block 5 Falcon 9

    Derek RichardsonMay 11th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceX is set to launch the Block 5 version of its Falcon 9 rocket today, May 11, 2018. Join Jim Siegel as he hosts SpaceFlight Insider's LIVE COVERAGE webcast leading up to the launch window, which opens at 4:14 p.m. EDT (20:14 GMT). This is the company's second attempt to get the vehicle off the ground and into space.

  • As SLS’s Block 1 design matures, its capabilities come into clearer focus

    Curt GodwinMay 10th The Block 1 version of NASA's Space Launch System - could make more than one flight and be used for some big missions on the agency's manifest.

  • Block 5 Falcon 9 debut launch set for May 10

    Derek RichardsonMay 9th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After a successful static fire test last week, SpaceX has set May 10, 2018, for the first flight of the Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket. The booster is scheduled to send the Bangabandhu-1 geostationary communications satellite into orbit.

  • Long March 4C orbits Gaofen 5 high-resolution Earth-observing satellite

    Tomasz NowakowskiMay 9th One of China’s Long March 4C boosters took to the skies on Tuesday, May 8 to orbit Gaofen 5 - the country’s newest high-resolution Earth-observation satellite.

  • Hundreds strike over contract dispute with ULA

    Christopher PaulMay 8th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union employed by United Launch Alliance (ULA) voted to strike after rejecting a contract offer presented by the launch service provider.

  • Strained Mars data relay capabilities possible in 2020s

    Paul KnightlyMay 7th As its current fleet of Mars-orbiting spacecraft age with no new NASA orbiter under development, SpaceFlight Insider investigated the options available to maintain data relay capabilities with spacecraft on the surface into the 2020s.

  • SBIRS GEO Flight-4 beams back first images

    Jason RhianMay 6th The first images from the fourth of the United States Air Force's Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) have been sent back to the ground in what has been dubbed “first light" - marking a milestone for the most-recently launched SBIRS spacecraft.

  • CRS-14 Dragon returns experiments, hardware to Earth

    Derek RichardsonMay 5th Wrapping up a one-month stay at the International Space Station, SpaceX’s CRS-14 Dragon cargo ship returned to Earth with several thousand pounds of equipment for repair and experiments for further analysis.

  • Marsbound!: NASA InSight lander launches toward Red Planet

    Jim SharkeyMay 5th LOMPOC, Calif. — Initially flying through early-morning fog, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air force Base's Space Launch Complex 3 to send NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander on a six-month journey to Mars.

  • Block 5 Falcon 9 rolled to launch pad for static fire test

    Derek RichardsonMay 4th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first Block 5 variant of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has been rolled up the ramp at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in preparation for a static fire test as part of the launch campaign for the Bangabandhu-1 mission.

  • NASA’s InSight Mars spacecraft ready for launch

    Jim SharkeyMay 3rd LOMPOC, Calif. — NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are set to fly the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) Mars lander atop an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base to begin a 6.5-month journey to the Red Planet.

  • It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s a payload fairing?

    Curt GodwinMay 3rd SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has made it no secret that his goal is to reuse as much of a launch vehicle as possible in order to drastically reduce the cost of spaceflight. While the company has been recovering and reusing Falcon 9 first stages, recovering rocket's upstream components has been a more-challenging problem.

  • BepiColombo spacecraft arrives at Kourou launch site

    Christopher PaulMay 2nd Europe’s first mission to Mercury is making the first steps on its long journey. The three spacecraft that make up BepiColombo mission are being shipped from their assembly facility to the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana.

  • SpaceX building BFR at Port of Los Angeles

    Joe LatrellMay 1st The location where SpaceX intends to build its next rocket, code-named Big Falcon Rocket or BFR, has been revealed. On April 19, 2018, the Los Angeles board of harbor commissioners unanimously approved the Hawthorne, California-based company's use of the Port of Los Angeles for building the super-heavy-lift vehicle.

  • Block 1 SLS configuration may fly more than once

    Curt GodwinApril 30th During a hearing with the House Subcommittee on Space on March 7, 2018, NASA's then-acting administrator said that, should NASA have a second Mobile Launcher, the agency's Space Launch System may fly several times in the Block 1 form before the infrastructure is ready for the more-powerful Block 1B configuration.

  • Barn to barn: Blue Origin capsule reaches space on 8th New Shepard test

    Bart LeahyApril 29th After several delays, Blue Origin launched its eighth successful New Shepard suborbital rocket with 'passenger payloads' aboard. This flight was the second for this particular booster and capsule.

  • Mars 2020 rover heat shield fracture discovered

    Jason RhianApril 29th The heat shield planned to be used for NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission developed a fracture during structural testing, a post-test inspection showed. NASA said this issue should not impact the mission's launch readiness date of July 17, 2020.

  • Twin MarCO CubeSats launching alongside NASA’s InSight Mars mission

    Jim SharkeyApril 28th When the InSight Mars mission launches atop an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, two mini-satellites will be riding on the same rocket. The twin spacecraft, called Mars Cube One (MarCO), are the first NASA CubeSats designed to operate in deep space.

    The Range
  • 3 CubeSats flying with OA-9 Cygnus spacecraft

    May 22nd
    WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — The launch of the OA-9 Cygnus resupply mission to the ISS carried with it supplies and experiments. Also riding with the freighter are 15 CubeSats to be deployed by the outpost's astronauts. These micro-satellites include a trio designed to greatly-enhance different areas of Earth observation.

  • Long March 4C sends Chang’e 4 relay satellite toward Moon

    May 21st
    Using a Long March 4C rocket, China launched the first spacecraft of its Chang’e 4 lunar mission along with two smaller satellites. The booster lifted off at 5:28 p.m. EDT (21:28 GMT) May 20, 2018, from Launch Complex 3 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the country's Sichuan Province.

  • ULA, machinists workers union agree on new contract

    May 20th
    The dispute between United Launch Alliance (ULA) and employees that are members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has ended as of Saturday, May 19, 2018.

  • Neil Armstrong’s Dyna-Soar abort training aircraft being restored for Moon landing anniversary

    May 20th
    A piece of Neil Armstrong's pre-astronaut space history is being restored in preparation for next July's 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

  • First spacecraft for China’s Chang’e 4 lunar mission launching Sunday

    May 19th
    China's Queqiao communications relay satellite is undergoing final preparations before launch. It is the first spacecraft of the country's ambitious Chang'e 4 mission, which will culminate in the first spacecraft to soft-land on the far side of the moon in late 2018.

  • Research teams receive NASA grants to study life in the cosmos

    May 18th
    Three interdisciplinary research teams have each been awarded $8 million in NASA grant funding to conduct five-year studies on various aspects of life in the universe.

  • Fly the (red) skies: Helicopter to fly on NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission

    May 16th
    In over five decades of robotic exploration, NASA has sent  orbiters, landers, rovers and even Cubesats to Mars. The space agency announced on Friday, May 11, 2018 that their next robotic mission to the Red Planet will carry a helicopter. The Mars Helicopter, a small autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, […]

  • ULA’s Vulcan rocket upper stage to use RL10 engine

    May 15th
    United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced it has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne's RL10 engine to power the Centaur upper stage of the Vulcan rocket, which is currently in development.

  • GALLERY: SpaceX launches Bangabandhu-1 atop Block 5 Falcon 9

    May 13th

  • Long March 3B rocket booster crashes to Earth near Chinese town

    May 13th
    One of the Long March 3B rocket’s four liquid boosters crashed to Earth near houses in Heba Town in southwest China’s Guizhou Province after successfully sending the ApStar-6C communications satellite into space.

  • NASA awards Venture Class contracts to Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit

    May 12th
    NASA has awarded launch contracts to two launch providers, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit, whose rockets carry smaller payloads than the traditional workhorse rockets used to orbit uncrewed spacecraft and satellites.

  • NASA satellite spots Kilauea fissures

    May 11th
    The May 3, 2018, eruption of Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii created a number of gas-spewing and lava-oozing fissures in the volcano's East Rift Zone. Lava flows and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas prompted evacuations in the area, including the Leilani Estates subdivision near the town of Pahoa.

  • IAM strikers protest outside of KSC’s South Gate

    May 10th
    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) have begun picketing United Launch Alliance (ULA) practices in Cape Canaveral, Florida; Decatur, Alabama; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

  • Lunar XPRIZE competition continuing without cash reward

    May 10th
    The Lunar XPRIZE, a competition among various teams to land a robot on the Moon, is proceeding even though Google is no longer sponsoring the project. As of April 5, 2018, it is operating as a non-cash competition.

  • Chasing New Horizons: An epic exploration to a strange new world

    May 9th
    Close to three years after the historic New Horizons Pluto flyby wowed the world, mission principal investigator Alan Stern and astrobiologist and mission science team member David Grinspoon tell the riveting story of a monumental exploration 26 years in the making in their new book Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto.