Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: David Darling

Dr. David Darling is an astronomer and author of numerous books, including We Are Not Alone, Megacatastrophes, The Complete Book of Spaceflight, and his latest, The Rocket Man. His website, The Worlds of David Darling, is one of the largest and most visited science resources on the Internet. Darling is a renaissance man, he is a musician, noted author and journalist and serves as our science writer. Darling provides The Spaceflight Group with articles detailing what he knows best - space exploration.

Articles By David Darling

  • Expedition 39 crew launches to ISS atop Soyuz-FG

    March 25th, 2014

    The remaining Expedition 39 crew members, bound for the International Space Station (ISS), launched successfully today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome located in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz FG rocket. The crew was comprised of Alexander Skvortsov, Oleg Artemyev, along with NASA astronaut Steve R. Swanson. Liftoff of the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft took place at the very opening of the launch […]

  • Expedition 39 crew prepares to depart atop Russian Soyuz

    March 24th, 2014

    The second half of the Expedition 39 crew bound for the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled to launch tomorrow, March 25, 2014 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome located in Kazakhstan. Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev, together with NASA astronaut Steve R. Swanson, will travel up to the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-12M. This will mark the 121st […]

  • Astronaut William R. Pogue (1930-2014)

    March 4th, 2014

    Veteran astronaut Bill Pogue, who served on the final Skylab mission and as a support crewmember for several Apollo missions, has passed away, he was 84. After retiring from NASA, he became a successful educator, author, aerospace consultant, and public speaker.

  • Mission to Mars: the human problem (part 2)

    December 21st, 2013

    The closest Mars ever gets to Earth is more than 100 times the distance between the Earth-Moon distance (about 250,000 miles), so crewed trips to and from the Red Planet involve far more than mere extensions of Apollo-type missions. The closest approximations are long-term stays aboard space stations but even these can hardly prepare astronauts […]

  • ESA’s Gaia space observatory takes to the sky

    December 19th, 2013

    A spacecraft that promises to revolutionize our understanding of the galaxy in which we live has been successfully launched. The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission blasted off from the Guiana Space Center at 09:12:19 GMT (4:12:19 a.m. EST) atop a Soyuz/Fregat rocket and booster.

  • ESA’s Billion-star mapper Gaia prepares for launch

    December 18th, 2013

    The European Space Agency’s (ESA) long-awaited Gaia observatory is set to be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana by a Soyuz ST-B rocket with a Fregat-MT upper stage Dec. 19 at 09:12:19 UTC . The main goal of the mission is to build up a precise 3D catalog of about one billion stars and other […]

  • Mission To Mars: The human problem (part 1)

    December 14th, 2013

    Human beings are fragile creatures with enough health issues to worry about just living on the planet where they originated from. Confine them in a spacecraft for a mission to the surface of Mars and back, and new problems arise some which are potentially life-threatening.

  • Chinese rover set to become the sixth lunar roving vehicle

    December 10th, 2013

    Having successfully entered a 62-mile-high orbit around the Moon on December 6 (Beijing time), China’s Chang’e 3 spacecraft is being prepared for a lunar landing attempt currently scheduled for Dec. 15. Once on the ground, the spacecraft will release a rover, called Yutu, which, if everything goes according to plan, will become the third robotic […]

  • NASA’s commercial link-up to crowdsource asteroid threat

    December 4th, 2013

    In a move that can be seen as both a smart collaboration and a sign of its financial woes, NASA has signed an agreement with US company Planetary Resources, based in Bellevue, Washington, to employ crowdsourcing as a way of finding previously unknown near-Earth objects (NEOs). The partnership – a Space Act Agreement similar to […]

  • Soviet Cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov remembered (1944-2013)

    November 13th, 2013

    On November 12, 2013, veteran Soviet-era cosmonaut Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Serebrov passed away – he was 69. Serebrov flew on four Soyuz missions between 1982 and 1993. These include Soyuz T-8, Soyuz TM-8, Soyuz T-7, and Soyuz  TM-17.

  • GOCE mission ends in a fiery blaze

    November 12th, 2013

    GOCE is no more, The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer plunged into the Earth’s atmosphere early on Monday, November 11, on an anticipated but uncontrolled re-entry.

  • Kepler data suggests the galaxy is teeming with Earthlike planets

    November 6th, 2013

    NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope may be dead but the observations it amassed over four years are continuing to revolutionize astronomy. The latest astounding results are being unveiled at the second Kepler Science Conference, being held at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., November 4-8. They include the prediction that the galaxy in which […]

  • India’s Mars Orbiter Mission to the Red Planet begins with successful launch

    November 5th, 2013

    The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was thrust loudly through the first leg of its journey to the Red Planet today at 14:38 IST (4:08 a.m. EST). This is India’s first mission to Mars. The 482.5 kg (1,064 lb) spacecraft, plus 852 kg (1,878 lb) of onboard propellant and oxidizer, was lofted from the Satish Dhawan Space Center […]

  • Dream Chaser’s first free flight ends with failure

    October 26th, 2013

    An engineering test article or “ETA” of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spaceplane, after, according to, conducting a “perfect” free flight which began at 9:45 a.m. PDT, encountered a mechanical failure during landing. The test article flipped over on landing. It is unclear what impact this will have on the remaining tests that […]

  • What Happened to Nuclear Rockets?

    October 9th, 2013

    While the Apollo Project was taking all the limelight in the ‘sixties, scientists and engineers at Los Alamos Scientific (now National) Laboratory, New Mexico, were working on a way to send humans rapidly to Mars and beyond. They were building and testing nuclear thermal rockets – propulsion systems that, when fully developed, could send manned […]