Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Jim Sharkey

Jim Sharkey is a lab assistant, writer and general science enthusiast who grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the hometown of Skylab and Shuttle astronaut Owen K. Garriott. As a young Star Trek fan he participated in the letter-writing campaign which resulted in the space shuttle prototype being named Enterprise. While his academic studies have ranged from psychology and archaeology to biology, he has never lost his passion for space exploration. Jim began blogging about science, science fiction and futurism in 2004. Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landing and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.

Articles By Jim Sharkey

  • Installation of MEDLI2 on Mars 2020 entry vehicle begins

    August 5th, 2019

    Entry, landing and decent (EDL) is one of the most challenging phases of any Mars mission. Engineers recently began installing hardware on the entry vehicle of NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission that will help increase the safety of future missions to the Red Planet.

  • Here’s looking at Euclid: NASA provides crucial parts for ESA dark energy mission

    July 31st, 2019

    Dark energy and dark matter are two of the biggest mysteries facing modern astronomy. Scheduled to launch in 2022, the European Space Agency's Euclid spacecraft has been designed investigate these invisible phenomena that scientist think make up a majority of our universe. A team of NASA engineers recently delivered crucial components for one on the spacecraft's science instruments.

  • Mars 2020 rover makes ‘pit stop’ at JPL

    July 19th, 2019

    The launch window for NASA's Mars 2020 rover opens in just under a year, and engineers at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have been hard at work assembling the vehicle in the clean room of JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility. As one might imagine getting a vehicle prepped for such a massive undertaking - is a group effort.

  • New technique can spot failing bridges from orbit

    July 13th, 2019

    Bridges are a critical but vulnerable component of transportation infrastructure. Age, structural damage or design flaws can result in a bridge collapse. A group of researchers, led by  Pietro Milillo, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), have developed a new technique to examine bridges for sign of decay using satellite data. The team's study was recently published in the journal Remote Sensing.

  • Mars 2020 rover get rock-zapping SuperCam

    July 4th, 2019

    With its scheduled launch date just over a year away, work on NASA's Mars 2020 rover continues apace. In recent weeks, the rover has received MastCam-Z, its legs and wheels and its main robotic arm. and now one of the "big guns" of its scientific suite has been added to the rover.

  • NASA’s 2020 Mars rover gets 7-foot-long robot arm

    July 1st, 2019

    Engineers working in High Bay clean room 1 of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) recently added a vital component to the space agency's Mars 2020 rover. On June 21, the team installed the rover's main robotic arm.

  • NASA’s Mars 2020 rover gets its legs and wheels

    June 26th, 2019

    In early June, a public webcam was installed in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and lately there has been a lot of activity to watch.  In recent weeks, engineers have been busy assembling the Mars 2020 rover in preparation for its scheduled launch in July 2020. On June 13, 2019, the team installed one of the rover's most critical pieces of hardware.

  • NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope mission nears end

    June 17th, 2019

    While criticism of NASA's efforts frequently focuses on cost overruns or delays, what is sometimes missed is that many missions have far exceeded how long program managers had believed they would be operating. The Spitzer Space Telescope is one such mission, but like all good things, it too is nearing the end.

  • Michigan company helping NASA speed up SLS development

    June 8th, 2019

    As NASA works to meet its goal of returning  astronauts to the Moon by 2024, a Michigan-based company is helping to accelerate the production of the space agency's Space Launch System (SLS) deep space rocket by providing one of the key tools needed to build the massive vehicle.

  • First Astrobee robot completes initial checks aboard ISS

    May 30th, 2019

    The International Space Station's newest robotic helper, Astrobee, completed its first series of hardware tests aboard the outpost.

  • Virgin Orbit conducts crucial hotfire test

    May 23rd, 2019

    Virgin Orbit announced the successful completion of a full mission duty cycle hotfire test of the first stage of its LauncherOne rocket.

  • Curiosity rover team maps route up Mount Sharp

    May 18th, 2019

    Since landing on the Red Planet in August 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover has been collecting data about the geology and chemistry of the Martian surface.

  • InSight dust cleanings could provide new science

    May 16th, 2019

    Martian weather events like global dust storms can end missions operating on the Red Planet, but they can also be beneficial.

  • NASA’s InSight lander views Martian sunrise, sunset

    May 6th, 2019

    The InSight Mars lander recently trained one of its cameras on the Martian horizon, capturing a series of sunrise and sunset images.

  • NASA’s Mars 2020 rover stacked for testing

    April 25th, 2019

    NASA's Mars 2020 mission has reached a crucial milestone in preparation for its launch, currently scheduled for July of 2020. In recent weeks, major spacecraft components and test equipment have been tucked inside the entry capsule in a process known as 'vehicle stacking.'