Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Editorial

  • OPINION: How NASA became a ping-pong ball

    Jason RhianDecember 17th, 2017

    For 30 years, NASA's human space flight program was in a secure, albeit uninspiring, trajectory – low-Earth orbit. The loss of the Shuttle Columbia and her seven-member crew on Feb. 1, 2003, changed all that. The Shuttle era was set to end and the agency would discover there's something even more dangerous than re-entering Earth's atmosphere with damaged heat tiles – politicians.

  • Review: Bringing Columbia Home

    Jason RhianNovember 26th, 2017

    It was one of NASA’s most tragic moments and Bringing Columbia Home, a new book drafted by noted author Jonathan Ward and the agency’s last Space Shuttle Launch Director, Michael Leinbach provide a review of STS-107, Shuttle Columbia’s final flight. An interview with the authors reminds us of just what was lost – and why it is important to remember the accident which placed NASA on the tra...

  • Review: Weir focuses on the Moon with ‘Artemis’

    Jason RhianNovember 14th, 2017

    Over the course of the past year, public and private officials have altered their focus from Mars to a much closer target – Earth's Moon. Now, Andy Weir whose breakout success was based on the adventures of a castaway on the Red Planet has followed suit with his latest offering – Artemis.

  • Insider Exclusive: The people and parts of NASA’s EM-1 mission

    Jason RhianOctober 1st, 2017

    PROMONTORY, Utah — NASA is eyeing a 2019 launch for its new super-heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. While some of the systems are so-called legacy hardware, they have never been flown in this configuration without a side-mounted shuttle and with a mandate to take crews far beyond low-Earth orbit. For each mission, NASA is not only relying on the parts to guarantee...

  • History in layers: The work of Simon Kregar Jr.

    Jason RhianSeptember 24th, 2017

    While photographs are great for accurately capturing historical elements, sometimes they are out of focus or miss something that is just out of frame. Enter the artist. When a trained artist takes a hold of the same event we get something... special. We get less technical and more of how that moment felt, what its significance was. One artist, in particular, Simon Kregar Jr., has made it his life'...

  • Review: The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed

    Jason RhianAugust 6th, 2017

    Those suffering from an inferiority complex probably shouldn't read the new book "The Sky Below". An in-depth review of the many adventures of former NASA shuttle astronaut Scott Parazynski, it covers his many accomplishments and at the same time keeping a very conversational tone. For those interested in the background of some of America's more recent space flyers, it has much to offer.

  • Insider Fact Check: Is NASA hiring someone to protect Earth from aliens?

    Jason RhianAugust 2nd, 2017

    It never fails: Let the news cycle get a little slow and someone decides to get creative with the facts. Such was the case on Wednesday, Aug. 1, when supposedly credible and professional sites such as USA Today and Newsweek dropped the ball and resorted to good ole fashioned clickbait-ing. It was a sign of the times that highlighted the current state of journalism in the U.S.

  • OPINION: Is there inconsistency in how NASA treats its private partners?

    Jason RhianJuly 23rd, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A recent report noted that NASA will not be releasing a public report on the findings of the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-7 explosion. The report also denotes that a previous similar accident was handled differently by NASA, but were the two accidents so distinct as to warrant two totally dissimilar approaches?

  • SpaceFlight Insider has joined Patreon!

    SpaceFlight InsiderJune 27th, 2017

    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!

  • OPINION: Radiation hucksters strike again

    Robert ZubrinJune 16th, 2017

    Dr. Robert Zubrin states his opinion on recent claims by a professor that the cancer risk from cosmic-ray radiation on a mission to Mars is greater than expected.

  • Book Review: Chandra’s Cosmos: Dark Matter, Black Holes, and Other Wonders Revealed by NASA’s Premier X-Ray Observatory

    Jason RhianApril 10th, 2017

    NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, sent to orbit during STS-93 by Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999, has rewritten what humanity knows about the universe. A new book works to provide some of the little-known details about one of the space agency's Great Observatories.

  • Insider Exclusive: Space Center Houston inspiring new generation of explorers

    Jason RhianFebruary 26th, 2017

    HOUSTON — With smartphones, the internet, and an array of ever-sophisticated electronic toys, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to hold the attention of the public. Space Center Houston is working to counter these distracting influences with an array of exhibits and interactive activities as well as a fleet of vehicles that helped make space travel a reality.

  • Review: Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System

    Jason RhianFebruary 12th, 2017

    A new book is set for release – "Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System" by Michael Summers and James Trefil. There are, at present, 3,700 exoplanets (that we're aware of) and counting, which makes this a welcomed addition to a space enthusiast's library.

  • Insider Exclusive: JSC’s Astronaut Office innovating a path forward

    Jason RhianFebruary 10th, 2017

    HOUSTON, Texas — A model of NASA's Orion spacecraft is prominently placed within the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center. We sat down with Rick Mastracchio, a four-time spaceflight veteran with more than 227 days on orbit about how the Astronaut Office at JSC is working to make the agency's new Orion spacecraft more self-sufficient than those that preceded it.

  • Insider Exclusive: Orion designed to keep crew in the ‘loop’

    Jason RhianFebruary 1st, 2017

    JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Texas — NASA's next crew-rated spacecraft, Orion, has been engineered so that the vehicle is designed with the crews – who will fly on it – firmly in mind. Its windows, flight controls, even the seats for the roughly 22,899 lbs (10,387 kg) vehicle are being carefully crafted to guarantee mission success.

  • New video remembers crew of Apollo 1 50 years later

    Jason RhianJanuary 28th, 2017

    Retro Space Images (RSI) has produced a new video marking 50 years since the loss of the three crew members who were selected for the Apollo 1 mission. The video premiered on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2017, during the 50th-anniversary ceremony at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is titled: “Remembering Our Heroes|50 Years".

  • Funeral service held for Eugene Cernan in Houston

    Jason RhianJanuary 24th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — When most people think of the 12 men who first walked on the Moon, they probably don't think of Eugene Cernan. They should. Cernan, a naval aviator, was one of the core astronauts that made the Apollo Program's historic landings possible. His life after NASA was as important as his time with the agency training to ride fire.

  • Visions of the road to Mars

    Jason RhianJanuary 15th, 2017

    No planet is more steeped in lore, legend, and romance than Mars. For SpaceFlight Insider's illustrator James Vaughan, the Red Planet is a subject matter well suited for his unique style of photo-illustration. He spoke with us about how interest in Mars is increasing and how his work is racing to keep up.

  • OPINION: President-elect Trump’s NASA landing team continues to take shape

    Curt GodwinDecember 26th, 2016

    Though both candidates made clear their position on a multitude of issues prior to the election, their view of NASA's role in our nation's spacefaring efforts wasn't really among them. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump often gave politically expedient answers when asked what their vision for NASA, but neither has ever really presented a coherent roadmap for its future.

  • Review: Astronomy Saves the World: Securing our Future Through Exploration and Education

    Jason RhianDecember 24th, 2016

    Just because he is busy preparing his scientific payload to fly in a SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft on the upcoming CRS-10 mission for NASA, doesn't mean Dan Batcheldor Ph.D. doesn't have other irons in the fire. One of these is his new book – "Astronomy Saves the World: Securing our Future Through Exploration and Education".