Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Space Centers

  • NASA plans ‘souped-up’ rover for Mars 2020 mission

    Jim SharkeyDecember 1st, 2017

    The rover for NASA's Mars 2020 mission bears a strong resemblance to the Curiosity rover currently exploring the surface of Mars. However, it will have a number of improvements and instruments to carry out its search for signs of past microbial life on the Red Planet. A recent NASA press release described the rover as a "souped-up science machine".

  • NASA, Department of Energy testing ‘Kilopower’ space nuclear reactor

    Collin SkocikNovember 26th, 2017

    In preparing for possible missions to the Red Planet in the near future, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has been given the go-ahead to test a small nuclear reactor that could one day run equipment on the Martian surface.

  • Insider Exclusive: America’s ‘Booster Belt’ Part Three (conclusion) – Marshall

    Jason RhianNovember 24th, 2017

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- We were headed out to the final stop of our tour of Marshall Space Flight Center where we would be shown the test stands that are being prepared to validate the various components that will comprise NASA's new crew-rated rocket - the Space Launch System.

  • Insider Exclusive: America’s ‘Booster Belt’ Part Three (continued) – Marshall

    Jason RhianNovember 23rd, 2017

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- SpaceFlight Insider continued its tour of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center with a stop to speak with Heather Haney, NASA's SLS (Space Launch System) Stages Element Test Manager. She detailed the work being done to ready the massive new rocket's core stage ready for its inaugural flight.

  • Insider Exclusive: America’s ‘Booster Belt’ Part Three – Marshall

    Jason RhianNovember 22nd, 2017

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Named after General of the Army George Marshall, Marshall Space Flight Center is where NASA develops its rocket propulsion and other space flight systems. Used during the heady days of Apollo to check out the powerful F-1 engines used on the Saturn V Moon rockets, the site was later utilized to start the Space Shuttles' 30 year legacy. We wondered though, would the folks who...

  • Delta II rocket successfully launches NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite

    Ocean McIntyreNovember 18th, 2017

    VANDENBERG, Calif. — In a spectacular nighttime launch from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, United Launch Alliance’s penultimate Delta II rocket successfully lofted the newest and most advanced weather satellite in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)’s fleet into polar orbit early this morning on November 18, 2017.

  • Launch of JPSS-1 scrubbed again, high upper-level winds to blame

    Jason RhianNovember 15th, 2017

    The flight of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket with its payload of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Joint Polar Satellite System 1 (JPSS-1) spacecraft has been delayed for a second time. However, whereas yesterday's (Nov. 14) scrub was caused by wayward boaters, issues with the atmosphere were to blame for today's delay.

  • Launch of NOAA’s JPSS-1 slips 24 hours

    Ocean McIntyreNovember 14th, 2017

    The launch of the first of NOAA’s planned four Joint Polar Satellite System satellites, JPSS-1, was scrubbed early in the morning of Nov. 14, 2017, due to a combination of wayward boats that had crossed into restricted space as well as a couple of positions that reported technical “no-goes” during the countdown and system checks.

  • X3 Hall thruster sets records at NASA Glenn

    Michael ColeNovember 10th, 2017

    GLENN RESEARCH CENTER,  Ohio — Researchers at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, have completed a round of important tests on a new ion thruster system that may one day provide propulsion for materials and crews on future missions to Mars.

  • NASA’s Mars 2020 rover to be equipped with 23 ‘eyes’

    Ocean McIntyreNovember 4th, 2017

    One of the key instruments that has accompanied every rover since Pathfinder became the first rover to land on the surface of Mars in 1997 are imagers – cameras. NASA’s newest rover continues this trend. In addition, it continues the trend of increased visible acuity that accompanies the increased instrument performance and improved technology.

  • Century-old data holds earliest evidence for existence of exoplanets

    Laurel KornfeldNovember 3rd, 2017

    Exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, were first discovered in the 1990s, but old photographic plates taken nearly 100 years ago and recently found in storerooms at Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, contain the first evidence of their existence.

  • Recent RS-25 test places SLS one step closer to flight

    Ocean McIntyreOctober 26th, 2017

    NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne carried out another 500-second test of an RS-25 rocket engine on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, at the space agency's Stennis Space Center located in Mississippi. The RS-25 engine E2063 test-fired during last week's review is planned for use on the second flight of NASA's new super-heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2).

  • Debris disks may be signposts of giant exoplanets

    Ocean McIntyreOctober 17th, 2017

    Observations of star systems by an international group of researchers suggest that debris disks around stars may be indicative of giant exoplanets.

  • NASA awards contract to launch miniature payloads

    Jason RhianOctober 13th, 2017

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- NASA has tapped Spaceflight Inc. for integration and launch services for so-called "U-Class payloads." These tiny space research satellites. This contract, one with a firm-fixed-price, is for base launch services in 2018 for 24 payloads.

  • NASA Glenn tests solar electric propulsion thruster for journey to metal world

    Michael ColeOctober 9th, 2017

    NASA is preparing to travel to a world unlike any other it has visited before. The agency has sent spacecraft to terrestrial planets, gaseous planets, icy moons, and rocky asteroids. Now, following its approval as a Discovery mission in February of this year, a spacecraft set for launch in 2022 will visit the main-belt asteroid Psyche, a metal world that scientists think is made almost entirely of...

  • U.S. VP Pence continues tour of NASA facilities with stop to Marshall Space Flight Center

    Jason RhianSeptember 26th, 2017

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — After stops at NASA's Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence toured the space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The visit marked a first in terms of the White House and provided the agency with another opportunity to highlight not only its on-orbit capabilities but also its plans for crewed deep space missions.

  • Their words: Cassini’s Hunter Waite and the quest to look beyond

    Matthew KuhnsSeptember 24th, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — Peering through the atmospheres of other worlds to determine what they are made of is difficult enough, but to do so reliably for 13 years is an astonishing accomplishment. Hunter Waite, the INMS team leader at SwRI, spoke with SpaceFlight Insider about the mission in the lead-up to Cassini's "final bow".

  • Their words: Cassini’s Linda Spilker on mission’s legacy

    Matthew KuhnsSeptember 23rd, 2017

    PASADENA, Calif. — When Cassini took its final bow into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant Saturn, a good many people who had labored on the nearly 20-year-long mission were forced to say goodbye to a machine that had become all but a member of the family. One thing that was not lost that day was the wealth of knowledge that Cassini had sent back to those it left behind on Earth.

  • Curiosity rover begins climb of ‘Vera Rubin Ridge’

    Jim SharkeySeptember 17th, 2017

    NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has started the steep climb of an iron-oxide bearing ridge on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp that has long been of interest to researchers. "Vera Rubin Ridge", also known as "Hematite Ridge", was informally named in early 2017 in memory of pioneering astrophysicist Vera Cooper Rubin, whose research provided evidence for the existence of dark matter.

  • ‘Moon Tree’ destroyed by Hurricane Irma

    Beverly S RotherSeptember 16th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — While Hurricane Irma only caused minor damage to facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the storm did destroy a unique plant: a Moon tree. Beginning as one of the hundreds of seeds that were taken to lunar orbit during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, it was planted at the visitor complex during the United States Bicentennial.