Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Space Centers

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • LIVE: Cassini spacecraft ends its mission at Saturn

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 15th, 2017

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is making a final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere to end its mission some 13 years after reaching the ringed world. Flight controllers at NASA are receiving the probe’s final data before it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere.

  • Launch facilities spared major damage from Hurricane Irma

    Curt GodwinSeptember 14th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Though damage assessments are still underway, it would appear that facilities at both Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) escaped Hurricane Irma with minimal damage. Both were subjected to winds varying from 67–94 mph (108–151 km/h) at 54 feet (16.5 meters) above sea level to 90–116 mph (145–187 km/h) at 458 feet (139.6 meters) a...

  • Cape Canaveral prepares for Hurricane Irma

    Paul KnightlySeptember 7th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — While Hurricane Irma continues to aim at Florida, it is not expected to have any significant impact on the Sept. 7, 2017, launch attempt of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the U.S. military's reusable X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. However, it will eventually affect operations on the Space Coast regardless of whether the OTV-5 mission gets underway on time.

  • NASA Glenn experiments shedding new light on Venus’ shrouded surface

    Michael ColeSeptember 4th, 2017

    CLEVELAND, Ohio — A special NASA test chamber apparatus is helping scientists explore the mysteries of Venus right here on Earth. The chamber is located at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. It is hoped that this new vessel will help prepare the space agency for missions to extreme worlds. 

  • NASA conducts 5th test of RS-25 engine flight controller unit

    Heather SmithSeptember 1st, 2017

    The final test of the RS-25 engine for the new Space Launch System (SLS) took place on August 30, 2017, at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The 500-second hot-fire test is the fifth of the RS-25 engine flight controller unit on the A-1 test stand.

  • JPL proposes exploring Venus with a clockwork rover

    Curt GodwinAugust 29th, 2017

    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) proposes taking a page out of a Swiss watchmaker's handbook to design a long-lived rover to explore Venus' surface. Utilizing centuries-old mechanical computing concepts, but with a modern upgrade, engineers at JPL hope to design a rover capable of exploring the unforgiving Venusian terrain and returning data to Earth.

  • NASA Ames hosts eclipse viewing event

    Jim SharkeyAugust 22nd, 2017

    MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — A  crowd of about 1,000 people attended a public event at NASA Ames Research Center to observe the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse. Attendees gathered outside the Building 3 Conference Center at Ames wearing eclipse glasses provided by the space agency. Inside the Conference Center, attendees could watch NASA TV's extensive coverage of the eclipse.

  • SFI LIVE: Launch coverage of NASA’s TDRS-M

    Jason RhianAugust 18th, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- SpaceFlight Insider is at Kennedy Space Center's Press Site for today's webcast covering the flight of a ULA Atlas V 401 rocket with the third next generation TDRS-M. SFI's Live Show is slated to begin at 7:30 a.m. EDT (11:30 GMT) with the 40-minute launch window opening at 8:03 a.m. EDT (12:03 GMT). 

  • Curiosity spots clouds drifting across Martian sky

    Jim SharkeyAugust 15th, 2017

    Wispy clouds resembling Earth's ice-crystal clouds move across the Martian sky in new images from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. The clouds are the most clearly visible so far from Curiosity, which landed on Mars in Gale Crater five years ago this month. Clouds in the Martian sky have been previously observed by Curiosity and other missions to the Martian surface, including NASA's Phoenix Mars Land...

  • RS-25 engine flight controller completes 500-second test

    Scott JohnsonAugust 10th, 2017

    On Wednesday, August 9, NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne conducted a 500-second test of an RS-25 developmental engine at the agency's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The test was used to validate the fourth upgraded engine controller required for the first flight of the Space Launch System.

  • NanoRacks airlock moving toward 2019 installation on the ISS

    Jim SiegelJuly 21st, 2017

    Five months ago, NanoRacks LLC announced it would partner with Boeing to build the first private airlock for the International Space Station. That initiative is progressing and recently achieved a design milestone with the successful test of a NASA-built, full-scale mockup at the Johnson Space Center in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL).

  • Super Guppy transports SLS test hardware from Marshall

    Scott JohnsonJuly 14th, 2017

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA's Super Guppy aircraft made an appearance in Huntsville earlier this week at the Redstone Arsenal airfield, adjacent to the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The aircraft was in town to retrieve the MSFC-manufactured Space Launch System Orion Stage Adapter structural test article and transport the hardware to Lockheed Martin's facilities in Colorado.

  • Webb telescope to spend summer chilling in Houston

    Jim SharkeyJuly 13th, 2017

    While Houston, Texas, may be sweltering in 95-degree Fahrenheit (35 °C) heat this week, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will soon be chilling in a vibration-insolation "hammock", hanging from the ceiling of Chamber A – an enormous thermal vacuum testing facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center.