Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Space Centers

  • Fueling operations for SBIRS GEO-4 mission begin

    Jason RhianDecember 21st, 2017

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The flight of the fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite is getting closer to its targeted January 2018 launch date.

  • SLS launch pad undergoes water tests in preparation for EM-1

    Jason RhianDecember 21st, 2017

    NASA conducted a wet flow test at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. The test helped validate a system designed to protect NASA's new super-heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System. It also served to confirm it is ready to support the launch vehicle's first flight, Exploration Mission 1, currently slated to take place in 2019.

  • Three companies tapped to produce prototypes for NASA’s ‘FabLab’ initiative

    Jason RhianDecember 14th, 2017

    NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program has selected three companies to produce "FabLab" prototypes of machines that can be used for space-based, on-demand fabrication.

  • NASA has the angle on Opportunity’s longevity

    Curt GodwinDecember 8th, 2017

    Operating long past its original mission of 90 Martian solar days – also known as "sols" – NASA's Opportunity rover has survived another passage through the deepest part of the Martian winter. Drawing on years of experience, operators positioned the stalwart robot on a northward-facing incline to give Opportunity's solar panels the best chance of generating enough electricity to survive the Ma...

  • NASA Glenn reinventing the wheel to aid future Mars rovers

    Michael ColeDecember 8th, 2017

    GLENN RESEARCH CENTER, Ohio — One of the most important high-tech components of future Mars rovers may be, of all things, its wheels.

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.