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News Archive: November 2013-March 2014

Florida launches grounded for up to three weeks
Rocket launches from Cape Canaveral are grounded until at least mid-April after an electrical short damaged an Air Force radar at the Kennedy Space Center, officials said Friday.
   FULL STORY
Long March rocket boosts Chinese satellite to orbit
China launched an experimental satellite Monday aboard a Long March 2C rocket from the Jiuquan space base in northwest China, according to official media reports.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz crew arrives at the International Space Station
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut glided to a smooth linkup with the International Space Station Thursday, two days after a technical snag blocked a fast-track rendezvous and docking shortly after launch Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: SOYUZ LAUNCH PHOTOS
California Atlas 5 launch on track for this week
After the Range outage that postponed two Cape Canaveral launches indefinitely in Florida, focus now turns to California and the planned launching next Thursday of an Atlas 5 rocket with a military weather satellite.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER- live updates!
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD PREPARATION
   LAUNCH INFORMATION
   PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE
Germany calls for redesign of next-generation Ariane
Less than a year after selecting the design of Europe's future Ariane 6 launcher, government ministers will meet in Geneva on Friday to iron out lingering questions over the rocket after Germany's top space official last week called for the current form of the Ariane 6 to be ditched in favor of another configuration.
   FULL STORY
Radar outage prompts delay of Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX's launch of a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station has been delayed from Sunday after a critical U.S. Air Force rocket tracking radar was knocked offline, officials said late Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   FALCON ARCHIVE
New discovery may redefine solar system's outer frontier
One of the most distant icy bodies ever seen in the solar system has been found, but its strange orbit hints at something even more extraordinary: an undiscovered planet larger than Earth even further away from the sun, corralling objects within the inner Oort Cloud into looping, elongated orbits.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz on trajectory to reach space station Thursday
Russian flight controllers troubleshooting a glitch aboard the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft that interrupted a planned four-orbit rendezvous with the International Space Station Tuesday successfully uploaded a revised 34-orbit trajectory overnight, setting up a delayed docking Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Atlas 5 rocket launch from Florida delayed to April
The Atlas 5 rocket will be rolled back from the launch pad to its assembly hangar to wait out the Range troubles that have scuttled the planned flight this week with the classified NROL-67 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: ROLLOUT PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD PREPARATION
   LAUNCH INFORMATION
   PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE
   VIEWING DIRECTIONS
Spaceflight Now Plus
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VIDEO: TIME LAPSE OF ATLAS 5 ROLLOUT TO LAUNCH PAD DOWNLOAD
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Soyuz rendezvous aborted after successful launch
A veteran Russian space station commander, a rookie cosmonaut and a NASA shuttle flier rocketed smoothly into space aboard a Russian Soyuz ferry craft Tuesday, but the crew ran into problems executing a required rendezvous rocket firing, delaying docking with the International Space Station until Thursday at the earliest.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: SOYUZ ROLLS TO LAUNCH PAD
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Inmarsat points to Indian Ocean as MH370 crash site
Engineers from Inmarsat, a London-based communications satellite operator, pioneered a 'peer-reviewed' data analysis technique using simple electronic signals from the lost Malaysian airliner that disappeared earlier this month to determine the jet crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, officials said Monday.
   FULL STORY
Fresh Glonass navigation satellite launched by Russia
Russia launched a Soyuz rocket Sunday with a fresh satellite for the country's Glonass navigation system, which broadcasts positioning and timing signals to Russian military forces and civilian users worldwide.
   FULL STORY
Ariane 5 launches on dual-payload commercial mission
Kicking off a busy sequence of launches from the Europe's spaceport in the jungle of French Guiana, an Ariane 5 rocket lifted off Saturday and put two satellites in perfect orbits to expand direct-to-home television programming in Eastern Europe and broadcast football matches at this summer's World Cup in Brazil.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH VIDEO AND PHOTOS
   IMAGES: ARIANE 5 REACHES LAUNCH PAD
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   ARIANE 5 DIAGRAM
   ARIANESPACE PRESS KIT - (.pdf download)
   ARIANE ARCHIVE
SpaceX confirms March 30 date for resupply launch
Engineers have determined SpaceX's Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft can launch March 30 without repairs after an analysis showed contaminants inside the ship's unpressurized trunk pose no additional risk to optical communications and imaging payloads heading for the International Space Station, according to a statement released Friday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   FALCON ARCHIVE
NASA to study commercial role in asteroid mission
NASA plans to award $6 million to industry this summer to refine technologies and examine opportunities for an expanded commercial role in the agency's proposed mission to redirect an asteroid into Earth's vicinity for close-up inspection by astronauts in the mid-2020s, officials said Friday.
   FULL STORY
Next Atlas 5 rocket cleared for rollout and launch
The Launch Readiness Review was held Friday and reported all systems are "go" for liftoff of the Atlas 5 rocket on Tuesday.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   LAUNCH INFORMATION
   PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE
   VIEWING DIRECTIONS
Orbital Sciences agrees to dismiss lawsuit against ULA
Orbital Sciences Corp. is withdrawing an antitrust lawsuit against United Launch Alliance and will privately negotiate for the right to purchase Russian-made RD-180 engines, one of several engine options under evaluation as a long-term propulsion solution for Orbital's Antares rocket, according to a regulatory filing released Thursday.
   FULL STORY
One-on-one with the chief executive of Arianespace
Stéphane Israël took over as chief executive of Arianespace last year at a time of change for the 34-year-old French launch service provider, which faces fresh challenges from competitors and an evolving commercial satellite market while maintaining an unprecedented cadence of launches from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana.
   PART 1: ARIANESPACE'S OUTLOOK FOR 2014
   PART 2: RESPONDING TO COMPETITION
Tough choices ahead for NASA's planetary program
There is little question some long-lived NASA planetary exploration missions will be at risk of cutbacks or cancellation later this year, but the agency's top planetary science official this week cautioned the science community not to presume which projects, if any, will see funding cuts.
   FULL STORY
Military weather satellite mounted atop Atlas rocket
A new global weather observatory for the U.S. military was hoisted aboard its Atlas 5 rocket booster in California on Wednesday, two weeks before it is shot into space to track the world's storms.
   FULL STORY
   ATLAS ARCHIVE
Atlas 5 rocket selected for Solar Orbiter launch
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will launch the European-built Solar Orbiter mission from Cape Canaveral in July 2017, NASA announced Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
Gravitational waves provide strong evidence for inflation
The first direct evidence for not only the inflation of the universe when it was a mere fraction of a second old, but also the presence of gravitational waves rippling through space, has come to light following observations made by the BICEP2 telescope located at the South Pole.
   FULL STORY
Planet Labs plans 100-satellite Earth imaging fleet
Fueled by venture capital financing, Planet Labs Inc. announced Monday it plans to launch 100 satellites in the next year from the United States and Russia, joining a growing fleet of miniature Earth imaging spacecraft to observe the entire planet every 24 hours.
   FULL STORY
Sea Launch chief responds to talk of Russian takeover
With ground crews at Sea Launch's California home port preparing for liftoff of a Eutelsat communications spacecraft in April, the company's chief executive says he would be open to a Russian government takeover of Sea Launch if it yielded greater access to the market for launching Russian satellites.
   FULL STORY
Proton rocket blasts off with Russian Express satellites
A Proton rocket ascended into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Saturday and delivered a pair of Russian broadcasting satellites to orbit nine hours later to begin a streak of Proton launches for the Russian government.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
Swiss startup considering space launches from Florida
A Swiss aerospace company plans to begin zero gravity flights from the Kennedy Space Center next year and may use the spaceport's former space shuttle landing strip as a home base for small satellite launches beginning in 2018, officials announced Friday.
   FULL STORY
Launch schedule shakeup delays Orion to December
The first test flight of NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle has been delayed to early December to accommodate a U.S. military payload in United Launch Alliance's Delta 4 launch manifest, officials announced late Friday.
   FULL STORY
Hagel says crisis demands review of Russian engine
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday the crisis between Russia and Ukraine should prompt a review of the use of Russian engines on Atlas 5 rockets, which power the launches of multibillion-dollar U.S. government national security satellites.
   FULL STORY
Economics, water plumes to drive Europa mission study
NASA plans to use funding proposed by the Obama administration to narrow concepts for a billion-dollar mission to Jupiter's icy moon Europa, according to NASA officials eyeing a launch of the long-awaited probe in the mid-2020s.
   FULL STORY
Next Atlas 5 payload
hoisted for launch

The build up of the next United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket to fly is being completed at Cape Canaveral Friday, as the payload is being mated to the Centaur upper stage.
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH INFORMATION
SpaceX delays weekend Falcon 9 rocket launch
Launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an unmanned cargo ship bound for the International Space Station has been delayed from Sunday to no earlier than March 30, because of what sources described as apparent contamination that could pose problems for research hardware carried by the Dragon cargo craft.
   FULL STORY
Boeing says government purchases electric satellites
A U.S. government customer last year ordered three light-class geostationary satellite platforms from Boeing with all-electric propulsion, an innovative design feature to reduce spacecraft mass and launch costs, industry officials disclosed for the first time Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
Lockheed Martin backs Atlas 5 launches with warranty
Seeking to improve the Atlas 5 rocket's position on the commercial launch marketplace, the head of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services announced Tuesday non-governmental customers purchasing a flight on the workhorse booster would get a money-back guarantee or a reflight in the event of a launch failure.
   FULL STORY
MUOS launch sequence rearranged after test failure
Lockheed Martin has adjusted the production schedule for the U.S. Navy's third Mobile User Objective System satellite, shuffling it behind a fourth spacecraft in the five-member fleet after testing uncovered a workmanship issue with the satellite's UHF communications payload, a company official said Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Soyuz crew lands after 166-day station expedition
Despite strained relations over Russian actions in Ukraine, superpower cooperation in space continued unabated Monday with two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut departing the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz ferry craft and plunging to a landing on the snowy steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 166-day mission.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: SOYUZ TMA-10M UNDOCKS DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: FAREWELL AND HATCH CLOSURE DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: EXPEDITION 38-39 CHANGE OF COMMAND DOWNLOAD
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Wakata becomes Japan's first station commander
Koichi Wakata took command of the International Space Station on Sunday to become the first Japanese astronaut to lead an expedition crew aboard the orbiting complex.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX fires Falcon 9 rocket engines for prelaunch check
SpaceX fired up the nine-engine first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday in a major preflight rehearsal before the March 16 launch of nearly 5,000 pounds of experiments and supplies to the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
A chat with Bob Twiggs, father of the CubeSat
Two university professors never expected their idea to expand aerospace engineering education outside of the classroom would help democratize access to space, but the CubeSat revolution shows no signs of stopping, with everyone from Silicon Valley start-ups to intelligence agencies taking notice. Professor Bob Twiggs, one of the CubeSat co-founders, shares his thoughts on the past and future of the miniature satellites.
   READ MORE
Teams deploy to Kazakhstan for Soyuz landing
As diplomatic tensions flare over Russia's armed incursion into Ukraine, preparations for Monday's landing of two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut continue unabated as recovery crews converge on the Kazakhstan touchdown zone.
   FULL STORY
Astronomers surprised SOFIA fell under budget axe
NASA's proposed budget for 2015 would slash funding for a U.S.-German airborne infrared observatory unless international partners or other institutions supply money to keep the sophisticated astronomy platform in the sky.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX, ULA spar over military contracting
In the latest skirmish in an escalating debate over sky rocketing military launch costs, SpaceX founder and rocket builder Elon Musk told lawmakers Wednesday that allowing his company to launch high-priority military payloads would save taxpayers billions of dollars by opening the national security launch market to competition and innovation.
   FULL STORY
Cassini continues pulling back Titan's hazy veil
NASA's Cassini spacecraft, in the final months of its first decade spiraling around Saturn, zipped past the moon Titan on Thursday for the 100th time, continuing an unbroken string of flybys of one of the most Earth-like worlds in the known universe.
   FULL STORY
Bolden downplays impact of Ukraine crisis on NASA
The Obama administration's $17.5 billion budget request for NASA in fiscal 2015 will maintain American leadership on the high frontier, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said Tuesday, urging Congress to fully fund development of commercial manned spacecraft to end U.S. reliance on Russia to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
Japan moves forward with replacement for H-2A rocket
Armed with an initial tranche of government funding for a next-generation rocket, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to partner with a private company to lead development of a launcher to replace Japan's H-2A rocket by the early 2020s.
   FULL STORY
Proposed NASA budget keeps funding flat in 2015
The White House's 2015 budget request for NASA submitted to Congress on Tuesday would keep the agency's human spaceflight programs, the James Webb Space Telescope and Mars exploration on track while investing in future missions to Jupiter's moon Europa and a flagship infrared space telescope.
   FULL STORY
Earth observation satellites deployed from space station
A record release of 33 CubeSats from the International Space Station ended Friday after a methodical series of deployments of miniature Earth imaging satellites for San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc.
   FULL STORY
Falcon 9 moves closer to certification by Air Force
The first launch of SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 rocket in September will count as one of the three successful flights to certify the launcher to carry the U.S. military's most valuable payloads into orbit, despite a glitch with the rocket's upper stage engine during a demonstration maneuver after deployment of a Canadian research payload, the Air Force announced last week.
   FULL STORY
ExoMars contractor pressing on despite funding gap
The lead builder of Europe's ExoMars rover, the British division of Airbus Defence and Space, has started procuring critical components for the Mars mission as the European Space Agency culls the continent to close a funding gap.
   FULL STORY
Landmark weather satellite blasts off from Japan
Japan launched a $1.2 billion joint satellite mission with NASA on Thursday to measure global rain and snowfall, filling coverage gaps and anchoring an international orbital network to supply scientists and forecasters a radar-like snapshot of global precipitation every three hours.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: H-2A ROLLOUT
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   H-2A ROCKET CUTAWAY
   NASA PRESS KIT - (.pdf download)
NASA vows to fix problems that led to spacesuit leak
A fundamental misunderstanding of how water behaves in the cooling system of a spacesuit operating in weightlessness, combined with institutional complacency and a perceived pressure to avoid delays, resulted in a frightening, potentially fatal close call last summer when water flooded a spacewalker's helmet outside the International Space Station, NASA managers said Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Scientists announce 715 planets found by Kepler
A statistical analysis of data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope has confirmed the discovery of 715 newly-found planets orbiting 305 stars, pushing to total number of known planets beyond Earth's solar system to nearly 1,700, researchers announced Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Air Force general reveals space surveillance program
The U.S. Air Force plans to launch two space surveillance spacecraft into high-altitude orbits later this year to monitor satellite traffic in the congested geosynchronous belt 22,300 miles above Earth, the head of Space Command has announced.
   FULL STORY
Europe's first Sentinel satellite shipped to Kourou
The first satellite in the European Union's long-awaited Copernicus Earth observation program arrived in French Guiana on Monday to prepare for liftoff on top of a Soyuz rocket in early April.
   FULL STORY
Taurus rocket on the market with new name, upgrades
Orbital Sciences Corp. is revamping its Taurus rocket with expertise and technology from the company's Minotaur launcher to deliver six high-resolution Earth observation satellites to orbit for start-up Skybox Imaging in late 2015.
   FULL STORY
Curiosity adds backward driving to repertoire
Engineers have started driving the Curiosity rover in reverse on Mars in a bid to reduce wear on the robot's six wheels, which show damage from climbing over sharp rocks on its trek across the red planet.
   FULL STORY
Landing legs to fly aboard next Falcon 9 rocket
The next Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled to blast off in March on a space station resupply flight, will sport a landing gear to take the next leap in making the commercial launcher reusable, according to SpaceX officials.
   FULL STORY
Europe to build planet-hunting observatory
The European Space Agency has selected an observatory for launch in the next decade to stare at up to a million nearby stars for signs of habitable worlds and probe their size, mass and composition.
   FULL STORY
Launch photo gallery of the 25th Delta 4 rocket
Check out our photo gallery from Thursday night's successful United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket flight that delivered a a Global Positioning System satellite into space.
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY


This is the United Launch Alliance highlights film from Thursday's Delta 4 rocket flight from Cape Canaveral that deployed a GPS satellite.

New GPS satellite put into orbit by Delta 4 rocket
Igniting a surge of three Global Positioning System satellite launches in the next five months, a Delta 4 rocket blazed a trail of fire and light into the Florida sky Thursday night.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER - live coverage!
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: PRESS SITE VIEW OF LAUNCH
   IMAGES: ULA PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: GANTRY ROLLBACK
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH INFORMATION - (.pdf download)
   DELTA 4 FACT SHEET - (.pdf download)
   PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS - (.pdf download)
   IMAGES: MISSION PATCHES
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
Cygnus resupply mission ends over South Pacific
One day after its release from the International Space Station, the first operational Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus resupply craft re-entered the atmosphere Wednesday and burned up over the South Pacific Ocean.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: CYGNUS DEPARTS SPACE STATION
LADEE star trackers record glimpse of the moon
The LADEE lunar atmospheric probe has returned its first views of the moon's surface as it enters the second half of its research mission, NASA announced last week.
   FULL STORY - with images!
Commercial cargo carrier departs space station
A commercial Cygnus cargo-carrying spacecraft departed the International Space Station on Tuesday, heading for a fiery finale over the Pacific Ocean to help clear the outpost of trash at the conclusion of the first operational resupply run by Orbital Sciences Corp.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Wheel concerns prompt new route for Mars rover
Planners in charge of plotting the course of NASA's Curiosity rover, which is trekking toward a massive mountain on the red planet, have selected a route with fewer rock hazards in lieu of alternate paths that could exacerbate damage to the robot's wheels.
   FULL STORY
Take a virtual tour of the Chang'e 3 lunar landing site
China's robotic moon landing mission, which arrived there two months ago, has produced the digital era's first high-resolution images from the lunar surface. Take a look around China's robotic lunar outpost in this set of panoramas and mosaics provided to Spaceflight Now.
   IMAGES: PAN AROUND THE LANDING SITE
Lunar rover awake after near-death experience
China's Yutu moon rover woke up this week and radioed Earth after worries the mobile research platform would succumb to frigid temperatures during the two-week lunar night, but officials say the robot is still malfunctioning.
   FULL STORY
Proton rocket boosts Turkish satellite to orbit
A Turkish telecommunications satellite launched aboard an International Launch Services Proton rocket Friday to begin several decades of service for government and commercial users.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: PROTON ROLLS OUT AT BAIKONUR
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   OUR COMMERCIAL PROTON ARCHIVE
New GPS satellite scheduled for launch Feb. 20
The final reviews are underway ahead of next week's Delta 4 rocket launch carrying a replacement satellite for the Global Positioning System. Liftoff is planned for Thursday night at 8:40 p.m. EST.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Mars rover sees Earth as brilliant evening star
Reminiscent of the iconic pale blue dot photograph from the Voyager 1 space probe, the Curiosity Mars rover has sent home another cosmic postcard showing the Earth hanging over the rugged Martian horizon as an evening star.
   FULL STORY - with images!
Return of the workhorse
A quarter-century since its first launch Friday, preparations are underway to end a mini-hiatus and return to the business of launching Delta 2 rockets, if only for a little while longer.
   FULL STORY
Sochi snapshots from space
As the Winter Olympics ramp up in Sochi, satellites and astronauts have glimpsed at the Russian resort city and detected the unmistakable mark left by the games.
   IMAGES: SOCHI FROM SPACE
SpaceX on pace for March launch to space station
Juggling flight delays and busy skies with the skill of seasoned air traffic controllers, International Space Station managers have approved the launch date for SpaceX's next cargo resupply mission for March 16.
   FULL STORY
Ariane 5's evening blastoff in video and photos
Thursday night's successful weather-delayed launch of the European Ariane 5 rocket put two communications satellites in orbit. Review the flight with a video replay and photos from around the French Guiana space base and a remarkable sighting from the International Space Station.
   IMAGES: ARIANE 5 BLASTS OFF
Critical climate sensor activated on new satellite
Scientists are happy with observations from a fresh sensor swiftly prepared for launch aboard a U.S. Air Force satellite last year to fill a gap in data on the sun's brightness, a crucial kernel of information for climate change research.
   FULL STORY
United Launch Alliance preparing for next Atlas 5
Assembly of a Atlas 5 rocket kicked off Friday morning at Cape Canaveral to stack a powerful version of the vehicle launching next month.
   FULL STORY
Lucid and Ross selected for U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
Two distinguished former NASA astronauts -- Shannon Lucid and Jerry Ross -- will be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame as the 2014 class, officials announced Friday.
   FULL STORY
Ariane 5 rocket blasts off after weather delay
Dual payloads to broadcast television and broadband signals for Asia Broadcast Satellite and French and Italian security forces rocketed into orbit on an Ariane 5 rocket Thursday on Arianespace's landmark 250th launch.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: ARIANE 5 ARRIVES AT LAUNCH PAD
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   ARIANE 5 DIAGRAM
   ARIANESPACE PRESS KIT - (.pdf download)
   OUR ARIANE ARCHIVE
Fresh crater caught on camera aboard Mars orbiter
The high-resolution mapping telescope on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has monitored the changing Martian landscape for more nearly eight years, but a fresh impact crater seen in an image released Wednesday is one of the most dramatic scientists have ever discovered.
   FULL STORY
GPS satellite mounted atop booster for Feb. 20 launch
Beginning a slate of three launches in five months to fortify the Global Positioning System, the first craft was mounted atop its Delta 4 booster rocket Wednesday for liftoff Feb. 20.
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH INFORMATION - (.pdf download)
   DELTA 4 FACT SHEET - (.pdf download)
   IMAGES: MISSION PATCHES
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
Tracking and Data Relay Satellite arrives in orbit
NASA's newest communications relay satellite, launched from Cape Canaveral last month, has maneuvered itself to geosynchronous orbit and deployed its antennas and power-generating solar arrays as planned.
   FULL STORY
Russian cargo craft delivers supplies to space station
Russia launched a Progress resupply freighter Wednesday on a six-hour journey to the International Space Station, delivering nearly 3 tons of fuel and supplies to the orbiting scientific research laboratory after a smooth automated rendezvous.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH AND DOCKING GALLERY
   PREVIEW STORY - with images!
Exoplanet probe leads pack of ESA mission candidates
A space-based observatory to hunt for habitable planets around other stars is the leading candidate to win the financial backing of the European Space Agency later this month.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX-launched telecom payload enters service
After gambling on SpaceX's first launch beyond low Earth orbit, Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES is reaping the rewards with a newly-operational television broadcasting satellite shot into space from Cape Canaveral in December.
   FULL STORY
Four Delta 4-Heavy rockets part of ULA block buy deal
There will be 28 launches of Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets enabled through the new block buy, including four Heavy rockets, with the three dozen cores purchased by the Pentagon.
   FULL STORY
Build-up complete for next Ariane 5 rocket
Ready for its first launch of the year in early February, a European Ariane 5 rocket has been capped with a pair of communications satellites for the Asia-Pacific and the French and Italian militaries.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Eleven years since we lost space shuttle Columbia
Columbia and seven astronauts were lost 11 years ago Saturday as the shuttle disintegrated above Texas just minutes from the planned landing at the Kennedy Space Center.
   FULL STORY
   'COMM CHECK' CHAPTER ONE
   MISSION COVERAGE ARCHIVE
   OUR JOURNAL FROM FEB. 1, 2003
NASA to buy more Soyuz seats for station crews
NASA announced this week its intention to purchase six more seats aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft for U.S. astronauts bound for the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
NASA moon probe captures fleeting view of sister craft
Coupling a fortuitous orbital alignment with meticulous planning, a camera aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter caught a smeared glimpse of another moon probe in an image released Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Delta 4 rocket engine cleared for Feb. 20 launch
The next launch of a Global Positioning System satellite is back on track after engineers gained fresh insight into the circumstances surrounding a previous GPS flight and its low-thrust condition on the upper stage.
   FULL STORY
ESA says Rosetta in good shape after space snooze
A first look at the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft after its reactivation last week shows the probe endured an unprecedented power-saving hibernation with few problems, giving engineers confidence the mission can continue the final leg of its decade-long pursuit of a little-known comet thought to harbor the building blocks of life.
   FULL STORY
Mechanical anomaly raises concern for Chinese rover
China's moon rover suffered a mechanical anomaly before going to sleep Saturday at the onset of the two-week lunar night, according to state media reports.
   FULL STORY
ULA signs deal to deliver three-dozen booster cores
A blockbuster rocket-buying agreement has been signed between the Air Force and United Launch Alliance, the supplier of boosters for national security spaceflight.
   FULL STORY
Camera glitch persists after re-installation on spacewalk
Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy successfully re-installed a high-resolution video camera on the hull of the International Space Station Monday, but a problem of some sort prevented a second, lower-resolution camera from sending telemetry to the ground.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
Sierra Nevada books first launch for 'space SUV'
Sierra Nevada Corp., one of the companies tapped by NASA to develop a commercial crew carrier for the International Space Station, has reserved a slot on United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket manifest for an unpiloted test flight in late 2016.
   FULL STORY
Atlas and Delta rockets have packed slate of launches
It's one completed, 14 flights to go this year for United Launch Alliance and its fleet of Atlas and Delta rocket families.
   FULL STORY
Opportunity rover marks 10 years on the red planet
NASA's solar-powered Opportunity Mars rover, designed to operate for just 90 days on the red planet's cold, dust-shrouded surface, celebrates 10 years of exploration Friday, enduring a few age-related aches and pains and the occasional "senior moment" but still making valuable observations as it creeps along the rim of an ancient crater.
   FULL STORY
Thursday night's Atlas 5 launch in photos
Rocketing away from Cape Canaveral with a NASA communications satellite, an Atlas 5 launcher soared into a remarkably clear night sky Thursday, offering the perfect opportunity for dazzling photography.
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: ULA LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: ATLAS 5 ON LAUNCH PAD
   IMAGES: ROLLOUT PHOTO GALLERY
Atlas rocket puts up NASA communications spacecraft
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket topped with a NASA science-relay satellite sped into space Thursday night, lighting up Florida's Space Coast with a raucous liftoff show.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   THE HISTORY OF TDRSS
   PDF: LAUNCH INFO SHEET
   PDF: PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE
   LINK: VIEWING DIRECTIONS
Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: TDRS L LAUNCH DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: LAUNCH CAMERA REPLAYS DOWNLOAD

VIDEO: ATLAS/TDRS L PREVIEW DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: ROCKET ROLLOUT TO LAUNCH PAD DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF THE ROLLOUT DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH PRESS CONFERENCE DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF ATLAS FLIGHT DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: PROCESSING OF TDRS L SATELLITE DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: ATLAS FIRST STAGE ERECTED DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: CENTAUR UPPER STAGE HOISTED DOWNLOAD
VIDEO: TDRS L CLEANROOM MEDIA DAY DOWNLOAD
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Morpheus lander cruises through initial flight tests
With four legs, a methane-fueled rocket engine, bulbous propellant tanks and a coating of silver insulation, NASA's Morpheus prototype lander looks a vehicle built for space and not Earth's atmosphere.
   FULL STORY
ESA chief says Orion service module to be ready in 2017
The head of the European Space Agency says he has promised NASA the service module for the Orion crew exploration capsule will be delivered on time for an unmanned test flight by the end of 2017 despite problems with mass and development delays.
   FULL STORY
Rosetta's comet chase is on
Fresh out of an unprecedented power-saving sleep mode, Europe's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft awakened and phoned home Monday on the way to an enigmatic ball of rock and ice for a daring close-up inspection later this year.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Officials hope 2014 is a comeback year for Proton
With a backlog of 14 missions worth more than $1 billion, International Launch Services has up to a half-dozen commercial Proton rocket missions planned this year as the U.S.-based firm fills its manifest for 2015.
   FULL STORY
Info sheet and photography guide for TDRS launch
Introducing our new Info Sheet and photography guide on this week's Atlas 5 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. A one-stop download for the facts you need to know before Thursday's liftoff carrying NASA's TDRS L satellite:
   PDF: LAUNCH INFO SHEET
   PDF: PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE
   LINK: VIEWING DIRECTIONS
President Obama signs $17.6 billion NASA budget
President Barack Obama signed a budget measure Friday giving NASA more than $17.6 billion for the year, fully funding the space agency's heavy-lift Space Launch System and Orion exploration capsule while falling short of NASA's request to pay for commercial space taxis.
   FULL STORY
Second spacewalk planned to install UrtheCast cameras
Russian cosmonauts will step outside the International Space Station later this month for a second try to set up a pair of Earth observation cameras after a cabling issue inside the complex cut short a spacewalk in December.
   FULL STORY
Schedule for full-up Orion test flight to be reassessed
Overweight and struggling with design delays, the European-built service module for the Orion crew exploration vehicle may not be ready for a much-anticipated test flight by the end of 2017.
   FULL STORY
Orbital Sciences plans upgrades to cargo system
Orbital Sciences Corp. officials say the Obama administration's endorsement of a life extension for the International Space Station will allow for technical upgrades and cost reductions for the company's commercial resupply service.
   FULL STORY
European Space Agency's Gaia mission settles in at L2
The star-surveying Gaia observatory completed a tricky maneuver Tuesday to park itself nearly a million miles from Earth, arriving at a remote operating post to begin scanning the galaxy to plot the locations and motions of a billion stars.
   FULL STORY
NASA satellite attached to booster rocket for launch
NASA's next-generation communications satellite was mounted atop the Atlas 5 rocket Monday, kicking off the final days of preparations to send the science-relay spacecraft into orbit.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: SPACECRAFT ENCAPSULATED
   IMAGES: TDRS L IN CLEANROOM
SpaceX snags deal to launch Japanese telecom satellite
Fresh off back-to-back launches of commercial communications satellites, SpaceX has booked a Japanese payload for a Falcon 9 flight in late 2015 likely to be launched from Cape Canaveral.
   FULL STORY
Cygnus cargo ship makes space station delivery
A commercial Cygnus spaceship finished a three-day pursuit of the International Space Station on Sunday, delivering nearly 2,800 pounds of supplies, fresh fruit, experiments and gifts to reinforce the orbiting laboratory's stockpiles.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: CYGNUS ARRIVES AT SPACE STATION
   VIDEO: EXCLUSIVE VIEW INSIDE CYGNUS MCC
   VIDEO: CYGNUS TEAM AFTER CAPTURE
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SpaceShipTwo achieves highest flight to date
Virgin Galactic, the suborbital space tourism venture founded by Richard Branson, flew the reusable SpaceShipTwo rocket plane higher than ever before on a test flight Friday over California's Mojave Desert.
   FULL STORY
Curiosity rover spotted by Mars orbiter's hi-res camera
A high-resolution camera mounted on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has collect imagery showing the Curiosity rover's trek across Gale Crater toward a three-mile-high mountain.
   IMAGES: ROVER SEEN FROM ORBIT
Commercial cargo mission launched from Virginia
Delayed one day by cold weather and another day by concern about space radiation, an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket carrying a commercially developed cargo ship blasted off Thursday and climbed into orbit, kicking off the company's first operational flight to deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LIFTOFF PHOTOS FROM PRESS SITE
   IMAGES: ANTARES ROLLOUT
   PREVIEW STORY
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   LAUNCH VISIBILITY MAP
Europe eyes cooperation on Dream Chaser space plane
Sierra Nevada Corp. is holding preliminary technical discussions with the European Space Agency and the German space agency on a potential collaborative partnership on the company's Dream Chaser space plane, a piloted orbital spaceship being developed for NASA's commercial space taxi program, officials said Wednesday.
   FULL STORY
Space station life extension approved by White House
The Obama administration has given NASA the go-ahead to operate the International Space Station through at least 2024, the agency announced Wednesday, allowing government and private-sector researchers to count on at least another decade of operations, officials said.
   FULL STORY
SpaceX kicks off the year with launch of Thai satellite
Launching for the second time in five weeks, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Monday and successfully put a broadcasting satellite in a high-altitude orbit for a Thai communications operator.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTO GALLERY
   IMAGES: FALCON 9 POISED FOR LAUNCH
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   MISSION PRESS KIT (pdf download)
   OUR FALCON ARCHIVE
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GSLV soars to space with Indian cryogenic engine
India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle put a 2.1-ton communications satellite in orbit Sunday, boosting prospects for the medium-class launcher after a spate of mishaps in recent years.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: GSLV LIFTS OFF
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   MISSION OVERVIEW (pdf download)
TDRS L spacecraft readied
for mid-January launch

The next-generation NASA science-relay satellite is being prepped for shrouding in the bullet-shaped nose cone that will shield it during launch Jan. 23.
   FULL STORY
   THE HISTORY OF TDRSS
Revered Spirit rover landed on Mars a decade ago
Ten years ago Friday, the Spirit rover made an airbag-cushioned landing on Mars to begin a six-year exploration of Gusev Crater, outlasting even the most enthusiastic of prognostications from the mission's engineering and science teams. You are invited to relive Spirit's landing on Jan. 3, 2004, with our archived coverage.
   IMAGES: SPIRIT'S BEST SNAPSHOTS
   SPIRIT LANDING STATUS CENTER
   MARS EXPLORATION ROVER COVERAGE
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Freezing forecast forces Antares launch delay
Orbital Sciences has pushed back next week's launch of a commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station by at least one day to Wednesday to dodge frigid temperatures expected on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
   FULL STORY
Falcon 9 rocket launch delayed to next week
SpaceX has delayed the launch of a Thai communications satellite from Friday until at least Monday, according to the U.S. Air Force. The launch from Cape Canaveral is supposed to kick off a busy 2014 manifest for SpaceX.
   FULL STORY
United Launch Alliance marked banner year in 2013
Launching a new spacecraft to Mars, one to survey Earth's land resources and a host of national security satellites marked a record-breaking year for United Launch Alliance in 2013.
   FULL STORY
Chinese rover hibernating to survive frigid lunar night
China's moon rover is sleeping through its first lunar night after completing an initial survey of its surroundings, a mostly uniform gray landscape interrupted by scattered boulders and craters.
   FULL STORY
Lengthy Russian spacewalk ends in disappointment
After running into problems hooking up two commercial Earth-viewing cameras, cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy reluctantly brought the high-tech cameras back into the Pirs airlock module Friday, closed the hatch and ended a marathon spacewalk, setting a new Russian record in an otherwise disappointing excursion.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
Space station coolant loop reactivated after EVAs
Engineers have checked out a fresh coolant pump installed on the International Space Station during a spacewalk Tuesday and begun restarting science experiments and other systems knocked offline Dec. 11 by a faulty ammonia valve, NASA officials said Thursday.
   FULL STORY
Russian communications satellite launched by Proton
A Proton rocket fired away from the snow-covered Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday, completing a series of maneuvers before deploying a Russian civil communications satellite in orbit nine hours later.
   FULL STORY - updated!
   IMAGES: PROTON LIFTS OFF
Three military satellites ride Rockot launcher to orbit
Russia deployed a trio of military satellites in orbit more than 900 miles above Earth on Wednesday after a successful flight aboard a Rockot launch vehicle.
   FULL STORY
Spacewalkers wrap up coolant system repairs
Two astronauts successfully installed a replacement coolant pump aboard the International Space Station Tuesday, wrapping up a high-stakes two-spacewalk repair job and clearing the way for flight controllers to re-activate a critical coolant system.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
Astronauts complete pump removal ahead of schedule
Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins went outside the International Space Station on Saturday to begin the replacement of a faulty coolant pump module on the lab's truss, a complex repair task that could take up to three spacewalks to complete.
   FULL STORY
   SPACEWALK BEGINS
   PREVIEW STORY
Thaicom 6 launch to kick off SpaceX's 2014 manifest
With a busy manifest next year stacked with up to 10 launches for NASA and commercial customers, SpaceX is targeting Jan. 3 to launch the Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite from Cape Canaveral.
   FULL STORY
   OUR FALCON ARCHIVE
Bolivian satellite in orbit after launch from China
Bolivia's first communications satellite, named for an indigenous fighter who opposed Spanish colonial rule, launched Friday on a Long March rocket from China.
   FULL STORY
Mars lander to launch from California on Atlas 5 in 2016
NASA's InSight lander will launch to Mars in March 2016 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, officials announced Thursday.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
'Discovery machine' soars to map the Milky Way
The sharp-sighted Gaia observatory, carrying the largest camera ever flown in space, rocketed into a predawn sky from French Guiana on Thursday to survey a billion stars and reveal the structure of the Milky Way in finer detail than any mission before.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGE: GAIA INFOGRAPHIC FROM ASTRIUM
   IMAGES: GAIA BLASTS OFF FROM FRENCH GUIANA
   IMAGES: SOYUZ ARRIVES AT LAUNCH PAD
   IMAGES: GAIA JOINS LAUNCHER
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   OUR ARCHIVE OF SOYUZ IN FRENCH GUIANA
NASA equips EVA crew with snorkels, absorbent pads
Engineers have not yet figured out the root cause of a leak in a spacesuit that flooded an astronaut's helmet during a spacewalk last summer. But NASA managers said Wednesday they are confident the suit in question, and another that will be used for urgent space station coolant repair work starting Saturday, will operate safely without any dangerous leakage.
   FULL STORY
NASA orders spacewalks to fix station coolant loop
After an exhaustive effort to come up with a workaround to fix a balky valve in one of the International Space Station's two coolant loops, NASA managers decided Tuesday to change gears and press ahead with at least two and possibly three spacewalks to replace a refrigerator-size ammonia pump module.
   FULL STORY
Cygnus cargo resupply flight delayed to January
NASA officials have decided to go ahead with a series of spacewalks beginning this weekend to restore the International Space Station's cooling system to full functionality, delaying the launch of a commercial resupply mission to January.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: FIRST ANTARES ROLLOUT
China's lunar rover seen in images from the moon
China's robotic lunar lander sent back its first sharp images on Sunday, showing the six-wheeled Yutu rover a day after driving off its landing platform to begin a three-month sojourn across the moon's barren soils.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: ON-BOARD VIDEO OF LANDING
China successfully lands robotic rover on the moon
A Chinese robotic rover landed on the moon Saturday, becoming China's first outpost on another world after a rocket-powered descent to an unexplored barren volcanic plain.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
Cargo flight delayed as NASA studies faulty valve
NASA managers Saturday decided to delay launch of an Orbital Sciences Corp. space station cargo ship by at least one day amid ongoing work to come up with a fix for a balky valve in a cooling system that has forced the station crew to power down non-critical systems.
   FULL STORY
Launch campaign begins for NASA data relay satellite
Technicians at Cape Canaveral stood up the first stage of an Atlas 5 booster Friday, sustaining a near-continuous string of launch campaigns for United Launch Alliance's workhorse rocket.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
SpaceX to begin negotiations for shuttle pad
NASA has selected SpaceX to take over a former space shuttle launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, the agency announced Friday.
   FULL STORY
Technicians enclose Gaia spacecraft in Soyuz fairing
The European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft, fueled and ready to begin a mission mapping a billion stars, was closed up inside the nose shroud of a Soyuz rocket Thursday as the probe begins its final week of launch preparations. Liftoff from French Guiana is set for Dec. 19.
   IMAGES: GAIA LAUNCH PREPARATIONS
GAO ruling opens door for lease of pad 39A
NASA is free to lease an inactive Kennedy Space Center launch pad to a commercial user -- either billionaire-backed Blue Origin or SpaceX -- after an independent government watchdog on Thursday denied a protest disputing the fairness of the agency's search for a long-term tenant to take over the former space shuttle launch complex.
   FULL STORY
ISS managers mull coolant system repair options
Engineers are running tests to figure out what is affecting the operation of a critical valve inside a coolant pump aboard the International Space Station that has forced flight controllers to shut down non-essential systems, curtailing science operations and disrupting the crew's schedule.
   FULL STORY
   EARLIER STORY
Mars One foundation inks deals with Lockheed, Surrey
A privately funded unmanned Mars mission will launch in 2018, officials with the non-profit Mars One foundation announced Tuesday. The mission will include an orbiting communications relay station, a lander equipped with a robotic arm, water generating gear, experimental thin-film solar panels and student experiments.
   FULL STORY
Motion of Earth and moon recorded by Juno spacecraft
NASA's Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft recorded a video of the Earth-moon system during a high-speed flyby in October, revealing an unprecedented view of the two worlds locked in a cosmic dance against the dark abyss of space.
   FULL STORY - with video!
Over-budget ICESat 2 mission under review
NASA has notified Congress of an expected budget breach on the ICESat 2 mission, a satellite mired in technical difficulties with its ice-measuring laser altimeter and plagued by rising costs and launch delays.
   FULL STORY
Rover findings prompt new search strategy for organics
Exploring an ancient lakebed on Mars -- a now-vanished, fresh-water lake that increasingly confirms the past habitability of the red planet -- NASA's Curiosity rover is looking for areas where erosion may have uncovered pristine layers in which organic compounds -- and possibly remnant traces of life -- might still be found, scientists said Monday.
   FULL STORY
Remote sensing satellite lost in Chinese rocket failure
A $250 million Earth observation satellite developed by China and Brazil was lost in launch mishap on a Long March 4B rocket early Monday, officials said.
   FULL STORY
Satellite launched to boost mobile broadband access
A Proton rocket lifted off from Kazakhstan on Sunday, launching a powerful satellite to kick off a $1.6 billion next-generation fleet for Inmarsat, the London-based operator specializing in the booming mobile communications market.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: PROTON ROLLOUT
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
Classified spy satellite launches on Atlas 5 rocket
A classified U.S. spy payload rocketed into orbit from California on an Atlas 5 launcher Thursday, joining the nation's eyes and ears in the sky to supply intelligence to the government's national security agencies.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: ATLAS 5'S NIGHTTIME LIFTOFF
   IMAGES: PAD GANTRY RETRACTED FOR LAUNCH
   IMAGES: ATLAS 5 POISED FOR LAUNCH
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD MATED TO ROCKET
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
Chinese probe arrives in lunar orbit for moon landing
Less than five days after leaving Earth atop a blazing Long March launcher, China's Chang'e 3 spacecraft reached lunar orbit Friday to prepare for an historic rocket-assisted touchdown in the moon's Bay of Rainbows later this month.
   FULL STORY
Falcon 9 launches first commercial telecom payload
A kerosene-fueled Falcon 9 launch vehicle owned and operated by SpaceX climbed away from Florida's Space Coast on Tuesday, steering into orbit more than 50,000 miles above Earth with a television broadcasting satellite in a successful flight signaling the changing landscape of the commercial launch industry.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: VIEW FROM THE PRESS SITE
   COUNTDOWN TIMELINE
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   IMAGES: SES 8 PREPARED FOR LAUNCH
   MISSION PRESS KIT (pdf download)
   SES 8 FACT SHEET (pdf download)
   OUR FALCON ARCHIVE
X-ray telescope, gravity wave probe to be led by ESA
The European Space Agency has decided its next two big science missions, each costing more than $1.3 billion, will be a massive X-ray telescope and a long-proposed observatory to confirm the existence of gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.
   FULL STORY
Remembering NASA's rescue of Hubble
One of the most daunting yet crucial space shuttle missions launched Dec. 2, 1993, as the crew of Endeavour embarked on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The observatory had been launched three-and-a-half years earlier with a crippling vision flaw, requiring teams of spacewalkers to install corrective optics.
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GPM satellite delivered to Japan after shutdown delay
An international satellite built to extend and expand precipitation measurements from space has arrived at its Japanese launch site after a trans-Pacific flight from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
   FULL STORY
Long March rocket blasts off with Chinese lunar rover
A six-wheeled robotic rover named Yutu rode a Long March rocket into space Sunday on China's first lunar landing mission, marking an auspicious start to a four-day journey to the moon.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: CHANG'E 3 ROVER LIFTS OFF
   PREVIEW STORY
Rocket burn puts Indian probe on course to Mars
India's first robotic Mars probe set sail for the red planet Saturday with a vital rocket burn to catapult the spacecraft out of the realm of Earth's gravity and into interplanetary space.
   FULL STORY
Engine trouble aborts Thanksgiving launch
Topped with a television broadcasting satellite, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket fired its engines and was moments away from liftoff from Cape Canaveral on Thursday, but the commercial booster aborted the launch after computers detected the engines were too slow building up thrust.
   FULL STORY
Bearing holiday gifts, Progress arrives at station
International Space Station commander Oleg Kotov took over manual control of an approaching Progress supply ship Friday after an undisclosed problem and deftly guided the craft in for a smooth docking at the aft end of the Russian Zvezda command module to wrap up a four-day rendezvous.
   FULL STORY
Scientists not sure what happened to Comet ISON
After a multi-million-year plunge from the frozen fringes of the solar system, Comet ISON may have broken apart and evaporated in the fierce heat and crushing gravity of the sun before or during a close flyby Thursday, presumably scotching long-held hopes for a dramatic sky show on Earth over the next few weeks. Or maybe not.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
Chinese moon lander on the verge of launch
China has scheduled the launch of an ambitious robotic lunar rover as soon as Sunday on a quest to achieve the first soft landing on the moon in more than three decades.
   FULL STORY
Holiday travelers trump SpaceX launch plans
Concerned a rocket launch might add more congestion to the skies during Thanksgiving week, federal regulators blocked SpaceX's bid to launch a commercial broadcasting satellite Tuesday and Wednesday, two of the busiest travel days of the year.
   FULL STORY
Air Force welcomes new craft into warning network
A next-generation missile detection satellite launched in March has been accepted into the U.S. military's early warning network after a seven-month checkout period, the Air Force announced Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
   LAUNCH STORY
Falcon 9 rocket launch scrubbed until Thanksgiving
SpaceX called off launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with a commercial telecommunications satellite Monday after several technical problems held up the countdown, delaying the flight until Thanksgiving Day.
   FULL STORY
   PREVIEW STORY
Progress dispatched on space station cargo run
A Russian Progress logistics craft, filled with 2.9 tons of supplies and sporting upgrades to its automated rendezvous radar, blasted off from the Kazakh desert Monday en route to the International Space Station.
   IMAGES: PROGRESS LIFTS OFF FROM BAIKONUR
   IMAGES: SOYUZ ROLLS OUT WITH PROGRESS
Long March puts experimental craft in orbit
China launched an experimental satellite Monday for technological demonstrations and environmental surveys, according to official state media reports.
   FULL STORY
Sizing up America's place in the global launch industry
The launch of a high-definition television broadcasting satellite by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket Monday will mark the first commercial communications craft to take off from the United States in four years, a gap representative of America's diminished place in the commercial launch market as more affordable Russian and European boosters gobbled up contracts.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
   OUR DELTA ARCHIVE
   OUR ARIANE ARCHIVE
   OUR ILS PROTON ARCHIVE
   OUR FALCON ARCHIVE
Swarm satellites blast off to explore magnetic field
A swarm of three European magnetic field research satellites rocketed into orbit Friday from a wintry launch pad in northern Russia, kicking off a four-year mission to catalog the sources behind Earth's shield against radiation and solar storms.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   VIDEO: SWARM LAUNCHES IN FREEZING FOG
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   SWARM FACT SHEET (pdf download)
   LAUNCH FACT SHEET (pdf download)
Falcon engine restart glitch blamed on cold conditions
SpaceX says frozen fluid lines prevented the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage engine from re-igniting on a Sept. 29 test flight, but engineers are confident extra insulation will resolve the thermal problem on the Falcon 9's next mission set for liftoff Monday on the company's first launch to geostationary transfer orbit.
   FULL STORY
Rover engineers studying 'soft short' on Curiosity
Science observations by the Curiosity Mars rover are on hold pending tests to pin down the cause of an unexpected voltage change that was detected last Sunday, NASA said in a status report Wednesday. There is no evidence the anomaly is related to a computer reboot earlier this month that triggered protective "safe mode" software.
   FULL STORY
Silo-launched Dnepr rocket lofts 32 satellites
A Soviet-era ballistic missile shot out of an underground silo in southern Russia and rocketed into orbit Thursday with 32 satellites for students, corporations and government agencies from 18 countries on five continents.
   FULL STORY
   VIDEO: DNEPR LAUNCHES OUT OF MISSILE SILO
Student-built satellites, military payloads launched
Crowned with a record-setting horde of 29 satellites, a Minotaur 1 rocket bounded into space from Virginia on Tuesday night and put on an evening sky show before releasing the medley of spacecraft more than 300 miles above Earth.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: MINOTAUR DAZZLES EAST COAST
   IMAGES: UP-CLOSE LAUNCH PHOTOS
   LIST OF PAYLOADS
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   LAUNCH VISIBILITY MAP
   OUR MINOTAUR ARCHIVE
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Chinese military satellite launched into orbit
A Long March rocket shot a Chinese intelligence-gathering satellite into orbit Wednesday. Analysts believe the spacecraft carries a high-resolution optical camera.
   FULL STORY
NASA ends production of new nuclear power source
NASA has decided to stop development of an improved lightweight plutonium power generator, blaming budget constraints and a diminished need for a high-efficiency nuclear power source with the restart of U.S. plutonium production, officials said Sunday.
   FULL STORY
One-on-one with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden


NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden spoke with Spaceflight Now about the MAVEN mission to Mars, the agency's budget woes and his impressions of the first Orion capsule.

Mars atmospheric probe blasts off aboard Atlas 5
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket dispatched a $671 million gas-sniffing sleuth to Mars on Monday, taking the first step in a long-distance voyage across the solar system to survey the Martian atmosphere and decipher an enigma nearly as old as the solar system itself.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: ATLAS 5 AT SUNSET
   IMAGES: ATLAS 5 ROLLOUT
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   GROUND TRACK MAP
   MAVEN LAUNCH WINDOWS
   OUR ATLAS ARCHIVE
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Thrift pays for extra science by NASA's MAVEN mission
Citing cost-conscious caution in the early days of the development of NASA's MAVEN mission, scientists say the Mars mission has enough funding reserves to bankroll extra researchers on the MAVEN science team and enhance data analysis models to get the most out of the spacecraft's survey of the Martian atmosphere.
   FULL STORY
Ames to pitch NASA on 'new' Kepler mission
Managers in charge of the Kepler telescope have identified a way of salvaging the crippled observatory for a modified, less-sensitive cosmic survey for alien worlds, but NASA may not have the money to pay for the mission.
   FULL STORY
Buran, the Soviet space shuttle, flew 25 years ago
The Soviet Union's Buran space shuttle took off Nov. 15, 1988, on an unmanned twice-around-the-world test flight that marked the pinnacle of Cold War space development behind the Iron Curtain, and its legacy still powers space programs worldwide.
   FULL STORY - with images!
   STORE: ORDER THE BURAN PATCH
JPSS reviewers push for gap-filler weather satellite
An independent review board impaneled to scrutinize NOAA's Joint Polar Satellite System says a new polar-orbiting spacecraft with bare-bones meteorological instruments should be developed to prevent a dangerous gap in critical forecasting data.
   FULL STORY
Curiosity driving again after bungled software upgrade
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is hitting the road again Thursday, setting its sights on arriving at the base of a 3.4-mile-high Martian mountain next spring after recovering from a software fault that halted science observations for nearly a week.
   FULL STORY
Next Ariane launch delayed to January by satellite issue
Continuing a string of payload delays that have plagued Arianespace's launch manifest in recent months, the French commercial launch provider announced Wednesday its final Ariane 5 flight of the year has been stalled to conduct additional checks on one of its satellite passengers.
   FULL STORY
   OUR ARIANE ARCHIVE
Russian military probing fatal accident at Plesetsk
Two military officers died last week while cleaning out a propellant storage tank at northern Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome, the Russian Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.
   FULL STORY
Cassini mosaic shows views of Earth, Mars and Venus
A spectacular panorama of the ringed planet Saturn, captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft as it flew through the planet's shadow July 19, was unveiled Tuesday, showing Earth and its two sister planets, Mars and Venus as star-like points of light nearly a billion miles away.
   FULL STORY - with images!
Minotaur launch from Virginia one week away
Working on an austere launch pad in Virginia, technicians have constructed a 69-foot-tall rocket out of stockpiled government-furnished missile stages and commercial hardware for launch Nov. 19 with a record payload of 29 satellites.
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Indian Mars mission weathers first snag
A week into its mission, India's Mars probe overcame a bout of engine trouble Monday with an unplanned maneuver to boost its orbit after a rocket firing failed to do its job Sunday.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Proton rocket lifts off with Russian military payload
A Russian military communications satellite took a nine-hour ride to orbit overnight Monday after a smooth liftoff aboard a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The payload was delivered to a 22,300-mile-high orbit by the launcher's Breeze M upper stage.
   FULL STORY - updated!
   VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY
ESA trusts fixes to Swarm's Russian-built launcher
Going into the Nov. 22 launch of the European Space Agency's $300 million Swarm mission, which promises to collect exquisite data on Earth's magnetic field, European officials say they trust Russian authorities have done all they can to ensure Swarm's Rockot launch vehicle and Breeze upper stage are not afflicted with the problems that have caused a series of launch failures in recent years.
   FULL STORY
GOCE's re-entry pinpointed with help from Twitter
With a tip from social media and armed with data from a suite of radar and optical tracking sensors, the European Space Agency confirmed Monday its GOCE research satellite fell through the atmosphere and broke apart Sunday night over the South Atlantic Ocean near the Falkland Islands.
   FULL STORY - with re-entry image!
Soyuz returns home, completing torch relay
Three station fliers strapped into their Soyuz TMA-09M ferry craft, undocked from the International Space Station and plunged back to Earth Sunday, settling to a jarring rocket-assisted landing on the frigid steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a 166-day stay in space.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Running on empty, GOCE satellite falls back to Earth
A European research satellite fell back to Earth late Sunday, breaking up from destructive aerodynamic forces as it streaked through the upper atmosphere, but the exact location of the spacecraft's fall from orbit has not been pinpointed.
   FULL STORY
   REAL-TIME UPDATES
   GOCE RE-ENTRY POSED LITTLE RISK
Olympic torch handed off in spacewalk photo op
The Olympic torch relay leading to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, chalked up a space first Saturday, with two cosmonauts staging a symbolic handoff, passing the torch back and forth while posing for publicity shots during a nearly six-hour spacewalk.
   FULL STORY
MAVEN affixed to Atlas 5 rocket for Nov. 18 launch
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, the centerpiece of a $671 million mission to study the atmosphere of Mars, reached its penultimate stop before liftoff when technicians transported the delicate probe to the Atlas 5 rocket's seaside launch complex Friday.
   FULL STORY
   IMAGES: PAYLOAD HOISTED ATOP ATLAS 5
   IMAGES: MAVEN ENCAPSULATED IN FAIRING
Three-man station crew lifts off carrying Olympic torch
A Russian Soyuz booster roared to life late Wednesday and rocketed away from Kazakhstan carrying a crew of three and an Olympic torch bound for the International Space Station, the centerpiece of an out-of-this-world photo op to herald the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The three-man crew docked with the space station Thursday after a quick six-hour pursuit.
   LAUNCH STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   IMAGES: SOYUZ LAUNCH
   IMAGES: SOYUZ ROLLOUT
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Astronauts catch glimpse of cargo craft's re-entry
The European Space Agency's fourth automated resupply spacecraft, packed with several tons of the International Space Station's garbage, dipped back into Earth's atmosphere over the weekend and disintegrated in a spectacular fireball caught in pictures taken by astronauts living on the orbiting complex.
   IMAGES: ATV'S FINAL PLUNGE
Indian spacecraft soars on historic journey to Mars
India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off Tuesday with the country's first Mars mission, a low-budget project marking India's foray into an elite club of space powers.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
   PREVIEW STORY
   LAUNCH TIMELINE
   IMAGES: LAUNCH PHOTOS
   IMAGES: PSLV PREPARED FOR LAUNCH
Kepler finds Earth-size planets commonplace
Showing stars with planets are the rule rather than the exception, data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope indicates one in five sun-like stars in the Milky Way galaxy likely hosts an Earth-size planet in the habitable zone where life as it is known on Earth can, in theory, exist, scientists announced Monday.
   FULL STORY
GOCE gravity-mapping satellite falling from orbit
A sleek European satellite is coming back to Earth after depleting its supply of xenon propellant last month, and European Space Agency controllers say an uptick in solar activity could hasten the spacecraft's fiery fall from orbit.
   FULL STORY
Fourth ATV mission ends in fireball over Pacific Ocean
Five days after ending its mission at the International Space Station, a European logistics carrier plummeted back to Earth over the remote South Pacific Ocean on Saturday, disposing of nearly 2.4 tons of trash and liquid waste in a stream of glowing plasma visible from the orbiting complex.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER
Soyuz switches ports on International Space Station
Three space station crew members put on spacesuits and boarded their Soyuz spacecraft Friday for a short trip to relocate the capsule to a new docking port on the orbiting outpost, clearing the way for the arrival of three new residents next week.
   FULL STORY
   MISSION STATUS CENTER

Read our earlier news archive page.

STS-134 Patch

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The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
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Final Shuttle Mission Patch

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The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!
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Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
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STS-133 Patch

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The final planned flight of space shuttle Discovery is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-133. Available in our store!
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Anniversary Shuttle Patch

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This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.
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Mercury anniversary

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Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.
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