January 26, 2020
Mission Reports

Solar Orbiter launch delayed to Feb. 7

January 26, 2020

Officials have delayed the launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket with the European-built Solar Orbiter spacecraft from Cape Canaveral by two days to Feb. 7, a ripple effect from time spent fixing a minor issue last week during a launch vehicle countdown dress rehearsal.

  • Astronauts finish repairs to space station cosmic ray detector

    January 25, 2020

    During a fourth spacewalk Saturday to wrap up repairs of the coolant system in a $2 billion cosmic ray detector, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and Drew Morgan discovered a leak in one of eight coolant lines that were spliced into a new pump module during three earlier excursions. But Parmitano was able to tighten a fitting on the line and the astronauts were able to complete the repair work, setting the stage for the instrument to resume science operations.

  • Live coverage: Next SpaceX launch expected no earlier than Monday

    January 20, 2020

    SpaceX performed a hold-down test-firing Jan. 20 of a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a launch with 60 Starlink broadband satellites, but officials delayed the missions’s planned launch Tuesday due to extreme weather in the downrange recovery zone for the first stage and payload fairing. The next possible launch attempt is expected at 9:49 a.m. EST (1449 GMT) Monday.

  • SpaceX wins contract to launch Egyptian communications satellite

    January 25, 2020

    SpaceX and the Egyptian satellite operator Nilesat have signed a contract to launch the Nilesat 301 communications craft on a Falcon 9 rocket in 2022, SpaceX confirmed this week.

  • Prototypes for new Chinese crew capsule and space station arrive at launch site

    January 24, 2020

    The next flight of China’s heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket will debut a new configuration designed to launch modules for a Chinese space station. But a demonstration launch of the Long March 5B booster scheduled as soon as April will instead carry a prototype of China’s next-generation deep space crew capsule into orbit on an unpiloted test flight.

  • SpaceX releases preliminary results from Crew Dragon abort test

    January 23, 2020

    Data from the Jan. 19 in-flight launch escape demonstration of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft indicate the performance of the capsule’s SuperDraco abort engines was “flawless” as the thrusters boosted the ship away from the top of a Falcon 9 rocket with a peak acceleration of about 3.3Gs, officials said Thursday.

  • Firefly confirms fire during first stage test

    January 23, 2020

    Firefly Aerospace confirmed a “test anomaly” resulted in a small fire on a vertical test stand in Central Texas Wednesday evening. The fire occurred during the first attempt at a full-scale qualification test-firing of a first stage for Firefly’s Alpha small satellite launcher.

  • Boeing backs out of DARPA spaceplane program

    January 22, 2020

    After receiving more than $150 million in U.S. military funding to design and develop a reusable winged spaceplane named Phantom Express, Boeing said Wednesday it is ending its work on the vehicle, effectively killing a program military officials hoped would offer regular, reduced-cost launch opportunities for small satellites.

  • Atlas 5 for Solar Orbiter launch returns to assembly building for inspections

    January 22, 2020

    United Launch Alliance moved its next Atlas 5 rocket off its Florida launch pad Wednesday for inspections after a cooling duct unexpectedly disconnected before a planned countdown rehearsal to prepare for liftoff next month with the joint U.S.-European Solar Orbiter mission. The roll back to the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad could delay Solar Orbiter’s liftoff, which was scheduled for Feb. 5

  • NASA invites public to vote on name for Mars 2020 rover

    January 22, 2020

    NASA has announced the nine finalists for the name of the space agency’s next Mars rover — scheduled for launch in July — and invited the public to vote on the candidates before making a final selection in the coming months.

  • NRO, the U.S. spy satellite agency, preps for first dedicated launch on foreign soil

    January 21, 2020

    Rocket Lab’s first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, which owns the U.S. government’s fleet of intelligence-gathering satellites, is scheduled to launch from New Zealand as soon as Jan. 30 (U.S. time), officials announced Monday.

  • SpaceX test-fires rocket for next Starlink mission; launch date under review

    January 20, 2020

    Just one day after a mission from a nearby launch pad, SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket Monday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of the company’s next flight. Faced with extreme weather this week in the ocean recovery zone for the Falcon 9’s first stage booster and payload shroud, SpaceX said it was evaluating the best opportunity to launch the Falcon 9 with 60 Starlink broadband satellites.

  • Photos: Crew Dragon returns to port after in-flight abort test

    January 20, 2020

    Loaded onto a SpaceX recovery ship, the Crew Dragon capsule that performed a successful in-flight abort test Sunday over Florida’s Space Coast pulled into Port Canaveral hours later after being retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean.

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