January 20, 2021
Mission Reports

Live coverage: SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites

January 20, 2021

SpaceX launched another batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The broadband stations lifted off at 8:02 a.m. EST (1302 GMT) aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

  • Rocket Lab launches communications satellite for OHB

    January 20, 2021

    A mysterious small satellite built by the German company OHB, purported to be a pathfinder for a Chinese-owned communications constellation, took off from New Zealand Wednesday and soared into orbit on top of a Rocket Lab Electron launcher.

  • NASA gives up on salvaging InSight Mars lander’s ‘mole’

    January 19, 2021

    NASA managers tried for the last time earlier this month to coax the InSight lander’s long-stuck subsurface heat probe into the Martian soil, but after seeing no more progress, ground teams decided to end their efforts and focus on the mission’s other science objectives.

  • Hydraulic system issue triggered early engine shutdown during SLS test-firing

    January 19, 2021

    NASA officials said Tuesday the weekend test-firing of the Space Launch System moon rocket’s core stage was cut short by an out-of-limits parameter in a hydraulic system for gimbaling, or vectoring, one of its engines. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Spaceflight Now engineers are “feeling pretty good” about the data gathered during the shortened test-firing, and managers may decide to ship the SLS core stage to the Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations without re-attempting the planned eight-minute hot fire.

  • Boeing making progress on Starliner software for test flight in March

    January 18, 2021

    Boeing said Monday it has re-qualified software for the company’s Starliner crew capsule after programming errors cut short the spacecraft’s first orbital test flight in 2019, and technicians at the Kennedy Space Center have connected the crew and service modules for the next unpiloted Starliner test flight to the International Space Station in March.

  • Virgin’s satellite launcher reaches orbit for first time

    January 18, 2021

    An air-launched rocket built by Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reached orbit Sunday for the first time, delivering 10 experimental CubeSats for NASA and positioning the company for the start of commercial operations.

  • NASA studying cause of early end to moon rocket test-firing

    January 17, 2021

    A critical test-firing of NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket in Mississippi ended just 67 seconds after it began Saturday, well short of a planned eight-minute burn that was supposed to clear the way for the space agency to finally ship the rocket’s core stage to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch preparations.

  • Video: SLS core stage test-firing ends early

    January 16, 2021

    The four RS-25 engines at the bottom of NASA’s first Space Launch System core stage shut down about a minute into a ground test-firing Saturday that was supposed to last more than eight minutes.

  • NASA takes a chance on Virgin Orbit with company’s second test launch

    January 16, 2021

    On its second launch attempt after a propulsion problem prevented its light-class air-dropped rocket from reaching space last year, Virgin Orbit will try to deliver 10 experimental CubeSats into orbit as soon as Sunday on a mission booked by NASA five years ago for $4.7 million.

  • Live coverage: SLS core stage engines shut down early during critical hotfire test

    January 16, 2021

    A critical test-firing of the Space Launch System’s core stage engines cut off about a minute into a planned eight-minute burn Saturday on a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The rocket’s four engines ignited at 5:27 p.m. EST (2227 GMT) for a test that was to pave the way for the core stage’s shipment to the Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations.

  • Live coverage: Rocket Lab launches from New Zealand on its first mission of 2021

    January 16, 2021

    After scrubbing a countdown Saturday to review sensor data, Rocket Lab launched its first mission of 2021 from New Zealand at 2:26 a.m. EST (0726 GMT) Wednesday. The company’s light-class Electron rocket carried a super-secret payload for OHB, a German-headquartered satellite manufacturer.

  • NASA proceeds with SLS booster stacking in Florida before core stage arrives

    January 15, 2021

    NASA ground crews at the Kennedy Space Center are continuing to stack segments of the Space Launch System’s side-mounted solid rocket boosters on a mobile launch platform inside the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building.

  • NASA’s huge moon rocket faces critical test-firing before first launch

    January 15, 2021

    A critical test firing Saturday of the four main engines powering the first stage of NASA’s gargantuan Space Launch System moon rocket is the final major hurdle before the fully assembled booster’s costly, oft-delayed launch late this year on an unpiloted test flight.

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