June 20, 2021
Mission Reports

SpaceX launches first national security mission on reused commercial rocket

June 17, 2021

A fresh GPS navigation beacon destined to replace a nearly 17-year-old satellite rode into orbit from Cape Canaveral on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Thursday, marking the first time risk-averse U.S. military space officials have agreed to launch a national security mission on a reused commercial booster.

  • Chinese astronauts enter Tiangong space station for first time

    June 17, 2021

    Three Chinese astronauts floated into the country’s new Tiangong space station Thursday, becoming the first people to board China’s outpost in orbit after a successful launch from a military base in the Gobi Desert to start a three-month mission.

  • Live coverage: SpaceX launches GPS satellite for U.S. Space Force

    June 17, 2021

    SpaceX launched a national security payload for the U.S. military Thursday for the first time using a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket booster. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station with a GPS navigation satellite at 12:09 p.m. EDT (1609 GMT).

  • Live coverage: China launches first crew to new space station

    June 16, 2021

    Three Chinese astronauts launched at 9:22 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0122 GMT Thursday) aboard the Shenzhou 12 spacecraft. A Long March 2F rocket blasted off from northwest China and successfully carried the astronauts into orbit, setting the stage for their docking at the Tiangong space station about six hours later.

  • U.S. Space Force clears reused SpaceX rocket for launch with GPS satellite

    June 16, 2021

    Following years of planning, a GPS navigation satellite built by Lockheed Martin will be the first operational U.S. military payload to ride a reused SpaceX booster on a launch from Florida Thursday, laying the groundwork for future national security missions to save money by incorporating recycled rocket parts.

  • Three astronauts will be first to board new Chinese space station

    June 16, 2021

    Two veteran Chinese astronauts and a first-time space flier will be the first crew members to live and work aboard China’s new space station after launching Wednesday from a remote spaceport in the Gobi Desert.

  • NASA bolts Space Launch System core stage to solid rocket boosters

    June 16, 2021

    The core stage for NASA’s first Space Launch System, the heavy-lift rocket designed to carry astronauts back to the moon, has been installed between two solid-fueled boosters on a mobile launch platform at the Kennedy Space Center for an unpiloted lunar test flight.

  • Spacewalkers run out of time before unrolling new space station solar array

    June 16, 2021

    Two astronauts floated outside the International Space Station Wednesday and attached a rolled-up solar array, the first of six intended to boost the lab’s power back to factory fresh levels. But a spacesuit glitch and then an interference issue with the array mechanism prevented them from extending the new panel as planned.

  • NRO satellites launched by Minotaur rocket with surplus missile parts

    June 15, 2021

    Three classified small satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office fired into orbit from the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tuesday, riding a Northrop Grumman Minotaur 1 booster with a surplus military missile first stage made in 1966, likely the oldest rocket part ever used on a space launch.

  • Live coverage: Minotaur 1 rocket launches from Virginia

    June 15, 2021

    A Minotaur 1 rocket derived from a decommissioned ballistic missile took off at 9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 GMT) Tuesday from Wallops Island, Virginia, after a weather delay of more than two-and-a-half hours. The four-stage, solid-fueled rocket carried three payloads into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office.

  • Photos: Minotaur 1 rocket stands on launch pad in Virginia

    June 14, 2021

    Clad in a yellow thermal blanket that will peel away at liftoff, a 69-foot-tall Minotaur 1 rocket is standing on a launch pad at Wallops Island, Virginia, ready to deliver three small National Reconnaissance Office spacecraft to orbit.

  • Minotaur rocket set to launch top secret satellites from Virginia

    June 14, 2021

    A Minotaur 1 rocket powered by a surplus Cold War-era missile stage more than 54 years old is poised to blast off from the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tuesday morning, heading to orbit with three top secret spacecraft for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency.

  • Pegasus rocket successful in responsive launch demonstration

    June 13, 2021

    A Northrop Grumman Pegasus rocket dropped from the belly of a carrier jet over the Pacific Ocean early Sunday and streaked into orbit with a small U.S. military space surveillance satellite named Odyssey, demonstrating a rapid launch capability in partnership with a secretive new Space Force special projects unit.

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