September 18, 2020
Mission Reports

Live coverage: SpaceX grounds launch to wait for better recovery weather

September 17, 2020

SpaceX scrubbed a Falcon 9 launch attempt Thursday, citing an issue associated with the planned recovery of the rocket’s first stage or payload fairing in the Atlantic Ocean. Officials later said the mission would be grounded to await improved weather in downrange recovery area in the Atlantic Ocean.

  • ULA targeting Sept. 26 for next Delta 4-Heavy launch attempt

    September 17, 2020

    United Launch Alliance said Thursday it is targeting Sept. 26 for the next attempt to send a classified U.S. government spy satellite into orbit aboard a Delta 4-Heavy rocket, following an abort Aug. 29 just three seconds before liftoff from Cape Canaveral.

  • Up and down with a Falcon 9 booster

    September 16, 2020

    SpaceX has released video from an Aug. 30 launch captured by a camera mounted aboard the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, showing the booster’s climb into space from Cape Canaveral and a fiery return to the Florida spaceport, where SpaceX will ready the vehicle for another mission.

  • Hints of life renew interest in Venus, and a private mission could lead the way

    September 14, 2020

    The announcement Monday of the discovery of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus — an indicator of possible life — has raised hopes among scientists for new robotic missions to renew exploration of Earth’s planetary neighbor. If Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck gets his way, a privately-funded mission could get the next crack at probing Venus’s soupy atmosphere.

  • Northrop Grumman ends OmegA rocket program

    September 14, 2020

    Northrop Grumman says it will not continue development of the OmegA rocket after the U.S. Space Force last month picked United Launch Alliance and SpaceX as the military’s two top launch contractors over the next seven years.

  • Software fix could position Astra for another launch attempt by end of year

    September 14, 2020

    Astra officials said Saturday a software fix will likely resolve a guidance system problem that caused the company’s first orbital-class rocket to begin drifting off course soon after liftoff from Alaska Friday night, prompting a range safety officer to terminate the mission.

  • NOAA weather satellite transitions to new role for U.S. military

    September 13, 2020

    A weather satellite built and launched for NOAA in 2006 to help track hurricanes approaching the United States has been repositioned to monitor weather conditions in the Middle East to support U.S. military operations in the region.

  • Chinese smallsat launcher fails

    September 12, 2020

    A Chinese small satellite launcher failed after liftoff Saturday, destroying a commercial Earth-imaging payload before it could enter orbit.

  • Astra launch falters during first stage burn

    September 12, 2020

    Astra’s privately-developed small satellite launcher crashed shortly after liftoff from Alaska Friday evening on the company’s first try at reaching orbit.

  • Stacking of next Atlas 5 rocket begins at Cape Canaveral

    September 11, 2020

    United Launch Alliance technicians positioned the first stage for the next Atlas 5 rocket on a mobile launch platform Friday at Cape Canaveral, a key step in preparations for an October mission that will debut a new solid-fueled booster design.

  • NASA challenges companies to mine lunar soil

    September 11, 2020

    NASA announced Thursday it plans to purchase lunar soil from a commercial company, an effort the agency’s top official said is intended to set a precedent for the transfer of ownership of extraterrestrial material and stimulate a market harvesting resources from bodies throughout the solar system.

  • After second hop, SpaceX preps for next phase of Starship testing

    September 9, 2020

    After another Starship hop test last week, SpaceX is set to build the first prototype for the next-gen rocket’s huge first stage booster. Meanwhile, testing will commence soon on the Raptor engine model needed for orbital Starship missions.

  • China launches another Gaofen Earth observation satellite

    September 8, 2020

    A new optical Earth observation satellite launched by China Monday joins the country’s remote sensing network for land surveys, urban planning, and agriculture monitoring.

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