July 20, 2018
Mission Reports

Falcon 9 rocket test-fired for weekend launch

July 18, 2018

Nine Merlin engines on the first stage of SpaceX’s next Falcon 9 rocket briefly fired up on a Cape Canaveral launch pad Thursday, and the launcher cleared a customary pre-flight checkout in preparation for liftoff early Sunday with a Canadian-owned communications satellite.

  • Rapid-fire engine tests raise hopes for DARPA’s planned reusable spaceplane

    July 18, 2018

    A series of unprecedented back-to-back test-firings of a rocket engine originally developed for NASA’s space shuttle concluded earlier this month, giving engineers data crucial to achieving rapid 24-hour turnarounds planned for a U.S. military-funded reusable winged booster under construction at Boeing, government and industry officials said.

  • Blue Origin performs high-altitude test of crew escape motor

    July 18, 2018

    Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard booster launched Wednesday on an uncrewed test flight, sending a capsule on a brief jaunt into space over West Texas to demonstrate a key safety feature for space tourists and scientists riding on the company’s future rockets.

  • Powerful new European solid-fueled rocket motor aces first test-firing

    July 16, 2018

    European engineers test-fired the world’s most powerful present-day single-segment solid rocket booster Monday in French Guiana, clearing a major development hurdle for the Vega-C and Ariane 6 launchers set for debuts in 2019 and 2020.

  • Scotland site selected as launch base for Lockheed Martin, Orbex

    July 16, 2018

    Two companies — U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and British start-up Orbex — seeking to carve out a share of the burgeoning small satellite launch market plan to fly their rockets from a remote site on the northern shore of Scotland, British government and industry officials announced Monday.

  • Cygnus cargo ship released from space station, heads for extended mission

    July 15, 2018

    Closing out 52 days at the International Space Station, an automated Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft left the research outpost Sunday to climb into a higher orbit for deployment of six CubeSats and further engineering experiments, before de-orbiting over Pacific Ocean later this month.

  • SpaceX’s first space-worthy Crew Dragon capsule arrives at Cape Canaveral

    July 14, 2018

    SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon spacecraft, a capsule designed to eventually carry astronauts on treks to the International Space Station, has arrived at Cape Canaveral to begin preparations for launch on an unpiloted test flight later this year.

  • Towers at historic Florida launch pad toppled

    July 12, 2018

    The U.S. Air Force on Thursday demolished towers once used to assemble Delta 2 rockets at Cape Canaveral for missions to Mars, four dozen flights to deploy the GPS navigation network, and numerous launches with scientific, commercial and military payloads.

  • Relive the Progress MS-09 freighter’s expedited journey to space station

    July 11, 2018

    Russia’s Progress MS-09 cargo craft made a 3-hour, 40-minute trip from a launch pad in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station on Monday, setting a record for the quickest journey to the orbiting research laboratory. Look back on the mission’s predawn launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and radar-guided docking at the space station with these images and videos.

  • U.S. cargo craft tests reboost capability at International Space Station

    July 11, 2018

    A commercial Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply ship berthed at the International Space Station fired its main engine for 50 seconds Tuesday in a test of the spacecraft’s ability to reboost, and possibly eventually deorbit, the massive research outpost.

  • NASA’s Kepler telescope nears end of mission

    July 10, 2018

    Nearly a decade after launching from Cape Canaveral on a planet-hunting quest that has netted 2,650 new confirmed worlds beyond our solar system, NASA’s Kepler telescope has paused its observations after on-board sensors detected it is running low on fuel.

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