A new era in GPS navigation launched Sunday, when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket climbed into orbit with a Lockheed Martin-built satellite designed to beam higher-power positioning, navigation and timing signals around the world, providing military and civilian users with more accurate data that is more resistant to growing jamming threats.
A Russian military communications satellite launched Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, riding a Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage into orbit on just the second Proton flight this year, the lowest annual flight rate for Russia’s most powerful operational launcher since the 1960s.
Russian commander Sergey Prokopyev, German flight engineer Alexander Gerst, and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor closed out a nearly 197-day space mission with a landing in Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz MS-09 crew carry ship at 0502 GMT (12:02 a.m. EST) Thursday. The Soyuz crew undocked from the International Space Station at 0140 GMT (8:40 p.m. EST Wednesday) to begin their return to Earth.
Armed with a knife, scissors and other cutting tools, cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev went outside the International Space Station on Dec. 11 to slice into the thermal insulation of a Soyuz spaceship and inspect the site of a repaired air leak that briefly caused a minor drop in air pressure in the research outpost earlier this year.
India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk.2 lifted off at 1040 GMT (5:40 a.m. EST; 4:10 p.m. Indian Standard Time) with the GSAT 7A communications satellite for the Indian Air Force. The rocket placed the spacecraft into a supersynchronous transfer orbit around 19 minutes after liftoff from Sriharikota on India’s east coast.
Eight days after a dramatic spacewalk to inspect the site of a leak in the hull of his Soyuz ferry ship, Russian commander Sergey Prokopyev, German flight engineer Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor geared up to depart the International Space Station Wednesday for a fiery plunge back to Earth.