A day after commercial satellite images revealed a smoke plume over an Iranian launch pad, President Trump tweeted a remarkably high-resolution aerial photograph of the remote satellite launch facility Friday — apparently from a classified satellite or airborne drone — and denied U.S. involvement in the accident.
After assessing any damage to the spaceport caused by Hurricane Dorian as it narrowly missed Florida’s east coast, NASA says the Kennedy Space Center will reopen for normal operations Friday. Teams rolled the Space Launch System’s mobile launch platform from pad 39B back into the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building last week for safekeeping during the storm.
NASA civil servants and the agency’s contractor work force are bracing for high winds and rain from Hurricane Dorian, securing rocket stages, spacecraft assembly areas and even hauling a 6.7-million-pound mobile launch tower, designed for the huge rocket being built for the Artemis moon program, back to the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building for safekeeping.
Teams working in Northrop Grumman’s spacecraft factory in Southern California have connected the spacecraft and science modules of the James Webb Space Telescope for the first time, a major milestone as engineers prepare to verify a fix to tears in the observatory’s sunshield, and begin launch vibration and acoustic testing in the coming months.
SpaceX launched its sub-scale Starship “hopper” spacecraft on a brief unpiloted up-and-down test flight at the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, test facility Tuesday, a dramatic demonstration of rocket technology intended to pave the way to a new, more powerful heavy lift booster and, eventually, crew-carrying interplanetary spacecraft.