Legendary cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space — an experience that almost killed him — and later the commander of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that docked with a NASA Apollo capsule, symbolizing a historic thaw in the Cold War, has died after a long illness, the Russian space agency confirmed Friday. He was 85.
Astronauts Drew Morgan and Christina Koch floated back outside the International Space Station Friday and completed work to replace six aging batteries with three more powerful units in one of the lab’s eight solar power circuits. Three more spacewalks are planned over the next two weeks to replace another six batteries in an adjacent circuit.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited SpaceX’s California rocket factory Thursday, toured the sprawling facility with founder Elon Musk and told reporters he is optimistic the company will be ready to launch the first piloted test flight of its Crew Dragon spaceship in the first quarter of next year.
A Proton booster rocketed away from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazaskhtan Wednesday with a Eutelsat television broadcasting craft and the satellite industry’s first commercial in-space servicing vehicle. The successful launch marked the first commercial Proton mission under the auspices of International Launch Services in more than two years.
Boeing officials said Wednesday that the company is targeting Dec. 17 for the launch of the first unpiloted orbital test flight of the new Starliner crew capsule from Cape Canaveral on a week-long demonstration mission to the International Space Station, a precursor to a mission with astronauts next year.