Astra was gearing up for the first orbital test flight of its small satellite launcher, named Rocket 3.0, from Alaska on Monday, but officials scrubbed the launch after detecting a problem with a guidance, navigation and control system in the final minute of the countdown. Poor weather at the launch site also prevented liftoff over the weekend on the first of two missions under the auspices of DARPA’s Launch Challenge.
The program manager in charge of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule program said Friday that additional checks would have uncovered problems with the spaceship’s software that plagued the craft’s first unpiloted orbital test flight in December, but he pushed back against suggestions that Boeing engineers took shortcuts during ground testing.
Northrop Grumman’s first Mission Extension Vehicle captured spectacular views of the commercial Intelsat 901 communications satellite as it approached for docking this week, providing the first-ever up-close public views of a spacecraft flying near geosynchronous orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth.
A Northrop Grumman robotic servicing spacecraft has hooked up with an aging Intelsat communications satellite more than 22,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean, accomplishing the first link-up between two commercial satellites in space, and the first docking with a satellite that was never designed to receive a visitor.
Some time in the next few days, a California-based company that has quietly toiled to develop a new light-class satellite launcher since 2016 will attempt to send three CubeSats into orbit from Kodiak Island, Alaska, on the first of two missions scheduled before the end of March to win up to $12 million in prize money from the U.S. military.