NASA’s final pair of TROPICS hurricane research satellites lifted off on a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle from New Zealand on Thursday night (U.S. time). The two identical shoebox-size spacecraft launched at 11:46 p.m. EDT Thursday (0346 UTC Friday) from Rocket Lab’s privately-owned spaceport on Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.
SpaceX scrubbed a launch attempt early Wednesday at Cape Canaveral due to thick cloud cover, then delayed the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket with an Airbus-built communications satellite for Arabsat until Friday night to wait for improved weather and to make room for the test-firing of United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket at a neighboring launch pad.
Four commercial space fliers who launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Axiom’s second private astronaut mission Sunday arrived at the International Space Station on a SpaceX crew capsule Monday to start an eight-day stay full of scientific experiments, student outreach events, and sightseeing.
Former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, with more time in space than any other American, rocketed back into orbit for the fourth time Sunday, riding a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher from Florida with a fare-paying investor and private pilot, and the first two Saudi Arabian astronauts to fly to the International Space Station.