Bill Gerstenmaier, former director of spaceflight at NASA Headquarters and a widely respected aerospace engineer and manager, has taken a consulting position at SpaceX, the California rocket company NASA helped save in 2008 with the award of a $1.6 billion contract to build and launch space station cargo ships.
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Wrapping up nearly 20 years of service as a docking port and airlock, Russia’s Pirs module departed the International Space Station Monday under tow from a Progress supply ship, heading for a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere to clear the way for arrival of a larger science lab later this week.
Blue Origin launched first crew mission aboard a New Shepard rocket at 8:11 a.m. CDT (9:11 a.m. EDT; 1311 GMT) Tuesday from the company’s privately-owned spaceport north of Van Horn, Texas. Billionaire Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin’s founder, joined his brother Mark Bezos, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and Dutch student Oliver Daemen for the successful 10-minute flight to suborbital space.