Outgoing space station commander Randy Bresnik, joined by Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and European Space Agency flight engineer Paolo Nespoli, returned to Earth early Thursday after nearly five months in orbit. Their Soyuz MS-05 capsule undocked from the International Space Station at 12:14 a.m. EST (0514 GMT), and landed on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 3:37 a.m. EST (0837 GMT).
With a fix in place for a propulsion system alarm that cut short a countdown in the final seconds Monday, U.S. time, Rocket Lab readied an Electron rocket for another try Wednesday night, but unfavorable upper level winds kept the booster grounded. The Electron rocket is awaiting launch on a test flight aiming to deliver three small commercial CubeSats to orbit from a remote New Zealand launch pad.
Blue Origin’s third New Shepard suborbital booster lifted off on its first brief up-and-down test flight Tuesday, soaring to an altitude of 322,000 feet over West Texas to prove out the rocket and its automated crew capsule, which flew with a dummy dubbed “Mannequin Skywalker” to simulate the conditions passengers riding the rocket will one day experience.
Unimpeded by rain showers and a dark gray blanket of low clouds, an Ariane 5 rocket thundered away from a European-run space base in the jungle of French Guiana Tuesday to place four Galileo navigation satellites in orbit, an on-target deployment that should improve the location accuracy of new smartphones around the world.
Four European navigation satellites fastened on top of an Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 1836:07 GMT (1:36:07 p.m. EST) Tuesday to propel the Galileo navigation network closer to global service. The Ariane 5’s upper stage delivered the spacecraft to a circular orbit more than 14,000 miles above Earth around four hours after launch.