Liftoff of a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket is set for this week from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the first time SpaceX has reused one of its first stage boosters on a second mission. The flight was set for takeoff Wednesday, but the launch of the SES 10 communications satellite will likely be delayed to Thursday after launch preps ran behind schedule.
The head of the launch enterprise directorate at the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Claire Leon, spoke with reporters March 15 about the military’s award of a GPS launch contract to SpaceX, and she discussed plans for more head-to-head launch contract competitions in the coming months.
Astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet put on their self-contained spacesuits and headed outside the International Space Station on Friday for a six-and-a-half hour excursion to prepare for the relocation of a docking adapter, service the lab’s Dextre robot, and install a new computer relay box.
President Donald Trump signed a new NASA authorization bill Tuesday, the first such space policy framework since early in the Obama administration, that largely continues the space agency’s efforts to foster a commercial economy in Earth orbit and explore deep space, with an eventual goal of landing humans on Mars.
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, a Russian-launched, European-built spacecraft that arrived at Mars in October, is starting to dip into the upper reaches of the red planet’s atmosphere in a year-long “aerobraking” campaign place the observatory in the right position to hunt for methane, an indicator of potential biological activity.
SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft ended a four-week mission Sunday with a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, returning from the International Space Station with more than 3,600 pounds of cargo, blood and urine samples, and specimens from a rodent research experiment aimed at helping patients with catastrophic bone injuries and osteoporosis.