Engineers plan to redesign part of the Orion capsule’s self-righting flotation system that only partially engaged as the spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean following an orbital test flight in December, NASA officials said.
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk has shared images of the Falcon 9 booster’s crash landing on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean after the rocket’s successful Jan. 10 liftoff with supplies for the International Space Station.
NASA officials say the International Space Station’s logistics chain was designed to absorb a launch failure like the mishap that destroyed an Orbital Sciences Corp. cargo craft in October, but pressure is on SpaceX to deliver supplies on time this year.
Less than 10 weeks after a fatal crash that destroyed a suborbital rocket plane and raised questions about the future Virgin Galactic, the company’s chief executive says engineers are developing a test program for a replacement spaceship expected to fly later this year.
Two NASA astronauts and an Italian flight engineer took shelter in the space station’s Russian segment Wednesday as mission control analyzed a possible leak of toxic ammonia coolant aboard the complex. Initial data indicated it was likely a false alarm.
Up to 24 launches are planned from Cape Canaveral in 2015, thanks to jam-packed manifests for SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to send up satellites for the U.S. military, NASA and commercial telecom operators.
Engineers are resuming preparations to launch an experimental European re-entry test vehicle on a Vega rocket Feb. 11 after a two-month delay ordered by safety authorities to analyze risks posed to the public by the booster’s unique trajectory after liftoff from French Guiana.
A powerful space shuttle-era rocket engine ignited for more than eight minutes on a test stand in Mississippi last week, kicking off hotfire testing for NASA’s Space Launch System mega-rocket after contamination and computer woes kept the engine silent several months longer than planned.