Russia’s Proton rocket took off on its first launch of the year Sunday with a commercial satellite to expand Inmarsat’s next-generation mobile communications network. Liftoff occurred at 1231 GMT (7:31 a.m. EST), and it took more than 15 hours to place the Inmarsat spacecraft in the correct orbit.
NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite blasts off aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket Saturday, launching into orbit on a three-year mission to measure moisture levels in Earth’s soils.
SpaceX is finishing up preparations for a major test of a rocket-powered abort system for the company’s new Dragon crew ferry spacecraft, targeting launch from Cape Canaveral in March after a pair of Falcon 9 missions in February.
A Russian Proton rocket is scheduled to take off from Kazakhstan on Sunday with the second spacecraft to serve Inmarsat’s $1.6 billion next-generation satellite communications network geared for getting faster links to customers on the move.
A new animation of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket set for a debut flight later this year shows how the powerful launcher will blast off from Kennedy Space Center’s famed Apollo-era launch pad 39A, and could eventually fly back to Florida’s Space Coast for refurbishment and reuse.
Work on Boeing’s CST-100 commercial crew capsule will ramp up at the program’s new home base in Florida this year, with construction of a crew access tower at the Atlas 5 rocket’s launch pad underway and assembly of a spacecraft test article due to begin in a converted space shuttle hangar.
The human-rated Crew Dragon spacecraft being developed by SpaceX will return to Earth under parachutes for splashdowns in ocean, and not execute helicopter-like propulsive touchdowns on land, a SpaceX official confirmed Monday.