Rolling out for its first liftoff of the year, an Ariane 5 rocket journeyed out of a launcher assembly building Thursday and rode railroad tracks to its launch pad in French Guiana with two European communications satellites.
Wrapped inside a protective shipping container, Europe’s Sentinel 2A land imaging satellite flew from Germany to French Guiana this week aboard an Antonov transport plane to prepare for launch aboard a Vega rocket in June.
NASA expects to select commercial contractors to resupply the International Space Station in September, three months later than the agency’s previous timetable under a competition for cargo deliveries beginning in 2018.
United Launch Alliance will need to lure commercial customers to ensure the economic viability of its new Vulcan rocket, which is set to debut in 2019 just as the rate of U.S. military satellite launches is due to take a dip.
The launch of the next Landsat Earth-viewing satellite in 2023 will be preceded by a smaller spacecraft to map the planet with an infrared camera under a new land imaging roadmap outlined by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.
A major test of the system that would shoot SpaceX astronaut crews away from a failing rocket is scheduled for no earlier than May 5 from a specially-built mount at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad, NASA announced Tuesday.
SpaceX engineers have narrowed the cause of last week’s unsuccessful landing of a Falcon 9 rocket booster on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean on a commanding issue with an engine throttle valve, according to Elon Musk, the company’s founder and chief executive.
Returning to port late Thursday under the cover of darkness, SpaceX’s rocket recovery platform has moored at a dock in Jacksonville, Florida, for unloading of charred debris from Tuesday’s crash landing of a Falcon 9 booster.
Packed with an array of experiments and provisions, including a custom-made Italian espresso maker, SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo capsule reached the International Space Station on Friday after a precise laser-guided rendezvous more than 250 miles above Earth.