With an eye on dangerous Hurricane Irma’s forecast path toward Florida, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force are proceeding with preparations to launch an unpiloted reusable military spaceship Thursday on a mission to conduct experiments in orbit, deploy multiple small satellites and glide back to Earth for a runway landing after months or years in space.
Three space station crew members came back to Earth last weekend aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after plunging through the atmosphere and descending under a parachute to a jarring touchdown on the steppes of Kazakhstan. These photos show the capsule’s final descent and the crew’s exit from the spacecraft.
The launch of a European Ariane 5 rocket was aborted moments after its main engine ignited Tuesday. The dramatic last-second hold was the first time an Ariane rocket launch was aborted after engine start since March 2011. Arianespace has not set a new target launch date for the mission, which will loft two U.S.-built communications satellites for Intelsat and B-SAT.
A Russian Soyuz crew ferry craft departed the International Space Station and descended to an on-target landing in Kazakhstan on Saturday with a record-setting NASA astronaut, a veteran Russian cosmonaut and a former U.S. Air Force test pilot on-board. Undocking from the orbiting research complex occurred at 2158 GMT (5:58 p.m. EDT), with touchdown at 0121 GMT (9:21 p.m. EDT).