Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket is set to launch 10 CubeSats developed at NASA field centers and U.S. research institutions Wednesday night (U.S. time) from the company’s privately-owned spaceport in New Zealand, a pathfinder mission that could pave the way for more NASA satellites to hitch a ride on future Electron flights.
Clad in pressurized spacesuits, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev used knives and scissors to slice through insulation and a debris shield on a Soyuz spaceship set to return to Earth next week, finally reaching the capsule’s metallic hull to examine the site of an air leak plugged in August.
A commercial supply ship owned and operated by SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, delivering a pair of NASA experiments to demonstrate satellite refueling techniques and monitor changes in Earth’s forests, along with a special holiday menu of turkey, candied yams, cranberry sauce and shortbread cookies.
The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket was aborted around seven seconds prior to liftoff Saturday night at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The dramatic halt to the countdown was ordered by an automated sequencer just as the rocket’s three main engines were set to ignite. A new launch date has not been set for the mission, which will send a top secret National Reconnaissance Office spy payload into orbit.
Two Saudi Arabian Earth observation satellites and 10 small secondary payloads rode a Long March 2D rocket into orbit Friday from the Jiuquan space base in China’s northwestern Inner Mongolia region, hours before the launch of a Chinese lunar probe targeting the first soft landing on the far side of the moon.