Astronaut Christina Koch, six days after returning from a record 11-month stay aboard the International Space Station, said Wednesday she’s re-adapting to gravity with no major problems, enjoying family life, an initial trip to the beach, playing with her dog “LBD” and a kitchen packed with chips and salsa, a favorite food in short supply aboard the station.
The last unflown variant of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 launcher — fitted with a five-meter fairing and a single strap-on solid rocket booster — will carry a pair of U.S. military space surveillance satellites toward geosynchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral late this year, according to a Space Force spokesperson.
The Trump administration is requesting $25.2 billion for NASA in fiscal 2021, a 12 percent increase that includes $3.3 billion to kickstart development of a human-rated lander for the Artemis moon program. Nearly half of the budget request, $12.3 billion, is devoted to new and ongoing projects focused on the return to the moon and eventual flights to Mars.
Under a brilliant moon, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket flashed to life and vaulted away from Cape Canaveral late Sunday, boosting the European Space Agency’s $1.5 billion Solar Orbiter probe out of Earth’s gravitational grip toward a multi-year voyage around the sun that will give scientists their first glimpse of the star’s poles.
The launch of a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket with an automated commercial space station cargo vessel from Virginia was aborted less than three minutes before takeoff Sunday after engineers detected unusual readings from a ground support sensor. Northrop Grumman and NASA officials said the next launch attempt is scheduled for no earlier than Thursday.