April 29, 2017

Falcon 9 rocket rolled to launch pad with classified payload

April 29, 2017

Working overnight on Florida’s Space Coast, SpaceX technicians transferred a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from the company’s commercial hangar a quarter-mile up the ramp to launch pad 39A early Saturday, positioning the kerosene-fueled booster for liftoff Sunday with a classified payload for the U.S. government’s National Reconnaissance Office.

Live coverage: SpaceX’s first national security launch set for Sunday

April 29, 2017

A commercial Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) Sunday with a classified payload designed, built and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. The Sunday morning blastoff from Florida will be SpaceX’s first dedicated national security mission.

NASA confirms first flight of Space Launch System will slip to 2019

April 28, 2017

NASA’s top human spaceflight official says the maiden flight of the Space Launch System, a behemoth booster designed to loft astronauts on expeditions into deep space, will be delayed from November 2018 until some time in 2019, according to a report published by a U.S. government watchdog Thursday.

Tianzhou 1 freighter achieves China’s first in-space refueling demo

April 27, 2017

The robotic Tianzhou 1 refueling freighter launched last week has successfully completed the first in-orbit propellant transfer with China’s Tiangong 2 space lab, a major accomplishment as the country’s engineers hope to finish assembly of a large space station by 2022, officials said Thursday.

Gravitational wave testbed repurposed as comet dust detector

April 26, 2017

In the final months of Europe’s LISA Pathfinder mission, scientists have found an unexpected use for the trailblazing testbed for a future gravitational wave observatory by tracking the tiny dings made by microscopic particles that strike the spacecraft in deep space, exploiting the impacts to learn about the population of dust grains cast off by comets and asteroids across the solar system.

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