SpaceX kicked off its 2019 launch campaign with a mission Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying 10 more upgraded communications satellites into orbit to complete a refresh of Iridium’s voice and data relay network. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket occurred at 7:31 a.m. PST (10:31 a.m. EST; 1531 GMT).
The partial shutdown of the U.S. government could complicate efforts to troubleshoot a suspected hardware problem with the Hubble Space Telescope’s premier science instrument, but officials are optimistic the camera will eventually be restored to operations, the head of the observatory’s science operations team said Wednesday.
Six months into its mission scanning the sky for planets around other stars, NASA’s orbiting TESS observatory has found three previously-undiscovered worlds and hundreds more exoplanet candidates, the first batch of a potential haul of up to 10,000 exoplanet detections over TESS’s planned two-year mission, astronomers announced this week.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk said this weekend that the company is about one month away from launching the first Crew Dragon spacecraft on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station, a precursor to a demonstration launch with astronauts later this year. He also warned that early test flights of the commercial crew capsule, built under contract to NASA, will be “especially dangerous.”