NASA officials say the International Space Station’s logistics chain was designed to absorb a launch failure like the mishap that destroyed an Orbital Sciences Corp. cargo craft in October, but pressure is on SpaceX to deliver supplies on time this year.
Concern about a possible ammonia coolant leak Wednesday prompted astronauts on the International Space Station to evacuate the U.S. segment of the complex and shelter in the Russian portion of the outpost while flight controllers scrambled to untangle initially confusing telemetry.
Less than 10 weeks after a fatal crash that destroyed a suborbital rocket plane and raised questions about the future Virgin Galactic, the company’s chief executive says engineers are developing a test program for a replacement spaceship expected to fly later this year.
Ten years ago Wednesday, on Jan. 14, 2005, a compact, flattened cylinder called Huygens, chock-full of sensors, cameras and scientific experiments, went hurtling through the orange skies of the mysterious moon Titan.
Two NASA astronauts and an Italian flight engineer took shelter in the space station’s Russian segment Wednesday as mission control analyzed a possible leak of toxic ammonia coolant aboard the complex. Initial data indicated it was likely a false alarm.
Up to 24 launches are planned from Cape Canaveral in 2015, thanks to jam-packed manifests for SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to send up satellites for the U.S. military, NASA and commercial telecom operators.
Engineers are resuming preparations to launch an experimental European re-entry test vehicle on a Vega rocket Feb. 11 after a two-month delay ordered by safety authorities to analyze risks posed to the public by the booster’s unique trajectory after liftoff from French Guiana.