SpaceX is finishing up preparations for a major test of a rocket-powered abort system for the company’s new Dragon crew ferry spacecraft, targeting launch from Cape Canaveral in March after a pair of Falcon 9 missions in February.
A Russian Proton rocket is scheduled to take off from Kazakhstan on Sunday with the second spacecraft to serve Inmarsat’s $1.6 billion next-generation satellite communications network geared for getting faster links to customers on the move.
A new animation of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket set for a debut flight later this year shows how the powerful launcher will blast off from Kennedy Space Center’s famed Apollo-era launch pad 39A, and could eventually fly back to Florida’s Space Coast for refurbishment and reuse.
NASA hopes to begin launching astronauts to the space station aboard Boeing and SpaceX capsules in the 2017 timeframe, but managers expect to still send crews up aboard Russian spacecraft as a hedge against problems that could force some astronauts to make an emergency landing.
A Delta 2 rocket has lifted off from California’s Central Coast on Saturday with a NASA environmental satellite designed to improve flood and drought forecasts, map moisture in Earth’s soils, and track the planet’s water cycle.
Work on Boeing’s CST-100 commercial crew capsule will ramp up at the program’s new home base in Florida this year, with construction of a crew access tower at the Atlas 5 rocket’s launch pad underway and assembly of a spacecraft test article due to begin in a converted space shuttle hangar.