January 25, 2022

NASA eyes ion engines for Mars orbiter launching in 2022

March 3, 2015

NASA officials want the agency’s next Mars orbiter to pull double duty as a communications relay station for a fleet of surface landers and as a trailblazer for a future round-trip sample return mission and human expeditions to the red planet.

Reader-submitted shots of Falcon 9 launch

March 2, 2015

Spaceflight Now readers sent in photos of Sunday’s blastoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, which lit up a late-night moonlit sky over Florida’s Space Coast on the way to orbit with two communications satellites.

NASA probe closes in on dwarf planet Ceres

March 2, 2015

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is closing in on the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, beaming back increasingly sharp pictures revealing a heavily cratered world with unexpected spots of light that may be reflections off exposed ice or some other material.

Plasma-driven satellites launched from Cape Canaveral

March 2, 2015

Two communications satellites blasted off Sunday aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, kicking off more than a half-year of novel maneuvers in orbit using plasma drive engines to position the spacecraft 22,300 miles above Earth and link the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Astronauts install antennas for commercial crew capsules

March 1, 2015

Astronauts Terry Virts and space station commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore ventured back outside Sunday for their third spacewalk in eight days to complete initial preparations for upcoming dockings by commercially developed Boeing and SpaceX crew ferry ships.

Boeing’s first two all-electric satellites ready for launch

March 1, 2015

A new class of Boeing-built spacecraft will fly into orbit for the first time Sunday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, combining Boeing’s electric propulsion technology with SpaceX’s bargain launch prices to send up communications satellites at a fraction of the typical cost.

Photos: Satellites readied for tandem launch on Falcon 9

February 28, 2015

Two communications spacecraft built by Boeing and owned by Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite will ride a Falcon 9 rocket into orbit Sunday, and these pictures show the satellites stacked together and prepared for liftoff from Cape Canaveral.

Could these bright spots on Ceres be ice volcanoes?

February 28, 2015

The discovery of puzzling bright spots on Ceres, the Texas-sized world now being studied by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, has scientists wondering whether the features could be plumes from volcanoes launching material into space.

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