Douglas Loverro, a veteran manager with broad experience in national security space operations, has been selected by NASA to lead the agency’s human space flight programs. He takes over at a critical moment as the agency assesses the readiness of new commercial crew ships amid a full-court press to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.
Legendary cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space — an experience that almost killed him — and later the commander of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that docked with a NASA Apollo capsule, symbolizing a historic thaw in the Cold War, has died after a long illness, the Russian space agency confirmed Friday. He was 85.
Astronauts Drew Morgan and Christina Koch floated back outside the International Space Station Friday and completed work to replace six aging batteries with three more powerful units in one of the lab’s eight solar power circuits. Three more spacewalks are planned over the next two weeks to replace another six batteries in an adjacent circuit.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited SpaceX’s California rocket factory Thursday, toured the sprawling facility with founder Elon Musk and told reporters he is optimistic the company will be ready to launch the first piloted test flight of its Crew Dragon spaceship in the first quarter of next year.
Boeing officials said Wednesday that the company is targeting Dec. 17 for the launch of the first unpiloted orbital test flight of the new Starliner crew capsule from Cape Canaveral on a week-long demonstration mission to the International Space Station, a precursor to a mission with astronauts next year.
Companies have until Nov. 1 to submit proposals to NASA for a human-rated lander that could be ready in time to carry astronauts to the moon’s surface by the end of 2024, and the agency is leaving open the option for contractors to develop a descent craft that would bypass the planned Gateway mini-space station in lunar orbit, at least for the first landing attempt.
Astronauts Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan floated outside the International Space Station Sunday and completed a 7-hour, 1-minute spacewalk to begin replacing batteries on the far left side of the research outpost’s solar array truss, the first of up to six excursions scheduled before the end of October.
After a spacesuit sizing problem prevented an all-female spacewalk earlier this year, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will get a chance to make history Oct. 21 when they venture outside the International Space Station in the fourth of five excursions to install a new set of solar array batteries, NASA managers announced Friday.