Five-and-a-half years ago, SpaceX founder Elon Musk revealed SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, a sleek-looking human-rated spaceship with 3D-printed engines, a roomy stylized interior and touchscreen controls. Now SpaceX’s first ship to ferry astronauts — with numerous design changes introduced since 2014 — is about to leave the company’s factory for final testing before launching early next year.
This gallery of photos shows the rollout Tuesday of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket and Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to pad 41 at Cape Canaveral, plus additional views of the 172-foot-tall launcher standing next to the crew access tower Wednesday as teams prepared for a countdown rehearsal.
After prepping their patient — a $2 billion cosmic ray detector — during two earlier spacewalks, two space station astronauts ventured back outside for a third outing Monday to carry out what amounted to transplant surgery, installing replacement coolant pumps in a bid to revive the costly instrument and extend its life.
European Space Agency member states on Thursday committed nearly 12.5 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to fund ESA programs over the next three years, promising money to grow Europe’s fleet of satellites studying Earth’s changing climate, contribute to NASA-led lunar exploration efforts, and continue ESA’s participation in the International Space Station until 2030.