A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket rolled out to its launch pad on Virginia’s Eastern Shore early Tuesday, setting the stage for liftoff Saturday on a resupply flight to the International Space Station that will debut an upgraded launcher and Cygnus cargo vehicle capable of hauling heavier payloads into orbit.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said this week the space agency is not unduly delaying the debut of new SpaceX and Boeing commercial crew capsules as engineers gear up for a challenging rapid-fire sequence of test flights in the next few months, all against the backdrop of in-depth safety reviews before clearing the privately-owned ships to carry astronauts.
With lingering uncertainly about when new commercial crew spaceships will be ready to launch humans, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Thursday the space agency will replace a Japanese astronaut with a U.S. space flier on the next Russian Soyuz launch to the International Space Station. He added that it remains in NASA’s interests to pay Russia for one or more additional Soyuz seats next year to ensure the station remains continuously staffed with at least one American.
Speaking with Spaceflight Now on the sidelines of the International Astronautical Congress this week, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine offered his assessment on the status of a budget battle to secure funding for the agency’s Artemis program, which seeks to achieve the next human landing on the moon by the end of 2024.
Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir carried out history’s first all-female spacewalk Friday, floating outside the International Space Station and successfully installing a 230-pound replacement battery charger in the lab’s solar power system. The historic excursion was carried out in a blaze of public interest that rose all the way to the White House.
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.