In a rapid-fire crew rotation, a NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are packing up for the trip back to Earth Saturday, leaving the International Space Station just eight days after the arrival of another three-person crew and three weeks before their own replacements arrive to boost the lab’s crew back to six.
For the second time this year, SpaceX has launched a commercial communications satellite for Tokyo-based SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. A Falcon 9 rocket blasted off at 1:26 a.m. EDT (0526 GMT) from Cape Canaveral with the JCSAT 16 satellite to relay data and video across Japan and the Asia-Pacific. The Falcon 9’s first stage booster nailed a landing on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean a few minutes later.
The Japanese space agency has delayed the planned Sept. 30 launch of an HTV space station cargo ship to repair a leak in the vehicle, clearing the way for Orbital ATK to slip the launch of its Cygnus supply ship from Aug. 22 to the second half of September to complete tests and analysis of its re-engined Antares rocket, officials said Wednesday.
Japan’s doomed Hitomi observatory peeled back a veil on the inner workings of the Perseus cluster of galaxies before the satellite spun out of control earlier this year, revealing in unprecedented detail how gas heated to millions of degrees behaves around an unseen supermassive black hole, scientists said Wednesday.