After scrubbing a launch attempt Nov. 29 due to a problem with a second stage umbilical, Rocket Lab launched seven small satellites on an Electron booster from New Zealand at 3:18 a.m. EST (0818 GMT) Friday. The Electron rocket lifted off with an upgraded first stage carrying new hardware to control the rocket’s re-entry before teams attempt to catch the booster on future missions for refurbishment and reuse.
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.