The next time astronauts land on the moon, they will ride to the lunar surface in a spacecraft that looks a lot different than the Apollo-era landing module last used in 1972. Lander concepts proposed by SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics — which won a combined $967 million in NASA funding Thursday — take wildly different approaches to carrying crews to the moon.
Launches of interplanetary missions can only depart Earth when the positions of the planets are just right, and officials managing the development of probes set for launch in 2021 and 2022 to explore asteroids and Jupiter says construction milestones and reviews are proceeding to keep the projects on schedule despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Thirty years ago Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the shuttle Discovery with a famously flawed mirror, the opening chapter in an improbable saga of redemption and scientific discovery that revolutionized humanity’s view of the cosmos with jaw-dropping images now familiar to millions.
U.S. military officials said Tuesday the launch of the next satellite for the GPS navigation network — planned for April 29 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket — has been delayed to no earlier than June 30 to avoid exposing launch crews to the COVID-19 viral disease. However, the next launch of the military’s X-37B spaceplane remains on track for liftoff in May on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, officials said.
The Orion spacecraft slated to fly around the moon on an unpiloted mission next year has arrived back at the Kennedy Space Center following an environmental test campaign in Ohio, ready for a series of final checkouts before officials pause launch preparations this summer to await readiness of NASA’s Space Launch System.