NASA has selected 14 companies for contracts of more than $370 million to advance technology for human missions to the moon and Mars. Most of the money will support flight demonstrations by SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and other companies that could lead to in-space refueling and propellant depots for reusable lunar landers and deep space transportation vehicles.
The Space Force says it changed the nickname of a GPS navigation satellite launched in June from Columbus to instead honor Matthew Henson, a Black explorer on the first expedition to the North Pole more than a century ago, “to acknowledge a fuller history of courageous explorers and pioneers.” The military’s next GPS navigation satellite, set for launch Friday night, is nicknamed Sacagawea.
The U.S. Space Force says it will launch two GPS navigation satellites on reused Falcon 9 boosters next year through a restructured contract with SpaceX that saved taxpayers $52 million, the first time the military has agreed to fly operational national security payloads on previously-flown rockets.
Continuing a dizzying series of rescheduled launches from Florida’s Space Coast, poor weather at the Kennedy Space Center forced SpaceX to keep a Falcon 9 rocket and 60 Starlink broadband satellites on the ground Monday. The Starlink launch is expected to be delayed until Thursday, after a pair of national security missions are set to blast off from Cape Canaveral Tuesday.