Aiming to reduce risk and costs, NASA has decided to launch the first two modules of the Gateway station in lunar orbit on the same heavy-lift rocket in 2023, rather than fly them on separate rockets and dock them together in deep space, according to the the agency’s chief human spaceflight manager.
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.
Northrop Grumman’s first Mission Extension Vehicle captured spectacular views of the commercial Intelsat 901 communications satellite as it approached for docking this week, providing the first-ever up-close public views of a spacecraft flying near geosynchronous orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth.
A Northrop Grumman robotic servicing spacecraft has hooked up with an aging Intelsat communications satellite more than 22,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean, accomplishing the first link-up between two commercial satellites in space, and the first docking with a satellite that was never designed to receive a visitor.