SpaceX launched an unpiloted Crew Dragon spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT) Sunday. SpaceX triggered an escape maneuver using the Dragon’s thrusters about a minute-and-a-half after liftoff to verify the launch abort engines can safely carry the capsule — and astronauts on future missions — away from a failing rocket.
Arianespace’s first launch of 2020 lifted off at 4:05 p.m. EST (2105 GMT; 6:05 p.m. French Guiana time) Thursday from the Guiana Space Center on the northeastern shore of South America. An Ariane 5 rocket launched the Eutelsat Konnect and GSAT 30 communications satellite for Eutelsat and the Indian Space Research Organization.
SpaceX is gearing up for launch of an unpiloted Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center for a crucial test of the crew capsule’s launch abort system. A modified Falcon 9 rocket performed a test-firing at launch pad 39A Saturday before carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft into the upper atmosphere for an in-flight abort test scheduled for Jan. 18.
A SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule concluded a 30-day stay at the International Space Station Tuesday with an automated departure from the orbiting research outpost at 5:05 a.m. EST (1005 GMT) Tuesday. The Dragon’s release from the robotic arm set the stage for a scorching re-entry and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Los Angeles at around 10:41 a.m. EST (1541 GMT).
Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule accomplished an early at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 7:58 a.m. EST (5:58 a.m. MST; 1258 GMT) Sunday to conclude an abbreviated two-day unpiloted test flight after a timing error on the spacecraft shortly after launch prevented it from linking up with the International Space Station as planned.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 7:10 p.m. EST Monday (0010 GMT Tuesday) with the JCSAT 18/Kacific 1 communications satellite, heading for a position in geostationary orbit to beam broadband signals across the Asia-Pacific. The launcher deployed the satellite into an on-target orbit, and the first stage returned to land on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.