Indian officials postponed the launch Sunday of the Chandrayaan 2 moon mission from a spaceport on the country’s southeastern coast with the Bay of Bengal. The robotic Chandrayaan 2 mission will lift off aboard the GSLV Mk.3, India’s most powerful rocket, but officials have not announced a new target launch date.
A Vega rocket faltered minutes after liftoff from French Guiana at 9:53 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0153 GMT) and failed to reach orbit with a European-built reconnaissance satellite for the United Arab Emirates. The payload and launcher fell into the Atlantic Ocean, marking the first failure for the solid-fueled Vega launch vehicle.
NASA and industry teams at Cape Canaveral launched an Orion capsule on a three-minute atmospheric test flight Tuesday to prove the spaceship’s ability to escape from an exploding rocket during launch, demonstrating a key safety feature before astronauts ride the vehicle into deep space. Liftoff occurred at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT).
Russian commander Oleg Kononenko, Canadian co-pilot David Saint-Jacques and NASA flight engineer Anne McClain closed out a 204-day mission in orbit Monday with an undocking from the International Space Station at 7:25 p.m. EDT (2325 GMT), followed by landing in Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz MS-11 capsule at 10:47 p.m. EDT (0247 GMT Tuesday).
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:30 a.m. EDT (0630 GMT) to begin a three-and-a-half hour mission to deliver two dozen satellites into three distinct orbits. The Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters returned to Cape Canaveral for successful landings, but the center core stage crashed during a landing attempt on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy launch for the U.S. Air Force took a major step closer to liftoff with a hold-down engine firing Wednesday night at launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff with a cluster of experimental satellites and weather monitoring craft is set for June 24.