United Launch Alliance fired an Atlas 5 rocket into space from Cape Canaveral at 9:14 a.m. EDT (1314 GMT) Sunday with the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane, an automated reusable mini-space shuttle designed to host experiments for years in orbit, then return to Earth and land on a runway. A launch attempt Saturday was scrubbed by bad weather.
A Soyuz spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Thursday to bring home NASA flight engineer Jessica Meir, astronaut Andrew Morgan and Russian commander Oleg Skripochka. The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft departed the station at 9:53 p.m. Thursday (0153 GMT Friday) and landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan at 1:16 a.m. EDT (0516 GMT).
SpaceX has moved up its next launch to Wednesday, one day earlier than previously planned. A Falcon 9 rocket will take off with the next 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband Internet network at 3:37 p.m. EDT (1937 GMT) Wednesday from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There’s a 90 percent chance of favorable weather for launch Wednesday.
Three new crew members embarked on a six-month expedition aboard the International Space Station Thursday with a launch from Kazakhstan on top of a Russian Soyuz rocket at 0805 GMT (4:05 a.m. EDT). NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and crewmates Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner docked with the space station at 1413 GMT (10:13 a.m. EDT) Thursday.
A SpaceX Dragon cargo freighter departed the International Space Station Tuesday for return to Earth, wrapping up the 20th and final visit to the orbiting research complex for the current version of SpaceX’s supply ship before an upgraded Dragon starts launching later this year. Release from the space station’s robotic arm occurred at 9:06 a.m. EDT (1306 GMT), followed by splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 2:50 p.m. EDT (1850 GMT).
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 4:18 p.m. EDT (2018 GMT), following a delay of more than an hour to troubleshoot a ground hydraulics controller. The Atlas 5 launched with the U.S. military’s sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency strategic communications satellite.
SpaceX successfully deployed 60 more Starlink satellites into orbit Wednesday following launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:16 a.m. EDT (1216 GMT). One of the nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage shut down prematurely during ascent, but the launcher was still able to reach the mission’s targeted orbit.
Astra was gearing up for the first orbital test flight of its small satellite launcher, named Rocket 3.0, from Alaska on Monday, but officials scrubbed the launch after detecting a problem with a guidance, navigation and control system in the final minute of the countdown. Poor weather at the launch site also prevented liftoff over the weekend on the first of two missions under the auspices of DARPA’s Launch Challenge.