With a thundering, sky-lighting predawn blastoff from Cape Canaveral, a Falcon 9 rocket fired into orbit early Saturday with a Dragon cargo capsule in pursuit of the International Space Station. Minutes later, the rocket’s first stage booster fell from the sky and executed a pinpoint propulsive landing just offshore, setting the stage for another resupply mission for NASA this summer using the same vehicle.
A week after a test-firing of SpaceX’s new crew capsule went awry, SpaceX successfully completed a hold-down firing of its next Falcon 9 launcher Saturday morning at Cape Canaveral in preparation for a predawn liftoff Wednesday carrying several tons of food, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.
A $110 million NASA science instrument twice targeted for cancellation by the Trump administration is set for launch Tuesday inside the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule for delivery to the International Space Station, where it will spend three years charting changing carbon dioxide concentrations in Earth’s atmosphere.
Expect fewer missions to study planet Earth in NASA’s future, agency officials told an advisory group last week. A blueprint of the Trump administration’s proposed NASA budget would cancel four Earth science missions already in the agency’s portfolio and slash research funding geared toward future projects.
The Trump administration is proposing $19.1 billion for NASA in its fiscal 2018 budget blueprint, a 0.8 percent decrease from 2017 funding levels, focusing on deep space exploration, both human and robotic, and increased public-private partnerships to lower costs and encourage private sector innovation.