A full-scale model of Virgin Orbit’s air-dropped small satellite launcher, filled with water and antifreeze instead of rocket fuel, dropped from the wing of a modified Boeing 747 carrier jet Wednesday over a test range at Edwards Air Force Base in California, paving the way for the company’s first space mission later this year.
Singed and blackened from three fiery trips to the edge of space and back, a Falcon 9 rocket returned to Cape Canaveral on Sunday after a mission last that week carried the Israeli Beresheet moon lander into orbit, ready for inspections before attempting a fourth — and likely final — launch this spring.
An Israeli-built moon lander aiming to become the first privately-funded mission reach another planetary body rocketed away from Cape Canaveral on Thursday night aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, riding piggyback with an Indonesian communications spacecraft and an experimental U.S. Air Force space surveillance microsatellite.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 8:45 p.m. EST Thursday (0145 GMT Friday) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The commercial launcher, featuring a reused first stage booster flying for the third time, hauled into orbit Indonesia’s Nusantara Satu communications satellite, the Beresheet lunar lander for SpaceIL, and the S5 space surveillance payload for the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Spaceflight Industries has booked reservations for two commercial rideshare missions on Arianespace’s Vega rocket, officials announced Tuesday, beginning with a proof-of-concept flight in early 2019 of a new Italian-built multi-payload dispenser tailored to accommodate small satellites and CubeSats seeking a ride into orbit.