Nine small Chinese satellites, including a technology experiment to test out ways to capture space debris, rode a Long March 6 rocket into orbit April 27 on a rideshare mission managed by China Great Wall Industry Corp., the government-owned enterprise charged with selling Chinese launch services on the commercial market.
NASA ground controllers sent commands to the International Space Station on Thursday for release of a 2.9-ton cargo pallet loaded with old batteries, the most massive object ever jettisoned from the orbiting outpost. The garbage carrier is expected to remain in orbit for two-to-four years before re-entering the atmosphere.
Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket from New Zealand at 9:20 p.m. EST Thursday (0220 GMT Friday) carrying 30 small payloads into low Earth orbit. The company said the first stage of the Electron rocket splashed down in the Pacific Ocean under a parachute, a major step in Rocket Lab’s rocket reuse program.