SpaceNews Senior Staff Writer Jeff Foust and Editor-in-Chief Brian Berger lead a live panel discussion about NASA's use of public-private partnerships to develop lunar landers that could return astronauts to the surface of the moon as soon as 2024. Featuring Draper, Dynetics and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
While both the president and vice president plan to attend the Demo-2 commercial crew launch, there will be far fewer people attending the first American human orbital spaceflight in nearly a decade than once expected.
NASA has given SpaceX approval to proceed with final preparations for the first commercial crew mission with astronauts on board, although there is still work to complete ahead of the planned May 27 launch.
Join us the day after NASA’s Demo-2 commercial crew mission, scheduled to launch May 27, for a SpaceNews Live discussion with Maj. Gen. John Shaw, the two-star general responsible for ensuring the renowned 45th Operations Group’s Detachment 3 team is ready at a moment’s notice to lead astronaut-recovery operations.
Many space companies began working with their banks to apply as soon as PPP was unveiled in March, but were frustrated when the initial tranche of $320 million was committed in less than two weeks.
Bruno Carvalho, D-Orbit’s vice president of business development, said the company hopes to launch one of its InOrbit Now (ION) propulsive cubesat deployers every two to three months after proving out the system and lining up customers.
Preparations for the launch of a SpaceX commercial crew test flight with two NASA astronauts on board are continuing despite the unexpected departure of the head of the agency’s overall human spaceflight program.
Virgin Orbit announced May 20 it will make the first flight of its LauncherOne air-launched vehicle as soon as May 24, but is setting modest expectations about the probability of success.
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a joint mission between the European Space Agency and NASA, was not designed to find comets — its original goal was to study the Sun from its deep core to the outer layers of its atmosphere. But building new observatories can thankfully bring in discoveries that are entirely unexpected. Nearly 25 years since its launch, data from this space-based solar observatory has led to the discovery of well over half of all known comets — upwards of 3,950 new comets
Observations made with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) have revealed the telltale signs of a star system being born. Around the young star AB Aurigae lies a dense disc of dust and gas in which astronomers have spotted a prominent spiral structure with a ‘twist’ that marks the site where a planet may be forming. The observed feature could be the first direct evidence of a baby planet coming into existence.
“Thousands of exoplanets have been identified so
In an area stretching from Africa to South America, Earth’s magnetic field is gradually weakening. This strange behaviour has geophysicists puzzled and is causing technical disturbances in satellites orbiting Earth. Scientists are using data from ESA’s Swarm constellation to improve our understanding of this area known as the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly.’
Earth’s magnetic field is vital to life on our planet. It is a complex and dynamic force that protects us from cosmic radiation and charged
The dual chemical and electric propulsion systems for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) were recently delivered by Aerojet Rocketdyne to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. The chemical propulsion system and the electric propulsion Xenon feed system have been undergoing assembly and integration onto the spacecraft structure at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility in Redmond, Washington, since August 2019. APL – designing, building and managing the
A tiny sail made of the thinnest material known – one carbon-atom-thick graphene – has passed initial tests designed to show that it could be a viable material to make solar sails for spacecraft.
Light sails are one of the most promising existing space propulsion technologies that could enable us to reach other star systems within many decades.
Traditional spacecraft carry fuel to power their journeys and use complex orbital manoeuvres around other planets. But the weight of the fuel
The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded two contracts to Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), concerning EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service). These contracts, fully financed under the European Commission H2020 programme concern study phases on the system evolution. They will call on Thales Alenia Space’s expertise as program prime contractor for over 25 years to study and develop upgrades for the EGNOS satellite navigation
The definition study for the satellite-based augmentation system “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” took a major step forward, with validation of the system’s architecture and geographic coverage. This marked a major milestone in the development of this system designed by Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), within the scope of the preliminary design study (phase B) contract signed in February 2019 with the Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).
“The success of this mission resulted from collaboration with our customer while working through challenging, and ever changing, health
Aerojet Rocketdyne supported the successful launch of the USSF-7 mission for the recently formed U.S. Space Force today. The mission carried the military’s X-37B space plane into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion products supporting the launch included an RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, helium pressurization tanks on the rocket and a dozen MR-106 thrusters on the Centaur upper stage that provided roll, pitch and yaw control, as well as
In late May and early June, Earthlings may be able to glimpse Comet SWAN. The comet is currently faintly visible to the unaided eye in the Southern Hemisphere just before sunrise — providing skywatchers with a relatively rare glimpse of a comet bright enough to be seen without a telescope. But Comet SWAN's initial discovery was made not from the ground, but via an instrument on board ESA (the European Space Agency) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, satellite.
A pair of important arrivals this week – one by air, the other by sea – marked an acceleration of preparations at Europe’s Spaceport for Arianespace’s next two missions, to be performed from French Guiana with its lightweight Vega and heavy-lift Ariane 5 launch vehicles.
These parallel arrivals involved personnel who will conduct the first Vega “rideshare” mission, scheduled for mid-June to orbit 53 small satellite payloads; and Ariane 5 launch vehicle components for a three-passenger flight
The Boeing [NYSE: BA]-built X-37B autonomous spaceplane today launched on top of a uniquely configured United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
Boeing is the prime contractor for the X-37B spaceplane and facilitates the integration of all experiments into the vehicle ensuring they receive the correct power, thermal and data services required. Boeing also works to identify future reusable platform experiment opportunities on each mission.
The X-37B’s sixth mission is the first to use a
The new launch date on the horizon is allowing more margin for replacements and repairs to the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover.
The solar panels that will help the rover survive the cold Martian nights will gain in strength. After some cracks were detected during the environmental tests earlier this year, new fasteners will be installed to reinforce the interface between panels and holding brackets at the Airbus facilities in Stevenage, in the UK.
The flight model of the rover remains at
A laser light shone through the dark could power robotic exploration of the most tantalising locations in our Solar System: the permanently-shadowed craters around the Moon’s poles, believed to be rich in water ice and other valuable materials.
ESA’s Discovery & Preparation programme funded the design of a laser system to keep a rover supplied with power from up to 15 km away while it explores some of these dark craters.
At the highest lunar latitudes, the Sun stays low on the horizon all
Amateur astronomer Michael Mattiazzo from Australia spotted this icy visitor from the outer Solar System while inspecting images that had been posted online from the Solar Wind ANisotropies (SWAN) instrument aboard SOHO, the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
SWAN captures images in ultraviolet light, including a specific ultraviolet wavelength called Lyman alpha. This is a wavelength that is characteristically emitted by hydrogen atoms. The instrument’s primary goal is to map
Jupiter’s moon Europa is a fascinating world. On its surface, the moon appears to be scratched and scored with reddish-brown scars, which rake across the surface in a crisscrossing pattern. These ‘scars’ are etched into a layer of water ice, which is thought to be at least several kilometres thick and covering a vast – and potentially habitable – subsurface ocean.
The scars seen in this view of the moon from the archives of NASA’s Galileo mission – based on images taken by the spacecraft in
Airbus has won the new satellite communications framework contract for military and civil missions of the European Union and its member states. This four-year framework contract was awarded by the European Defence Agency (EDA) and is estimated to be worth tens of millions of euros.
“With this satellite communications programme, Airbus contributes to the construction of joint capabilities for European defence and to its missions to preserve civil and military peacekeeping”, said Dirk Hoke,
Aeolus is one of ESA’s Earth Explorer missions, which all set out to demonstrate how new ways of observing Earth can advance our understanding of how the planet works as a system.
Carrying one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit, Aeolus is the first satellite mission to directly profile Earth’s winds from space.
It works by emitting short, powerful pulses of ultraviolet light from a laser and measures the Doppler shift from the very small amount of light that
A new study, based on data from ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatories, sheds new light on a three million light-year long bridge of hot gas linking two galaxy clusters, whose shape is being bent by the mighty activity of a nearby supermassive black hole.
Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the Universe held together by gravity. They contain hundreds or thousands of galaxies, vast amounts of multi-million-degree gas that shines brightly in X-rays, and enormous
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based Gemini Observatory in Hawaii have teamed up with the Juno spacecraft to probe the mightiest storms in the solar system, taking place more than 500 million miles away on the giant planet Jupiter.
A team of researchers led by Michael Wong at the University of California, Berkeley, and including Amy Simon of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Imke de Pater also of UC Berkeley, are combining multiwavelength