Soyuz rocket departs for the international space station in historic final U.S.-Russian flight

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan — Since the launch of Sputnik and Yury Gagarin from the desert steppe of Kazakhstan over 60 years ago, the history of spaceflight has been measured in milestones.

The first satellite, the first human in space, the first to the Moon. But the launch of Soyuz MS-17 on Wednesday was a different kind of milestone: the end of an era.

At 8.45 a.m. local time, a Soyuz rocket blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia’s sprawling and remote space launch facility in Kazakhstan, to the International Space Station.

It was the last time NASA paid for an American astronaut to fly with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, on such a flight. Next year, for the first time since the start of the ISS program 20 years ago, Russia will fly all-Russian crews on Soyuz.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov board the
Read More
Read More

Bezos’ Blue Origin conducts successful test flight for tourism rocket

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard’s West Texas launch facility

Blue Origin, the US space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, succeeded Tuesday in its latest test flight of its rocket aimed at one day taking tourists to space, even as the date of the first crewed launch remains unclear.

The New Shepard capsule, which was propelled over the boundary of space by a small reusable launch vehicle that returned to land vertically, will one day carry up to six passengers.

It attained an altitude of 66 miles (106 kilometers) above sea level, before descending back to the surface using parachutes and landing in a cloud of dust in the desert of West Texas.

Its total flight time was 10 minutes and nine seconds.

Blue Origin previously unveiled the capsule’s interior: six seats with horizontal backrests, placed next to large portholes, in a futuristic cabin with swish

Read More
Read More

Commander of Boeing’s First Manned Flight to Space Pulls Out to Attend Daughter’s Wedding

Terry Renna/AP/Shutterstock Astronaut Chris Ferguson

Astronaut Chris Ferguson, who was expected to serve as the commander of Boeing’s first test flight to space next year, announced he’ll be giving up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity due to “several commitments” he cannot afford to miss.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday, Ferguson, 59, revealed the news, calling the decision “difficult and personal,” but reassured his followers that he remains “deeply committed to human spaceflight.”

Though the astronaut remained mostly general in his explanation — only saying that the decision was due to prioritizing his family and important commitments — a spokesperson at Boeing confirms to PEOPLE that one of those commitments included his daughter’s wedding.

“I want to share with you a difficult and personal decision I’ve had to make,” he said in the clip. “I have chosen to step aside as commander of the crewed flight test, scheduled

Read More
Read More

Veteran astronaut steps down from long-delayed Boeing commercial crew test flight

Christopher Ferguson, commander of the final space shuttle flight and now a Boeing executive, has stepped down as commander of the first piloted test flight of the company’s troubled CST-100 Starliner commercial spacecraft, he and Boeing announced Wednesday. He has been replaced by NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore.

“I’m taking on a new mission, one that keeps my feet planted here firmly on Earth and prioritizes my most important crew — my family,” Ferguson tweeted. “I’ll still be working hard with the #Starliner team and the @NASA_Astronauts on our crew.”

In a video attached to the tweet, Ferguson, 59 and a father

Read More
Read More

Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson withdraws from Starliner test flight

WASHINGTON — Chris Ferguson, the former NASA astronaut who was to command the first crewed flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle, has withdrawn from the mission for personal reasons, the company announced Oct. 7.

Ferguson, who joined Boeing in 2011 after a NASA career that included commanding the final space shuttle mission, was to lead the Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission currently scheduled for launch in the middle of 2021, a flight that also includes NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke.

In an interview, Ferguson said he decided to step down from the mission because of family obligations. “It was a decision that was not made lightly,” he said. “It surrounds what has really amounted to a year that is replete with family obligations that I just do not want to risk missing.”

He didn’t elaborate on those obligations, beyond being “the best kind of family issues.”

Read More
Read More

You can now sign up to test Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR

The new Microsoft Flight Simulator is an immersive beast of a PC game, and we can only imagine how immersive it might get in VR — but you might not have to imagine much longer, because Microsoft has just opened signups (via Eurogamer) for a closed beta of the virtual reality experience.

There are quite a few requirements if you want to be considered, though. Not only do you have to own the game, have a Windows Mixed Reality headset, be a registered Microsoft Flight Simulator “Insider” and sign an NDA, you’ll need a slightly beefier PC than the base game — with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 or better sporting 8GB of VRAM, as well as 16GB of system memory.

And, you’ll need to prove your PC qualifies by submitting your DxDiag (press your Windows start button, type “dxdiag”, hit Enter) so Microsoft can confirm those specs and

Read More
Read More

NASA safety panel raises doubts about Starliner test flight schedule

WASHINGTON — A NASA safety panel said that while Boeing was making good progress on implementing changes to its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle, it had doubts that work could be done in time to allow another test flight this year.

At an Oct. 1 meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, committee member Donald McErlean said Boeing was making “substantial progress” on preparations for Orbital Flight Test (OFT) 2, a second uncrewed test flight that the company said earlier this year it would fly after the original OFT mission last December suffered a series of problems.

He said the Starliner crew module that will fly the OFT-2 mission is about 80% complete and its service module 90% complete. Other components for the mission, including its Atlas 5 launch vehicle and a spacecraft adaptor, have either been delivered or are being completed.

NASA and Boeing announced Aug. 28 that the

Read More
Read More

5 ways SpaceX is changing Crew Dragon flight for next NASA astronauts

  • SpaceX is set to launch four astronauts to the space station for NASA later this month.
  • After inspecting the data from its first astronaut flight, SpaceX made four big upgrades to its Crew Dragon spaceship.
  • The next capsule will have new maneuvering capabilities, a reinforced heat shield, longer-lasting solar panels, and better parachute-deployment sensors.
  • SpaceX is also promising a clearer ocean landing site without a crowd of boats.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

SpaceX showed the world that its Crew Dragon can safely carry NASA astronauts to and from space this summer.

Now the company is preparing the spaceship for its biggest feat yet: routine flights to and from the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s first mission for NASA was a test flight called Demo-2. It rocketed astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit, after which their Crew Dragon capsule docked to the space station. They stayed there

Read More
Read More

Big scary chasm opens up in Microsoft Flight Simulator reboot

(CNN) — Microsoft released its rebooted Flight Simulator program in August 2020, immediately wowing gamers with its hyper-realistic scenery, digitally distilled from satellite imagery.

The sim gives its users the ability to fly anywhere in the world, with our planet reconstructed with real-time weather conditions using Microsoft Bing mapping technology.

So it’s a little surprising that a huge terrifying abyss has opened up in the middle of Brazil.

Reddit user ReversedWindow appears to have been the first to report the freaky discovery and was brave enough to pilot an airplane down it.
Turns out it gets stranger: There’s a whole airport down there. The above YouTube video by Kwad Damage shows this remarkable journey to the center of the Earth, while the screengrab at the top is from PC Gamer’s Christopher Livingston’s adventure.

The airport in question is Lagoa Nova, which in the real world is a little airstrip in

Read More
Read More

D2 Air aviator smartwatch delivers powerful flight functionality with a vibrant AMOLED display

All-in-one GPS smartwatch for pilots and aviation enthusiasts offers exclusive aviator tools in a stylish and slim form factor at an attractive price

Garmin® International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), today announced the D2™ Air, its latest GPS smartwatch for the modern pilot with powerful aviation capabilities and a sleek, new touchscreen design that can be worn 24/7. The newest addition in the D2 aviator watch series, the D2 Air offers tools for all phases of flight, including weather, direct-to navigation, airport information, flight logging, Pulse Ox1, and much more. To keep up with life on the go, the D2 Air incorporates connected features like smart notifications2, Garmin Pay™ contactless payment solution3 and phone-free music, along with enhanced health monitoring, and animated workouts.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200930005057/en/

Garmin International, Inc., today announced the D2

Read More
Read More