NASA astronaut set to launch on Russian rocket as US transitions to private spacecraft

A new crew of three astronauts are launching to the International Space Station late tonight, blasting off on a Russian Soyuz rocket out of Kazakhstan. The trio are heading to the station about a month ahead of SpaceX’s next crewed Dragon launch, which will bring another set of four astronauts aboard the ISS in mid-November.

Heading up on this Soyuz flight are two Russian cosmonauts — Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov — and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on her second trip to space. The trio will join three crew members who have been living on the ISS since April: Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy. However, their living arrangement won’t last long. Cassidy and his cosmonaut crew mates are slated to head back to Earth on October 21st, riding inside the Soyuz capsule that brought them to the space station.

Just a few weeks

Read More
Read More

This spacecraft is being readied for a one-way mission to deflect an asteroid

In a clean room in Building 23 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, a spacecraft called DART was splayed open like a fractured, cubic egg. An instrument called a star tracker—which will, once DART is in deep space, ascertain which way is up—was mounted to the core, along with batteries and a variety of other sensors. The avionics system, DART’s central computer, was prominently attached to square, precision-machined panels that will form the sides, once the spacecraft is folded up. Wires ran from the computer to the radiosystem that DART will use to communicate with Earth. Gyroscopes and antennas were exposed. In a room next door, an experimental thruster system called NEXT-C was waiting its turn. Great bundles of thick tendrils wrapped in silver insulation hung down from the spacecraft and ran along the floor to the control room, where they connected to a

Read More
Read More

Former NASA astronaut who helped build new Boeing spacecraft won’t fly on first mission

Former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson says he no longer plans to command the first-ever crewed mission of the Boeing Starliner, the spacecraft he’s spent the last decade helping to build.



a man wearing sunglasses: Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson looks on during a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. They will be part of the first crew to fly on the Starliner spacecraft some time next year.


© Terry Renna/AP
Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson looks on during a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. They will be part of the first crew to fly on the Starliner spacecraft some time next year.

NASA and Boeing made the announcement Wednesday morning, saying Ferguson made the decision for “personal reasons.” Ferguson said in a follow-up tweet that he plans to prioritize his family, and he “made several commitments which I simply cannot risk missing.”

Loading...

Load Error

He did not provide further details.

Ferguson, an engineer and veteran of three Space Shuttle missions, left the NASA astronaut corps in 2011 to help Boeing design and build a next-generation spacecraft that could

Read More
Read More

Cargo Spacecraft Carrying New Toilet to ISS Finally Launches

After several scrubbed attempts, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket has taken off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, launching an uncrewed Cygnus cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station (ISS). The Cygnus spacecraft is carrying a total of 8,000 pounds of crew supplies and science experiments for the ISS.

The mission had been expected to originally launch on Tuesday, September 29, but this had to be pushed back due to unfavorable weather conditions. The new launch date was set for Thursday, October 1, and the rocket was fueled and ready to go but was then scrubbed again after an issue with ground support equipment. The launch was pushed back once more to late on Friday, October 2, and this time the launch went ahead as planned at 9:16 p.m. ET.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches to the International Space Station on Oct. 2, 2020, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. The rocket is carrying a Cygnus spacecraft with 8,000 pounds of supplies and experiments.
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches to the International Space Station on Oct. 2, 2020, from
Read More
Read More

Watch live Friday! Antares rocket to launch NASA cargo on Cygnus spacecraft

Update: NASA and Northrop Grumman are now targeting Friday night (Oct. 2) for the launch of the Cygnus NG-14 mission atop its Antares rocket. Liftoff is set for 9:16 p.m. EDT (0116 GMT), pending the resolution of tonight’s launch abort.

Original post: 

On Thursday, Oct. 1, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship carrying nearly 4 tons of NASA cargo will launch toward the International Space Station from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. 

A Northrop Grumman-built Antares rocket will launch the Cygnus spacecraft on the CRS-14 (or NG-14) mission from Pad OA at Wallops at 9:38 p.m. EDT (0138 GMT). The mission has been delayed from Sept. 29 due to bad weather. NASA’s webcast will begin at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT). 

Antares rocket launch for NASA visible along the US East Coast tonight. Here’s how to watch.

NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman is

Read More
Read More

Here’s the first ‘selfie’ of China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft on its way to Mars

tw1-crop

Tianwen-1 is en route to Mars, hoping to make China the third nation to successfully land on the red planet.


Chinese Lunar Exploration Program

This is our first look at China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft on the way to Mars. Against the black backdrop of the eternal void, but shining in the sun, Tianwen-1 has its solar panels The Martian exploration mission, which launched in July, is travelling away from the Earth and scheduled to reach the red planet in Feb. 2021 and make a controlled landing in May.

The image was released by the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) and the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China. In a blog post, the team write the probe is now nearly 15 million miles from the Earth and is “in good condition.” The post details how the golden orbiter and silver landing device

Read More
Read More

Japan’s asteroid sample-return spacecraft Hayabusa2 gets extended mission

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 is currently making its round-trip return from an asteroid, bringing pieces of the space rock back to Earth. But instead of ending its run with that cosmic delivery, after dropping off its precious parcel, the spacecraft will swing back out into space to visit another rocky destination.

After Hayabusa2 delivers its samples of asteroid Ryugu to Earth in December, the craft will head off toward a new asteroid target: 1998 KY26, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a statement. The spacecraft should reach the new asteroid in 2031.

Hayabusa2 reached asteroid Ryugu in June 2018 and spent over a year studying the space rock. The spacecraft left Ryugu in November 2019 and its sample-return capsule will return pieces of the asteroid to Earth with a Dec. 6 landing in the Australian Outback. 

Hayabusa2’s first mission aimed to help scientists learn about the composition of

Read More
Read More

Six-month mission will test limits of SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, astronauts say

Astronauts make round trip to space station from U.S. soil

NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley (C) waves to onlookers as he boards a plane at Naval Air Station Pensacola to return him and NASA astronaut Robert Behnken home to Houston a few hours after the duo landed in their SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft off the coast of Pensacola, Fla,, on August 2, 2020. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA | License Photo

Read More
Read More

SpaceX reinforcing heat shield of its Dragon spacecraft ahead of planned October flight

He said there “was nothing to be concerned with at all times. The astronauts were safe, and the vehicle was working perfectly.” The heat shield is a vital component of the spacecraft that protects the astronauts as they plunge through the thickening atmosphere, creating temperatures that reach as high as 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition to reinforcing the part of the heat shield, he said the company is refining how it measures the capsule’s altitude as it returns to Earth. During the August test flight, the drogue parachutes deployed at a slightly lower altitude than the company expected, but still well within safety parameters, he said.

Finally, SpaceX and NASA are working with the Coast Guard to create a 10-mile “keep-out zone” around the spacecraft once its splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico.

During the test mission, recreational boats swarmed the vehicle, still loaded with volatile

Read More
Read More