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Artemis 1 capsule beams back spectacular farewell views of the moon

Spaceflight Now | 2022-12-05 20:04:39

Flying just 80 miles off the lunar surface, NASA’s Orion capsule fired its main engine Monday to slingshot around the moon and set a course for splashdown Dec. 11 in the Pacific Ocean to complete the Artemis 1 test flight. The unpiloted spacecraft relayed home ethereal real-time views of the moon’s cratered surface and a crescent Earth suspended in the blackness of space a quarter-million miles away.

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Chinese crew back on Earth after six months on Tiangong space station

Spaceflight Now | 2022-12-04 18:24:38

Three Chinese astronauts landed Sunday after 182 days on China’s Tiangong space station, completing the busiest mission yet for the country’s human spaceflight program. The astronauts performed three spacewalks and assisted in the arrival and outfitting of two new lab modules at the Tiangong outpost.

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Astronauts install new solar array outside International Space Station

Spaceflight Now | 2022-12-03 22:04:38

NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio headed outside the International Space Station Saturday for a seven-hour spacewalk to install and unfurl a new roll-out solar array recently delivered by a SpaceX cargo ship.

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Orion capsule leaves lunar orbit, heads for moon flyby and return to Earth

Spaceflight Now | 2022-12-01 23:24:38

Continuing a “drama-free” test flight, NASA’s Orion spacecraft is set to fire its main engine Thursday to leave a distant orbit around the moon, heading for a flyby close to the lunar surface next week to swing onto a trajectory to bring it back to Earth for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11.

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SpaceX rocket trouble postpones Japanese moon lander launch

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-30 06:44:38

SpaceX is expected to roll a Falcon 9 rocket back into its hangar at Cape Canaveral for troubleshooting, postponing the planned launch of a Japanese commercial moon lander for an unspecified period. SpaceX provided no details about the reason for grounding the rocket.

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Chinese astronauts meet in space for historic crew handover

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-29 19:34:39

Three Chinese astronauts were greeted by three of their colleagues Tuesday as they floated into the Tiangong space station following a launch on a Long March rocket earlier in the day, marking the first time China’s space program has had six astronauts in orbit at the same time.

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Japanese commercial moon lander, UAE rover ready for launch on SpaceX rocket

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-29 03:34:39

A commercial moon craft developed by the Japanese company ispace is awaiting launch from Cape Canaveral before dawn Wednesday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will send it on a five-month trajectory culminating in a lunar landing attempt next year, an achievement that could make ispace the first private company to accomplish the feat.

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Orion sails through halfway point of Artemis 1 moon mission

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-28 16:34:39

At the halfway point in NASA’s Artemis 1 mission, the unpiloted Orion moonship is chalking up a near-flawless flight, mission managers said Monday, beaming back spectacular images of Earth disappearing from view as it was eclipsed by the moon.

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Three Chinese astronauts ready for flight to Tiangong space station

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-28 10:04:38

Three Chinese astronauts will strap into a Shenzhou spacecraft and rocket into orbit Tuesday in pursuit of China’s Tiangong space station on a six-month mission to transition the space lab from construction into an operational phase.

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SpaceX supply ship docks at space station

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-27 12:56:54

A day after launching from Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule approached the International Space Station for an automated docking Sunday with more than 7,700 pounds of supplies and experiments.

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Orion capsule enters distant retrograde orbit, breaks Apollo distance record

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-26 21:34:39

NASA’s Orion spacecraft fired its main engine Friday to slip into a distant lunar orbit, putting it on course to range farther from Earth than any of the Apollo astronauts flew in humanity’s first exploration of the moon.

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SpaceX launches Dragon cargo ship to deliver new solar arrays to space station

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-26 21:16:54

SpaceX launched an all-new Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule Saturday from Kennedy Space Center on a mission to deliver new roll-out solar arrays, belated Thanksgiving treats, CubeSats, and a cornucopia of experiments to the International Space Station.

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India launches satellite for ocean monitoring

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-26 07:14:38

India launched a satellite Saturday to measure ocean winds and water temperatures, adding a key data source for weather forecasters tracking tropical cyclone development around the world.

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Defying weather odds, SpaceX sends Eutelsat broadband platform into orbit

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-23 01:26:54

Despite a bleak weather forecast, SpaceX took advantage of a break in cloud cover over Cape Canaveral Tuesday night to launch a Falcon 9 rocket with the Eutelsat 10B communications satellite, a high-throughput relay platform to beam in-flight WiFi signals and maritime data services across a coverage zone from the North Atlantic to the Middle East. SpaceX did not attempt to recover the Falcon 9’s first stage booster.

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SpaceX resupply launch to space station delayed until Saturday

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-22 03:56:54

SpaceX called off a launch attempt Tuesday due to bad weather at Kennedy Space Center, delaying until Saturday the start of a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

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NASA managers thrilled with initial results of Artemis moon mission

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-22 03:46:54

NASA’s unpiloted Orion moonship, sailing smoothly toward a remote lunar orbit after a spectacular low-altitude flyby Monday, is operating in near-flawless fashion, mission managers reported Monday, out-performing expectations on a flight needed to pave the way toward the first piloted mission in 2024.

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ABL’s first orbital test flight postponed after series of launch attempts

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-22 01:56:54

The first test flight of ABL Space Systems’ new small satellite launcher from Alaska has been delayed until no earlier than December after technical issues cut short three launch attempts in the last week.

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft completes powered flyby of the moon

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-21 19:07:02

NASA’s unpiloted Orion spacecraft fired its main engine for two-and-a-half minutes Monday just before the capsule soared 81 miles from the surface of the moon, completing a flyby maneuver to bend its trajectory toward a distant orbit for more testing ahead of future lunar missions with astronauts.

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Second pair of new space station solar arrays set for launch on Dragon cargo ship

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-21 16:57:00

A second pair of new roll-out solar arrays to upgrade the International Space Station’s power system is set for launch as soon as Tuesday on a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship. Astronauts will help deploy the power-generating solar wings during a pair of spacewalks next week.

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Eutelsat satellite to get last ride from SpaceX’s oldest active Falcon 9 booster

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-21 00:07:06

A 12,000-pound European broadband communications satellite designed to beam internet signals to airplanes and ships is ready to rocket into a high-altitude orbit from Cape Canaveral Monday night, marking the 11th and final flight for SpaceX’s oldest active Falcon 9 booster. The rocket will devote all of its lift capability to deploying the Eutelsat 10B satellite into as high of an orbit as possible.

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Orion capsule closes in for lunar flyby

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-20 04:57:01

Nearly five days after its sky-lighting launch, NASA’s unpiloted Orion crew capsule closed in on the moon Sunday, on course for a critical rocket firing and lunar flyby Monday to whip the craft into a distant orbit. The goal is to pave the way toward a piloted flight around the moon in 2024.

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James Webb Space Telescope spots what may be most distant galaxy yet found

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-17 20:07:02

The James Webb Space Telescope has spotted a remote galaxy shining just 350 million years after the birth of the cosmos 13.8 billion years ago, surprising astronomers who are struggling to figure out how stars and galaxies could have formed so rapidly in the wake of the Big Bang, researchers said Thursday.

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NASA triumphs in successful debut launch of huge SLS moon rocket

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-16 07:07:05

NASA’s huge Space Launch System moon rocket finally took off from Florida for the first time early Wednesday after a decade in development, sending an unpiloted Orion crew capsule toward lunar orbit on a 25-day test flight to lay a path for astronauts to return to the moon for the first time since 1972.

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NASA calls on “red crew” to fix leak near mostly fueled Artemis moon rocket

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-16 05:57:17

NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket relied on advanced guidance algorithms, powerful cryogenic engines, and millions of lines of software code to get it off the ground for the first time Wednesday. But “there are also times when you’ve just got to put a wrench on a nut,” NASA’s Artemis ground systems program manager said. That’s what NASA did in final hours of the Artemis 1 mission’s countdown late Tuesday night, when the launch team called upon a “red crew” of two technicians and a safety engineer to tighten nuts around a leaky hydrogen valve.

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NASA clears Artemis moon rocket for Wednesday launch

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-14 04:37:05

NASA managers Monday reviewed the threat posed by hurricane-damaged insulation on the agency’s Artemis moon rocket and cleared the $4.1 billion booster for launch “as is” early Wednesday to kick off a long-delayed flight to boost an unpiloted Orion crew capsule around the moon and back.

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ABL Space Systems on verge of first orbital launch attempt

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-13 17:46:54

ABL Space Systems could launch the first test flight of its one-ton class RS1 rocket from Alaska as soon as this week, after securing a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration, the company said Sunday.

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Engineers assessing hurricane-damaged insulation before Artemis launch Wednesday

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-13 07:36:54

NASA managers cleared the agency’s leak-bedeviled Artemis moon rocket for the start of another countdown early Monday, but engineers must resolve questions about hurricane-damaged insulation before the huge booster can be cleared for blastoff on an unpiloted moonshot.

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SpaceX launches Falcon 9 booster into retirement on Intelsat mission

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-12 17:36:54

SpaceX launched one of its reusable Falcon 9 rocket boosters for the last time Saturday on a rare expendable mission for Intelsat, devoting all of the launcher’s propellant toward placing a pair of television broadcasting satellites into orbit. Intelsat says it paid SpaceX an additional fee for the expendable mission.

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NASA assesses moon rocket after a brush with Hurricane Nicole

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-10 14:26:54

NASA’s $4.1 billion Artemis moon rocket, exposed to the elements atop its Kennedy Space Center launch pad, was rocked by high winds and driving rain early Thursday as Hurricane Nicole roared ashore just south of the spaceport.

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Atlas 5 rocket moves closer to retirement with final launch from California

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-10 01:16:54

The 301st and final Atlas rocket to launch from California blasted off Thursday with a NOAA weather satellite and first-of-its-kind re-entry tech demo experiment, clearing the way for modifications to ready the Atlas launch pad for United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket.

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Cygnus cargo ship arrive at space station after solar array trouble

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-09 11:39:09

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply ship arrived at the International Space Station Wednesday, overcoming a deployment failure on one of its two power-generating solar arrays to deliver 4.1 tons of cargo and experiments to the complex.

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Watch live: NASA’s moon rocket riding out Hurricane Nicole on the launch pad

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-09 06:49:09

NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket is riding out Hurricane Nicole on its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch live views from the Florida spaceport as the storm brings high winds and heavy rain to the area.

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First launch of NASA’s Artemis moon rocket slips to Nov. 16

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-08 03:39:09

NASA said Tuesday the launch of its Artemis 1 moon rocket will be delayed from Nov. 14 to no earlier than Nov. 16 as approaching Tropical Storm Nicole interrupts preflight processing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Subtropical Storm Nicole delays SpaceX launch; Artemis 1 rocket stays on pad

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-07 20:19:11

SpaceX has pushed back the flight of its next Falcon 9 rocket from Tuesday to Saturday as Subtropical Storm Nicole threatens the east coast of Florida, officials said Monday. But NASA is keeping its Artemis 1 moon rocket on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for a launch attempt next week.

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Northrop Grumman’s ‘S.S. Sally Ride’ cargo ship launches on flight to space station

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-07 11:59:09

Using its second-to-last Antares rocket with Russian engines before a redesign to rely on all-U.S. propulsion, Northrop Grumman sent a Cygnus supply ship into orbit from Virginia on Monday to deliver spacewalk equipment, experiments, and fresh treats for the crew on the International Space Station.

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China launches high-power Ka-band communications satellite

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-06 12:59:09

China launched a high-power communications satellite Saturday on a mission to connect airline passengers, maritime vessels, and other users across China, Southeast Asia, and remote routes between the Asia-Pacific region and North America.

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First Starliner crew flight slips to April 2023

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-06 12:19:10

The first test flight of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule with astronauts has been delayed from February to April 2023, moving the mission after a busy stretch of crew and cargo missions to the International Space Station, and allowing more time for engineers to address problems discovered on an unpiloted test flight earlier this year, NASA said last week.

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Northrop Grumman ready for space station resupply mission

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-05 06:29:12

Northrop Grumman is set to launch the penultimate flight of its current Antares rocket configuration — with Russian engines and a Ukrainian first stage structure — to begin a resupply mission Sunday delivering more than four tons of cargo to the International Space Station.

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NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket back on pad 39B for nighttime launch attempt

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-04 19:59:10

NASA’s Space Launch System moon rocket arrived back on its Florida launch pad Friday, ready for a series of overnight launch opportunities beginning Nov. 14 to begin a crucial, long-delayed test flight that officials hope will set the stage for future lunar missions with astronauts.

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Rocket Lab launches Swedish atmospheric research satellite, unable to catch booster

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-04 08:19:10

Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher placed a small Swedish atmospheric research satellite into an on-target polar orbit Friday, but an attempt to recover a booster stage with a helicopter was aborted after a brief telemetry loss from the rocket on descent.

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NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket ready for ride back to launch pad

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-03 23:09:09

After replacing and recharging batteries in the Vehicle Assembly Building, NASA ground teams plan to roll the more than 30-story-tall Space Launch System rocket back to its launch pad early Friday at Kennedy Space Center for another try Nov. 14 to send the Artemis 1 test flight around the moon.

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Rocket Lab’s next launch will feature mid-air booster recovery attempt

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-03 09:49:09

Rocket Lab will try again Friday to catch an Electron first stage booster after launching from New Zealand with a small Swedish science satellite, six months after the company’s first mid-air recovery attempt.

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SpaceX launches Airbus-built TV broadcasting spacecraft for Eutelsat

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-03 01:09:09

SpaceX launched the second in a series of three Falcon 9 rocket missions early Thursday for the European satellite operator Eutelsat, delivering to orbit a television broadcasting craft that also hosts an EU-funded payload to provide precise navigation data to airplanes.

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SpaceX teams in Florida prep for second launch in as many days

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-02 22:09:09

One day after launching a triple-body Falcon Heavy rocket a few miles up the coast, SpaceX rolled its workhorse rocket — the Falcon 9 — to a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Wednesday for a late night mission to haul a Eutelsat television broadcasting satellite into orbit.

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Construction of Chinese space station enters final phase with module launch

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-01 19:39:10

China launched a heavy-lift Long March 5B rocket Monday with the Mengtian lab module, the final major element to complete the initial assembly and outfitting of the Chinese Tiangong space station. The lab module docked with the space station complex 13 hours later.

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Falcon Heavy ‘simply outstanding’ on SpaceX’s first launch to geosynchronous orbit

Spaceflight Now | 2022-11-01 16:39:10

The U.S. Space Force confirmed Tuesday that a Falcon Heavy launcher placed two main payloads and at least three smaller rideshare satellites directly into a high-altitude geosynchronous orbit after liftoff from Florida, an achievement that checks off one of the final unproven capabilities for SpaceX’s rocket family.

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Falcon Heavy rocket on the launch pad for one of SpaceX’s most complex missions

Spaceflight Now | 2022-10-31 21:39:10

The first Falcon Heavy rocket flight in more than three years is scheduled Tuesday from Florida’s Space Coast to begin SpaceX’s longest-duration launch mission to date, a roughly six-hour climb into geosynchronous orbit more than 20,000 miles over the equator with a bundle of U.S. Space Force payloads. The powerful rocket’s two reusable side boosters will return to Cape Canaveral for landing.

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NASA sets October 2023 launch date for Psyche asteroid mission

Spaceflight Now | 2022-10-31 04:09:09

NASA says the Psyche mission, a robotic asteroid explorer that missed a launch opportunity this year due to software testing problems, has been rescheduled for liftoff from Florida in October 2023 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

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Final Atlas 5 launch from California delayed for battery replacement

Spaceflight Now | 2022-10-31 00:29:10

The final flight of an Atlas 5 rocket from California has been delayed from Tuesday until no earlier than Nov. 9 to replace a battery on the launcher’s Centaur upper stage, United Launch Alliance and NASA officials said.

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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy test-fired on launch pad in Florida

Spaceflight Now | 2022-10-28 14:39:21

SpaceX fired up 27 engines on a Falcon Heavy rocket Thursday night at Kennedy Space Center, sending a rumble across the spaceport in a hold-down test-firing before a launch next week for the U.S. Space Force.

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