Part of Wright brothers' 1st airplane on NASA's Mars chopper
(NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A piece of the Wright brothers’ first airplane is on Mars. NASA’s experimental Martian helicopter holds a small swatch of fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer, the space agency revealed Tuesday. The helicopter, named Ingenuity, hitched a ride to the red planet with the Perseverance rover, arriving last month. It will mark a "Wright brothers' moment," noted Bobby Braun, director for planetary science at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The swatch made the 300 million-mile journey to Mars with the blessing of the Wright brothers' great-grandniece and great-grandnephew, said park curator Steve Lucht.
Space station launch honors ‘Hidden Figures’ mathematician
The rocket is delivering cargo to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A space station supply ship named after the Black NASA mathematician featured in the movie “Hidden Figures” rocketed into orbit Saturday, the 59th anniversary of John Glenn's historic launch. Northrop Grumman's Cygnus capsule — dubbed the S.S. Katherine Johnson — should reach the International Space Station on Monday following its launch from Virginia's eastern shore. He noted that the space station flew over Virginia just 10 minutes ahead of Saturday's launch. The capsule also holds 120,000 tiny roundworms for a muscle experiment, as well as off-the-shelf computer equipment to increase data processing speed at the space station.
1st private space crew paying $55M each to fly to station
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, Axiom announced they will be the first private space station crew, a year ahead of the planned launch. (Courtesy Axiom Space via AP)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The first private space station crew was introduced Tuesday: Three men who are each paying $55 million to fly on a SpaceX rocket. “This is the first private flight to the International Space Station. It’s never been done before," said Axiom's chief executive and president Mike Suffredini, a former space station program manager for NASA. Russia has been in the off-the-planet tourism business for years, selling rides to the International Space Station since 2001.
Blue Origin launches capsule to space with astronaut perks
In this image from video made available by Blue Origin, the company's New Shepard rocket lands after a test flight in West Texas on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Blue Origin via AP)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company launched a new capsule into space Thursday to test all the astronaut perks before people strap in. Thursday’s flight with a dummy named Mannequin Skywalker lasted 10 minutes and reached 66 miles (106 kilometers) above West Texas. Both the New Shepard rocket and the capsule landed successfully. It was the 14th flight to the fringes of space for a New Shepard rocket.
Arizona's Kelly is sworn into Senate, narrowing GOP edge
(Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn into the Senate on Wednesday, narrowing Republican control of the chamber and underscoring his state's shift from red to blue. Kelly, 56, defeated GOP Sen. Martha McSally in last month's election, making her one of only three incumbents to lose. Kelly's Arizona colleague, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, held the Bible on which he took his oath. In what was one of the country's most expensive Senate races, Kelly raised $89 million. That was second only to the $108 million collected by defeated South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
NASA astronauts go back to the future with capsule launch
(SpaceX via AP)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – It’s back to the future as NASA astronauts launch again from the U.S. — aboard a retro-style “Right Stuff” capsule. SpaceX’s Dragon crew capsule outshines NASA’s old Apollo spacecraft in virtually every way. This fresh take on a vintage look will be on full display Wednesday when SpaceX plans to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station — a first for a private company. Russia’s workhorse Soyuz capsules, still in use after a half-century plus, have kept NASA astronauts flying to the space station. A test dummy soloed on last year’s Dragon crew capsule debut.