Pittsburgh’s ambassadors to space are ready to return America to the moon
Several private companies launching moon landers later this year from Florida will kick off a grand campaign to better understand our nearest neighbor, with big implications for when NASA returns humans to the moon in a few short years.
Sierra Nevada, prepping for Florida launch and landing, unveils space station concept
Sierra Nevada, the company aiming to launch and land its Dream Chaser spaceplane on the Space Coast, unveiled its take on an Earth-orbiting space station this week, joining a series of others aiming to find alternatives to the aging International Space Station, reports News 6 partner Florida Today.
Delta II rocket joins garden at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
After being closed for months due to COVID-19, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center is fully open with a glistening new rocket on display in the rocket garden. It was truly amazing,” said ULA’s Director of Launch Operations, Ron Fortson, recalling the first time he worked on a Delta II launch. AdThe Delta II was a busy rocket over its nearly 30-year life flying 155 times. The Delta II also carried numerous science missions for NASA. Visitors will also notice a big structure under construction behind the new Delta II rocket.
Last call: Contest for first private trip on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon ends soon
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – The stakes are high, about 200 miles high, for fundraisers, YouTubers and creative space enthusiasts vying to be on board the first private trip to orbit Earth in a SpaceX Crew Dragon. The Inspiration 4 contest established by Jared Isaacman, the CEO of Shift4 Payment, will send four private citizens to low-Earth orbit later this year in the spacecraft. Interested space travelers could enter the competition by either donating to St. Jude or using Shift4Shop to share their business stories on social media. Brevard County launch photographer John Kraus, 21, threw his hat in the ring raising nearly $10,000 for St. Jude with his original photography. The four-person crew will launch from Kennedy Space Center’s launchpad 39A.
SpaceX launches Turkish satellite from Florida
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Following a very busy year, SpaceX started 2021 with a launch on Thursday night from Cape Canaveral, sending up a Turkish communications satellite. The Space Coast hosted more than 30 rocket launches last year and 2021 promises to top that as SpaceX continues to build its Starlink satellite constellation to provide global internet, launching a new batch of spacecraft with increasing frequency. [TRENDING: Seniors sleep in cars waiting for vaccine | How to get vaccine in Fla. | ‘Amen and awoman:’ Backlash over prayer]A Falcon 9 rocket launched a satellite called Turksat-5A Thursday evening from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Space Launch Complex 40. Turksat is a satellite operation company located in Turkey. According to Turkish news site AA.com, the broadband satellite will provide television services and expand broadband data for Turkey, the Middle East, southern Europe and part of Africa.
There’s more than 1 way to send a spacecraft to Venus
AdIt used to be -- in the U.S.-- NASA was the only way to fund and send a robotic mission to another world, but not anymore. The company wants to send the first robotic mission to Venus in 2023. (Image credit: Rocket Lab) (Rocket Lab)Meanwhile, NASA is considering funding its own missions to the planet considered Earth’s twin. Currently there are two Venus missions under consideration and two more equally fascinating missions, one designed to study Jupiter’s moon Io and another to Neptune’s moon Triton. AdHere’s what launching a robotic mission to another planet looks like, in a nutshell, according to Wagner:“This is what a typical NASA mission is.
UCF science getting more time in zero-G with Virgin Galactic --and soon Virgin Orbit
Colwell and UCF planetary scientist Addie Dove are co-investigators on the project that has previously flown twice with Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will be carried by plane or “mothership” called VMS Eve taking off from New Mexico’s spaceport. Virgin Orbit, a sister Virgin company, is set to launch its first operational mission which includes science selected by NASA, including UCF’s Q-PACE small satellite. Q-PACE is another small payload with mighty research goals: to help scientists understand how planets formed. Virgin Orbit is targeting launch before the end of the year.
SpaceX launches Falcon 9 with SiriusXM satellite
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket with a SiriusXM satellite on-board. The Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Launch Complex 40, just down range from where United Launch Alliance sent up a national security satellite Thursday night. SpaceX plans to land the hardware again on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean after liftoff. Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/7QPgoeDQD5 — SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 13, 2020It’s been a banner week for the private space company, led by CEO Elon Musk. On Wednesday, SpaceX performed a daring test of its Starship spaceship prototype in South Texas.
SpaceX launches Space Force satellite, prepares for next astronaut mission
The private company launched a satellite called GPS-III-4 for the U.S. Space Force and Air Force right at the start of a 15-minute window at 6:24 p.m. The brand new Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch was unusual for SpaceX because the company regularly flies its flight-proven rocket boosters but this launch was conducted with all new hardware. The booster will fly again with another GPS satellite for the Air Force and Space Force next year. With a successful launch Thursday SpaceX is now one step closer to launching its second Dragon astronaut capsule to the space station.
NASA moon-landing tech hitches ride to space on Bezos rocket
The sensors and computer — tested during the booster’s descent and touchdown — will hitch another suborbital ride with Blue Origin. Led by Amazon founder Bezos, Washington state-based Blue Origin is leading a team of companies to develop a lunar lander for astronauts. Tuesday’s launch was the first in nearly a year for Blue Origin: The pandemic stalled operations. Blue Origin said its staff is maintaining social distancing and taking other safety measures. Blue Origin said it needs a couple more flights before launching people — tourists, scientists and professional astronauts — on short hops.
New discovery adds to excitement for Rocket Lab’s mission to Venus
Private space company, Rocket Lab has had plans in the works to launch a spacecraft to Venus on its Electron rocket as soon as 2023. The announcement this week added to the excitement of a mission to the second planet from the sun coming up in the near future. So from a from a climate perspective, I think we have a lot to learn from Venus,” Beck said. “Don’t get me wrong, I like Mars to just not as much as Venus,” Beck said. Rocket Lab is known for its quirky mission names but Beck says they have still not decided to on a name for the mission to Venus.
Must watch: Family sees rocket explode over Alaska and their reaction is adorable
After weeks of bad weather, an Earthquake and other delays, private space startup Astra launched its orbital rocket on the first of three tests from Alaska last week. On Sept. 11, Rocket 3.1 launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska. That triggered a shutdown of the engines by the flight safety system and the rocket broke apart, tumbling back down in a fiery explosion. “I don’t think that’s supposed to happen,” someone says, and then when the explosion can be seen from the launch site, “holy moly!”Culton and her viewing party were worried about the Astra launch operators. Rocket 3.1's orbital launch attempt pic.twitter.com/nm1bDewdl5 — Astra (@Astra) September 12, 2020The next rocket, called 3.2 is ready for Astra’s second orbital launch test, according to the company.
LIFTOFF! SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. SpaceX on Thursday launched its own payload in the form of 60 Starlink satellites, marking the 12th round of internet-beaming satellites. Post-launch, SpaceX plans to land the rocket booster at sea and fly it again, a normal occurrence for the reusable Falcon 9 rocket. The company plans to launch around 60 Starlink satellites every few weeks. SpaceX plans to roll out internet service in the U.S. and Canada later this year, according to the Starlink website. Launch detailsRocket: SpaceX Falcon 9Launch pad: Kennedy Space Center Launchpad 39APayload: 60 Starlink satellitesLiftoff time: Sept. 3 at 8:46 a.m.
Launch alert: ULA Delta Heavy rocket ready to rumble
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. United Launch Alliance will launch a U.S. national security mission on Aug. 26 using its Delta IV Heavy rocket, a treat for early risers because the heavy-lift rocket is a rare sight. Liftoff is scheduled for 2:16 a.m. from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Last October, the heavy-lift rocket launched NASAs Parker Solar Probe from Cape Canaveral on a mission to study the sun. Tropical Storm Laura is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane off Floridas west coast next week. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 14 is moving on a projected path toward Houston, where it could make landfall as a tropical storm after becoming a Category 1 hurricane.
Blue Origin lunar lander arrives in Houston, allowing astronauts chance to try it out
This week, a team led by Blue Origin developing a human lunar lander dropped off its mockup, under development at NASAs Johnson Space Center, giving the astronaut corps a chance train with the mooncraft for the six months or more. The National Team, which includes Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper, was selected by the U.S. space agency in April to design a human-rated moon lander. SpaceX and Dynetics were also awarded contracts to build human moon landing spacecraft. Blue Origin said in a news release Thursday the National Team delivered an engineering mockup to the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at Johnson Space Center. All the missions will liftoff from either NASAs Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
FAA clears Rocket Lab to fly again after sneaky issue causes launch failure
California-based space startup Rocket Lab will resume launching its Electron rockets from New Zealand this month four weeks after the company experienced its first launch failure. Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said in a call with reporters Friday the Federal Aviation Administration approved the company to resume launches after an FAA-supported investigation identified the cause of the July 4 launch failure from Mahia, New Zealand. Electron had 12 previous successful launches from New Zealand prior to the 13th doomed launch. After duplicating the issue, Beck said the team was about to mitigate the problem through a slight change in its production process. Rocket Lab did not announce when in August the company plans to launch again or with what payload.
Startup plans to launch people in giant balloon to edge of space from Kennedy Space Center
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. A new startup plans to use a giant balloon to carry paying customers to the edge of space for a unique view of the Earth and their journey will start from the former space shuttle runway at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Space Perspectives signed a lease with Space Florida, the states spaceport authority, to locate its first operations center for the Neptune capsule at the Launch and Landing Facility, formerly the shuttle landing runway. The private company plans to announced Thursday its intent to fly the first passengers to the edge of space beginning next year. Passengers will ride in a pressurized capsule with large windows in their normal clothes while enjoying amenities including drinks and food or using the time to perform an experiment, according to Space Perspectives website. The company is already taking reservations on its website at thespaceperspective.com.
Richard Bransons Virgin Orbit plans first space launch
LOS ANGELES Richard Bransons Virgin Orbit is targeting the coming weekend for its first attempt to launch a demonstration payload into space aboard a rocket released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747. Earlier this year, Virgin Orbit conducted a rehearsal flight that simulated release of the rocket. Headquartered in Long Beach, Virgin Orbit is a sister company to Virgin Galactic, which is preparing to carry tourists on suborbital flights high over New Mexico. Virgin Orbits system will be capable of launching small satellites into space from locations around the world. The launch rehearsal comes after years of development and recent extensive modification of operations because of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as putting team members to work on the development of medical ventilators.