Space Travel


Why Astronomers Worry About the Brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Megaconstellation

November 11, 2019

SpaceX is planning to launch the second installment of its Starlink megaconstellation on Monday (Nov. 11), and astronomers are waiting to see — well, precisely what they will see. When the company launched its first set of Starlink internet satellites in May, those with their eyes attuned to the night sky immediately realized that the objects were…

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Boeing offers SLS-launched lunar lander to NASA

November 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Boeing announced Nov. 5 that it has submitted a proposal to NASA to develop a lunar lander that could be launched in a single piece on a Space Launch System rocket. The company said its “Fewest Steps to the Moon” proposal, submitted for NASA’s Human Landing Services program, minimized the number of launches…

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The 1st Human on Mars May Be a Woman, NASA Chief Says

October 23, 2019

When NASA sends humans to the moon for the first time in more than half a century, one lucky astronaut will go down in history for becoming the first woman on the moon. Then it won’t be long before we see the first woman on Mars, and she just might beat the first man there,…

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Why NASA’s Annoyed About Elon Musk’s Giant Rocket

October 8, 2019

SpaceX has never flown a person into space in its first spacecraft, the Crew Dragon. But already Musk is showing off his big, shiny Starship — and NASA is bristling. SpaceX has never flown a person into space in its Crew Dragon, its first crew-capable spacecraft. But already the company is showing off its much…

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SpaceX Finishes Assembling New Starship Prototype (Photo)

September 30, 2019

We can now take the full measure of SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype. The company has mated the top and bottom halves of the Starship Mk1 vehicle at its South Texas facilities, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said today (Sept. 27). “Starship halves being joined,” he posted on Twitter, along with a photo of the sleek silver Mk1.…

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NASA awards long-term Orion production contract to Lockheed Martin

September 24, 2019

LOS ANGELES — NASA announced Sept. 23 it was awarding a contract to Lockheed Martin for long-term production of the Orion spacecraft, covering as many as 12 spacecraft that would meet NASA’s anticipated needs into the 2030s. The Orion Production and Operations Contract includes an initial order of three Orion spacecraft, for missions Artemis 3,…

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India Just Found Its Lost Vikram Lander on the Moon, Still No Signal

September 9, 2019

India’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter circling the moon has spotted the country’s lost Vikram lander on the lunar surface, but there is still no signal from the lander, according to Indian media reports. K Sivan, chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation, said today (Sept. 8) that the Vikram lander was located by Chandrayaan-2 and efforts to restore contact…

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Can satellite megaconstellations be responsible users of space?

September 3, 2019

For many in the space industry, so-called “megaconstellations” of communications satellites are the next big thing. Such systems have the potential to provide services from tracking planes and ships to offering broadband internet access more effectively than existing satellite systems or terrestrial alternatives. They offer a feel-good story about connecting the world as well as…

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NASA warns commercial crew delays create uncertainty in ISS operations

July 31, 2019

ATLANTA — As NASA praises the increased amount of research being performed on the International Space Station, the station’s manager cautions that uncertainty about commercial crew vehicles may disrupt station operations in the year ahead. In an opening keynote at the ISS Research and Development Conference here July 30, Kirk Shireman, NASA’s ISS program manager,…

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Maxar to install NASA pollution sensor on commercial satellite

July 23, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO — Maxar Technologies plans to install a NASA sensor to monitor air pollution over North America on a commercial communications satellite scheduled to travel to geostationary orbit in 2022, NASA and Maxar announced July 22. Maxar executives are speaking with multiple customers about flying the payload but have not yet signed a contract…

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NASA to seek proposals for Gateway logistics

June 17, 2019

ORLANDO — NASA will issue a formal call for proposals later this summer for cargo transportation services for its lunar Gateway, seeking to model that effort on the space station’s commercial cargo program. NASA released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for its Gateway Logistics Services program June 14, seeking industry comment by July 10.…

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Engineer charged with falsifying inspections of SpaceX hardware

May 28, 2019

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors have charged a man with falsifying inspection records for hardware his company produced for SpaceX, highlighting an issue about the overall aerospace industry supply chain. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York filed charges May 22 against James Smalley, a former employee of PMI Industries, a Rochester,…

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This NASA Experiment Shows Promise for Farm-Fresh Foods in Space

May 23, 2019

On long space voyages, food variety will be key. A new NASA experiment called Veg-PONDS 02, which astronauts just ran on the International Space Station, offers a chance to attain that variety. While the experiment used a food already grown in space — romaine lettuce — future crops could include tomatoes or other plants, NASA officials said…

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NASA seeks additional $1.6 billion for 2024 Moon plan

May 14, 2019

WASHINGTON — The White House and NASA announced May 13 that they will seek an additional $1.6 billion in funding for the agency in fiscal year 2020, a “down payment” on efforts to achieve a human lunar landing by 2024. In a tweet late in the day, President Trump announced the additional funding to support…

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Smart App That Trains You to Become an Astronaut

May 8, 2019

Just because you don’t work for NASA doesn’t mean you’ll never make it as an astronaut. In the world of private space tourism, a little training could be all you need. And there’s an app for that. Space Nation, a Finnish space tourism startup, recently launched Space Nation Navigator, which the company touts as the…

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