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Spacecraft

Artist's impression of ESA's experimental spaceplane (Image: ESA/J.Huart)

ESA has delayed the launch of its Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV), originally planned for Nov. 18. The decision to delay the launch was made to allow the agency time to gather further information on the unusual trajectory into which the Vega rocket will be launched.  Read More

The accident occurred less than 20 seconds after lift off of the Antares rocket (Image: NA...

At a press conference arranged only a few hours after the event, NASA released details of the explosion of the Antares rocket carrying the unmanned Cygnus supply ship to the International Space Station (ISS). The space agency said that the launch pad at Wallops Island, Virginia, where the 240,000-kg (530,000-lb) rocket went up in flames seconds after lift off has been cordoned off by firefighters until daylight because of the on-going hazards from fires, and scattered solid and hypergolic fuel from the Antares.  Read More

No personnel were injured in the explosion, however the launch facility itself was damaged...

An unmanned resupply mission to the International Space Station has suffered a catastrophic failure six seconds after launch from the Wallops Island launch facility, Virginia. All personnel have been accounted for with zero injuries, however damage was sustained to the launch site.  Read More

During the upcoming ISS resupply mission, SpaceX will attempt to propulsively land the boo...

Yesterday at MIT's AeroAstro Centennial Symposium, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his company will make a first attempt to land the booster stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform during the upcoming ISS resupply mission. If the attempt is successful, the company plans to refurbish and reuse the booster stage, making spaceflight history and paving the way for a significant reduction in the cost of access to space.  Read More

Rosetta's stunning selfie will be the final image to be returned from the Philae lander pr...

Following an exhaustive scientific analysis, mission operators at the ESA have confirmed Site J as the primary landing location for Rosetta's Philae lander. If all goes to plan, Nov. 12 will be a historic first for the human race, as we expand our scientific empire to a new and hostile territory with the first-ever attempted soft landing on a comet.  Read More

Artist's impression of a Kuiper Belt Object (Image: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon)

With NASA'S New Horizons spacecraft scheduled to pass Pluto next year, the space agency has announced the discovery of three Kuiper Belt objects (KBO); one of which may be the unmanned probe’s next destination. Located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the primordial asteroids were found after a detailed survey using the Hubble Space Telescope.  Read More

The TRV system is designed for on-demand return of small payloads from the ISS

So much attention is paid to how to get into space that we often forget that getting back can be just as difficult. For example, getting experiment samples back from the International Space Station (ISS) is a logistical nightmare. Intuitive Machines' Terrestrial Return Vehicle (TRV) system may change that by making sending small payloads back to Earth as easy as mailing a parcel.  Read More

The powered landing capability of SpaceX's Falcon 9 makes it a good test bed for studying ...

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has made it no secret that he plans to go to Mars, and it looks like he’s giving NASA’s ambitions about the Red Planet a bit of a boost along the way. During a Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in September, the space agency sent a pair of chase planes up to take high-resolution images of the booster as it made a powered test landing on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean as a way of gather critical engineering information for future Mars missions.  Read More

Artist's concept of MAVEN in Mars orbit (Image: NASA/GSFC)

After completing its 10 month-long voyage, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is taking its first look at the Martian atmosphere. Part of the unmanned orbiter’s commissioning phase, it limbered up its sensors by observing the effect of a massive solar event and returned its first images of the fountain-like coronas that are slowly peeling away the Red Planet's atmosphere.  Read More

The OTV-3 mission set a new record for time spent in orbit by a reusable spacecraft (Image...

A secret mission came to a public end this morning as the US Air Force’s top secret X-37B spaceplane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The unmanned reusable spacecraft touched down on the runway like a conventional aircraft this morning at 9:24 am EDT after a record-breaking 674 days in orbit. According to the Air Force, the automatic landing was monitored by the 30th Space Wing and occurred without incident.  Read More

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