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SpaceX successfully launches CRS-20, recovers their 50th Falcon 9 Booster

Northrop Grumman Successfully Completes Cold Static Test of Second Stage for OmegA Rocket

SpaceX successfully launches fourth batch of Starlink satellites

Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort’s successful completion clears way for crewed flights

Boeing’s Starliner capsule begins much-delayed first flight: UPDATE

Northrop Grumman’s NG 12 paints the sky in honor of an American legend

Delta IV Medium ends 17-Year run with 100% success

CRS-18 Falcon and Dragon brave storms to begin 18th ISS flight

Night time is the right time for SpaceX STP-2 mission

Anomaly occurs during OmegA first stage static fire test

Boeing CST-100 Starliner Testing Deficiencies Identified

Michael McCabe March 9th Cape Canaveral, FL – Details are emerging about exactly what and how testing was performed prior to Boeing launching their Starliner test capsule on December 20, 2019, a flight which resulted in a mixed outcome instead of what was supposed to be a resounding and highly anticipated success.

Northrop Grumman Successfully Completes Cold Static Test of Second Stage for OmegA Rocket

Patrick Attwell February 28th PROMONTORY, Utah – Feb. 28, 2020 – Northrop Grumman has successfully completed a cold static test of the second stage of its OmegA rocket in Promontory, Utah, completing the full-duration (approx. 140 seconds) firing on the afternoon of February 27.

New Horizons parallax project seeks public participation

Laurel Kornfeld February 21st NASA’s New Horizons mission is seeking public participation in a project aimed at imaging the two closest stars, Proxima Centauri and Wolf 359, from Earth on April 22 and 23, the same day the spacecraft will photograph them from almost five billion miles (eight billion km) away.

Pluto’s heart feature controls its winds

Laurel Kornfeld February 20th Pluto’s iconic heart feature, named Tombaugh Regio, functions as a “beating heart” that controls the small planet’s winds and might even play a role in shaping its surface features.

Arrokoth data sheds light on planet formation

Laurel Kornfeld February 19th Data returned by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft taken during its January 2019 flyby of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Arrokoth, also known as 2014 MU 69, located four billion miles from Earth, supports the theory that planet formation in the solar system occurred in a gentle rather than violent process.

ULA successfully launches Solar Probe aboard Atlas V

Theresa Cross February 10th CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched a NASA probe its way to our Sun. At 11:03 p.m. EDT, February 9, the rocket left Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Pluto’s hazy atmosphere is similar to that of Titan

Laurel Kornfeld February 2nd Pluto is often compared to Neptune’s largest moon Triton, but its hazy atmosphere is actually more akin to that of Saturn’s largest moon Titan, which is sometimes viewed as an analog of early Earth.

Artemis I Orion spacecraft advancing through tests at Plum Brook Station

Michael Cole January 31st SANDUSKY, OHIO — Testing is fully underway on the Orion spacecraft for the upcoming Artemis I test flight mission at NASA’s Plum Brook Station testing facility in Sandusky, Ohio. The Orion crew capsule, integrated with its European Service Module, is currently inside the facility’s Space Environments Complex undergoing thermal vacuum tests in the largest thermal vacuum chamber in the world.

SpaceX successfully launches fourth batch of Starlink satellites

Theresa Cross January 29th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX launched their fourth batch of approximately 60 satellites for the Starlink broadband network at 9:06am EDT, January 29, after carefully “evaluating extreme weather in the recovery area,” according to SpaceX.

NASA broadcast celebrates Spitzer telescope’s accomplishments

Laurel Kornfeld January 24th In a live broadcast on Wednesday, January 22, NASA celebrated 16 years of incredible accomplishments by the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of its four “Great Observatories” in space.

Spitzer telescope to be decommissioned after 16 years

Laurel Kornfeld January 20th NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which has studied the universe in infrared light since its launch in August of 2003, will be decommissioned on Thursday, January 30, 2020.

Gallery: SpaceX’s Dragon clears safety check paving way for crewed missions

Michael McCabe January 19th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Images from the Jan. 19 test of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft which successfully demonstrated the vehicle’s ability to pull astronauts away from the rocket in the event of an accident on its way to orbit.

Boeing CST-100 Starliner Testing Deficiencies Identified

Michael McCabe March 9th Cape Canaveral, FL – Details are emerging about exactly what and how testing was performed prior to Boeing launching their Starliner test capsule on December 20, 2019, a flight which resulted in a mixed outcome instead of what was supposed to be a resounding and highly anticipated success.

Northrop Grumman Successfully Completes Cold Static Test of Second Stage for OmegA Rocket

Patrick Attwell February 28th PROMONTORY, Utah – Feb. 28, 2020 – Northrop Grumman has successfully completed a cold static test of the second stage of its OmegA rocket in Promontory, Utah, completing the full-duration (approx. 140 seconds) firing on the afternoon of February 27.

Artemis I Orion spacecraft advancing through tests at Plum Brook Station

Michael Cole January 31st SANDUSKY, OHIO — Testing is fully underway on the Orion spacecraft for the upcoming Artemis I test flight mission at NASA’s Plum Brook Station testing facility in Sandusky, Ohio. The Orion crew capsule, integrated with its European Service Module, is currently inside the facility’s Space Environments Complex undergoing thermal vacuum tests in the largest thermal vacuum chamber in the world.

SpaceX successfully launches fourth batch of Starlink satellites

Theresa Cross January 29th CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX launched their fourth batch of approximately 60 satellites for the Starlink broadband network at 9:06am EDT, January 29, after carefully “evaluating extreme weather in the recovery area,” according to SpaceX.

Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort’s successful completion clears way for crewed flights

Theresa Cross January 19th SpaceX successfully completed yet another milestone under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to send astronauts to the International Space Station – the In Flight Abort Test.

SuperDraco engines set to be tested during SpaceX in-flight abort

Theresa Cross January 19th KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — With the in-flight Crew Dragon abort test set to launch in less than an hour, let’s take a look into the incredibly powerful and spacecraft specific SuperDraco engine.

SpaceX, NASA monitoring weather ahead of in-flight abort test.

Sean Costello January 19th CAPE CANAVERAL. Fla. — As the sun rises and the shorelines of the Space Coast communities fill with eager spectators, SpaceX and NASA engineers have their attention focused on the early Sunday morning weather systems.

SpaceX poised to take large step toward human space flight

Cullen Desforges January 17th SpaceX is ready to check off another box on the list of requirements that need to be completed before the company can send crewed missions to the International Space Station.

NASA graduates its newest class of Astronauts

Sean Costello January 10th As NASA prepares to send astronauts to destinations far beyond Earth, a new breed of space flyers has joined the elite cadre of the agency’s astronaut corps.

New Year, new headquarters for Blue Origin

Laurel Kornfeld January 9th With Blue Origin opening its new headquarters, 2020 appears to be a year of further expansion for NewSpace.

SpaceX starts 2020 with Starlink launch

Patrick Attwell January 6th SpaceX’s Starlink constellation just got a major boost.

What’s in a name? Mars 2020 wouldn’t know, it doesn’t have one – yet

James Rice December 30th NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is on the verge of traveling to the Red Planet and beginning its search for evidence of Martian life. But it’s missing something very important.

Launch of Shijian 20 lights up Chinese skies and exploration ambitions

SpaceFlight Insider December 28th China has big plans for its space program. But before it can achieve them, it needed to make sure a key launch vehicle was up to the task. A recent mission suggests that it is.

Russia launches final Rockot with trio of communications satellites

SpaceFlight Insider December 27th Russia launched its final mission on the nation’s 2019 manifest when it sent three communications satellites to orbit on Friday, Dec. 27. The flight marked the close of a vehicle designed for violence.

Boeing Blunder! Starliner timing failure prevents ISS rendezvous

SpaceFlight Insider December 20th “Unplanned but stable.” That’s how Boeing referred to the first flight of its Starliner “space taxi.” In layman’s terms, the spacecraft was placed in the wrong orbit and won’t be going to the International Space Station.

Boeing’s Starliner capsule begins much-delayed first flight: UPDATE

Cullen Desforges December 20th CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – After almost a year of continued delays, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner has finally launched. It is the culmination of years of development, but there’s still a ways to go before astronauts will be soaring aloft in the vehicle.

New Horizons parallax project seeks public participation

February 21st
NASA’s New Horizons mission is seeking public participation in a project aimed at imaging the two closest stars, Proxima Centauri and Wolf 359, from Earth on April 22 and 23, the same day the spacecraft will photograph them from almost five billion miles (eight billion km) away.

Pluto’s heart feature controls its winds

February 20th
Pluto’s iconic heart feature, named Tombaugh Regio, functions as a “beating heart” that controls the small planet’s winds and might even play a role in shaping its surface features.

Arrokoth data sheds light on planet formation

February 19th
Data returned by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft taken during its January 2019 flyby of Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Arrokoth, also known as 2014 MU 69, located four billion miles from Earth, supports the theory that planet formation in the solar system occurred in a gentle rather than violent process.

ULA successfully launches Solar Probe aboard Atlas V

February 10th
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched a NASA probe its way to our Sun. At 11:03 p.m. EDT, February 9, the rocket left Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Pluto’s hazy atmosphere is similar to that of Titan

February 2nd
Pluto is often compared to Neptune’s largest moon Triton, but its hazy atmosphere is actually more akin to that of Saturn’s largest moon Titan, which is sometimes viewed as an analog of early Earth.

NASA broadcast celebrates Spitzer telescope’s accomplishments

January 24th
In a live broadcast on Wednesday, January 22, NASA celebrated 16 years of incredible accomplishments by the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of its four “Great Observatories” in space.

Spitzer telescope to be decommissioned after 16 years

January 20th
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which has studied the universe in infrared light since its launch in August of 2003, will be decommissioned on Thursday, January 30, 2020.

Gallery: SpaceX’s Dragon clears safety check paving way for crewed missions

No in-flight abort for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft today

January 18th
SpaceX has been forced to stand down from today’s attempt to test out a critical element of the company’s crew-rated spacecraft.

Boeing releases video from recent OFT mission

January 16th
Boeing has released video from its failed attempt to send its “Starliner” spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Processing of Starlink 2 booster underway, following return to Port Canaveral

January 11th
SpaceX’s B1049.4 returned to Port Canaveral January 9, 2020 after the completion of its fourth flown mission delivering the third set of Starlink satellites into low-Earth-orbit (LEO). This is Spacex’s first launch supported by the newly-created U.S. Space Force and its forty-eighth successful booster recovery.

CRS-19 Dragon wet and waiting for next mission

January 7th
After spending nearly a month berthed to the International Space Station, a SpaceX Cargo Dragon capsule left the Station and splashed down marking the successful completion of its mission.

OPINION: 2019 – Numbers and Names

January 1st
Well that happened. 2019 was a roller-coaster of ups and downs that will have far-reaching consequences for future space exploration efforts.

SpaceX prepares for first of many Starlink launches in 2020

December 31st
2020 looks to be a big year for space. The next twelve months could see the U.S. regain a long-lost capability and another rover should be sent on its way to the Red Planet. SpaceX is planning to kick off 2020 with the launch of the next batch of Starlink satellites.

NASA Mars 2020 rover passes driving test

December 27th
Remember how stressful it was taking your first driver’s test? Now imagine driving a car that’s worth $2.5 billion.

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Who are we?

SpaceFlight Insider is a team of individuals working to produce daily content in the form of stories, exclusive interviews, a photographic library, videos, live webcasts and more. In total more than 100 pieces of content are produced each month along with coverage of launches around the world.

What we feature

In the last few years, SpaceFlight Insider has created one of the best launch calendars currently in use. Additionally, we have an ever-expanding gallery of photographs and video packages and an array of assets including fleets of remote still and video cameras which collect imagery from the pads themselves during launches.

At present, SpaceFlight Insider is the only comparable media outlet to host live webcasts during launches at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (we hope to expand that to other locations in the near future).

Importantly, the “Insider” in our name is not us, rather it references you. We do our best to bring you as much information about the space industry to make you an insider. For example, if a user has a question, we do our best to get an answer from someone in the industry, be it an astronaut or an engineer working on a spacecraft.

Additionally, we feature multiple small things that improve the experience of our viewers, including a feature on the upper right side of the website that changes the style from dark with white text to a more traditional light with black text.

Why do we need your help?

Providing these services is a labor of love for the SpaceFlight Insider team. However, regular travel, equipment procurement and maintenance, as well as paying editors, writers and photographers consumes much of what funds we have managed to acquire so far. All of these efforts require a great deal of infrastructure, manpower and coordination to achieve.

We want to create a place where people can turn to for all the information they want regarding space exploration and development. We want to deliver high quality video, audio, imagery and much more to give you an insider’s view of the whole industry. We will go so far as to take your questions directly to those officials within NASA and other space-related organizations.

Two big items we are working on right now include increasing the quality of our SFI Live shows and adding to a new section of our website called, “The Hangar.”

For the live show, we currently broadcast during most launches at Cape Canaveral. However, we want to begin streaming in high quality from the remote areas most launch facilities are located. But since enough mobile data is hard to come by a special device is needed for higher quality. We already have this device, but the cost to use it per month is nearly $1,000.

We also want to purchase equipment to support our live webcasts, including professional camera equipment, a sound mixing board, a pop up tent, and lights, just to name a few. These will also help us with exclusive interviews as well.

Here is an example of one of our high quality shows:

The Hangar is a database of launch vehicles, spacecraft and more. We want to provide you with all the information you could want from the basic all the way down to the details.

We plan on rolling this feature out on our website in phases, but to “finish” it will take a lot of hard work and dedication. We’d like to be able to pay those on our team that work on it.

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We are a news organization that prides ourselves with telling the whole story of space exploration, both the good, the bad as well as the ugly. As journalists, we don’t pick favorites. That doesn’t mean we want anybody to fail – just the opposite. We want to see every space organization succeed, but in order for that to happen, truth and facts need to be reported.

We also do what many other outlets (especially in terms of our live webcasts) have ceased to do in the post-shuttle era, and will continue to do so.

Our team has decades of experience covering the space program and we are focused on providing you with the absolute latest on all things space. If we can’t pay the bills, let alone our staff – which currently consists of mostly volunteers and hard-working space enthusiasts – then we can’t do everything we can to share the thrill of space exploration with the world.

If you like space, and want more space news, launch videos, images and podcasts, then help us by becoming a Patron of SpaceFlight Insider.

Space Flight Insider Article

Spaceflightinsider

At Bold Marketing Solutions, Inc., we love to spread news news about our friends. Check out our new Articles menu for information about friends and resources. This article, posted November 24, 2014, is about SpaceFlight Insider, an online magazine delivering news on the space program and space exploration.

SpaceFlightInsider.com
Delivers More than Just News about Space Exploration

Look across the night sky; marvel at the sparkling constellations shining down on you; and breathe in the fact that you are blind to a gazillion stars burning brightly out of view. From the beginning of time as we know it, people like you and me have watched the skies and wondered about the immense promise and mysteries of the heavens. Where will the answers come from? The answer is likely in space exploration. Spaceflight Insider brings real-time answers about this topic closer through diverse and objective perspectives on aerospace and aviation in one comprehensive online publication.

SpaceflightInsider.com—Space Information Platform
PHOTO CAPTION: British Lunar Mission Team rendering for crowdfunded moon mission. Courtesy of SpaceFlightInsider.com

Senior Editor and Spaceflight Insider Founder Jason Rhian noticed that existing space information resources typically delivered news through very specific mediums, based on individual niche interests and business strengths. That observation Rhian to wonder what if a single news outet offered what all of them did in one comprehensive space—compelling photos, a launch schedule, and current news? What if the medium also provided the news objectively, e.g., without political filters?

The result of his musing is a stunning website chocked full of information for aerospace and aviation enthusiasts. Before launching Spaceflight Insider, Rhian contributed to Space.com, Aviation Week, and Universe Today; and he also completed two internships with NASA.

Now Rhian says, “We put all the primary building blocks in place over the past year, and we are excited to debut our first live (video) launch show in December.” That announcement was made possible after constructing the infrastructure needed to transform his concept into a serious media vehicle.

“We want readers to say, “Holy Cow! Everything is here,” Rhian said. “If you’re looking for a brief on a specific launch, space news, photography and illustrations, or even industry contacts, Spaceflight Insider is organizing it for you.“

Telling It Like It Is

Formerly a corrections officer with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office—and inspired by what he believed was inaccurate reporting on the Columbia disaster—Rhian decided in 2003 to pursue his passion for space. “When Columbia exploded, everybody on TV from the space industry acted as if they were better authorities than other people. They seemed to be reporting opinion as fact. Some were saying things that I knew was false. Other people were asking questions that were ridiculous or presenting crazy information as fact. I noticed and remember one major media outlet getting so many things wrong. And I thought that was wrong and rather than get upset – I should do something about it.”

Rhian, who believed that the job of the journalist was to get the facts right, headed to college to learn how to make that happen. “I went back to BCC (Brevard Community College), got my two-year degree, then resigned from the Sheriff’s Office and entered the University of South Florida to pursue my bachelor’s degree in pubic relations.”

Admitting that he doesn’t come from academia, or even the space industry itself, Rhian expressed his goal to deliver an outside, unbiased, journalistic perspective through his online journal.

“But, we also take the time to connect on ‘the inside’. For example, we get people access to events, open doors for them, and help them enjoy what’s happening with launches and space events. As a soldier and corrections officer, I had served my community for 14 years. Now, I am giving myself over to serving the community by telling the space story as honestly and fairly as possible,” Rhian said.

Why does story telling concern Rhian? “There are some space websites whose content delivers vehement opposition to private space comapnies for example. Prejudices also abound about NASA programs and show through in other written reports.” At Spaceflight Insider, we view ourselves first as journalists. We present news openly and objectively. We don’t judge. We report. That’s it. Our job is to tell the story as it is, not as how we would like it to be.” he added.

Spaceflightinsider China’s ‘Micius’ satellite demonstrates intercontinental quantum key distribution for the first time

Spaceflightinsider

China’s Quantum Science Satellite, nicknamed “Micius” (after a fifth century B.C. Chinese scientist) has performed the first intercontinental quantum key distribution by relaying signals between multiple ground stations located in China and Austria.

The test was conducted by a joint China-Austria team of researchers. In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters on January 19, they reported that a decoy-state quantum key distribution between Micius operating in a low-Earth orbit (LEO) and ground stations located in Xinglong, Nanshan (both in China), and Graz (Austria).

“This is the first demonstration of intercontinental quantum key distribution of any kind, and it will stand as a milestone towards future quantum networks,” said Ronald Hanson of the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, whose research focuses on long-distance quantum telecommunication for a quantum internet.

Micius was launched into space on August 15, 2016 by a Long March 2D booster. The satellite was built by the Chinese Academy of Sciences ( CAS ) and weighs around 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms).

The spacecraft is designed to facilitate quantum optics experiments over long distances to allow the development of quantum encryption and quantum teleportation technology.

In order to achieve its scientific objectives, the satellite is equipped with a quantum key communicator, a quantum entanglement emitter, a quantum entanglement source, a quantum experiment controller and processor, and a high-speed coherent laser communicator.

Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a communications method which uses a cryptographic protocol involving components of quantum mechanics. It is based on individual light quanta (single photons) in quantum superposition states that guarantee unconditional security between distant parties. This method is therefore perceived as being more secure than the traditional public key cryptography (which usually relies on the computational intractability of certain mathematical functions).

Now, a team of researchers led by Jian-Wei Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, are working to successful demonstrate the use of QKD using laser beams.

As part of the experiment, Micius has relayed quantum encrypted data in the form of images and a video stream between China and Austria – over a distance of 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers).

“This was, on the one hand, the transmission of images in a one-time pad configuration from China to Austria as well as from Austria to China. Also, a video conference was performed between the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which also included a 280 kilometer [174 mile] optical ground connection between Xinglong and Beijing,” the scientists wrote in the paper .

Micius is part of an international project called Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), led by Chinese scientists. It aims to establish a quantum-encrypted network – a European–Asian network is planned to be launched by 2020, while a global network by 2030. Pan and his colleagues believe that the latest tests conducted with the use of Micius bring them much closer towards building an ultra-long-distance global quantum network.

Boeing – s Starliner crew capsule launches on 1st space flight

Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule launches on 1st space flight

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Boeing’s new Starliner capsule rocketed toward the International Space Station on its first test flight Friday, a crucial dress rehearsal for next year’s inaugural launch with astronauts.

The Starliner carried Christmas treats and presents for the six space station residents, hundreds of tree seeds similar to those that flew to the moon on Apollo 14, the original air travel ID card belonging to Boeing’s founder and a mannequin named Rosie in the commander’s seat.

The test dummy — named after the bicep-flexing riveter of World War II — wore a red polka dot hair bandanna just like the original Rosie and Boeing’s custom royal blue spacesuit.

“She’s pretty tough. She’s going to take the hit for us,” said NASA’s Mike Fincke, one of three astronauts who will fly on the next Starliner and, as test pilots, take the hit for future crews.

As the astronauts watched from nearby control centers, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the capsule blasted off just before sunrise from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was a one-day trip to the space station, putting the spacecraft on track for a docking Saturday morning.

This was Boeing’s chance to catch up with SpaceX, NASA’s other commercial crew provider that completed a similar demonstration last March. SpaceX has one last hurdle — a launch abort test — before carrying two NASA astronauts in its Dragon capsule, possibly by spring.

The U.S. needs competition like this, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Thursday, to drive down launch costs, boost innovation and open space up to more people.

“We’re moving into a new era,” he said.

The space agency handed over station deliveries to private businesses, first cargo and then crews, in order to focus on getting astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars.

Commercial cargo ships took flight in 2012, starting with SpaceX. Crew capsules were more complicated to design and build, and parachute and other technical problems pushed the first launches from 2017 to now next year.

It’s been nearly nine years since NASA astronauts have launched from the U.S. The last time was July 8, 2011, when Atlantis — now on display at Kennedy Space Center — made the final space shuttle flight.

Since then, NASA astronauts have traveled to and from the space station via Kazakhstan, courtesy of the Russian Space Agency. The Soyuz rides have cost NASA up to $86 million apiece.

“We’re back with a vengeance now,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said from Kennedy, where crowds gathered well before dawn.

Chris Ferguson commanded that last shuttle mission. Now a test pilot astronaut for Boeing and one of the Starliner’s key developers, he’s assigned to the first Starliner crew with Fincke and NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. A successful Starliner demo could see them launching by summer.

“This is an incredibly unique opportunity,” Ferguson said on the eve of launch.

Mann juggled a mix of emotions: excitement, pride, stress and amazement.

“Really overwhelmed, but in a good way and really the best of ways,” she said.

Built to accommodate seven, the white capsule with black and blue trim will typically carry four or five people. It’s 16.5 feet (5 meters) tall with its attached service module and 15 feet (4.5 meters) in diameter.

Every Starliner system will be tested during the eight-day mission, from the vibrations and stresses of liftoff to the Dec. 28 touchdown at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Parachutes and air bags will soften the capsule’s landing. Even the test dummy is packed with sensors.

Bridenstine said he’s “very comfortable” with Boeing, despite the prolonged grounding of the company’s 737 Max jets. The spacecraft and aircraft sides of the company are different, he noted. Boeing has long been involved in NASA’s human spacecraft program, from Project Mercury to the shuttle and station programs.

Boeing began preliminary work on the Starliner in 2010, a year before Atlantis soared for the last time.

In 2014, Boeing and SpaceX made the final cut. Boeing got more than $4 billion to develop and fly the Starliner, while SpaceX got $2.6 billion for a crew-version of its Dragon cargo ship.

NASA wants to make sure every reasonable precaution is taken with the capsules, designed to be safer than NASA’s old shuttles.

“We’re talking about human spaceflight,” Bridenstine cautioned. “It’s not for the faint of heart. It never has been, and it’s never going to be.”

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

SpaceX launch of Spaceflight SSO-A – CIMSS Satellite Blog

University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center

SpaceX launch of Spaceflight SSO-A

GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor, plus Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to enlarge]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

SpaceX launched a Spaceflight SSO-A mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base (KVBG) in California at 1834 UTC on 03 December 2018. GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor images in addition to Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the hot thermal signature of superheated air from the booster rocket engines, along with a brief cold thermal signature of the booster engine condensation cloud on Water Vapor images. A second hot thermal signature was seen over the adjacent waters of the Pacific Ocean at 1840 UTC as the first stage rocket fired its entry burn to land on a drone ship. Since a GOES-17 Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over that region, images were available at 1-minute intervals.

2 Responses to “SpaceX launch of Spaceflight SSO-A”

Raising the color bar: What are the units and their values? It also appears that the loops are mixing the proverbial apples and oranges: brightness temperature and visible reflectance/albedo. I don’t use the same colors on my images and I’m not sure you are using the same ranges either – what do the colors represent?

In the 1.61 µm and 2.24 µm Near-Infrared images, brighter whites indicate a higher reflectance value — which, in this case, is also driven by a hot thermal signature since each of those 2 spectral bands are sensitive to thermal energy (hence the term “near-infrared”). In the 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared image, the color scale transitions from hot infrared brightness temperatures [ºC] on the left to cold on the right. The same principle applies to the 7.3 µm, 6.9 µm and 6.2 µm Water Vapor images — since these are essentially infrared spectral bands, their color scales also transition from warm brightness temperatures [ºC] on the left to cold on the right. If you’d like more information about each of the GOES-17 ABI spectral bands shown in this blog post, I have provided links to their respective Quick Guides. Hope this helps.

KazSTSat and VESTA due to lift-off on Spaceflight s SSO-A SmallSat Express Mission

Spaceflight sso-a

KazSTSat and VESTA due to lift-off on Spaceflight‘s SSO-A SmallSat Express Mission
by Staff Writers
Guildford, UK (SPX) Nov 16, 2018


KazSTSat during assembly at SSTL. Credit SSTL.

KazSTSat and VESTA, two small satellites designed and manufactured at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), are due to launch on Spaceflight‘s SSO-A SmallSat Express Mission on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base later this month.

KazSTSat is a small Earth observation satellite jointly developed by SSTL and JV Ghalam LLP, a joint venture between JSC “National Company Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary” (KGS) and Airbus.

The satellite has a mass of 105kg and will acquire image data at 18.7 m GSD with a swath width of 275 km. The spacecraft carries several experimental and demonstration units, including a beyond diffraction limit imager, a sun sensor, and a novel OBCARM.

KazSTSat will be operated by Ghalam, using a fully virtualized ground segment with S/X-band software defined back-ends deployed at KSAT ground stations in Svalbard and a technology demonstration ground station in Astana.

VESTA is a 3U nanosatellite technology demonstration mission that will test a new two-way VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) payload developed by Honeywell for the exactEarth advanced maritime satellite constellation.

The 4kg satellite has 3-axis pointing capability, an SEU tolerant on-board computer, VxWorks operating system and also flies a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) VHF deployable antenna system developed by Innovative Solutions in Space for the VDES transceiver.

VESTA will be operated in orbit by SSTL, with the payload data being downlinked directly in S-Band to Goonhilly Earth Station.

The development of VESTA was co-funded by the UK Space Agency through its National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) which stimulates the growth and development of the UK space sector through investing in technology development. The project was led by Honeywell.

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Prelaunch Preview: SpaceX, Spaceflight SSO-A – Everyday Astronaut

Prelaunch Preview: SpaceX | Spaceflight SSO-A

Lift Off Time (Subject to change)
Mission Name and what it is
Launch Provider (What rocket company is launching it?)
Customer (who’s paying for this?)
Rocket
Launch Location
Payload mass
Where’s the satellite going?
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
Where will the first stage land?
Will they be attempting to recover the fairing?
Will they be attempting to recover the second stage?
This will be the:
64th flight of a Falcon 9 rocket, 1st time the same booster has flown three times, 18th reflight of a booster, 19th mission for SpaceX in 2018 (New Annual Record!), 32nd successfully landed core.
Where to watch

Maybe for even more fun you can watch with Tim Dodd, The Everyday Astronaut starting at T minus 30! Come ask questions and join the conversation live!

What’s all this mean?

This is the first time SpaceX will be reflying a booster twice, making it the third time this rocket flies. Confused? Let’s try that again. This is the first time SpaceX will have flown a booster three times. All other boosters prior have only flown twice. This marks an important milestone as SpaceX takes another mighty step towards full, rapid reusability.

For this particular mission with this booster, 1046.3, SpaceX is launching 64 satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket to a low earth sun synchronous polar orbit on a ridesharing mission organized by Spaceflight Industries.

Falcon 9 on the launch pad for Iridium 7 mission – credit: SpaceX

The payload includes 15 microsats and 49 cubesats, from 34 different organizations representing 17 countries. The organizations include governments, commercial companies, universities, a high school, a middle school and an art museum.

SSO-A upper free flyer – credit: Spaceflight Industries

B1046 previously flew the Bangabandhu 1 mission in May and Merah Putih mission in August of this year, both from Florida. SpaceX will be landing the booster on the west coast droneship, Just Read the Instructions. Why do they land on the droneship sometimes, on land other times, or sometimes not at all? Here’s a video for you:

Tim Dodd, The Everyday Astronaut, will be livestreaming this launch starting at T minus 30 minutes. So come ask questions and join the conversation live! If you want the best way to know when a launch is coming, I’d suggest downloading the SpaceXNow OR Launch Alarm apps to stay in the know!

11 Comments

Will this be a drone ship landing or an LZ4 landing?

It will be a drone ship landing. JRTI is the exclusive drone ship for west coast launches.

Tim; I see on another site that this is core B1046.3 !
If that’s so this will be the first 3rd flight of a single core, yes?

Yes. Third flight of booster 1046

WILL THEY BE ATTEMPTING TO RECOVER THE FIRST STAGE?
Yes, the booster will be landing one the west coast droneship, Just Read the Instructions
WHERE WILL THE FIRST STAGE LAND?
Space Launch Complex 4 West (SLC-4W) aka Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California

Booster and first stage are the same thing for Falcon 9. Yes they will be attempting to land it on west coast drone ship.

Quick little thing I think when you hover over this launch in the prelaunch preview tab you should see the boster number.

How far south will this be visible? I’m in Oceanside and wondering if I will get a glimpse.

I can usually see them on the night launches from San Clemente. They usually make it out of the atmosphere and out of site level with my location while looking straight out over the ocean. The graphics that show the visibility from the ground go all the way into Mexico as the launch progresses.
The launches you really want to catch are the ones that happen about an hour before or after sunset as the rocket will pass into the Sunlight while in the upper atmosphere. Those are the best. The last one was really spectacular as it looked totally dark from the ground until the exhaust from the rocket was high enough to reflect the sun and lit up everything on the ground again. I haven’t tried to watch a daylight launch from here, but even at night, from here the rocket starts off as a strange light that looks about like the planes taking off from John Wayne or LAX but it’s about 3 to 5 times brighter. It basically looks like it’s coming from around Santa Monica or just inland of Long Beach. The light gets 10 to 20 times brighter as it subjectively appears to me. The last launch that passed into the sun created a spectical that was about the size of my outstreched hand at arms length.

Since this is a polar orbit the rocket will be heading south. I’m in Vista and consistently see them. Expect it to be lower in the sky then you’d think at about 35 degrees above horizon. Last time it broke through a cloud bank at about 30-60 second. Of course you’ll need a clearish day. Look farther south later (it will be higher)

Hey Tim, is there any way you could add SCRUB info to this page. I saw the date of the launch had changed and immediately came here to see why. But no info :*(

Spaceflight Named to Fast Company – s Annual List of the World – s Most Innovative Companies for 2020, Business Wire

Spaceflight Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020

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Spaceflight Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020 (Graphic: Business Wire)

Spaceflight Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020 (Graphic: Business Wire)

SEATTLE–( BUSINESS WIRE )–Spaceflight, Inc. has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020. The list honors the businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture, showcasing a variety of ways to thrive in today’s fast-changing world. This year’s MIC list features 434 businesses from 39 countries.

Spaceflight was recognized by Fast Company for its comprehensive launch services offering, winning praise for its record-breaking dedicated rideshare mission, SSO-A.

“Being named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies acknowledges Spaceflight’s ability to develop and execute creative and inventive approaches to making space more accessible,” said Curt Blake, CEO and president of Spaceflight. “Our first dedicated rideshare mission, SSO-A, was incredibly complex and required our team to seek novel solutions to successfully launch 64 satellites from one vehicle. It was an important milestone for the industry and for Spaceflight, demonstrating the viability of rideshare missions. We remain committed to making space more accessible, executing more missions in 2019 than any other year. We’re poised for another year of growth, working with new launch vehicles and expanding our service offering to make launch more affordable, reliable and flexible.”

SSO-A was Spaceflight’s first-ever dedicated rideshare mission, a launch that sent the largest number of satellites from a U.S.-based launch vehicle to space. SSO-A was an important milestone for Spaceflight, as it gave a significant number of customers access to space in a cost-effective way. Without the option of rideshare, many of these organizations would not have had the funds to purchase a ticket to orbit.

The mission launched 64 satellites from 34 organizations from 17 different countries. This diverse manifest included satellites from Earth observation companies, nonprofit organizations, universities, and even a middle school. To effectively launch the payloads, Spaceflight engineered and constructed a payload stack that safely carried the satellites to space. Additionally, to avoid potential collisions on orbit, Spaceflight developed a sequence that deployed the satellites over the course of five hours.

Spaceflight’s success continued through 2019. The company executed nine missions, the most rideshare launches it had performed in one year, launching more than 50 satellites. One of those 50 satellites was the first privately funded lunar lander, which was launched on the first-ever rideshare mission to Geostationary transfer orbit. In total, Spaceflight has launched nearly 300 satellites across 29 different launches. In 2020, Spaceflight plans to execute more than 10 missions, across five different launch vehicles, including two new launch vehicles.

Spaceflight’s parent company, Spaceflight Industries, recently announced it has signed an agreement to sell Spaceflight’s rideshare business to Japan’s Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Yamasa Co., Ltd. Upon regulatory approval, Spaceflight will continue to operate as an independent U.S.-based company, with a 50/50 joint venture ownership stake by Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa.

Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out the most groundbreaking businesses on the planet and across myriad industries. They also judged nominations received through their application process. The World’s Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.

“At a time of increasing global volatility, this year’s list showcases the resilience and optimism of businesses across the world. These companies are applying creativity to solve challenges within their industries and far beyond,” said Fast Company senior editor Amy Farley, who oversaw the issue with deputy editor David Lidsky.

SpaceX Rocket Makes Historic 3rd Launch Into Space with 64 Satellites On Board, Space

SpaceX Rocket Makes Historic 3rd Launch Into Space with 64 Satellites On Board

SpaceX has made history yet again.

A Falcon 9 rocket with a twice-flown first stage lifted off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base today (Dec. 3) at 1:31 p.m. EST (1831 GMT; 10:31 a.m. local California time), carrying 64 tiny satellites to orbit.

SpaceX has re-flown used first stages many times, but today’s launch marked the first time a booster had ever propelled payloads to orbit on three separate occasions. The success is therefore an important milestone for SpaceX, which aims to fly all its vehicles repeatedly and frequently. Such rapid reuse could slash the cost of spaceflight, opening the heavens to exploration, company founder and CEO Elon Musk has said. [Launch Photos: SpaceX Falcon 9 Lofts 64 Satellites (and Lands) on Historic 3rd Flight]

And this particular first stage could conceivably fly yet again. The booster stuck its landing today, touching down softly about 8 minutes after liftoff on the SpaceX drone ship “Just Read the Instructions,” which was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX also attempted to catch the rocket’s payload fairing — the protective nose cone that surrounds satellites during launch — today with its net-equipped boat, Mr. Steven. (Falcon 9 fairings fall back to Earth in two pieces, each under parachute.) The attempt was unsuccessful, as Mr. Steven’s several prior tries have also been. But SpaceX still plans to reuse the fairing, which cost about $6 million to manufacture, Musk said via Twitter today.

“Falcon fairing halves missed the net, but touched down softly in the water. Mr. Steven is picking them up. Plan is to dry them out & launch again. Nothing wrong with a little swim,” Musk tweeted.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Dec. 3, 2018, carrying 64 satellites to orbit on the SSO-A: Smallsat Express mission. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Today’s mission, called “SSO-A: SmallSat Express,” set three other records as well, as noted by Florida Today’s Emre Kelly. For example, the Falcon 9 first stage became the first booster to lift off from all three currently operational SpaceX orbital launch sites. The first stage helped launched Bangladesh’s Bangabandhu Satellite-1 from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) this past May, and it lofted the Merah Putih spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in August. (KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are next-door neighbors on Florida’s Space Coast.)

SSO-A, which was organized by the Seattle-based company Spaceflight, was also SpaceX’s 19th successful orbital launch of 2018. The company’s previous high for a single year was 18, set last year.

And then there are those 64 satellites — the most spacecraft ever launched to orbit atop a single rocket from American soil. (The international record is 104, set in February 2017 by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV.)

If all goes according to plan, all 64 spacecraft will separate from the Falcon 9’s second stage less than 45 minutes after today’s liftoff (though 60 will still be aboard two Spaceflight “free flyers,” from which they will deploy over the next four hours). These new denizens of Earth orbit are a diverse and interesting lot. One of the cubesats, called Enoch, carries a golden “canopic jar” containing a bust of Robert H. Lawrence Jr., the first African-American astronaut. (He never made it to space, dying tragically in a training-flight accident in December 1967 at age 32.)

Then there’s another art project, known as Orbital Reflector. The satellite will deploy a shiny, self-inflating sculpture designed to catch the sun and draw skyward the eyes of millions of people down here on Earth. Orbital Reflector is a temporary installation; it will get dragged back into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up within a few weeks, project team members have said.

Also aboard is the Elysium Star 2 cubesat, which is owned by the San Francisco-based startup Elysium Space. Elysium Star 2 is carrying the cremated remains of customers who paid (or whose friends or family paid) $2,490 for a “shooting star memorial” — basically, the chance for bits of yourself to be turned into meteors streaking across the sky. If Elysium Star 2 works as planned, it will be Elysium Space’s first successful orbital mission.

There are also more “traditional” cubesats, including three more “Dove” Earth-observing craft built by the prolific San Francisco company Planet. Sixteen Doves also launched last week aboard a PSLV, which lofted a total of 31 satellites.

The 64 SSO-A satellites consist of 49 cubesats and 15 “microsats,” according to a Spaceflight mission description. More than two dozen of these spacecraft were provided by international organizations, which together involved a total of 17 countries, Spaceflight representatives said.

Many of the payloads were developed by university groups, and a few were even built by high-school teams.

Today’s launch had been slated for mid-November, but it was delayed several times so SpaceX could perform additional checks on the rocket, and to wait for high winds over Vandenberg to die down.