History was made back in 2006 when the New Horizons spacecraft blasted off bound for the first exploration of Pluto by a spacecraft from Earth. After many years of travel, New Horizons arrived at Pluto in 2015 where it successfully carried out its mission to explore the tiny world and its moon, Charon. Moving on, the far traveller was rerouted to visit a small asteroid, 2014 MU69, orbiting the solar system far out beyond Pluto in the Kuiper Belt. Nicknamed […]
After previous delays due to weather and technical problems, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket finally launched the United States Air Force’s first Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:51 a.m. on 23 December 2018. Click to view the launch gallery.
The launch of the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III SV01 stood down for another day on 22 December 2018 after strong upper level winds failed to die down after a front passed through. The skyline of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station shows the rocket venting gaseous oxygen during fueling as the sun rose. Optimism ran high that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket would launch on what appeared to be a beautiful morning, at least on the ground, to the point […]
Views of Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center taken on 18 December 2018. SpaceX is currently in the midst of a twenty year lease on LC-39A, the historic pad from the Apollo and Space Shuttle eras now refurbished to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Also launching from this pad soon, astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft that will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The white arm sticking out to the right is the Crew Access Arm […]
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket vents gaseous oxygen into the cold morning air during fueling in preparation to launch a GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force on 18 December 2018 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Strong upper level winds caused a delay in the count in the hopes the winds would die down. When they did, a technical problem on the first stage forced a scrub for the day. Things are on track to […]
The SpaceX Falcon 9 booster for the CRS-16 mission floats in the water at Port Canaveral after being towed in earlier in the day on 7 December 2018. The booster strayed off course as it attempted to touchdown on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A failure of one of the grid fins that help steer and stabilize the rocket during its descent failed causing the rocket to come down further to the east in the Atlantic […]
SpaceX launched its sixteenth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-16) to the International Space Station (ISS) at 1:16 p.m. on 5 December 2018 from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Click to view the photo gallery.
After launching on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on 8 September 2016, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft arrived on 3 December 2018 at its destination — the asteroid Bennu. Classified as a near-Earth asteroid, Bennu is small, about 0.3 miles in diameter but its makeup dates back to the beginnings of the solar system. OSIRIS-REx will study the asteroid for about two years before landing on its surface to retrieve a sample to […]
With so much attention focused on Mars these days it is worth looking back at the first two landers to successfully make it to the ground and carry out an extensive scientific program. This happened way back in the Bicentennial year of 1976 when the Viking 1 and 2 orbiters successfully navigated their way to the Red Planet before releasing their precious cargo of atomic-powered landers to descend to the surface where the two landers photographed their surroundings while digging […]