A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket thundered into space carrying NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite satellite on a nearly two hour-long ride to geosynchronous orbit. Lighting up the night sky at 9:33 p.m. EST January 23 from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41, the successful launch marked the first of 15 ULA launches scheduled for 2014, including 9 Atlas and 6 Delta rockets.
Engineers and safety specialists from NASA and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) gathered in Morro Bay, Calif., in late December to demonstrate how the company’s Dragon spacecraft’s parachute system would function in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during ascent. Full Story, Photos and Video >>
NASA’s Morpheus lander testbed resumed testing following a break for the Christmas holiday, making its fifth successful free-flight on January 16 at Kennedy Space Center. The 57-second test began at 1:15 p.m. EST with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending about 187 feet, nearly doubling the target ascent velocity from the last test in December 2013. Full Story, Photos and Video >>
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has released its 2013 annual report examining NASA’s safety performance over the past year and highlighting issues and concerns to agency and government officials.
Several companies, working closely with NASA, ended 2013 with an impressive string of achievements to build on in 2014 as the American aerospace industry continues to develop and demonstrate commercial human spaceflight capabilities with the potential to support both commercial and government customers. Full Story, Photos and Video >>
The human spaceflight community joined the space science community Jan. 13-14 at the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) meeting in Tucson, Ariz. There, scientists heard from the Space Launch System (SLS) Program about the capabilities and progress being made on the rocket, and discussed the potential benefits it also could bring to robotic exploration of the outer solar system. Full Story, Photos and Video >>
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Monday visited the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to see the progress being made on the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built that will take American astronauts into deep space, first to an asteroid beyond the Moon and eventually on to Mars.
When Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station on January 12, onboard were science experiments from two schools in Florida, including a Melbourne high school designed to study the effects of micro-gravity on Lou Gehrig’s disease and a study into how liquids flow inside closed containers sponsored by Florida Tech, the Massacchussetts Institute of Technology and Kennedy Space Center.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station Sunday used a robotic arm to capture and attach the Cygnus supply spacecraft, which carried dozens of new science experiments from across the country and the world to the orbiting laboratory. The arrival capped the first successful contracted cargo delivery by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., for NASA. Full Story, Photos and Video >>
Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, successfully completed the third rocket-powered supersonic flight of its passenger carrying reusable space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2). In command on the flight deck of SS2 for the first time under rocket power was Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot Dave Mackay. Mackay, along with Scaled Composites’ (Scaled) Test Pilot Mark Stucky, tested the spaceship’s Reaction Control System (RCS) and the newly installed thermal protection coating on the vehicle’s tail booms. All of the test objectives were successfully completed.