spaceflight

SpaceX’s reused rockets will carry national security payloads for the first time

SpaceX, Flickr SpaceX has been reusing rockets for years, but they’ve been off-limits for some crucial launches. They’ll get more use soon, however. The private spaceflight company has signed a contract with the US Space Force to reuse a Falcon 9 booster rocket for the first time on a National Security Space Launch mission. The …

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SpaceX scales back plans for Starship’s first high-altitude flight

Elon Musk, Twitter You might want to dial back your expectations for the first high-altitude SpaceX Starship flight. Elon Musk now says the flight with the SN8 prototype will top out at 15km, or close to 50,000ft, instead of the 18km and 60,000ft he’d mentioned earlier. It’s not clear what prompted the lowered expectations, but …

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Space startup Astra’s first orbital rocket launch ends prematurely

Astra The relatively small private rocket industry just got a little larger, if not quite in the way its new entrant hoped. The American startup Astra conducted a brief first orbital launch attempt (via TechCrunch) late on September 11th, with a successful liftoff but quickly losing its Rocket 3.1 test machine during the first-stage engine …

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China says it landed a reusable spacecraft after a two-day flight

China Daily China Daily Information Corp – CDIC/Reuters China might have closed an important gap with the US in spaceflight. The country’s state-run Xinhua News Agency says (via The Telegraph) an experimental reusable spacecraft successfully landed on September 6th after spending two days in orbit. Details of the vehicle and its mission are highly secretive, …

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Watch ULA abort a rocket launch at the last moment

United Launch Alliance, YouTube Most rocket launch aborts are largely uneventful, but United Launch Alliance’s latest was… dramatic. The spaceflight outfit had to abort its NROL-44 mission (via Parabolic Arc) just three seconds before it was due to start, with the Delta IV rocket’s initiators already covering the vehicle in flames — the crew even …

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Rocket Lab will resume launches no sooner than August 27th

Rocket Lab Rocket Lab has narrowed down the timeframe for its return to launches following its failure in early July. The private rocket outfit has opened a 13-day launch window for its next mission starting August 27th at 11:05PM Eastern. There will be “daily” chances to launch if weather or other circumstances force a minor …

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SpaceX Crew Dragon completes historic mission with an ocean landing

SpaceX, YouTube SpaceX’s history-making Crew Dragon mission has come to a close two months after it began. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley successfully landed in the Atlantic Ocean at 2:48PM Eastern after starting their return to Earth nearly 20 hours earlier. This completes the first crewed orbital flight using a private spacecraft, not to …

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‘For All Mankind’ season 2 teaser introduces the Space Shuttle

Apple Apple committed to a second season of For All Mankind before the first even premiered, and it’s finally clear how the tech giant will follow up its alternative history of spaceflight. The company has premiered a teaser trailer (via Space.com) that has Ron Moore’s Apple TV+ series leaping into the 1980s, when the Space …

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UAE successfully launches its Hope Probe on a mission to Mars

KYODO Kyodo / Reuters The UAE’s Mars-bound Hope mission has successfully launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center aboard a Mitsubishi H-2A rocket. About an hour after liftoff, the Hope Probe separated from the rocket to rapturous applause from controllers and engineers at the UAE Space Agency. It’s designed to jump-start the nation’s science sector and …

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Rocket Lab mission fails shortly after launch

Rocket Lab Rocket Lab’s 13th Electron launch has ended in disaster. The company reported that its “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen” mission failed during the second stage burn about four minutes into the flight, resulting in the loss of both the rocket as well as the seven satellites aboard. It’s not clear what went wrong, …

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