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NASA has selected its deep space hardware—now comes the fun part

Enlarge / NASA’s Kathy Lueders, left, and SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsmann track the Demo-2 crew mission in 2020. SpaceX is helping to enable NASA to think less about transportation and more about exploration. NASA No NASA official would ever admit this in public, but the 2010s have been a frustrating decade for human spaceflight. After the …

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It now seems likely that Starliner will not launch crew until early 2022

Enlarge / What a docking of Boeing’s Starliner to the International Space Station will look like. Boeing About five weeks have passed since Boeing updated the status of its Starliner spacecraft, with the company saying it was “evaluating” a new target launch date for its next mission. This test flight of Starliner, which will not carry …

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Lego has a new 2,354-piece NASA Space Shuttle set, and it’s awesome

Lego’s latest official NASA set is this massive model of space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-31. Jonathan Gitlin There are 17 bags of Lego bricks. Well, technically there are 19, because there are two bags labeled 2 and a bag that isn’t labeled that contains some softer pieces that would otherwise get scratched in transit. …

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NASA’s most metal mission will test new, higher-power electric thrusters

The Psyche spacecraft chassis was delivered to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in late March, 2021. NASA/JPL-Caltech Over the next 12 months components will be added to the chassis, including scientific instruments. After it is completed, the spacecraft will ship to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. NASA/JPL-Caltech Artist’s impression of …

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Four astronauts took a Dragon for a spin on Monday morning

Early on Monday, a Crew Dragon was docked at the “forward” port of the Harmony module. NASA TV Four crew members were inside the Dragon spacecraft Resilience. NASA TV Soon, they began to back away from the station. NASA TV And farther away. NASA TV The spacecraft reached a distance of 60 meters and reoriented …

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NASA lays out plans for its first flights on Mars

Enlarge NASA/JPL-Caltech On Tuesday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) hosted a press conference where it detailed the plans for the Ingenuity drone that hitched a ride to Mars attached to the underside of the Perseverance rover. The scientists and engineers behind the drone announced that they’ve now picked a site for what is expected to …

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NASA fired up its new rocket for 499.6 seconds on Thursday

The SLS Core Stage ignites, beginning a nominal full-duration hot-fire test on March 18, 2021. Trevor Mahlmann / Ars Technica Vertical view of the plume that the SLS Core Stage sends skyward during the Green Run hot-fire test. Trevor Mahlmann During a second attempt, the SLS Core Stage fires for a full 8 minutes at …

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China and Russia say they will work together to build a lunar station

Enlarge Simon Stacpoole | Offside | Getty Images The heads of the Chinese and Russian space agencies signed an agreement on Tuesday to work together to build a “scientific” station on the Moon. Under terms of a memorandum of understanding, the two countries will cooperate on creation of an “International Lunar Science Station” and plan …

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Perseverance’s eyes see a different Mars

Enlarge / Perseverance’s two Mastcam-Z imagers (in the gray boxes) are part of the rover’s remote sensing mast. NASA The seven minutes of terror are over. The parachute deployed; the skycrane rockets fired. Robot truck goes ping! Perseverance, a rover built by humans to do science 128 million miles away, is wheels-down on Mars. Phew. …

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Perseverance on Mars: Where it is, and what the next steps are

Enlarge In their first press conference following Perseverance’s successful landing on Mars, NASA and JPL scientists revealed some information on where the rover landed and what to expect for the next several days and weeks as it begins its mission in earnest. Pics or it didn’t happen One of the first orders of business is …

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