Tuesday, May 21

SpaceX

SpaceX launches Maxar’s first WorldView Legion satellites on Falcon 9 flight from Vandenberg Space Force Base – Spaceflight Now
SpaceX

SpaceX launches Maxar’s first WorldView Legion satellites on Falcon 9 flight from Vandenberg Space Force Base – Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, carrying the first pair of WorldView Legion satellites for Maxar Space Systems. Image: SpaceX SpaceX completed the first of a planned pair of Falcon 9 launches on Thursday, hours after it worked with NASA to relocate its Crew Dragon spacecraft on the International Space Station. First up to launch was a pair of Maxar Space Systems’ WorldView Legion satellites. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base happened at 11:36 a.m. PDT (2:36 p.m. EDT, 1836 UTC), which was the opening of a 14-minute window. The first stage booster supporting this mission, B1061, launched for a 20th time, becoming the third booster to reach this milestone. It previously launched two astronaut missions ...
SpaceX launches 23 Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 flight from Cape Canaveral – Spaceflight Now
SpaceX

SpaceX launches 23 Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 flight from Cape Canaveral – Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, carrying 23 Starlink satellites up to low Earth orbit on April 28, 2024. Image: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight Now Following the historic launch of a pair of the European Commission’s Galileo satellites, SpaceX launched another batch of its own Starlink high-speed internet satellites. The Sunday evening Falcon 9 launch marked the 29th dedicated launch of Starlink satellites in 2024. Liftoff of the Starlink 6-54 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) happened at 6:08 p.m. EDT (2208 UTC). The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission, tail number B1076 in the SpaceX fleet, launched for a 13th time. It previously supported the launches of...
SpaceX launches European Commission’s Galileo satellites on Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center – Spaceflight Now
SpaceX

SpaceX launches European Commission’s Galileo satellites on Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center – Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a pair of Galileo satellites for the European Commission’s constellation lifts off from Launch Complex 39A on April 27, 2024. The last time SpaceX launched an expandable Falcon 9 rocket was back in November 2022, 146 missions ago. Image: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight Now SpaceX hit some notable milestones with the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday. Most notably, the weekend flight marked the first time that the European Commission’s Galileo satellites (similar to the United State’s Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites) launched onboard an American-made rocket and from U.S. soil. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at 8:34 p.m. EDT (0034 UTC). The first stage booster on this mission, tail numb...
NASA astronauts arrive at Kennedy Space Center ahead of Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test – Spaceflight Now
SpaceX

NASA astronauts arrive at Kennedy Space Center ahead of Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test – Spaceflight Now

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore (left) and Suni Williams (right) pose by their mission patch following their arrival at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the run-up to the Starliner Crew Flight Test on May 6. Image: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight Now For the first time since the end of the shuttle program, a trio of T-38 jets cruised down the former Shuttle Landing Facility carrying astronauts who were preparing for launch. As they climbed out of their aircraft, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, each donned back ball caps emblazoned with “Crew Flight Test,” the name of their forthcoming mission. The pair will serve as the commander and pilot respectively as they fly Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station no earlier than May 6. As the mission name suggests, t...
NASA requests proposals to reduce cost, timeline of Mars Sample Return mission – Spaceflight Now
SpaceX

NASA requests proposals to reduce cost, timeline of Mars Sample Return mission – Spaceflight Now

This illustration shows a concept for multiple robots that would team up to ferry to Earth samples of rocks and soil being collected from the Martian surface by NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover.Credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech NASA is going back to square one when it comes to many aspects of its Mars Sample Return mission in response to independent reviews that showed ballooning costs and significant schedule delays. The current architecture called for no less than five separate vehicles to transport back to Earth more than two dozen samples collected on the Martian surface by the Perseverance rover, which has been traveling the Red Planet since 2021 and is the first of those. “Every indication that we’ve had from the independent review boards, plus the [Inspector General], that this thing could...