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Virgin Orbit dropping space-bound LauncherOne rocket from 747 wing in first orbital flight test

Update 5/24/2020 8:37 p.m. EDT: New launch target between 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 25

A rocket typically lifts off from a launchpad to move a payload from the ground to somewhere in space, but Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit sees another path to sending orbital vehicles and satellites to low Earth orbit.

How does dropping a rocket into free fall from an airplane named Cosmic Girl before its engines fire off sound?

Virgin Orbit planned to complete the first orbital flight test of its LauncherOne rocket today to demonstrate just that, but a “minor sensor issue” has caused Virgin Orbit to scrub the test flight for Sunday.

The company believes the sensor problem can be resolved with a quick turnaround, however, suggesting a potential Memorial Day orbital flight test for LauncherOne.

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Astronauts Behnken and Hurley complete SpaceX Demo-2 dress rehearsal with ‘ISSBND’ Tesla Model X

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be on their journey to the International Space Station in just four days. Before history is made on May 27, the NASA and SpaceX teams must prepare with a bit of practice in the form of a dress rehearsal.

Sporting modern SpaceX flight suits inside a Tesla Model X electric SUV tagged with “ISSBND” (as in International Space Station bound), the astronaut duo went through all the motions of what we’ll see on Wednesday — minus firing off a Falcon 9 rocket.

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Elon Musk wants everyone to celebrate SpaceX astronaut launch: ‘It will be an incredible moment for humanity’

Where will Elon Musk be when his company SpaceX launches astronauts to space for the first time in history on Wednesday? Elon biographer and Businessweek reporter Ashlee Vance has published a pre-launch interview with the SpaceX founder that answers that question and more.

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Space Explored joining Seth Weintraub’s 9to5 Network

Three months ago, I announced this personal side project here at SpaceExplored․com where I’ve been writing about NASA and all the space exploration companies making news in this decade. My goal is to capture all the milestones and accomplishments that we’ll make in the next 10 years.

Today I’m over-the-moon-thrilled to share that Space Explored is officially joining Seth Weintraub’s excellent network of sites that includes 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, Electrek, and DroneDJ.

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Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft reach launchpad for milestone SpaceX mission

The days are counting down to when SpaceX will launch NASA astronauts to space for the first time in history. With under a week until the historic NASA Demo-2 mission kicks off, both the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft have arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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President Trump may attend SpaceX DM-2 launch, suggests putting reporters on rocket

Vice President Mike Pence who chairs the Space Counsel is expected to be in attendance when NASA and SpaceX send astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS from the U.S. next week, and now President Trump has weighed in:

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NASA replaces lead on human spaceflight days before historic astronaut mission

NASA is just eight days away from sending astronauts to space from America for the first time since 2011, and the associate administrator in charge of human spaceflight has resigned. The development is one that has surprised observers of America’s space agency considering the timing of the milestone spaceflight.

Doug Loverro took the position of associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in October 2019, replacing acting associate administrator Kenneth Bowersox who filled the position for three months prior. Today former astronaut and shuttle pilot Bowersox resumed the role as the acting associate administrator.

NASA released a statement on the leadership shuffle without explaining the resignation:

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Space Launch System progress restarting at Stennis Space Center ahead of Green Run test

Work on Space Launch System, NASA’s heavy lift rocket designed to return astronauts to the Moon, was chugging along through March before COVID-19 closed down the country.

Starting this week, NASA says Stennis Space Center in Mississippi will start again on the Core Stage for SLS ahead of the Green Run test later this fall.

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Video: NASA previews SpaceX Demo-2 mission sequence with cinematic animation

SpaceX is less than two weeks from crossing a major milestone: sending humans to space for the first time with its rocket. The historic DM-2 mission will also mark the return of human spaceflight to America for the first time since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

NASA will rely on SpaceX (and later Boeing) to provide access to space from America through its Commercial Crew Program.

Today NASA released a cinematic animation of the mission sequence.

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SpaceX tests your Crew Dragon docking skills with its addictive new simulator

What’s equal parts mesmerizing and terrifying? Manually docking the Crew Dragon to the International Space Station.

This week SpaceX released a simulator that puts you behind the Crew Dragon controls to experience docking first-hand.