Yesterday

Quick programming note from Space Explored: I’m thrilled to announce that we’re launching an all-new podcast this week! Space Time will premiere here and on YouTube tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET. As we launch the new podcast, Space Time will appear in Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Overcast for audio subscribers.

As we announce in our teaser episode below, our first episode includes a very special video interview with Will Pomerantz, Vice President of Special Projects at Virgin Orbit. Will recently brought national attention to roots of the Stennis Space Center name. We discuss the growing movement around efforts to revise NASA’s test facility name and much more.

Special thanks to our premiere sponsor Fantastical Premium by Flexibits for supporting Space Time.

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The United Arab Emirates is about to capture an important picture of Mars during the Emirates Mars Mission, which will send a probe to the Red Planet this month. The launch was scheduled for this Tuesday, July 14, but it was delayed a few days by weather conditions.

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Northrop Grumman’s 78-foot-tall Minotaur IV expendable launch system is lifting off from NASA’s Wallops Island flight facility in Virginia. The launch is the first Minotaur IV launch from Virginia’s Space Coast and the first National Reconnaissance Office launch using the Minotaur IV system.

Today’s Minotaur IV launch is also the first use of the expendable launch system since August 2017. The system has been used for a total of seven launches since April 2010, and one to two additional launches are already planned. NASA says the next launch from Wallops Flight Facility will be sometime in mid-August.

Minotaur rockets are created using decommissioned MX Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles created in the late 80s and early 90s.

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July 13

NASA will live broadcast astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken on spacewalks this month as part of the International Space Station’s power system upgrades. The repairs are scheduled to go live on Thursday, July 16 and Tuesday, July 21.

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Just north of Interstate I-10 along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a gigantic, orange core stage that will soon be used to send NASA’s most powerful rocket ever to the Moon. The 212-foot-tall core stage of Space Launch System, the vehicle for Artemis lunar missions starting next year, is currently hoisted up on the red, white, and meatball’d B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center.

Engineers at the space center in south Mississippi are responsible for ensuring that the giant fuel tank and RS-25 engines are ready for action before being transferred to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Steps range from testing flight electronics to loading and draining 350 tons of rocket fuel.

The ultimate step in the Green Run test is to fire up the four Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines fueled by the core stage. The static fire test will occur for up to eight minutes, creating a thunderous roar as the SLS core stage is held down by the B-2 Test Stand. Make no mistake: This engine test fire will be epic.

So how far along is NASA’s Green Run test for the Space Launch System core stage? Follow along here as NASA completes each step of the Green Run test:

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July 11

Update on July 11: “Standing down from today’s launch of the tenth Starlink mission to allow more time for checkouts; team is working to identify the next launch opportunity. Will announce a new target date once confirmed with the Range,” SpaceX announced.


SpaceX will attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday at 10:54 a.m. EDT. SpaceX is sending its tenth batch of Starlink satellites to space. These satellites will be used for a new global broadband service that will focus on bringing internet connectivity to underserved areas.

The rocket launch is also a ridesharing mission that will include two BlackSky satellites. Today’s mission will mark the second ridesharing mission for SpaceX Starlink launches.

Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt to land 8 minutes 24 seconds after liftoff. The 59 satellite payload will be deployed in space shortly after 1 hour from liftoff.

Watch the launch, landing, and deployment below.

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July 10

NASA is upgrading one of the antennas of its interplanetary switchboard located in Australia, known as the Deep Space Network. Deep Space Station 43 (DSS-43) is one of the largest antennas in the project that allows constant communication with NASA’s robotic spacecraft.

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July 9

Space Explored is now available in Apple News

Quick programming note from Space Explored: Apple News readers can now follow our stories from the News app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Google Earth made global satellite imagery of the Earth widely accessible for free in 2005. This week, Google is celebrating a decade and a half of the 3D Earth imaging software with 15 impacts Google Earth has made so far.

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July 8

NASA is progressing toward an upcoming mission dedicated to exploring a unique asteroid called Psyche. The metal-rock asteroid orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter and could give us answers on how Earth was formed. The spacecraft that will be used for NASA’s Psyche mission is graduating from a design phase to manufacturing ahead of a planned launch in 2022.

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