About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast.

Apple bolsters satellite partner Globalstar with $252M loan during free Emergency SOS phase

Apple already invested early half a billion dollars into its satellite communications partner Globalstar, and now the iPhone maker is upping its payout. This time there are more strings attached, however, as the $252 million investment comes in the form of a loan.

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Oh no, Phobos! SpaceX nukes Mississippi plan to convert oil rigs into Starship launchpads

It’s been a while since we’ve heard any news around Phobos and Deimos, SpaceX’s retired oil rigs being converted into sea platforms for Starship. It turns out that’s because SpaceX quietly abandoned plans to turn either of its rigs into launchpads at sea.

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NASA is sending an iPad around the moon to help test Alexa in space

NASA is about to launch its new mega moon rocket called Space Launch System. As it turns out, important cargo from Apple will be involved. SLS is sending an uncrewed spacecraft called Orion to the moon on a lengthy mission called Artemis 1.

The mission’s primary goal is to demonstrate that the new rocket and spacecraft are capable of sending astronauts to the moon on future missions. However, a lesser known NASA objective includes using an iPad to assist in testing Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant on Orion.

Han Solo’s blaster from the original ‘Star Wars’ film could soon be yours

Have a spare half-a-million dollars burning a hole in your pocket? If so, you could soon be the new owner of Han Solo’s blaster from Star Wars: A New Hope.

NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission adds two helicopters after Ingenuity flights

NASA and the European Space Agency are on track to bring the first-ever Mars soil and atmosphere samples back to Earth. Today both space agencies shared an update on exactly how they plan to do that thanks to the Mars helicopter Ingenuity.

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James Webb Space Telescope stamp collection coming to USPS in celebration of deep space photos

Want to collect a piece of James Webb Space Telescope history? Later this year, the U.S. Postal Service will release a special stamp collection celebrating the new deep space telescope. JWST launched last Christmas and delivered the most detailed views of deep space earlier this month.

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NASA on track for SLS launch between August 23 and September 6 for Artemis I lunar mission [U]

Update: As of July 20, NASA says it is holding three placeholder dates for possible launch targets: August 29 between 8:33 a.m. and 10:33 a.m. ET, September 2 between 12:48 p.m. and 2:48 p.m. ET, and September 5 between 5:12 p.m. and 6:42 p.m. ET. Mission duration would be 42 days, 39 days, and 42 days, respectively.

NASA conducted its fourth wet dress rehearsal attempt for its Space Launch System rocket this week, completing a critical trial run at fueling the rocket mostly without issue. Officials were uncertain one day after the test if the Moon rocket would require another round of fueling. The agency has since communicated that it intends to launch SLS as early as last August without a fifth go at working out the kinks during fueling.

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NASA runs out of time to launch Psyche mission this year, review team to determine future of asteroid mission

NASA planned to launch a mission this year to explore a unique asteroid called Psyche. Unfortunately the team behind the Psyche mission ran out of time to properly test the spacecraft in time to make this year’s launch window.

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Vulcan: When will ULA launch its next generation rocket?

United Launch Alliance is preparing for the debut flight of its next generation rocket called Vulcan. There are certain developments to follow, however, while the first mission date awaits hardware readiness.

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Blue Origin shows off BE-4 engine progress from NASA’s historic MSFC Test Stand 4670 in Huntsville

Everyone loves a good engine shot, and Bezos and Bruno are probably especially enjoying this one. Blue Origin shared shots of its BE-4 rocket engine in an important test phase today. Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is awaiting engine readiness before his company’s New Glenn rocket can take flight, and United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno needs BE-4 engines for its Vulcan Centaur system.

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Leaked NASA schedule anticipates Moon base delays, agency considering Artemis III.5 mission to limit gap between SLS launches

NASA’s ‘Moon to Mars’ Artemis program is proceeding as planned on a micro level. Engineers are completing a fueling trial run of the Space Launch System rocket ahead of its trip around the Moon later this fall. On a macro level, however, a new report details how bigger picture plans for Artemis may not be progressing as planned…

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Boeing Starliner successfully completes insertion burn; here are the next event times to know

Boeing and its launch partner ULA successfully sent the uncrewed Starliner space to Earth orbit today. The mission, called OFT-2 (orbital flight test two), has already surpassed the status of Starliner during OFT-1 in 2019. Next up are several key events, including docking to the International Space Station and the return flight back to Earth. Here’s what you need to know:

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Astronomers capture first image of the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy

Three years after the release of the first image of a black hole captured in another galaxy, astronomers are revealing the first image of what is believed to be the black hole at the center of our own galaxy.

Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*, pronounced A-star) is an object 27,000 light-years from Earth that is four million times more massive than the Sun. The image of the object was created by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration based on eight radio telescopes around Earth.

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NASA buys more time before first SLS flight for upcoming Artemis I lunar flyby mission

NASA is on track to conduct its first mission of the new Artemis lunar exploration program sometime in spring 2022. It’s been a long time coming for the space agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. It appears the historic first flight of SLS will have to wait a little longer, however, as NASA buys more time to complete prep work before liftoff.

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Set your alarms tonight ahead of ULA’s Atlas V rocket launch for Space Force’s STP-3 mission

United Launch Alliance is scheduled to conduct the third Space Test Program mission, or STP-3, for the Space Force’s Space Systems Command in the early hours of Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here’s how to the ULA’s Atlas V rocket launch.

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Watch Vice President Kamala Harris chair her inaugural National Space Council meeting

Vice President Kamala Harris heads up her first National Space Council meeting since the Biden administration took office in January. Learn more about the meeting here.

SpaceX serving only family living full time on island in Canada with Starlink internet

We regularly witness and document Starlink launches from Florida and California at Space Explored, so it’s nice to see the real-world impact SpaceX’s internet satellite service is having for customers. SaltWire.com shares the story of Mike and Georgina Parsons, who are the only full-time residents of Little Bay Islands in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Former SpaceX engineers and chef using robot cooks for new ‘Stellar Pizza’ business

Can three former SpaceX engineers and the ex-SpaceX executive chef make a pizza business a cosmic success?

Debris risk to astronauts pushes back planned spacewalk and ISS antenna repair to Thursday

A pair of astronauts planned to conduct a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station on Tuesday, but NASA delayed the plan to repair a faulty antenna system. The scheduled spacewalk was pushed back due to the risk of debris endangering astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron.

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Starlink on a plane: SpaceX plans to offer in-flight wifi ‘as soon as possible,’ says sales VP

SpaceX is steadily building out its Starlink internet satellite constellation in orbit around the planet, and ground service is already available to customers across several countries. Using Starlink to provide internet access that’s actually reliable on flights has also been a goal of SpaceX for the last year. A new report from Bloomberg today cites a SpaceX VP in saying that the company wants Starlink service on flights to happen “as soon as possible”.

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Stunning ISS views from SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour flyaround

SpaceX recently brought four astronauts home from the International Space Station who caught some amazing views of the ISS from inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour capsule.

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Bill Nelson’s NASA divides key space program leadership between Kathy Lueders and Jim Free

There was something refreshing last summer when NASA promoted Kathy Lueders from her leadership role over Commercial Crew and Commercial Cargo programs to lead Human Explorations & Operations.

A key goal of the Artemis program is to send the first woman and person of color to the Moon in this decade. It only felt appropriate that a highly qualified female would make key Artemis program decisions after the unceremonious departure of her predecessor.

Now Bill Nelson’s NASA is dividing the human spaceflight program into two separate mission directorates: Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate and Space Operations Mission Directorate.

Jim Free, a former NASA deputy, will take on exploration duties while Lueders retains her responsibilities in operations.

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Ovens, wifi, and toilets: Elon Musk promises these improvements on future SpaceX spaceflights

It’s hard to believe that SpaceX has only just started launching people to space, but that’s practically the case with just four crewed missions under their belt since last year. DM-2, Crew-1, and Crew-2 missions for NASA saw the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft send humans to the International Space Station. The journey inside Dragon wasn’t also the destination as it was for Inspiration4.

What changes when the experience in Dragon is tested by ordinary people for whom the SpaceX spacecraft is also the endpoint in space? SpaceX founder Elon Musk has weighed in with some early suggestions that range from cooking methods to waste management.

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SpaceX Inspiration4 mission will use Apple Watch and iPad for health research study in space

SpaceX is flying four private citizens to orbit on a three-day mission called Inspiration4, and Apple hardware will be key in a first-of-its-kind research study happening during the flight. These products include Apple Watch Series 6, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPad mini 4, as selected by SpaceX.

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Virgin Galactic ‘Unity 23’ mission to fly Italian Air Force and National Research Council crew

Virgin Galactic has announced its next spaceflight mission after sending founder Richard Branson to space on its previous mission.

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Inspiration4: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital launches Mission of a Lifetime podcast

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is launching a four-part podcast series called Mission of a Lifetime ahead of the Inspiration4 mission on September 15.

Inspiration4 orbital civilian mission will include new health research with SpaceX and team

The upcoming Inspiration4 mission to space won’t just make history as the “world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight mission to orbit” as it’s frequently described. The four crew members aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will participate in a new health research study during the three-day journey in space.

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New report calls into question 2021 Artemis mission around the Moon

NASA is sending astronauts back to the Moon for the first since Apollo 17 in 1972. The new space exploration program is called Artemis, and the first Artemis mission is just months away from happening. A new report though begs the question of when will NASA truly launch Artemis 1?

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[Update: New target] Blue Origin targeting next New Shepard mission with NASA tech and art installation on Wednesday

Update: Blue Origin is pushing back the mission target by 24 hours.

Blue Origin has announced its next New Shepard rocket mission called NS-17 will take place on Wednesday, August 25. The mission carrying NASA technology and a special art installation will be an uncrewed spaceflight following founder Jeff Bezos’ trip to space on NS-16.

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[Update: Delayed past NASA Lucy mission] Boeing stands down from current Starliner launch window, returning spacecraft to factory

Update: In a press conference Boeing and NASA detailed why they will be moving Starliner back to their factory and the next possible launch opportunities.

The ongoing saga that is Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft takes another unfortunate turn today. Boeing has announced that it will return Starliner to its factory after experiencing hardware issues that prevented a launch attempt.

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‘Inspiration4 Miler’ is the one virtual run space fans can’t miss (yes, there’s a stellar swag bag)

The Inspiration4 hype train is full steam ahead, and the team at Space Explored is all aboard. The newest piece of awesome to come out of the first all-civilian mission to orbit is the Inspiration4 Miler, a virtual walk or run to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Participation raises money for a phenomenal effort and the swag bag includes must-have Inspiration4 merch.

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‘Where are my engines, Jeff?’ Ars investigates Blue Origin BE-4 engine delay for ULA Vulcan rocket

You don’t have to spend much time on Space Twitter or Reddit to stumble upon a few dozen “Where are my engines, Jeff?” memes. Ars Technica recently took a shot at finding the answer to why Blue Origin’s BE-4 engines are delayed.

Need your Inspiration4 fix? TIME feature on first SpaceX all-civilian mission to orbit has you covered

The team at Space Explored is tremendously pumped for the upcoming Inspiration4 SpaceX mission happening as soon as next month, and a new TIME feature published this month explains why.

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NASA test fires SLS RS-25 engine at Stennis, validating new manufacturing process

NASA recently conducted an important 8-minute RS-25 single-engine hot fire test at Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. Space Launch System (SLS) relies on four RS-25 engines (and two solid rocket boosters) to leave the planet for destinations like the Moon and beyond as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

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Perseverance Mars sampling attempt not quite ‘hole-in-one’ as NASA works the problem

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover reached the Red Planet in February, and weeks of never-before-attempted Ingenuity helicopter flights followed. Now Perseverance is ready to knock out a major mission of its own: collect Mars samples.

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Starliner: Boeing restores 7 of 13 propulsion valves, still eyeing August launch

Last week Boeing paused its second Starliner orbital flight test mission to the ISS after discovering propulsion issues with the spacecraft at the launch pad. The company has released a new update today on the latest status of the mission.

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SpaceX hits 90,000 subscribers across 12 countries using Starlink satellite internet service

SpaceX reports a new record of ~90,000 Starlink satellite internet subscribers, according to CNBC.

SpaceX Inspiration4 mission documentary series coming to Netflix in September

Inspiration4 is easily the coolest spaceflight mission of the year, and Netflix will soon have a documentary detailing the incredible experience for the four private citizens traveling to space for three days.

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Boeing pauses critical Starliner OFT-2 mission to ISS over propulsion system issue

After a year and a half of focusing on software issues, Boeing has paused its Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station today. The launch was scheduled for this afternoon but scrubbed hours before liftoff due to a propulsion system issue with the spacecraft.

Boeing’s mission is to have its uncrewed Starliner spacecraft reach the International Space Station and return safely before it can be rated for human spaceflight. Boeing is one of two providers for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (along with SpaceX) to transport astronauts to and from the space station.

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White House taps Microsoft Azure Space director for National Space Council executive secretary

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has chosen Chirag Parikh to serve as the executive secretary of the National Space Council. Parikh most recently worked as senior director of Microsoft’s Azure Space division. As executive secretary of the National Space Council, Parikh is well-positioned to influence space policy across the government.

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GAO backs NASA decision to rely on SpaceX Starship for Moon landing, dismissing Blue Origin-backed protest

SpaceX Starship will officially be the single solution for the first lunar landing mission under NASA’s Artemis program to return to the Moon. This comes after the US GAO backed the decision to use Starship as the lander, stating it didn’t break any laws with the selection. The space agency first announced its decision to land astronauts on the Moon with SpaceX in April, but legal protests from the Blue Origin-led National Team and Dynetics halted progress for the contract.

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Watch Virgin Galactic send Richard Branson and crew to space during first livestream

Set aside some time on Sunday to catch Virgin Galactic’s very first livestream of a crewed spaceflight on the company’s SpaceShipTwo Unity spaceplane. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson will be a passenger on the first fully crewed spaceflight on SS2, and special guests include host Stephen Colbert and artist Khalid.

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Scoop: Base portion of SLS Pathfinder arrives at U.S. Space & Rocket Center after NASA donation

This week the U.S. Space & Rocket Center took delivery of a huge piece of space history. The 27-foot-wide base portion of Space Launch System Core Stage Pathfinder, a full-scale mockup of the SLS rocket’s main segment, arrived in Huntsville, Alabama, where it will soon be displayed publicly. The original hardware was created to help NASA simulate operations in preparation of its upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon.

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California Prius driver stopped for cruising with SpaceX Starlink dish in front of windshield

It may be Independence Day weekend in the United States, but driving a hybrid car with a Starlink internet dish obstructing your view isn’t a freedom we can celebrate.

Watch OneWeb launch 36 internet satellites for service in the Arctic, UK, Canada, and Alaska

After coming back from the dead recently, OneWeb continues to build out its constellation of satellites to provide networking service to terminals around the world.

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Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson set to go to space 9 days before Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin

There is really no material value in one billionaire beating another billionaire to space. Yet Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is scheduled to be aboard his company’s spacecraft during a suborbital flight before Jeff Bezos rides his rocket with Blue Origin.

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Elon Musk taunts ULA and Blue Origin after rogue plane and regulation delay SpaceX rocket launch

So this happened today. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded to a Vulcan rocket teaser video from ULA CEO Tory Bruno with a slightly provocative “when do the engines arrive” response. Without mentioning Blue Origin, the taunt is mostly targeted at Jeff Bezos’ rocket company.

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Jeff Bezos is flying his rocket to space, and over 100K people are asking him to stay there

Jeff Bezos is just a few weeks away from being among the first humans to leave Earth in his New Shepard rocket, and a growing number of people are hoping he won’t be allowed back.

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