About the Author

Daryl Sausse

Editor and Photographer for Space Explored

James Webb telescope teams up with Chandra X-Ray Observatory for astronautical collab

Chandra X-ray observatory

If the James Webb Space Telescope had a resume, the very first quality of it would read “Works well with others.” Webb already stunned the world when its first pictures were released earlier in 2022. Then the world’s minds were blown again when images from Webb were combined with images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Now, JWST has made another friend: the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

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Ariane 6 second stage comes to life in first hot fire test

Arianespace is making great strides in the push to launch the Ariane 6. In a recent blog post, they shared a video of a test firing of the second stage.

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That time when NASA became experts in *checks notes* Maritime Salvage Law

“‘Twas a dark and very stormy night, November 14-15, 1994…” is how the legal brief begins its description of events that led to the largest maritime salvage operation at the time. Space shuttle external tank 70 (ET-70) was aboard the barge Poseidon when Tropical Storm Gordon decided to make this trip from New Orleans to Cape Canaveral anything but ordinary.

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Rocket Lab continues its steady launch pace with “It Argos Up From Here”

Rocket Lab just completed its 8th successful launch of the year. “It Argos Up From Here” saw their Electron rocket put ARGOS-4 into orbit for the NOAA.

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SLS Exploration Upper Stage Interstage test article arrives at Stennis Space Center

In a recent blog post, NASA Stennis announced the arrival of a new component for testing. The interstage test article will be used when it comes time for the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) to undergo its own green run test, just like the Space Launch System’s Core Stage did last year

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Crew 5 Arrives at the International Space Station

The remainder of Expedition 68 has arrived at the International Space Station. SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance lifted off from LC-39A in Florida on October 5th.

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Pictures of SpaceX Crew-5 launch to the ISS [Update] And video!

On October 5, SpaceX launched its fifth operational flight of its Crewed Dragon for NASA. Launching four astronauts to the station for a six month stay on the station. Here or photos from our team of the launch of SpaceX Crew-5.

SpaceX Crew-5 launches to space carrying Dragon’s first Russian cosmonaut

Uneventful is the best way to describe it, and that’s what we’ve come to expect from SpaceX missions. Under beautiful skies and wonderful temperatures, SpaceX launched the Crew 5 mission to the International Space Station. Aboard the capsule Endurance, the crew includes Commander Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada of NASA, Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos, the only female cosmonaut and the first Russian to fly from the US in a renewed seat exchange program.

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The curious case of Curiosity’s cracked wheels

For any given Mars rover, there are three major and newsworthy events in its life: launch, landing, and discovery. Aside from those times, hardly anyone is paying attention to the myriad of images being sent back on a non-stop basis. Only the most hardcore Mars nerds or those who operate the rovers will see them. Or, anyone who follows a Twitter bot that automatically tweets the pictures. It’s thanks to this bot that word is getting out about Curiosity’s cracked wheels.

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Learning to Fly: When things don’t go as planned (The story of my first solo)

Don’t you just hate it when an experience you have is very different than what you had hoped for? Sometimes it turns out to be just as fun. Sometimes you feel like the moment is ruined forever. You could end up with an even grander story to tell or you could end up like a bride on her wedding day when she notices one bouquet of flowers is out of place on the table in the back corner of the reception hall. As for me, I’m still trying to figure out where I stand on my first solo flight. Let’s go back to the beginning.

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Learning to Fly: Getting started on the path to a pilot’s license

The flying bug bit me young. Seeing movies like Top Gun and catching The Blue Angels in my formative years had me ready to run and join the Navy right out of high school and fly Hornets off the deck of a carrier. To hell with a little propeller plane, I needed to be in a jet. The idea was to “Go fast or go home!” But, as with many of us, life took me in a different direction.

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Blue Angel 7 makes a rare appearance in New Orleans [Update: More trouble on Sunday]

In only their second show of the season, the US Navy Blue Angels were forced to make some changes on the first day of the 2022 New Orleans Air Show. No official word has been given as to why the swap was needed but speculation abounds because not one but two planes remained grounded for today’s performance.

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Astra stock plummets with launch failure and is hit with class-action lawsuit

We’re at a point in history where we’re seeing the booming world of retail trading meeting the new territory of publicly-traded rocket launch providers. This week, Astra has shown that things aren’t always bright and rosy when these two worlds meet.

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The Challenger Disaster | This Day in Space (28 Jan. 1986)

On the morning of January 28, 1986, the world watched as Space Shuttle Challenger launched from Cape Canaveral with a crew of seven on board. Little did anyone know that the mission would end with a catastrophic failure that would claim the lives of seven and change NASA forever.

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Book Review: ‘The Apollo Murders’ by Chris Hadfield

The Apollo program of the 1960s and 1970s saw the United States land on the Moon six times. Each mission included more detailed charting of the Moon, sample returns, and experiments galore! In The Apollo Murders, author (and former astronaut) Chris Hadfield explores what could’ve happened if there was just one more mission – with a different purpose.

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Book Review: NASA Space Shuttle 40th Anniversary

The means of telling a story is something that’s left to the one who tells it. The most familiar to us is through text.

You open a book and the words begin to flow into the mind to leave the reader to picture what the author hopes to convey. This also applies to the spoken form and leads to some opportunities for some creative embellishment.

But author Piers Bizony has chosen another format to tell a story: pictures.

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Flashback Friday: Take a VR tour of Space Shuttle Discovery

In a time when traveling to a museum might not be the best of ideas (Thanks, COVID!!), being able to take a virtual tour is a godsend when you want to satiate your curiosity about something. Luckily, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has us covered with a VR tour of Space Shuttle Discovery.

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Exclusive: SpaceX’s newest droneship gets Starlink dish and a tug to take it home

We’ve been waiting a while to see any sign that shows SpaceX’s third droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas is nearing completion. This week, a few of those signs have shown up, proving that ASOG is getting reading for operation.

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Exclusive: SpaceX’s new droneship has finally earned its wings with the install of deck extensions, Starlink

As SpaceX’s new droneship, A Shortfall of Gravitas, has been under construction, we’ve said that the design has changed radically. We have been wondering when ASOG would finally gain its wings, and that time seems to be now.

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Exclusive: Newest SpaceX droneship undergoing deck work

SpaceX’s third droneship has been under construction for the last couple of months now and it is looking very close to being finished. This week, signs of deck work are showing up, which could be a final step before being shipped out.

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Exclusive: New photos of A Shortfall Of Gravitas show SpaceX’s new droneship is getting close to done

Each week Space Explored has acquired updated images tracking the process of SpaceX’s third droneship in development. This week it shows a very finished looking barge.

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Book review: ‘Project Hail Mary’ by Andy Weir [Spoiler Free]

Today we debut a new series of book reviews and we can only start off with one author, Andy Weir. Weir released his newest book beginning of May and continues to wow us with his highly researched science fiction.

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Exclusive: The most recent images of SpaceX’s third droneship show a new structure on the bow

We’ve been tracking the construction of SpaceX’s A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship over the past month and the newest images we’ve gathered show a new structure on the bow of the barge.

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Exclusive: First looks at what could be SpaceX’s newest droneship ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’

Earlier today it was confirmed that the barge designated Marmac 302 was being worked on in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The barge looks to be getting modifications for Falcon 9 landings.

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What’s that rocket? Meet ULA’s Delta IV Heavy

In a time where we routinely see launches on rockets named Atlas, Falcon, and Electron, the Delta IV Heavy is a rare bird for a number of reasons. United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy, as its name implies, is the company’s heavy lift launch vehicle.

It’s the big brother of the Delta IV medium that has since been retired and had its last flight in August 2019. In fact, the heavy variant of the Delta IV series is on its way out as well: ULA’s new Vulcan rocket system will pick up where Delta IV Heavy leaves off.

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SpaceX Starlink by the numbers [March 4, 2021]

March 4, 2021: After an abort at a little over T-1 minute, SpaceX got the next batch of 60 starlinks flying. There really wasn’t much to see on this one. After liftoff, the Falcon 9 disappeared into the clouds. There was also no camera views from the first stage, just the droneship and second stage. Both fairing catchers were having work done so both halves were recovered by other support vessels.

Vega rocket to resume flying as scheduled after second loss in two years

This week the Independent Enquiry Commission (IEC), set up by ESA and ArianeSpace, released their findings and future roadmap after the loss of the VV17 mission. The launch had failed back on November 17, resulting in the loss of the two payloads on board. The loss also came on only the second flight after another Vega loss in July 2019.

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ESA and ArianeGroup joining cost saving, reusable rocket game with Themis and Prometheus

With reusing rockets becoming the new trend in spaceflight, it’s no surprise that the European Space Agency (ESA) is developing the capability for themselves. The development is spurred on by the same reason as everyone else: cost savings. The ability to reuse a booster turns into savings for the manufacturer and lowers cost to orbit for the customer.

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Indonesia invites SpaceX to explore building an island spaceport

Indonesia and Elon Musk are becoming fast friends, and that could mean big things for SpaceX.

OneWeb, back in business, is about to expand its internet satellite constellation

It’s back to business for OneWeb, the satellite internet service that declared bankruptcy earlier this year. With 74 satellites already in orbit, OneWeb is ready to send its next batch up.

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U.S. Space Command is getting closer to picking a home

The newly-formed U.S. Space Force is in the market for a new headquarters, and they’re closer to making a choice of where it should be located. The team in charge of making the decision is touring the small list of existing installations and doing evaluations both in-person and virtually.

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches SXM-7 for SiriusXM [Gallery]

After a scrub on Friday, SpaceX successfully launched the SXM-7 satellite for SiriusXM on a bright and sunny Florida morning. Maxar technologies built the satellite as an upgrade to the existing fleet. Liftoff was at 12:30 EST followed by a successful first stage landing and payload deployment.

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NASA aims to make Space Coast a place for launchers of all sizes — small rockets included

In the coming months, Launch Complex 48 (LC-48) will become as talked about as all of the other launchpads on Florida’s Space Coast. NASA has been working on the development of this pad to be used by multiple launch providers with smaller classes of rockets. According to a press release issued today, they’ve set a limit of 500,000 pounds of thrust or less at liftoff.

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Bonus CRS-21: NASA’s worm logo make a brief public appearance on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster

The booster that recently launched CRS-21 also happens to be the same booster used to launch SpaceX’s DM-2 mission with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. To commemorate the mission, SpaceX painted NASA’s iconic worm and meatball logos on each side of the booster.

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CRS-21: SpaceX Falcon 9 booster return completes launch campaign [Gallery]

After a successful launch on Sunday, the booster that lofted the new cargo Dragon capsule to the International Space Station returned to Port Canaveral this morning.

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CRS-21: SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon 2 lift off on a mission of firsts

After a weather delay on Saturday, SpaceX launched the CRS-21 mission to the International Space Station.

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CRS-21: SpaceX Dragon 2 embarking on first flight, here’s how it compares to the original cargo vessel

SpaceX will soon conduct its 21st mission for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program. While it’s hardly SpaceX’s first cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station, CRS-21 is notable for being the first flight of SpaceX’s redesigned Dragon 2 spacecraft.

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CRS-21: These experiments are headed to the ISS with SpaceX’s new Dragon 2 capsule

The second round of Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) missions is set to begin with CRS-21. This will be SpaceX’s 21st mission for the service, and it’ll be the first flight of SpaceX’s Dragon 2 capsule which looks like the Crew Dragon variant but stripped down inside for cargo missions.

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Stennis Space Center closed ahead of Hurricane Sally, SLS core stage and test stand secured

NASA has closed its space center in Mississippi and secured a critical piece of Moon-bound rocket hardware ahead of Hurricane Sally’s impact on the Gulf Coast this week. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is home to the B-2 Test Stand where NASA engineers have been busy testing the rocket core stage for Space Launch System.

Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane (96-110 mph wind speeds) Tuesday night before weakening to a tropical storm on Wednesday. The current trajectory shows Stennis Space Center directly in the storm’s path.

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Solid Rocket Booster test helps secure the future of Space Launch System

The first Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) for the inaugural flight of SLS may be done and ready for Artemis I, but NASA contractor Northrup Grumman continues to try to make it better. Today, they successfully fired an upgraded version of their booster for use in missions beyond Artemis III, presumably for deep space missions like Europa Clipper.

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What’s that rocket? Meet the Ariane 5

On the outside, the Ariane 5 can easily be mistaken for any generic rocket but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Arianespace’s largest launcher falls into the heavy-lift category of rockets and it regularly flexes its might. And it does it in a unique way.

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Sending your money to the Moon: The intersection of stocks and space

The sharp downturn of the stock market in recent months brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has brought a slew of new casual investors hoping to capitalize on the rebound. Thanks to apps like Robinhood with free commission trading, people from all different walks of life are trying to turn a negative into a positive. Those involved in spaceflight are no exception, whether they’re employed in the industry or just enthusiasts. 

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Flight preview: Arianespace Vega returns to flight soon

Vega VV14 launch. Image: Arianespace

Over a year after the failed launch of the FalconEye 1 satellite for the United Arab Emirates, Arianespace is ready to return its Vega launch vehicle to operational status. The flight was originally planned for earlier this year but after multiple scrubs due to winds, Arianespace decided to postpone it until a period of more favorable seasonal weather conditions.

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Launch Scrub: Ariane 5 VA253 (Update 2)

Update August 4: Arianespace has announced that they have set a NET date of August 14th to try again for launch. Update August 2: The Ariane 5 launch vehicle is being returned to the assembly building to replace the troublesome sensor. A new launch date is expected to be announced on August 3rd, according to…

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Splashdown! Dragon returns to Earth after historic test flight

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule Endeavour successfully splashed down today off the coast of Pensacola, FL after a 64-day mission to the International Space Station. The return process began last night with the undocking at 7:35 pm EDT and subsequent departure burns. The crew — Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — was then free to get a full night’s rest.

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NASA rover Perseverance is on the way to Mars following successful ULA Atlas V launch

With great fanfare, NASA’s next Mars rover Perseverance began its journey to Mars this morning atop an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance. The weather was clear as had been predicted for the last few days. In fact, conditions improved to 90% favorable shortly before launch.

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Pegasus: NASA’s workhorse of the sea is getting back to business

NASA’s Pegasus barge is currently in the final stretch of its trip from Huntsville, Alabama, to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On this particular trip, it’s carrying the Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter (LVSA) to be used on the maiden flight of the SLS launch vehicle. In a time when more attention than normal is given to waterborne vessels related to spaceflight, Pegasus shows that NASA has been doing it for a long time.

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