On this Thanksgiving week we had some major events and updates come from the spaceflight industry. Catch up on what happened below.
On Friday morning, Russian docked its new Prichal module to the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station.
This week, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck shared his thoughts on reusable rockets and shared a new shiny Electron design during a press conference.
NASA announced Monday that the launch of its next-generation space telescope would move to December 22 after an issue with one of the adapter clamps caused vibrations to the observatory.
Update: NASA confirmed in a blog post that no additional damage was seen during testing.
Back in July, after Virgin Galactic flew its founder Richard Branson on its SpaceShipTwo spaceplane, the company announced a sweepstakes to win two tickets to space. On Wednesday, the company announced the winner and who they want to bring with them on the journey.
The company that disrupted the smallsat launch industry with its dedicated launcher plans to make the jump to a medium-class launcher. Rocket Lab announced the update would take place on December 2. Read below to learn what we know so far about Rocket Lab’s upcoming Neutron launcher.
Alan Shepard’s eldest daughter Laura Shepard Churchley and Good Morning American co-anchor Michael Strahan will be joining four others on a trip to space on New Shepard next month.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is set to launch tonight on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch will take place from Vandenberg Space Force Base, just north of Los Angeles. Here is how to watch DART’s launch.
This week the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. However, while most of us will celebrate around the table, feet firmly planted on the ground, astronauts on the International Space Station will also gather around a table for a truly international celebration.
This week we saw a significant milestone for the launch provider Astra but were also reminded how far we are from ensuring safe access to space for everyone. Read the top stores from space below.
If the schedule holds, NASA is gearing up to launch its first Artemis mission as soon as February 2022. The “Orange Rocket,” as it is sometimes called, pulls a lot of old hardware and launch sequences from the iconic Space Shuttle.
The United States Space Force has slowly begun to grow its presence everywhere space is present in the Department of Defense. This includes the Air Force Academy, which has now added a formal detachment there from the new branch.
On Monday, NASA’s Office of Inspector General released a report detailing their finding during an audit of the Agency’s Artemis missions. The results are full of information on Starship and predicted timelines for Artemis I through III.
Monday morning, Russia conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test against one of its satellites, Kosmos 1408. Now the International Space Station is going through multiple debris field passes.
Updated with statements from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Roscosmos Director Dmitry Rogozin, US Space Command, and the US Department of State.
While the report is focused on the management of NASA’s Artemis program missions, the report revealed a lot about SpaceX’s Starship timeline, Including the long-awaited Starship Orbital Flight Test to take place in Q2 of Fiscal Year 2022.
Updated to reflect the date is for the fiscal year of 2022, not the calendar year 2022. Fiscal years are one quarter ahead of the calendar year.
It has been a busy week for SpaceX, with Crew-2 returning Monday and Crew-3 launching Wednesday. Now the company will launch its first Starlink mission from Florida since last May. SpaceX will launch 53 Starlink satellites into a 560 km (about 350 miles) orbit on this mission. The fourth shell will have 360 Starlink satellites in total.
SpaceX successfully launched and deployed its 53 Starlink satellites early Saturday morning.
Date: Saturday, November 13, 7:19 a.m. EST
Glen de Vries, a passenger on Blue Origin’s NS-18 flight, died in a light plane accident in New Jersey on Thursday afternoon.
After a successful launch late Wednesday night, SpaceX’s Crew-3 is preparing to dock with the International Space Station Thursday afternoon. Read below for live updates as SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance, with Crew-3, works towards docking.
Docking to ISS: 6:33 p.m. EST
Hatch Opening: 8:45 p.m. EST
Welcome Ceremony: 9:20 p.m. EST
Over the past few years, 5G has become a game-changing technology in the commercial sector. Included in smartphones and tablets, it can allow for fast internet speeds away from the user’s home wifi network. Now, Lockheed Martin plans to bring this technology to the Department of Defense.
A few hours after the launch of SpaceX’s Crew-3, Rocket Lab plans to launch one of its rockets from New Zealand. The California-headquartered small satellite launcher will use its Electron rocket to place two second-generation BlackSky satellites into orbit. Electron’s launch will also sport a booster recovery. This will be Rocket Lab’s third recovery of an Electron booster and will be the first to have a helicopter nearby. While the booster will not be caught by the helicopter, instead, it will splashdown in the ocean. This is a step towards mid-air capture by a helicopter.
Date: Tuesday, November 16
SpaceX successfully launched Dragon Endurance, a brand new spacecraft, to space on its Falcon 9 rocket. The next stop for the crew on board will be docking with the International Space Station.
SpaceX’s third operational mission with NASA of their Crew Dragon vehicle, Crew-3, is planning to take flight early Halloween morning. This mission will carry four astronauts, three NASA and one ESA, to the International Space Station with additional supplies and experiments. Learn more about SpaceX’s Crew-3 launch and view updates on its status below.
Date: Wednesday, November 10, 9:03:31 p.m EST
Tuesday, NASA held a press conference to give an update on the agency’s Artemis program. During the conference, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced delays to the launches of Artemis II and III.
This week on the Space Explored Podcast, Seth Kurkowski and Derek Wise talk about the unsurprising delays of NASA’s upcoming crewed Artemis flights and the return of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission from the International Space Station. They also talk about the upcoming week full of launches from SpaceX, Astra, and Rocket Lab.
Monday night SpaceX’s Crew-2, riding in Dragon Endeavour, splashed down off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Today, SpaceX started selling its version of Crew-2’s mission patch in celebration.
Late Monday, SpaceX brought back Dragon Endeavour from its six-month stay at the International Space Station. Onboard were SpaceX’s Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet.
LEGO and NASA made their announcement today, and sadly no, it is not a LEGO Space Launch System set, but it is something very cool!
SpaceX and NASA are planning to undock Crew-2 and their Crew Dragon Endeavour and return to Earth today. This will conclude a six-month stay on the International Space Station for the four astronauts.
ISS Departure: Monday, November 8, 2:05 p.m. EST
Splashdown: Monday, November 8, 10:33 p.m. EST
NASA has delayed the launch of Crew-3 to no sooner than Monday, November 8, at 9:51 p.m. due to poor weather conditions locally and in abort zones. NASA also stated that they will now look at returning Crew-2 as soon as this Sunday, November 7, confirming our speculations earlier this week.
Today the federal judge overseeing the Blue Origin lawsuit against NASA and SpaceX made his decision. Blue Origin, of course, lost the lawsuit, but will this be the end?
Updated with statements from Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos.
We’ve seen not one but two delays now for SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission. While we hope for a speedy recovery for the crew member who suffered from the “minor medical issue,” we have to ask, What does this mean for the return home for Crew-2, the current residents of the ISS?
Amazon’s Project Kuiper is getting closer to becoming a reality as the company is preparing to launch its first satellites. Monday, the tech giant announced those first test satellites for Project Kuiper would be launched using ABL Space Systems’ RS1 rocket.
NASA has delayed SpaceX’s Crew-3 launch, which was briefly scheduled for early morning on November 3 after weather pushed back a Halloween launch target. The delay is due to a “minor medical issue” that is not an emergency situation nor related to COVID-19.
While we seem to miss rocket launches taking place on Halloween in recent years, the day hasn’t always been bare of space goodies. Back in 2015, a spooky asteroid paid a visit for some intergalactic trick or treat.
This week on the Space Explored Podcast, Seth Kurkowski and Derek Wise discuss developments in Starship testing and possible locations for future launches. Along with that, they discussed new commercial space stations coming by the end of the decade and more news from the week.
SpaceX moved the Falcon 9 rocket with its Crew Dragon Endurance to LC-39A ahead of its Crew-3 launch. The brand new Dragon spacecraft now sports NASA’s Worm logo just above its Super-Draco abort engines.
That’s right, a stand-alone Buzz Lightyear movie from Pixar is coming in June of 2022. Based on the Toy Story series character, the trailer is packed full of Space Ranger awesomeness.
SpaceX‘s Crew-3 mission for NASA’s Commerical Crew Program is scheduled for Halloween (October 31) at 2:21 a.m. EDT. Tuesday, they arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility ahead of this weekend’s launch.
On Tuesday, Verizon announced that it has partnered with Amazon’s upcoming Project Kuiper satellite internet constellation to develop technology to help its service expand into more remote locations.
Blue Origin announced on Monday official plans to build a commercial space station named Orbit Reef.
Last night Arianespace launched their 111th Ariane 5 mission to space carrying satellites for SES and the French military. This marked its final flight of the Ariane 5 before it launches NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in December.
It has been a long time since we’ve seen engines test-fired in Starbase, but Thursday afternoon, SpaceX did not just one but two. These tests mark a significant milestone for Vacuum Raptor development.
This week the FAA hosted two public comment hearings for SpaceX’s Starship facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Both sessions lasted for about five hours, with over 100 commenters speaking with more not making the time cut. The hearings had two overall points made by commenters, “SpaceX is hurting our environment and way of life” and “move out of the way FAA and let Elon do Elon things.”