About the Author

Seth Kurkowski

Managing Editor at Space Explored

Seth Kurkowski covers launches and general space news for Space Explored. He has been following launches from Florida since 2018.

Seth’s first launch was SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Demo in February of 2018 and has been hooked on them ever since.

He also helped start Space Coast Launch Ambassadors, an outreach group advocating for space exploration while helping the general public enjoy rocket launches from the Space Coast.

Seth co-hosts the Space Explored weekly podcast as well as the Rapid Unscheduled Discussions podcast both of which you can listen to here on SpaceExplored.com

Email tips, pitches, typos, and feedback to kurk@spaceexplored.com.

Follow: Twitter @SethKurk + Instagram @sethkurk.

SpaceX conducts back to back static fires of Starship 24 and Booster 7

On Tuesday, SpaceX conducted two static fires at its Starbase site in South Texas. The spacecraft being tested, Ship 24 and Booster 7, are believed to be the first SpaceX will use to launch Starship’s Orbital Flight Test as soon as this year, if you believe Elon Musk.

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Northrop Grumman partners with Firefly to upgrade Antares and develop future rocket together

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, we have been following how it will affect Northrop Grumman’s capability to launch its Antares rocket. Northrop Grumman has finally announced its solution to unavailable components in a partnership with Firefly Aerospace to supply engines and a new first stage to the Antares 330 rocket.

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YouTuber in space: Dude Perfect flies to space on Blue Origin’s latest launch

Coby Cotton, one of the five members of Dude Perfect, launched on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket early Thursday morning. Cotton’s participation is part of a partnership between the trick shooting YouTubers and a crypto company called MoonDAO.

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Rocket Lab launches second national security launch with impressive cadence

Rocket Lab, the leader of the SmallSat launch market, has completed its “Back to Back” launch campaign for the National Reconnaissance Office. This marks a major cadence milestone for the company working to become the SpaceX of SmallSat launches.

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James Webb telescope releases newest color image of The Cartwheel galaxy

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has already blown the minds of humans across the globe with its original set of color images. Now Webb has a new image, one of the chaotic Cartwheel galaxy.

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Elon Musk expects a successful orbital Starship flight between ‘1 and 12 months’ from now

Surprising probably no one, the timeframe SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has given for a successful orbital Starship mission is anywhere from next month to next year.

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Polaris Dawn launch date could be December

Announced in February, Jared Issacman’s Polaris Program crew has been training for a flight on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft this year. At EAA’s AirVenture airshow this weekend, Issacman announced that the launch date for Polaris Dawn could be as soon as the end of this year.

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When is the next Blue Origin New Shepard rocket launch?

Since 2015 Blue Origin has been launching its New Shepard suborbital rocket from its facility in Van Horne, Texas. Additionally, in 2021 Blue Origin began launching paying customers atop its rocket for a 10-minute joy ride. The next launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is set for August 4.

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Starliner’s spaceship growing pains have cost Boeing nearly $700 million more than planned

In the company’s second quarterly earnings report, Boeing has absorbed a $96 million charge in relation to its Starliner spacecraft program. This brings Boeing’s Starliner cost overrun tally to $688 million due to numerous problems.

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Mars presence looms closer as NASA, SpaceX, and Relativity race toward new technologies

The race to developing a presence on Mars is long, but several players are already competing. From those who wish to explore and colonize the planet, Mars is a major focus more than ever right now. There are a few races happening to reach Mars with new technologies happening simultaneously. Which will be first is the question…

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SpaceX Starlink service could come to iPhone and Android through satellite hotspot

In a filing with the FCC Monday, SpaceX is revealed to be looking to add the 2GHz frequency to its Starlink license for use with “mobile users.” While we don’t know much about what this means, it could be the start of offering its service to cell phone users.

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Hubble vs JWST: How James Webb telescope’s first images stack up to the legend

Many of the first images released by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope have been retakes of locations Hubble previously captured. This comparison of Hubble versus JWST photos shows just how far we have come.

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Rogozin is out and Russia-NASA seat swaps are in

The controversial head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, is officially out, with no official word about what lies ahead for him. This command change came around when NASA and Roscosmos finally announced a deal to trade seats on Russia’s Soyuz and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft.

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Space Explored 42: First color Webb photos, Starship Booster 7, more

This week Zac and Seth talk about the first James Webb Space Telescope’s first color image and what we felt when seeing them. Also, they discussed what the Super Heavy Booster 7 explosion means for the program going forward and more space news from the past week.

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‘Not good’ Elon Musk says after unexpected explosion underneath Starship Super Heavy booster 7

While the world was focused on the first James Webb Space Telescope color images released by NASA, SpaceX was busy testing its Super Heavy booster 7 down in Starbase. What was believed to be just a fueling test turned into an unexpected explosion underneath the Starship booster stage, thankfully not producing any significant damage that we can see to Booster 7 or the surrounding pad.

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How to download the first color image from the James Webb Space Telescope

In a sneak peek briefing to President Biden and Vice President Harris, NASA unveiled the first color image from the James Webb Space Telescope. Here is how to download the first full-resolution color image by JWST.

James Webb Space Telescope’s first color image unveiled by NASA

Today in an event at the White House, President Biden, Vice President Harries, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson unveiled the first color image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

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What we know about the targets of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first images

The time is near. After launching on Christmas Day, the first full-color images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be released tonight and tomorrow. Here is what we know so far about the first images.

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Space Explored Podcast 41: CAPSTONE phone home, Nelson interview, and more

This week Seth and Derek discuss the issues NASA’s CAPSTONE had with communicating back with Earth, an interview with NASA Administrator about Starship, Russia, and Europeans on the moon, and more.

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A fleet of Ingenuity-like helicopters could come to Mars for sample return mission

It’s that time of year again (I feel like it is always that time of year) when drafts of NASA’s next fiscal year budget start to form. During this process, we gain insight into how Congress wants that money spent, which could include changes to existing programs. For example, this year, it looks like Congress was so impressed with Ingenuity’s success that it wants more helicopters (air spacecraft?) for NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission.

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NASA Administrator finds replacing SLS and Orion with SpaceX’s Starship not practical

In an interview with the German publication Der Spiegel, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson discussed the question many have been asking for a while. Why doesn’t NASA ditch SLS and replace it with SpaceX’s cheaper and more capable Starship rocket?

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Rocket’s impact on Moon leaves double crater, seen in LRO image

An unknown rocket stage impacted the Moon this year completely unplanned after launching a payload into space possibly back in 2015. First, it was believed to be from SpaceX, but now it is thought to be Chinese. New photos of the rocket’s impact site on the Moon could point us toward the true owner.

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Space Explored Podcast 40: SLS launch dates, Starlink email blast, and more

This week Zac and Seth discuss SLS being greenlit to continue towards launch, SpaceX emailing its users to message the FCC and congress, and more news from this week.

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NASA’s CAPSTONE takes flight, kicking off the Artemis program

Rocket Lab launched the first Artemis program mission, called CAPSTONE, from its launch site in New Zealand on June 28. Its purpose? Testing out the orbit and procedures for where NASA’s proposed Gateway space station will be.

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SpaceX didn’t even submit a proposal to compete for NASA’s spacesuit contract – only the two winners did

You might have thought due to SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk publicly offering support to NASA’s new spacesuit program, his company would at least submit a proposal. It turns out no, which begs the question if SpaceX’s EVA capable suit is as far along as some people may think.

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NASA CAPSTONE: Rocket Lab launches first official Artemis mission to the Moon – Launch Spotlight

Rocket Lab launched NASA’s CAPSTONE mission to the Moon Tuesday, June 28 at 5:55 a.m. EDT. The mission was originally planned to launch from Rocket Lab’s Wallops Island but due to the pad not being ready for service the mission was moved to LC-1 at the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand.

No, NASA does not want you selling Apollo Moon rocks taken from Cockroaches’ stomachs

It doesn’t matter how you obtained those Moon rocks. NASA still claims ownership over all Apollo lunar samples even if you extracted them from cockroaches’ stomachs yourself. That’s what RR Auctions learned after trying to auction off a small amount of lunar dust alongside the cockroaches it came from.

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Inside Gateway: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s newest attraction

For a while now, the visitor complex at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has been focused on the past of America’s historic space program. However, last week the complex opened a new exhibit featuring flight-proven hardware and a glimpse of the future of spaceflight. Here is a look inside the newest Kennedy Space Center attraction called Gateway.

Space Explored Podcast 39: Lightyear movie review, record breaking SpaceX launches, and SLS wet dress rehearsal

This week Derek and Seth discuss their thoughts on the realistic parts of Pixar’s new Lightyear movie (and just their overall thoughts) and a week full of SpaceX news, good and bad.

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NASA completes Space Launch System wet dress rehearsal following a few hiccups

NASA completed the wet dress rehearsal of its Space Launch System rocket Monday from start to (almost) finish for the first time. It wasn’t without some hiccups, but this is a major milestone to fuel up all four tanks on the rocket before launch.

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SpaceX launched four classified payloads on Globalstar mission according to tracking data

Over the weekend, SpaceX conducted its fastest quick fire of rockets from its three Falcon 9 launch sites across the country. The final launch was a mission for Globalstar, however, it wasn’t alone. In total, SpaceX launched five payloads on that mission, but it only talked about one.

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SpaceX breaks Falcon 9 reuse record yet again over three launch weekend

Over the weekend, SpaceX launched three Falcon 9 rockets within 37 hours. The first occurred Friday morning, breaking SpaceX’s record for reflown boosters. The record now sits at 13.

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SpaceX fires authors of letter criticizing Elon Musk behavior, claims employees were pressured to sign

On Thursday, SpaceX reportedly fired at least three employees who led efforts of writing an open letter about Elon Musk’s tweets. The company stated that they forced colleagues to sign a letter that they did not agree with.

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SpaceX Starship orbital flight test in July says Elon Musk

Only one day after the FAA announced it would allow SpaceX’s Starship to fly from Boca Chica, Elon Musk is saying the orbital flight test will be as soon s July. Hard to believe this deadline is true but who knows, anything is possible with SpaceX.

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Ingenuity makes flight 29 after fixing a dead sensor

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has been hunkering down to hopefully survive the cold Martian winter and to do so it made flight 29 to get closer to the Perseverance rover. This flight follows NASA’s need to push a fix to recover capabilities lost when a critical sensor died.

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Space Explored Podcast 38: Starship environmental review, Astra launch failure, and more

This week Derek and Seth discuss what Starship’s final FAA environmental review means for the program and Astra’s most recent launch failure. They also talked about upcoming and recently released space-themed movies and TV shows.

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How many people are in space right now?

The International Space Station is designed to always be crewed by cosmonauts and astronauts. For this reason, women and men have been living and working in space constantly since the first Expedition mission in the year 2000. So how many people are in space right now?

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SpaceX clears FAA hurdle for first Starship Super Heavy flight

After months of delays, the FAA has finally released the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment for SpaceX to launch its Starship Super Heavy rocket from Boca Chica, Texas. While this is not a formal launch license, SpaceX is one step closer to the first launch of the full rocket.

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Astra TROPICS-1 lanch fails to deliver NASA mission to orbit, second failure from Florida

Astra lifted off once again from Florida’s Space Coast, this time carrying NASA’s TROPICS-1 mission. However, it failed to make orbit after the second stage shut down early. This is the second failed mission Astra has launched for NASA and makes a total of five failed flights overall.

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SpaceX Starlink IPO could still be ‘three to four years’ out

SpaceX has been out of reach from the public pool of investors for a long time, and it looks like it will stay that way for now. The rumored SpaceX Starlink IPO is not on the cards for a few more years per Elon Musk.

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Apple’s iOS 16 and watchOS 9 bring awesome animating Earth and Moon wallpapers and watch faces

On Monday, Apple announced iOS 16 and watchOS 9 to its developers at its World Wide Developer Conference. This year brought changes to the iPhone’s Lock Screen and some new watch faces, both bringing space theme options that are out of this world. Check them out below.

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Boeing could lose out to SpaceX (again) for final NASA crewed missions to the ISS

NASA announced quietly on June 1 that they are preparing to buy five more flights of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to finish out the crew rotation through the planned International Space Station lifespan. This could end up being the final missions awarded under the Commerical Crew Program, with the ISS set to retire by 2030.

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NASA Artemis spacesuit contract given to Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace

NASA has announced the contract winners to build and manage the new spacesuits for the Artemis Program. The two companies that won the potential $3.5 billion award are Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace.

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NASA Ingenuity prepares for Martian winter as power levels dwindle

NASA is having Ingenuity prepare itself for winter on Mars as the little helicopter is slowly not retaining enough power to last the night. So for now, regular flight operations will cease until possibly mid-October.

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FAA Starbase environmental review decision now two weeks away, June 13

The FAA once again moved the date for when it intends to release the final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for launching Starship from SpaceX’s Starbase facility. Initially intended for today, the administration is now looking to release Starbase’s PEA on June 13, or “in two weeks.”

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Next SLS wet dress rehearsal is scheduled for June 19

In a media briefing Friday, NASA announced that they will attempt its next wet dress rehearsal for the Space Launch System (SLS) in just over two weeks. All of this will begin when the massive rocket begins its rollout as soon as June 6.

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NASA InSight lander takes final ‘selfie’ before storing its robotic arm permanently

Last week NASA announced the Martian InSight lander’s mission would conclude by the end of this year due to low power. One of the first steps to get the lander ready for that will be placing the arm into its final resting position. So today, NASA shared InSight’s final selfie using the arm’s camera.

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Boeing OFT-2 Starliner is set to return today

After a short stay at the space station, Boeing’s OFT-2 Starliner will undock and return to Earth Wednesday. Below is how and when to watch the conclusion of, hopefully, Boeing’s final uncrewed test flight.

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