About the Author

Seth Kurkowski

@SethKurk

Managing Editor for 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.

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

Follow: Twitter @SethKurk + Instagram @sethkurk.

Yesterday

Join Space Explored’s Seth Kurkowski and Jared Base this week as they discuss NASA landing its newest rover on the surface of Mars, the newest crewmate to join the Inspiration4 mission to space, and an update to Starship progress in Boca Chica.

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After battling cancer at the very hospital she now works at to help other children battling cancer, Hayley Arceneaux is already an inspiration to us all. Now she will get to continue her amazing life story by partaking in the first all civilian mission to space.

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February 23

After yesterday’s mind-blowing Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) video reveal and dump of raw images for the public to gloss over, some have been looking closer at the pattern used on the parachute. While most parachutes use special designs, JPL has been know to hide secret messages all around their spacecraft and in less than a day Redditors decoded it.

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February 22

After 3 days of downloading data from the rover via JPL’s Deep Space Network NASA finally shared with us the videos that documented the entry descent and landing process that took place on Mars last Thursday.

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February 21

Starship SN10: Possible static fire as soon as Monday

With NASA’s Perseverance rover was taking up much of the limelight last week, we didn’t see much in terms of Starship activity other than lots of improvements to the landing facility and further work on future Starship vehicles but that might change this week.

One of the craziest experiments a part of the Mars 2020 mission, Ingenuity the small helicopter attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover, has messaged home to controllers at JPL. It saying that it and its base station are in good health on Friday. This is the first transmissions teams have gotten of the helicopter since it landed on the surface of Mars the day before, an important step in getting the helicopter ready to fly.

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February 20

Richard Branson’s satellite launcher Virgin Orbit has selected their first Chief Operating Officer to help get the company ready for commercial operations after the success of their Demo 2 mission. This mission successfully deployed 10 NASA payloads from NASA’s Launch Services Program into orbit around Earth bringing them officially online as a company capable to send satellites into orbit.

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February 19

NASA shares a sneak peek of upcoming landing footage from Perseverance

With less than a day on its life on Mars Perseverance has already wowed us with its first still image during one of the most difficult and dangerous times of the descent. Like its twin rover Curiosity, cameras captured stop-motion video of the rover being lowered by the Skycrane. Today we get the first glimpse of what it will look like.

February 18

Almost a decade of development and waiting has finally led to the moment the world has been waiting for. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission was launched onto its journey to Mars back in July of 2020 and teams have monitored its safety all the way there. Now the rover and teams of researchers back on earth get to start looking for signs of life on Mars.

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Spaceflight Inc, one of the big players in launch services is supporting Brazil in launching their first Earth observation satellite that was completely designed, built, tested, and will be operated in the country. It plans to launch by the end of February on top of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

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How to watch NASA’s Perseverance rover land on Mars

Not too often do we get to witness a brand new rover land on another planet, Curiosity landed on Mars back in 2012. Today NASA will be providing a wide range of ways to watch it land no matter what your age or preferences.

February 17

Last July NASA’s newest Mars rover lifted off from SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This began its roughly 6-month journey to the Red Planet and tomorrow will bring the long awaiting landing of the rover onto the surface, reusing the similar Skycrane maneuver used by its twin rover Curiosity.

With Mars being about 200 million kilometers (124 million miles) away from Earth, it isn’t possible to control Perseverance in real-time from the ground. It will take about 11 minutes to know if the rover landed safely, by the time teams on the ground see it start it has entered the atmosphere, the rover has already landed one way or another.

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Today California-based small satellite launcher Astra announced that Benjamin Lyon is joining their team as their new Chief Engineer. Lyon leaves his position as Apple’s Senior Director of the Special Projects Group, the team that brought the company many of its greatest innovations. According to Bloomberg, Lyon most recently worked on Apple’s car team.

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February 15

The secretive rocket company created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been developing rockets to compete in both the space tourism and commercial launch markets named New Glenn after the first American to reach orbit, John Glenn.

The rocket has been in development for almost 9 years and since then we’ve only seen rare glimpses of the current stages of development. They plan to make their debut launch of the rocket later this year and we’ve luckily got a glimpse of what will be used to test their new launchpad for this coming flight.

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February 13

A key part of NASA’s Artemis program is Gateway, a lunar outpost 1/6 the size of its cousin the International Space Station. It will be used as the orbital research lab for Earth-faring astronauts destined to explore the lunar surface and possibly as a rest stop for those heading to Mars. The first two modules are planned to launch in 2024 on top of the party pleaser Falcon Heavy rocket.

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February 10

Last week SpaceX launched their SN9 Starship prototype to an almost fully successful flight only missing the landing due to issues relighting one of the two Raptor engines needed for the flip and landing maneuver. This is something Elon Musk has already hinted at a possible fix that we might see on their next prototype which has already begun test at their site in South Texas.

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February 8

Starlink, SpaceX’s high-speed satellite-based internet service, has been in development for several years now and for the last three years, SpaceX has been launching satellites into orbit on their own dedicated missions. The company has launched over 1 thousand satellites and has over 10 thousand beta testers in the northern latitudes of the US and Canada with another pair attempting to launch from both of their launch pads in Florida.

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February 5

After almost a month and a half of tests, fixes, and red tap SpaceX finally got a chance to fly Starship SN9 to its 10 km test flight. This following their SN8 flight test in the beginning of December which marked the first flight of a fully assembled Starship prototype vehicle. While ending in similar fashions, the cause of the failed landings is different but not concerning.

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February 3

ULA plans to unveil its newest launcher later this year from the same launchpad that it launches its Atlas V rocket from. Building on top of their already successful line of launchers and using Blue Origin’s methane-powered BE-4 engines, ULA conducted a crucial test and rolled out the brand new launch mount it will be attached to for the first time.

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February 1

Cygnus continues a tradition in naming their spacecraft after people that have made great contributions to the spaceflight industry either as engineers or astronauts. With the upcoming launch slated to take place February 20th, Northrop Grumman named its next mission after the great mathematician Katherine Johnson.

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