Launch Thread: SpaceX to launch another batch of Starlink V1.5 satellites [U: New launch time]

This week SpaceX is preparing to launch a fresh branch of 48 Starlink satellites on top of its Falcon 9 rocket. This is the second Starlink mission to launch from Florida’s Space Coast since SpaceX completed its original orbital shell on Starlink L28 in May. The name, Starlink 4-3, stands for it being the third launch of the fourth orbital shell of satellites. Although 4-2 hasn’t launched yet, the names are set up well before the launch takes place. This shell will contain 336 satellites at an orbit of 560 km.

Alongside the Starlink satellites will be two BlackSky satellites. We’ve seen plenty of these Earth-observing satellites launch on Rocket Lab’s Electron.

Launch Date: Wednesday, December 2, 6:12 p.m. EST

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Here’s what Rocket Lab’s big Neutron reveal is all about

As promised, Rocket Lab gave us the details on its next generation rocket called Neutron. One thing that’s certain is everything has changed compared to its current Electron launch system.

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President Biden sets new role for National Space Council with five new members

On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris chaired her first meeting of the National Space Council (NSpC) of the new administration. Before this meeting, we were unsure how Biden’s NSpC would work, but it’s clear now it will continue the work President Trump forged – but now also climate change.

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How much is SpaceX worth?

SpaceX, one of the most valued private companies globally, has exploded in popularity and activity in recent years. This has caused many to wonder how much SpaceX is worth and how/when can you buy its stock?

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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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NASA OIG report outlines precarious future of International Space Station

A new report issued by the NASA OIG voices concerns surrounding ISS decommission. The International Space Station is set to retire soon, and the agency itself doesn’t have a successor in the works.

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SpaceX plans to build ‘several million’ Starlink user terminals per year, V2 satellite launches reliant on Starship

In an internal email seen by Space Explored, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX intends to build “several million [Starlink user terminal] units per year.” In order to have the internet bandwidth to support this goal, SpaceX will need to deploy its V2 Starlink satellites in orbit. It turns out, however, that this goal is entirely reliant on its next-gen Starship rocket that is currently in development in South Texas.

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Elon Musk says SpaceX could face ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ from Starship engine production

In an email sent to SpaceX employees, obtained by Space Explored, Elon Musk addressed the ‘crisis’ of Starship Raptor engine production and said the company could face a ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ if the company is unable to achieve a Starship flight rate of once every two weeks next year.

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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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Roscosmos and NASA in talks about adding commercial docking capability to Prichal

Roscosmos and NASA are in talks about the new Prichal docking module and allowing commercial spacecraft to dock to it, possibly relieving scheduling conflicts.

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NASA’s DART launches, new shiny Electron booster, and more top stories

On this Thanksgiving week we had some major events and updates come from the spaceflight industry. Catch up on what happened below.

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Russia’s Prichal arrives at the ISS, bringing five new docking ports

On Friday morning, Russian docked its new Prichal module to the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station.

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Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck shows off new shiny Electron, praises reusability

This week, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck shared his thoughts on reusable rockets and shared a new shiny Electron design during a press conference.

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Hardware issue delays launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, slipping closer to Christmas Day [Update: No additional damge]

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.

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Virgin Galactic announces winner of Omaze sweepstakes

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.

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Major Neutron announcement coming December 2, says Rocket Lab

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.

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Daughter of legendary astronaut, Good Morning America host, & others to fly to space with Blue Origin

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.

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SpaceX launches DART, Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission for NASA

Late last night SpaceX launched a double asteroid redirection test mission for NASA. The ~1,300 pound spacecraft will slam into Didymos’ moonlet following its 10-month journey.

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How to watch SpaceX launch NASA’s asteroid impactor towards its target

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.

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Rocket vs. Drone: FPV Drone races ARCAspace’s EcoRocket [Video]

On November 12, ARCAspace completed a test of the second stage of its EcoRocket. As the EcoRocket took to the sky, an FPV drone attempted to outpace the water-propelled rocket.

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International Space Station crew gets ready for Thanksgiving with a special message

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.

Astra successfully reaches orbit for the first time early Saturday morning

Fourth time’s the charm for Astra! It has successfully reached orbit with its Rocket 3.3 vehicle, serial number LV0007. This mission follows the “powerslide launch” in which an engine failure lead to a terminated flight.

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NASA Shuttle engineering cameras show unique views of what Artemis I’s launch might look like

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.

Blue Origin continues to expand its Florida presence with South Campus Expansion planned

In a new permit application, Blue Origin lays out the foundation for its continued Florida presence long into the future. Blue details near and future improvements to the south campus of its manufacturing facility located in Exploration Park.

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Confirmed: Astra to launch from SLC-46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

A new permit application confirms rumors of Astra launching from Launch Complex 46 as soon as late 2021 or early 2022. The previous launch from SLC-46 was the Orion Ascent Abort 2 test for the Artemis program.

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NASA OIG’s recent report predicts a years-long delay to Artemis’ human landing

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.

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Russia has put its own cosmonauts and NASA/ESA astronauts at risk after Anti-Satellite test [Updated: Statements by Nelson and Rogozin]

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.

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NASA Administrator ‘Outraged’ by Russia’s ‘reckless, dangerous’ anti-satellite test

As we reported, on Monday morning, the International Space Station residents quickly retreated to their spacecraft as the station underwent emergency procedures. A Russian anti-satellite test created a massive field of debris in orbit, putting Astronauts and Cosmonauts at risk.

Now, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has released a statement condemning Russia’s actions.

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Starship/Super Heavy Final Environmental Assessment to be released by the year-end

As SpaceX and the FAA work towards closing out the Starship/Super Heavy Environmental Assessment, more details have been released. Transcripts from the two virtual public hearings about the PEA were released along with an estimated timeline for the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment being released. This date is currently December 31, 2021.

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New NASA OIG report shows Starship Orbital Flight Test to take place in Q2 of Fiscal Year 2022

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.

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SpaceX Starlink Group 4-1 early morning launch in photos [Gallery]

SpaceX launched its 128th Falcon 9 rocket early Saturday morning, carrying 53 Starlink satellites. They are destined for a 560 km orbit and will begin the fourth orbital shell of the Starlink constellation. An unusual amount of fog came over the launch pad, making for some great photos.

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Three more NASA Astronauts inducted into US Astronaut Hall of Fame

On Saturday, three NASA astronauts were inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) and recognized former NASA astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria, Pamela Melroy, and Scott Kelly.

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Launch Thread: Starlink launches to return to Florida coast for new orbital shells [Update: Successful launch]

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

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Glen de Vries, who flew to space last month, dies in New Jersey plane crash

Glen de Vries, a passenger on Blue Origin’s NS-18 flight, died in a light plane accident in New Jersey on Thursday afternoon.

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Snoopy to fly around the Moon on NASA Artemis mission, ‘Snoopy in Space’ season 2 premiering on Apple TV+

Snoopy has a long history with space, and that continues with the Apple TV+ show Snoopy in Space, which sees Snoopy and gang travel the universe. Off-screen, Astronaut Snoopy is about to make a very real journey around the Moon, as a zero-gravity indicator on NASA’s Artemis I mission.

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SpaceX launches new Starlink user terminal, router loses ethernet

Yesterday, a new design for a Starlink user terminal appeared on the Starlink website. This new terminal features a rectangular shape, and new router, but that router lacks an ethernet port.

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Live Thread: SpaceX’s Crew-3 to dock with the International Space Station [Update: Crew now onboard the ISS]

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

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Launch Thread: Rocket Lab to launch two BlackSky satellites and attempt third booster recovery [Update: Launch delayed]

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

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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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How to track Crew-3’s flight up to the International Space Station

Shortly ago, SpaceX’s fifth crewed mission set off on its 20-hour journey to the International Space Station (ISS). Here’s how you can track the mission live online.

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SpaceX’s Crew-3 on their way to the International Space Station after a successful launch

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.

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Launch Thread: SpaceX to launch third ISS crew rotation mission for NASA [Update: Succesful launch]

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

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Blue Origin gets the blame for pushing Artemis III Moon landing to 2025, but it’s more than just that

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.

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How to watch SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station

SpaceX conducted a successful static fire of Crew-3’s Falcon 9 booster this last Thursday making them ready for their first launch date on Halloween. However, due to weather in planned abort zones along the easter coast of the US and a “minor medical issue”, Crew-3 has been delayed to tonight. Read below how to watch SpaceX’s Crew-3 launch.

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SpaceX Crew-2 mission patch now available on company shop post splashdown

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.

SpaceX’s Crew-2 splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico after a six-month stay in space

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.

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Virgin Galactic has sold 700 seats to space

Virgin Galactic announced its third-quarter financial report to investors today, and in it, details of the companies spaceflight seat sales have been shared.

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LEGO Education and NASA plan to launch minifigures around the Moon on Artemis I

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!