Astra misses orbit again, SpaceX and Blue Original launch, leaked anti-SpaceX emails from ULA & more top stories

This week Astra launched their 5th test rocket which didn’t reach orbit again, both SpaceX and Blue Origin launched missions for NASA, and emails possibly leaked from ULA show their dark side.

Continue Reading

Alleged leaked ULA emails paint NASA as ‘incompetent’ and SpaceX favored over politics

Six internal emails were leaked this week that share statements from United Launch Alliance Vice President Robbie Sabathier to a lobbyist about NASA’s “incompetent” leaders and favoritism towards SpaceX.

The emails leaked from the ULA employee also contain wild speculation that contracts awarded to SpaceX by NASA were tied to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s inferred support for former President Trump.

Continue Reading

United Launch Alliance to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees

The Colorado-based launch provider United Launch Alliance has reportedly required its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of October, according to an internal email to ULA employees.

Continue Reading

[Update: Delayed past NASA Lucy mission] Boeing stands down from current Starliner launch window, returning spacecraft to factory

Update: In a press conference Boeing and NASA detailed why they will be moving Starliner back to their factory and the next possible launch opportunities.


The ongoing saga that is Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft takes another unfortunate turn today. Boeing has announced that it will return Starliner to its factory after experiencing hardware issues that prevented a launch attempt.

Continue Reading

‘Where are my engines, Jeff?’ Ars investigates Blue Origin BE-4 engine delay for ULA Vulcan rocket

You don’t have to spend much time on Space Twitter or Reddit to stumble upon a few dozen “Where are my engines, Jeff?” memes. Ars Technica recently took a shot at finding the answer to why Blue Origin’s BE-4 engines are delayed.

[Update: Delayed: Awaiting new date] Next Launch: Boeing Starliner to conduct its second orbital test flight

Update: A few hours before launch Boeing announced that the launch was postponed due to issues with “unexpected valve position indications” used in the propulsion system.


After the missed opportunity to dock with the International Space Station due to a timer issue on its first flight a second test flight was needed. Boeing will be performing their second orbital flight test for their Starliner crew capsule as soon as Friday to dock with the ISS. This will also serve as the final test before NASA puts crew onboard to determine if it’s ready.

Date: Tuesday, August 3rd at 1:20 p.m. EDT

Continue Reading

GAO backs NASA decision to rely on SpaceX Starship for Moon landing, dismissing Blue Origin-backed protest

SpaceX Starship will officially be the single solution for the first lunar landing mission under NASA’s Artemis program to return to the Moon. This comes after the US GAO backed the decision to use Starship as the lander, stating it didn’t break any laws with the selection. The space agency first announced its decision to land astronauts on the Moon with SpaceX in April, but legal protests from the Blue Origin-led National Team and Dynetics halted progress for the contract.

Continue Reading

Boeing’s OFT-2 mission completes its Flight Readiness Review before launch

NASA and Boeing will attempt to launch the Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission on July 30th at 2:53 PM EDT. This comes after a successful Flight Readiness Review today.

Continue Reading

Astronaut visits ULA’s facilities and shows off their wonky elevator floors

NASA Astronaut Matthew Dominick visited ULA’s SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to check out Starliner and shared an interesting photo of the VIF’s floors.

Boeing Starliner capsule secured to Atlas V rocket in preparation for Orbital Flight Test 2

Boeing’s Starliner Capsule for Orbital Flight Test 2 began its rollout from the company’s processing facility to ULA’s vertical integration facility. The capsule has been secured to the Atlas V rocket which will launch it to the International Space Station at the end of the month.

Continue Reading

Atlas V en-route to Vandenberg for Landsat-9 mission (Update: Arrived)

Recently, an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft believed to be carrying an Atlas V booster took off from Huntsville, Alabama on its way to Lompoc, California.

Continue Reading

SLS’s next stage gets stacked at the Kennedy Space Center

It’s a slow process but NASA is stacking their first Space Launch System rocket in the VAB at Kennedy Space Center. The newest part was just stacked in the last few days.

Elon Musk taunts ULA and Blue Origin after rogue plane and regulation delay SpaceX rocket launch

So this happened today. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded to a Vulcan rocket teaser video from ULA CEO Tory Bruno with a slightly provocative “when do the engines arrive” response. Without mentioning Blue Origin, the taunt is mostly targeted at Jeff Bezos’ rocket company.

Continue Reading

Tory Bruno shares video of ULA’s Vulcan rocket thrust structure before testing

CEO of United Launch Alliance Tory Bruno has shared a timelapse of a key piece of ULA’s Vulcan rocket as it gets ready to start testing.

United Launch Alliance played with the thought of faring reuse but ended up scrapping it

SpaceX has had great success recovering and reusing their payload fairings. In contrast, ULA doesn’t recover or reuse them, but according to CEO Tory Bruno, ULA seriously considered implementing fairing reuse, but the economics didn’t make sense.

Continue Reading

[UPDATE: RL-10C engine use further delayed] ULA sends Boeing’s Crewed Flight Test booster to Florida ahead of the next uncrewed test

United Launch Alliance loaded an Atlas V Booster and Dual Engine Centaur onto their Rocketship boat over the weekend. Its destination? Florida. This isn’t just any ordinary Atlas V though, this will be the first one to carry crew to space. The Boeing Starliner Crewed Flight Test (CFT) is still expected NET late 2021. However, a second Orbital Flight Test is needed.

UPDATE: ULA Begins OFT-2 Booster Stacking

UPDATE: RL-10C not to be used for upcoming Atlas missions

Continue Reading

Boeing’s Starliner Crewed Flight Test rocket arrives at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

An Atlas V booster and Dual Engine Centaur have arrived at the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center (ASOC) after being offloaded from the Rocketship transport vessel. Spaceflight media was invited to attend the event to provide coverage. This is the third human-rated Atlas V rocket to be delivered to the Cape, with the first being stacked ahead of the Orbital Flight Test 2.

Continue Reading

ULA’s maiden Vulcan flight delayed to 2022 due to payload readiness

We’ve all been waiting on the debut of United Launch Alliance’s brand new Vulcan rocket, the rightful successor to the Atlas V and Delta IV. But we might have to wait a little long for a payload to be ready to fly on the first mission.

Continue Reading

ULA launches their first Atlas V rocket of the year for the US Space Force [Gallery]

On Tuesday United Launch Alliance launch their first Atlas V rocket of the year. This mission carried with it a missile detection satellite called SBIRS GEO 5 for the United States Space Force.

Continue Reading

[Update: Payload separation] Next Launch: ULA plans to launch first Atlas V rocket of the year

May 18th, 2:19 PM EDT: The SBIRS GEO 5 satellite has been deployed from the Centaur upper stage.


A few weeks ago, ULA conducted their first launch for 2021 with a launch of a Delta IV Heavy for the National Reconnaissance Office. Next week, ULA plans to launch the first Atlas V rocket of the year carrying a payload for the US Space Force.

Date: Monday, May 18th, 1:37 PM EDT

Continue Reading

[Update: Launched] ULA’s first mission and debut of California launches for 2021

ULA’s next mission and first of 2021, NROL-82 is a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office and is launching on top of the large Delta IV Heavy rocket. This will end up being the first launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the prime spaceport for polar launches.

Date: Monday, April 26, 4:47 PM EDT

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Amazon to launch its first batch of Project Kuiper satellites on ULA rockets

Amazon’s answer to SpaceX’s satellite-based Starlink internet service is called Project Kuiper, and now the company has secured flights on ULA’s Atlas V rocket. These launches will be the first of many to build out the constellation of 3,236 satellites.

Continue Reading

[Update: Arrives in Florida with Atlas V] ULA’s Rocketship leaves the Mississippi River on its way to Port Canaveral

SpaceX isn’t the only company that employs a fleet of ships to help with launching their rockets to space. United Launch Alliance also has a ship built to transport its rockets from their facilities along the Mississippi River to the company’s launch sites on the east and west coasts.

Continue Reading

United Launch Alliance releases 7-part podcast on their new Vulcan rocket

United Launch Alliance (ULA), the defense contractor that has provided the rockets for some of the most important scientific and strategic missions for the US Government released a 7-part podcast for their new rocket.

KSC Visitor Complex Updates: Delta II rocket display and Apollo/Saturn V Center now open

The Visitor Complex at Kennedy Space Center has reopened one of its must-see exhibits and just unveiled the Delta II display! With the Coronavirus still very much a hazard, the KSC Visitor Complex has implemented new procedures to keep you safe while still being able to see the amazing Saturn V. Additionally, the latest addition to the Rocket Garden was officially unveiled today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Continue Reading

First fairings for ULA’s new Vulcan rocket begin testing at Boeing

The new rocket built to be able to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and give ULA an increase in launch capability is getting very close to its first launch. The new fairings are the latest in parts beginning final testing.

Blue Origin New Glenn pathfinder rocket shows itself as ULA’s Vulcan pathfinder head to pad

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.

Continue Reading

ULA rolls out new launch mount for Vulcan rocket

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.

Continue Reading

After delays, first flight ready Blue Origin engines shipping to ULA next summer

While delivery of new methane powered engines for United Launch Alliance was expected to occur this year, Blue Origin pushed back the delivery date to next year due to more time needed to solve issues with the engine’s turbo pump.

Continue Reading

ULA Delta II rocket display coming to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) has announced that a Delta II rocket display will soon be coming to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The rocket, which flew its last mission in 2018, will stand as a tribute to its almost 30 years of service.

Continue Reading

America’s newest fancy spy satellite finally leaves the planet

After sitting on the pad for over a year and undergoing multiple launch attempts since late August, ULA’s Delta IV Heavy lifted off on Thursday carrying a classified payload known only as NROL-44.

Continue Reading

Spy satellite no longer stuck on Earth? ULA sets new date for Delta IV Heavy and NROL-44 mission [U]

Update: December 10, 2020: Livestream for tonight’s launch is now available. Liftoff is scheduled for 8:09 p.m. EST.

United Launch Alliance has released a new target date for the NROL-44 mission using its massive Delta IV Heavy rocket. The classified mission for the U.S. National Reconnoissance Office Laboratory was originally set for August 26, but multiple failures to launch for various reasons took the launch off the calendar.

Continue Reading

Boeing targeting March 29 for Starliner’s second uncrewed test flight

After the failure of Starliner’s first uncrewed test flight back in December 2019, Boeing and NASA are finally ready to give it another go. The aerospace company is now targeting March 29, 2021, to launch Starliner’s second uncrewed flight.

Continue Reading

Video: Watch ULA join oxygen and fuel tanks for Vulcan rocket booster

United Launch Alliance has published a video of the fuel and oxygen tanks joining together for their next generation rocket called Vulcan.

Vulcan rocket pushes forward as Blue Origin’s BE4 ‘Path Finder’ engines reach Decatur

While Blue Origin and ULA are competitors who will be launching payloads into space, they have been partners in the development of a new engine used to power both of their newest rockets.

Watch a dramatic rocket launch shot on iPhone 12 Pro lift off in slow-motion [Video]

Apple recently launched the all-new iPhone 12 lineup with notable camera improvements across all four models. We’re still putting the new cameras through their paces, so we thought we would try capturing a rocket launch with iPhone 12 Pro.

Continue Reading

Ground system anomalies continue to haunt Space Coast rocket launches

During the countdown of ULA’s NROL-101 mission, an anomaly was found with a ground system oxygen valve. It’s something that has become common in the last month with both ULA and SpaceX rockets. After the valve was replaced, the issue persisted, and it was determined that it was not possible to fix it within the launch window. ULA is planning another attempt on Friday, November 6.

Continue Reading

Countdown has started for ULA’s NROL-101 Mission

Tonight at 5:54 PM ET, United Launch Alliance intends to launch a national security mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. The countdown began today at 11:04 AM. You can track the live countdown on ULA’s site.

Continue Reading

ULA’s NROL-101 mission getting ready to launch this week

United Launch Alliance’s next mission is getting geared up to launch this week. ULA attempted to roll out its Atlas V rocket out to its pad but ended up returning the rocket back to its vertical integration facility. Media was told during remote camera setup scheduled for today that the rocket will be rolled back, and they will have to reschedule setup for a later time.

Continue Reading

Dispatches from NASA: Countdown to Mars kicks off a decade of science and discovery

NASA’s Perseverance rover lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on July 30, but the Countdown to Mars is really only just starting. The rover’s months-long journey to Mars will continue through February 2021, then the next decade of Martian science and astrobiological discovery can begin. In this Dispatches from NASA installment, Space Explored captures the week that the Mars 2020 mission took flight in photos and video.

Continue Reading

Space Force selects ULA and SpaceX for phase 2 launch service contracts

In a widely anticipated announcement, U.S. Space Force and Air Force officials awarded Phase II of U.S. national security missions launch contracts to ULA and SpaceX as the primary launch providers through 2027. The NSSL (National Security Space Launch) Contract is a firm-fixed-price that will support launches planned from fiscal 2022 – fiscal 2027.

These contracts include early integration studies, launch service support, fleet surveillance, launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations, mission assurance, spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for each mission.

Continue Reading

Space Time: Mars 2020 with Scott Messer of ULA, NASA’s Dr. Lori Glaze and Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen

Space Time is a new podcast from Space Explored, part of the 9to5Mac Network.

In this Mars 2020 edition of Space Time, Zac Hall speaks with Dr. Lori Glaze (Planetary Science Division Director) and Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen (Associate Administrator, Science) of NASA, and Scott Messer (Program Manager for NASA’s Launch Service Program missions) of ULA.

Subscribe to receive new episodes every Thursday:  Apple Podcasts  Overcast  Spotify  YouTube

https://spaceexplored.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/07/Space-Time-07-29-2020.mp3
Continue Reading

Launch Rundown: The path to NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 Perseverance and Ingenuity mission

On the heels of the return to human space flight from American soil, NASA is launching another historic mission this year. Perseverance, the newest of NASA’s Mars rovers, plans to launch as soon as July 30, and the mission is packed full of new science experiments to learn more about the Red Planet. The new Mars rover will be launching on top of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

What makes Perseverance special? For starters, it’s the result of previous Mars missions dating back to the mid ’90s, and the state-of-the-art rover will be accompanied by the first-ever space helicopter…

Continue Reading

Mars Perseverance rover launch shifts to July 30 after multiple hiccups, August 5 deadline extended

The window for launching from Earth to Mars opens on July 17. NASA planned to use the date to launch its newest Mars rover Perseverance tasked with finding signs of past life on Mars.

NASA associate administrator Steve Jurczyk shared on June 9, however, that the earliest date launch partner United Launch Alliance can lift off is July 20. The launch date slipped back another two days on June 24 following a “ground support systems issue identified during the packing of the spacecraft into protective fairings that go on top of the rocket.”

As of June 30, however, the current launch target is no earlier than July 30. The original launch target extended through August 5, although NASA and ULA believe they can launch as late as August 15 if needed.

Continue Reading

Launch Alert: ULA Atlas V completing first Space Force mission today

Thursday, March 26, 2020 is launch day at Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. United Launch Alliance is completing the Sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or AEHF-6, mission for the United States Space Force.

Continue Reading