Dragon Landing and Recovery Photos

Dragon parachutes deployed during descent. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon's parachutes after landing. (Credit; SpaceX)
SpaceX's Dragon after splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: Michael Altenhofen)
A scorched Dragon on the deck of the recovery barge. (Credit: SpaceX)

Blue Origin Completes Spacecraft System Requirements Review

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) –
Blue Origin successfully completed a System Requirements Review (SRR) of its orbital Space Vehicle on May 15-16. Blue Origin is maturing the design of the Space Vehicle in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.


GLXP Update: Omega Envoy Add Two New Partners to Team

ORLANDO, FL. (Omega Envoy PR) – Omega Envoy, the Florida team competing in the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP), and its parent company, Earthrise Space Inc (ESI), are proud to announce that the team has secured a sponsorship from Boca Bearings to provide hardware for ESI’s lunar spacecraft and a partnership with CT Social to assist on outreach efforts.


CSF Congratulates SpaceX on Successful Dragon Flight

Astronauts inside the Dragon. (Credit: SpaceX)

Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates SpaceX for the completion of its Commercial Orbital Transportation System demonstration with the successful splashdown of the Dragon capsule today. Dragon departed the Station this morning and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, carrying over 1,000lbs of cargo from the International Space Station.


Sierra Nevada Begins Dream Chaser Flight Test Program

Dream Chaser on its first captive carry flight. (Credit: SNC)

Louisville, Colo. – May 30, 2012 (SNC PR) –
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the beginning of its Dream Chaser® Space System’s flight test program with a successful captive carry of a full scale Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle near the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Colorado.


Splashdown! Dragon Lands in Pacific After Historic Flight

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft splashed down successfully in the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. EDT time after a historic mission to the International Space Station. The cargo ship landed about 563 miles off the coast of Baja California. Recovery operations now underway.

The official SpaceX press release:

Hawthorne, CA (SPACEX PR) – This morning, at approximately 8:42 AM Pacific/11:42 AM Eastern, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed its historic mission when the Dragon spacecraft splashed down safely in the Pacific. The vehicle will now be recovered by boats and start the trip back to land.

At 11:00 AM Pacific/2:00 PM Eastern, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk will join NASA Space Station Program Manager Mike Suffredini and NASA COTS Program Manager Alan Lindenmoyer for a press conference to discuss today’s exciting events.


Dragon Prepped for Fiery Re-entry

Artist’s rendition of the Dragon spacecraft as it returns to earth like a burning comet. (Credit: SpaceX)

Hawthorne, CA (SpaceX PR) – After making the historic journey as the first commercial spacecraft to visit the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will return to Earth tomorrow.

The return is by no means an easy operation.  In fact, today, Dragon is the only spacecraft capable of returning a significant amount of cargo from the space station.  The other cargo vehicles serving the space station – from Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency – can carry cargo up but all are destroyed after leaving the station.


GLXP Update: Moon Express Gobbles Up Next Giant Leap

Washington, DC – May 30, 2012 (ME PR) – Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today that it has acquired Next Giant Leap, LLC of Colorado (NGL).

The NGL acquisition by Moon Express will leverage and carry forward the substantial work done by NGL supported by its corporate partners, Sierra Nevada Corp., The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, MIT Space Systems Laboratory, Aurora Flight Services, Jolted Media Group, The Center for Space Entrepreneurship (eSpace) and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. The announcement was made at the Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit taking place this week in Washington, DC.

FAA Grants Launch Permits as SpaceShipTwo Ready to Fly Again

SpaceShipTwo glides downward on its first test flight. (Photo: Mark Greenberg)

MOJAVE, Calif. – May 30, 2012 (VG PR) — Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, announced today that its vehicle developer, Scaled Composites (Scaled), has been granted an experimental launch permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its suborbital spacecraft, SpaceshipTwo, and the carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo.

“This important milestone enables our team to progress to the rocket-powered phase of test flight, bringing us a major step closer to bringing our customers to space,” said George Whitesides, president and CEO of Virgin Galactic.  “We thank the FAA for their timely issuance of this permit, and for their responsible oversight of the test program.”


USAF: X-37B Coming Home Next Month

X-37B space plane after it first landing. (Credit: U.S. Air Force)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USAF PR) – Preparations for the second landing of the X-37B, the Air Force’s unmanned, reusable space plane, are underway at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

While the exact landing date and time will depend on technical and weather considerations, it is expected to occur during the early- to mid-June timeframe. Space professionals from the 30th Space Wing will monitor the de-orbit and landing of the Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission, called OTV-2.

The X-37B launched March 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Since then, Vandenberg crews have conducted extensive, periodic training in preparation for landing. “The men and women of Team Vandenberg are ready to execute safe landing operations anytime and at a moment’s notice,” said Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

NASA TV Coverage for Dragon Reentry and Splashdown

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA Television will provide extensive coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon capsule from the International Space Station before its reentry and splashdown on May 31.

On Wednesday, May 30, a news briefing previewing the departure activities will be held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at 9 a.m. CDT (10 a.m. EDT) and will be broadcast live on NASA TV and the agency’s website. Participants include NASA Flight Director Holly Ridings and SpaceX Mission Manager John Couluris.

The Space Report 2012 Available for Purchase

The Space Report 2012 is now available for purchase.

The premier research and analysis product of the Space Foundation covers the state of space activity and thoroughly examines the impact of the space industry on the overall economy and our daily lives.

Highlights Include:

  • Impact of budget austerity on the global space economy
  • Global launch capabilities and performance in 2011
  • Demographic information for ESA and JAXA, updated NASA figures and much more.

Buy The Space Report here.

Sierra Nevada Completes Four Dream Chaser Milestones

Sparks, NV –May 29, 2012
(SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems announces that the Dream Chaser® Space System has successfully completed four additional NASA Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) Program Milestones.

The four Milestones included: Separation System Testing, Flight Article Main Landing Gear Drop Testing, Captive Carry Interface Testing, and a Captive Carry Flight Test Readiness Review.