Crew-1 Lands Safely in Gulf of Mexico

Clockwise from bottom right are Expedition 64 Flight Engineers and SpaceX Crew-1 members Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi. (Credits: NASA)

Four astronauts returned to Earth early Sunday morning on a SpaceX Crew Dragon after a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), completing the first

The Resilience spacecraft carried NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to a splashdown off the coast of Panama City, Florida at 2:56 a.m. EDT.

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Artemis I Core Stage Transported to Its New Home

Artemis I core stage in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage for the Artemis I mission arrived on April 27, 2021, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The core stage arrived aboard the Pegasus barge from NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf.

The core stage is shown being transported into the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building on a self-propelled module transporter on April 29, 2021. Teams from the center’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs will perform checkouts ahead of integrating the massive rocket stage with the twin solid rocket boostersOrion spacecraft, and additional flight hardware ahead of the Artemis I launch.

Artemis I will be the first integrated test of SLS and Orion and will pave the way for landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface. It will be a proving ground for deep space exploration, leading the agency’s efforts under the Artemis program for a sustainable presence on the Moon and preparing for human missions to Mars.

SpaceX Leases Property at Port of Long Beach

Long Beach Harbor property leased by SpaceX. (Credit; Google Maps)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Long Beach Harbor Commission has unanimously approved a two-year lease with SpaceX for Elon Musk’s company to use a marine terminal for the recovery of Falcon 9 first stages.

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Falcon 9 Launches Crew-2 to International Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide onboard, Friday, April 23, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A previously flown SpaceX Falcon 9 launched four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft making its second trip to space on Friday.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur – who serve as the mission’s spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively – are in orbit along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut  Akihiko  Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

The on-time liftoff at 5:49 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center lit up the pre-dawn Florida sky as the rocket arced to the northeast over the Atlantic Ocean.

Falcon 9’s first stage successfully landed successfully on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the ocean.

The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station at about 5:10 a.m. on Saturday, April 24. NASA will provide coverage of the arrive on NASA TV and the space agency’s website, www.nasa.gov.

A post-launch news conference will begin at approximately 7:30 a.m. EDT with the following participants:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • SpaceX representative

The arrival of Crew-2 on Saturday will begin a four-day overlap with the four-member Crew-1, which has been on board the station for 160 days. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will undock Crew Dragon Resilience on Wednesday, April 28, at 5 a.m. and splashdown off the coast of Florida 7.5 hours later at about 12:35 p.m.

Crew-1’s return date and time are dependent on having a healthy spacecraft and favorable weather in the selected splashdown zone.

Boeing’s 1st Core Stage for NASA’s Space Launch System is Ready for Journey to Launch Site

SLS Core stage for Artemis I mission removed from the test stand at Stennis. (Credit: NASA)
  • Stennis refurbishment complete following flawless test fire
  • NASA to accept delivery of rocket stage to prepare for transport to Kennedy Space Center for integration and launch

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Mississippi, April 21, 2021 (Boeing PR) — Boeing [NYSE: BA]  begins delivery of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket cryogenic core stage to NASA today in preparation for launch of the Artemis I mission, the first moon mission in nearly 50 years.

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SpaceX to Launch Crew-2 to Space Station on Friday Morning

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX and NASA are targeting Friday, April 23 for Falcon 9’s launch of Dragon’s second six-month operational crew mission (Crew-2) to the International Space Station (ISS) from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous launch window opens at 5:49 a.m. EDT, 9:49 UTC, with a backup opportunity available on Monday, April 26 at 4:38 a.m. EDT, 8:38 UTC.

The Crew-2 mission webcast will go live about 4 hours before liftoff. Tune in here to watch live.

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Surprise! NASA Artemis Lunar Program Schedule Likely to Slip Again, 2024 Landing Unlikely

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The latest in a series of updates from NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) says that despite making significant progress on the $86 billion Artemis program, the space agency’s schedule for returning astronauts to the moon in four years is likely to slip. [Full report]

“Nonetheless, the Agency faces significant challenges that we believe will make its current plan to launch Artemis I in 2021 and ultimately land astronauts on the Moon by the end of 2024 highly unlikely,” the update said.

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Astrobotic Selects SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket for Griffin-VIPER Moon Mission

Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic announced today its selection of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in a competitive commercial procurement to launch its Griffin lunar lander to the Moon in late 2023. Griffin will be carrying NASA’s water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER). 

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Retired Astronaut Bob Crippen on the 40th Anniversary of STS-1 and the Beginning of the Shuttle Program

These two astronauts were the prime crewmen for the first flight in the Space Transportation System (STS-1) program. Astronauts John W. Young, left, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, manned the space shuttle orbiter 102 Columbia for the first orbital flight test on April 12, 1981. (Credit: NASA)

KENNED SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The Space Shuttle Columbia began a new era of human spaceflight when STS-1 lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 12, 1981, for the inaugural flight of the nation’s Space Shuttle Program. To mark the occasion, NASA is providing historical b-roll footage of the launch and landing as well as recently recorded soundbites from retired astronaut Bob Crippen.

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Briefings, Events, Broadcasts

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners. The flight follows certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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SpaceX Crew Ship Moves to New Station Port

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Crew Dragon Resilience with NASA astronauts  Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have re-docked to the International Space Station, another first for a commercial crew spacecraft.

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:30 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:08 a.m.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut  Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet  are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Following a short handover, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Hopkins, Glover and Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Noguchi, plan to return home off the coast of Florida about five days after the Crew-2 arrival to the space station as long as mission priorities and weather cooperate.

NASA’s BioSentinel Team Prepares CubeSat For Deep Space Flight

Austin Bowie inspects BioSentinel’s solar array. (Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart)

by Gianine Figliozzi
NASA’s Ames Research Center

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — BioSentinel gets a step closer to flight. Having completed assembly and a battery of tests, the BioSentinel team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley is in the final stretch of preparations to ship the spacecraft to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch.

BioSentinel’s deep space flight will go past the Moon and into an orbit around the Sun. It’s one of 13 CubeSats that will launch aboard Artemis I, the first flight of the Artemis program’s Space Launch System. Above, inside an anechoic chamber at Ames, quality assurance engineer Austin Bowie inspects BioSentinel’s solar array after completion of a test to determine the effects of electromagnetic spacecraft emissions on spacecraft systems.

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Sierra Nevada Announces Plans for Crewed Dream Chaser, Inflatable Space Station and LEO Commercialization

LIFE habitat cutaway (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Crewed Dream Chaser® Spaceplane to Shuttle Private Astronauts

SPARKS, Nev., March 31, 2021 (Sierra Nevada Corporation PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security company owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, outlined development plans for its low-Earth orbit (LEO) space station – leveraging its transportation and destination technologies – releasing new images, details and video of the unique concept in support of LEO commercialization.

The space station is a configuration of multiple large inflatable LIFE  habitats that can be serviced by both cargo and crew carrying Dream Chaser spaceplanes.

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NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station on Nov. 15, 2020, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is targeted for no earlier than Thursday, April 22, at 6:11 a.m. EDT. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

By Emily McLeod Sulkes
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

NASA invites the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Liftoff of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts is targeted for no earlier than 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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