SpaceX Dragon Returns ISS National Lab-sponsored Payloads to Earth

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., April 7, 2020 (ISS National Lab PR) – SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft successfully splashed down today off the coast of California, bringing back dozens of research investigations sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory.

The successful splashdown and science return marks the completion of SpaceX’s 20th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission to the space station (contracted by NASA) to send critical research and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. The Dragon spacecraft spent approximately 30 days berthed to the space station before returning to Earth.

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Full Mirror Deployment a Success

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (NASA PR) — In a recent test, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope fully deployed its primary mirror into the same configuration it will have when in space.

As Webb progresses towards liftoff in 2021, technicians and engineers have been diligently checking off a long list of final tests the observatory will undergo before being packaged for delivery to French Guiana for launch.

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NASA Selects First Science Instruments to Send to Gateway

Gateway with Orion over the Moon (Credit: ESA/NASA/ATG Medialab)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected the first two scientific investigations to fly aboard the Gateway, an orbital outpost which will support Artemis lunar operations while demonstrating the technologies necessary to conduct a historic human mission to Mars. The instruments selected for Gateway will observe space weather and monitor the Sun’s radiation environment.

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Audit: SLS 33-43 Percent Over Budget, First Launch Slips to 2021

The first Artemis rocket stage is guided toward NASA’s Pegasus barge Jan. 8 ahead of its forthcoming journey to NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (Credits: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The latest audit of NASA’s troubled Space Launch System (SLS) finds the program is now even more behind schedule and over budget than previously thought, with the space agency failing to fully account to Congress for almost $6 billion in program costs.

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Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 Conducts Taxi Test with Launcher One

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 taxis down runway 12-30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port with the LauncherOne booster under its wing. Northrop Grumman’s Stargazer L-1011 aircraft, which also air launches the Pegasus XL rocket, can be seen in the background. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 aircraft conducted a low-speed taxi test down runway 12-30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port on Thursday afternoon.

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 carries LauncherOne in a taxi test at the Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

The aircraft taxied down the runway, turned around and returned. The Boeing 747 was then towed back to a concrete pad where it has sat for the last several weeks undergoing preparations for a taxi test and captive carry flight.

The LauncherOne booster can be seen under the left wing of Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Virgin Orbit has said that it needed to do a taxi test with a full fueled LauncherOne prior to doing a captive carry flight. It is not clear whether the booster was fueled. However, a hazardous operations notice to airmen (NOTAM) was not posted prior to the taxi test.

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 taxis down the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

LauncherOne is designed to orbit small satellites by air launching them over the ocean. A flight test of the booster is scheduled for later this year.

Support equipment for Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 aircraft and LauncherOne booster. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

The aircraft and booster require a significant amount of support equipment as seen in the photo above.

Northrop Grumman’s SpaceLogistics Subsidiary Selected by DARPA for Robotic Servicing Mission

The Mission Robotic Vehicle, shown with DARPA’s RSGS Robotic Payload is pioneering robotic servicing of satellites. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

DULLES, Va., March 4, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – SpaceLogistics LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as its commercial partner for the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program.

The groundbreaking mission will feature the first-ever commercial robotic servicing spacecraft and aims to expand the market for satellite servicing of both commercial and government client satellites with advanced robotics technology. The program objectives include enhanced capabilities such as in-orbit repair, augmentation, assembly, detailed inspection and relocation of client satellites.

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Artemis I Launch Delayed to Mid- to Late 2021

SLS core stage installation (Credits: NASA/SSC)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurcyk said on Friday that the first Artemis mission to the moon will not launch later this year but will hopefully fly in the mid- to late 2021 time frame.

It marks yet another delay in a program that is already running years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. The slip potentially makes the Trump Administration’s goal of landing astronauts at the south pole of the moon in 2024 more difficult to achieve.

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Northrop Grumman Successfully Completes Second Stage Test for OmegA Rocket

OmegA second stage static fire. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

PROMONTORY, Utah, Feb. 27, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully conducted a full-scale static fire test of the second stage of its OmegA rocket today in Promontory, Utah. Developed to support the U.S. Space Force’s National Security Space Launch program, the OmegA Launch System remains on track for its first certification flight in spring 2021.

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Final Test of Orion Motor Critical to Astronaut Safety a Spectacular Success

Orion launch abort system test. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

ELKTON, Md. (NASA PR) — When NASA astronauts blast off for their voyage to the Moon on the Orion spacecraft during Artemis missions, they’ll have protection in the form of the launch abort system (LAS). The LAS is designed to carry crew to safety in the event of an emergency during launch or ascent atop the agency’s Space Launch System rocket.

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Northrop Grumman Successfully Completes Historic First Docking of Mission Extension Vehicle with Intelsat 901 Satellite

View of IS-901 satellite from Mission Extension Vehicle-1’s (MEV-1) “near hold” position during approach from approximately 20 meters with Earth in the background. The MEV successfully docked with the Intelsat 901 satellite on Tuesday, Feb. 25. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

DULLES, Va., Feb. 26, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics LLC, have successfully completed the first docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) to the Intelsat 901 (IS-901) spacecraft in order to provide life-extension services. This historic accomplishment marks the first time two commercial satellites have docked in orbit and the first time that mission extension services will be offered to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.

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Blue Moon Program Fact Sheet

Blue Moon crewed landing vehicle. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin released a fact sheet about its programs when it opened its new Huntsville manufacturing facility on Monday. Below is an excerpt on the company’s advanced development programs and Blue Moon lunar lander.

BLUE ORIGIN FACT SHEET

Advanced Development Programs

Blue Origin is developing advanced technologies to enable space exploration and development, including a NASA Tipping Point contract to mature cryogenic liquid propulsion for integrated large-scale lunar lander applications and several years of progress on the Blue Moon Lunar Lander and its BE-7 lunar landing engine.

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Cygnus Cargo Craft Attached to Station for Three-Month Stay

Feb. 18, 2020: International Space Station Configuration. Three spaceships are parked at the space station including the U.S. Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft and Russia’s Progress 74 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-15 crew ship. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — After its capture this morning at 4:05 a.m. EST, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s

Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 6:16 a.m. At the time of installation, the space station was flying over south of New Zealand.

The spacecraft’s arrival brings more than 7,500 pounds of research and supplies to space station. Here are some of the scientific investigations:

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NASA Science, Cargo Heads to Space Station on Northrop Grumman Mission

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops at 3:21 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (Credits: NASA)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with about 7,500 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 3:21 p.m. EST Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the space station at about 4:05 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 2:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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Your Weekend Rocket Forecast

Antares with Cygnus CRS-13 spacecraft on the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA)

Friday, February 14
Saturday, February 15

Launch Vehicle: Antares
Payload: Cygnus (NG-13)
Launch Time: 3:21 p.m. EST (2021 GMT) 3:43 p.m. EST (2043 GMT)
Launch Site: NASA Wallops Flight Facility (Virginia)
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Northrop Grumman will launch a Cygnus resupply ship to the International Space Station.

Update: The launch was scrubbed on Friday due to unfavorable upper level winds.

Saturday, February 15
Sunday, February 16
Monday, February 17

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: 60 Starlink satellites
Launch Time: TBA 10:25 a.m. EST (1525 GMT) 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.spacex.com

SpaceX will launch 60 Starlink broadband satellites. The flight will add to the 242 Starlink satellites already launched.

Update: Launch postponed due to predicted poor weather in the first stage recovery area.

Update No. 2: Launch scrubbed to check on second stage valve. Now aiming for Monday.

NASA Coverage Set for Rescheduled Cygnus Launch on Friday

Antares with Cygnus CRS-13 spacecraft on the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA)

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — Northrop Grumman’s next NASA resupply services mission to the International Space Station is targeted for launch at 3:43 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 14. Live coverage of the launch and briefings will begin at 3:15 p.m., on NASA Television and the agency’s website

The company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission using its Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch on its Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

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