SpaceX Launches Dragon Resupply Ship to Space Station

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with a Dragon resupply ship on April 2, 2018. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station soon will receive a delivery of experiments dealing with how the human body, plants and materials behave in space following the 4:30 p.m. EDT launch Monday of a SpaceX commercial resupply mission.

A SpaceX Dragon lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida with more than 5,800 pounds of research investigations and equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations aboard the space station.

(more…)

Boeing & SpaceX Continue Parachute Tests for Commercial Crew Vehicles

At left, Boeing conducted the first in a series of parachute reliability tests its Starliner flight drogue and main parachute system Feb. 22, 2018, over Yuma Arizona. Photo Credit: NASA. At right, SpaceX performed its fourteenth overall parachute test supporting Crew Dragon development March 4, 2018, over the Mojave Desert in Southern California. The test demonstrated an off-nominal, or abnormal, situation, deploying only one of the two drogue chutes and three of the four main parachutes. (Credit: SpaceX)

By Marie Lewis
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

Crew safety is paramount in the return of human spaceflight launches from Florida’s Space Coast, and the latest round of parachute testing is providing valuable data to help industry partners Boeing and SpaceX meet NASA’s requirements for certification.

On March 4, SpaceX performed its 14th overall parachute test supporting Crew Dragon development. This exercise was the first of several planned parachute system qualification tests ahead of the spacecraft’s first crewed flight and resulted in the successful touchdown of Crew Dragon’s parachute system.

(more…)

First Quarter 2018 Launch Report: China & USA Battle for Lead

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy begins its first flight. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The world’s launch providers have been extremely busy in the first quarter of 2018, with 31 orbital launches thus far. This is more than one third of the 90 launches conducted last year.

China leads the pack with 10 successful launches. The United States is close behind with a total of nine launches with one failure. The tenth American launch is scheduled for Monday afternoon from Florida.

(more…)

Preview of ISS National Lab Science

Video Caption: The SpaceX CRS-14 commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station will carry over 20 separate payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory (managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space) to the orbital outpost.

For more details on the research detailed in the video, visit: http://bit.ly/2E2SI6M

For more information on the ISS National Lab and CASIS, visit: www.iss-casis.org

Trump Praises NASA, SpaceX in Infrastructure Speech

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

President Donald Trump praised NASA and SpaceX during an appearance to tout his infrastructure program in Richfield, Ohio on Thursday. The specific launch he mentions appears to the Falcon Heavy flight that occurred seven weeks ago.

“We must recapture the excitement of creation, the spirit of innovation, and the spark of invention. We’re starting. You saw the rocket the other day. You see what’s going on with cars. You see what’s going on with so much. NASA, space agency, all of a sudden, it’s back. You notice? It was dormant for many, many years. Now it’s back, and we’re trying to have the private sector invest the money. Why the hell should we do it? Right. Let them invest. If they want to send rocket ships up, they’re rich, let them do it. (Laughter.)

“When I looked at the rocket that went up three weeks ago, where the tanks came back — nobody has ever seen; it looks like Star Wars. But I looked at it and I heard the cost — I think they said $85 million. If the government did that, you’re talking about billions of dollars, and maybe it wouldn’t work so well.

“But I thought it was fantastic thing. But we’re working with the private sector and NASA. And we’re doing a great job. We’ve made so much progress in the last year. Don’t forget it’s just been a little more than a year. But we’ve made so much progress and other people are putting up a lot of money.

“They’re using our facilities. I feel like a landlord again. (Laughter.) We’re leasing them facilities. Not so bad. Not a bad idea. And they’re doing a great job. America is a nation, like you, of builders. It’s a nation of pioneers. A nation that accepts no limits, no hardship, and never, ever gives up. We don’t give up. We don’t give up. (Applause.)”

Read the full speech.

SpaceX Launches 10 Iridium Next Satellites

Falcon 9 lifts off with Iridium Next 41-50 satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX successfully launched 10 Iridium Next satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday morning.

Iridium-NEXT satellites 41-50 were successfully deployed from the booster’s second stage about an hour after the launch at 7:13 a.m. PDT. It was the fifth batch of 10 Iridium-NEXT satellites that SpaceX has orbited using three different first stage boosters.

(more…)

FCC Approves SpaceX’s Application for 4,425-Satellite Broadband Constellation

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2018 (FCC PR) – The Federal Communications Commission approved an application by Space Exploration Holdings, doing business as SpaceX, to provide broadband services using satellite technology in the United States and around the world. With this action, the Commission takes another step to increase high-speed broadband availability and competition in the United States.

This is the first approval of a U.S.-licensed satellite constellation to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies. SpaceX proposed a satellite system comprised of 4,425 satellites and was granted authority to use frequencies in the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) bands to provide global Internet connectivity.

The Memorandum Opinion, Order and Authorization today outlines the conditions under which SpaceX is authorized to provide service using its proposed NGSO FSS satellite constellation. Specifically, the Order specifies the conditions to ensure compliance with Commission rules, and to protect other operations in the requested frequency bands.

Over the past year, the FCC has approved requests by OneWeb, Space Norway, and Telesat to access the United States market to provide broadband services using satellite technology that holds promise to expand Internet access, particularly in remote and rural areas across the country. These approvals are the first of their kind for a new generation of large, non-geostationary satellite orbit, fixed-satellite service systems, and the Commission continues to process other, similar requests.

Techshot & Tupperware to Send Plant Growth System to Space Station

Mizuna growing inside plant growth chambers developed for NASA by Tupperware and Techshot. Six of the chambers are visible inside a Veggie mini-greenhouse at the Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: Techshot)

An improved system for growing plants in space, developed for NASA by Tupperware Brands and Techshot Inc., is expected to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) April 2 aboard a commercial SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

(more…)

Predicting the Lifespan of Materials in Space

Kim de Groh with the MISSE-9 samples. (Credit: NASA)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (NASA PR) — Almost every product we use has a shelf life. From milk and meat to laundry detergent and batteries, it’s important to know when it’s safe to use a product, and when it’s time to replace it. But what about materials used for spacecraft?

It is vital for scientists to know exactly how long a material will last in outer space; which is why Kim de Groh, a senior materials research engineer at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, is gathering data from the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) missions.

(more…)

TechShot Variable Gravity Device Headed for Space Station

Seen with its door removed, revealing two carousels, the Techshot Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) is a privately owned and operated research system for the International Space Station. (Credit: Techshot)

A new privately-owned and operated device designed to conduct research in space at varying gravity levels with a wide variety of sample types – such as tissue chips, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals, worms and flies – will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the next SpaceX cargo resupply mission.

Expected to launch April 2 from space launch complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX CRS-14 will carry the Techshot Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform (MVP), which can produce artificial gravity in 0.1 g increments, up to a maximum of 2.0 g.

(more…)

NASA TV to Air Launch of SpaceX Dragon Space Station Resupply Mission

Falcon 9 carries the Dragon cargo ship into orbit. (Credit: NASA TV)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX now is targeting its 14th resupply mission to the International Space Station for no earlier than 4:30 p.m. EDT Monday, April 2. Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Sunday, April 1, with pre-launch events.

(more…)

Dragon Mission to Carry CASIS-Sponsored Experiments to Space Station

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL., March 21, 2018 (CASIS PR) The 14th Commercial Resupply Services (awarded by NASA) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by SpaceX is targeted for launch no earlier than 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 2.

A Dragon cargo spacecraft previously flown on SpaceX’s 8th commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA will now include 20 separate payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory (managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space).

These payloads represent a diverse combination of science, technology, and the validation of new facilities that will contribute to greater research capacity in the future. Additionally, multiple investigations will launch to station focused on inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Below are highlights of sponsored ISS National Lab investigations that are part of the SpaceX CRS-14 mission.
(more…)

SpaceX Might Build BFR in Los Angeles

BFR servicing the International Space Station. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is looking to expand its footprint at the Port of Los Angeles in a move possibly related the manufacturing of its BFR booster.

SpaceX has entered into preliminary negotiations with the Port of Los Angeles for a lease that would expand the Hawthorne space company’s port facilities to manufacture “large commercial transportation vehicles.”

Port and company officials would not comment on what exactly would be built on the 18-acre site on Terminal Island, but public documents suggest that it will involve rockets or spacecraft.

SpaceX, which currently makes its rockets in Hawthorne, has plans to make a huge next-generation spaceship and rocket system known as BFR. The reusable spaceship and booster, which will measure more than 340 feet tall when stacked, is intended to eventually replace SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket and its new Falcon Heavy heavy-lift rocket, which flew for the first time last month.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, which oversees port management and operations, voted last week to approve California Environmental Quality Act regulations necessary for the board to later vote on a lease for the proposed project.

NASA Science Heading to Space Ranges from the Upper Atmosphere to Microbes

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A Dragon spacecraft scheduled to launch into orbit no earlier than April 2, carries the 14th SpaceX commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. Lifted into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Dragon takes supplies, equipment and scientific research to crew members living and working aboard the station.

(more…)