LightSail 2 Mission Poised to Burn Up in Earth’s Atmosphere

LightSail 2 Mission Poised to Burn Up in Earth's Atmosphere

LightSail 2 spacecraft captured this image on June 11, 2022, which shows Madagascar and a portion of Mozambique.Image: The Planetary Society For the past three years, a tiny loaf-of-bread-sized spacecraft with gigantic wings has been sailing on sunbeams in low Earth orbit. LightSail 2 has far exceeded its life expectancy and proven that solar sails … Read more

SpaceX Mounts Starship Booster on Texas Launch Tower

SpaceX Mounts Starship Booster on Texas Launch Tower

SpaceX’s massive Super Heavy booster stage is now standing (very) tall on the company’s launch pad in south Texas, as it awaits a series of tests and final checks. The company is eager to launch the fully stacked Starship rocket for a flight test as early as July, but a number of regulatory hurdles still … Read more

Mars Spacecraft Finally Upgrading From Windows 98 Era Software

Mars Spacecraft Finally Upgrading From Windows 98 Era Software

An illustration of the Mars Express spacecraft which launched in 2003.Drawing: ESA The days of dial-up internet, AOL Instant Messenger, and Myspace may be over on Earth, but on Mars, the early years of the internet still live on. A Martian spacecraft has been running on software designed more than 20 years ago in a … Read more

NASA to Launch CAPSTONE Mission on Monday June 27

NASA to Launch CAPSTONE Mission on Monday June 27

A tiny satellite is poised to set the stage for something far grander: a full-blown lunar space station. NASA’s CAPSTONE satellite is scheduled to launch on Monday and then travel to a unique lunar orbit in a pathfinder mission for the Artemis programwhich is seeking to return humans to the Moon later this decade. CAPSTONE … Read more

NASA’s Dust-Choked InSight Lander Likely Won’t Make It to the End of the Year

NASA's Dust-Choked InSight Lander Likely Won't Make It to the End of the Year

NASA announced in May that its InSight Mars lander—a spacecraft that has spent nearly four years investigating Martian geology and seismic activity—would likely scientific cease operations in mid-summer and terminate all operations by the end of the year, due to low power levels. Now, the agency plans to stretch InSight’s scientific endeavors until late August … Read more

SpaceX Just Pulled Off Three Launches in 36 Hours

SpaceX Just Pulled Off Three Launches in 36 Hours

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched Germany’s SARah 1 military imaging satellite into orbit on June 18.Photo: SpaceX It was a busy weekend for SpaceX, with the private space company launching three of its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit over a period of three days. SpaceX’s final launch may even have been carrying a classified government … Read more

Elon Musk Pegs July for First Orbital Launch of Starship

Elon Musk Pegs July for First Orbital Launch of Starship

Starship is designed to carry astronauts and cargo to the Moon, and maybe even further destinations like Mars.Photo: SpaceX Yesterday, Elon Musk said Starship will be ready for its first orbital launch next month, followed by monthly liftoffs from the company’s south Texas base. It’s an ambitious timeline, but the private space company has not … Read more

NASA’s Plan to Get Ingenuity Through the Martian Winter

NASA's Plan to Get Ingenuity Through the Martian Winter

Ingenuity, NASA’s autonomous Mars helicopter, was only meant to complete five flights. But since its history-making first flight in April 2021, the helicopter has flown 28 times, and preparation is underway for the 29th. Depending on dust levels and the schedule of the Perseverance rover, that flight could take place as soon as later this … Read more

NASA’s Delayed Psyche Launch Presents Major Headache for Ride-Along Mission

NASA's Delayed Psyche Launch Presents Major Headache for Ride-Along Mission

Artist’s conception of the twin Janus probes. Image: Lockheed Martin A software glitch has caused the delay of Psyche, a NASA mission to explore a metal-rich asteroid. Two small probes are being included in the launch, but the postponement means they might not be able to rendezvous with their respective target asteroids. Psyche, a probe … Read more

NASA’s Delayed Psyche Launch Presents Major Headache for Ride-Along Mission

NASA's Delayed Psyche Launch Presents Major Headache for Ride-Along Mission

Artist’s conception of the twin Janus probes. Image: Lockheed Martin A software glitch has caused the delay of Psyche, a NASA mission to explore a metal-rich asteroid. Two small probes are being included in the launch, but the postponement means they might not be able to rendezvous with their respective target asteroids. Psyche, a probe … Read more