Rocket Lab is launching their first dedicated mission for the NRO tonight

Photo: Rocket Lab Update 8:05pm ET: Currently in a hold due to ground winds, establishing a new T-0. Launch window is open until 11pm ET. Update 6:17pm ET: liftoff is now set for 8:22pm ET Tonight at 7:01pm ET, Rocket Lab is launching their Electron rocket from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. The satellite they're launching is NROL-151 for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and will be the first time Rocket Lab will be launching a high-class payload of this kind. This is also their first launch of 2020. The NRO awarded this contract to Rocket Lab under the "Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket" (RASR) contract vehicle. This contract allows the NRO to look at new la

Starlink 181-240 Launch is a Success

SpaceX has successfully launched and deployed its fourth batch of Starlink satellites earlier this morning. The launch occurred on time at 9:06am at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40. Onboard were 60 custom built SpaceX satellites. Each 260kg, or 507 pound satellite, is part of a larger proposed constellation that aims to provide the worlds most advanced broadband internet to across the globe and in places currently inaccessible. SpaceX is also experimenting with darkening their satellites in an attempt to lower visibility on the ground. This effort would benefit ground based astronomers who fear the constellation may obstruct observation. The first stage booster flew for

New Commercial Segments Coming to ISS

Photo Credit: Axiom An announcement was made by NASA yesterday afternoon that laid out an exciting new project for the International Space Station. They have selected a new contractor, Axiom Space, to develop and manufacture new segments for the ISS. Axiom will build 3 large pressurized modules as well as a large Earth observation window, similar to the current Cupola module. Photo Credit: Axiom NASA began soliciting bids in early June of 2019 after NASA's announcement that the International Space Station would be opening its doors to more commercial endeavors. The Houston based company plans to begin launching the three part "Axiom Section" in the second half of 2024. In recent years, the

Firefly Aerospace suffers anomaly during their first stage qualification test: Updated

Photo: Firefly Aerospace Earlier today Firefly Aerospace posted on their social medias stating that they will be conducting a qualification test of their first stage for the Alpha rocket. Those tweets and posts about the test have now been removed. The Burnet County Sherrif’s Office then posted of an explosion that occurred near Firefly’s facilities near US Highway 183 in Briggs. They started evacuations around the area within a 1 mile radius of the facilities and traffic was shutdown. Firefly Aerospace is stating that there was no explosion and no one was harmed, and that a small fire broke out at the pad that was quickly extinguished by the pad’s water suppression system. A community state

SpaceX Successfully Tests In-flight Abort Capabilities

Photo: Kevin Quick SpaceX successfully tested its Crew Dragon capsule's abort system this weekend. After being pushed back from an early Saturday morning launch, the Falcon 9 took off at 10:30am Sunday morning. Hundreds of cameras were pointed to the sky when the spacecraft separated. Shortly after separation, the rest of the rocket was destroyed due to the increased aerodynamic loads against the body of the first stage. The second stage stayed intact and exploded on impact with the Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Kevin Quick The reason for this test was to prove to NASA that Crew Dragon could successfully fire up its 8 Draco engines and jettison itself and its lower trunk away from a doomed Falcon 9

Watch SpaceX abort their Crew Dragon spacecraft mid-flight tomorrow morning

Tomorrow morning SpaceX will test an in-flight abort of their Crew Dragon spacecraft during a launch of their Falcon 9 rocket. The 4-hour launch window for the launch opens at 8am ET and remains open until 12pm ET and are currently targeting the end of the window. The Falcon 9 will be launching with Crew Dragon from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This Falcon 9 previously support 3 mission prior to tomorrow’s 4th launch - SSO-A, Merah Putih, and the Bangabandhu-1 mission. This was the first block 5 booster to launch and it will be the last time this booster launches. The abort will take place around 84 seconds after liftoff (1.4 minutes) where the spacec

SpaceX Will Intentionally Blow Up A Falcon 9 This Weekend.

Photo Credit USLaunchReport There are few things that spaceflight fans are more excited about this month than SpaceX in flight abort test. Currently scheduled for January 18th, the inflight abort mission will test the Crew Dragon’s ability to carry the capsule and its human occupants far from the rocket in the event of a catastrophic failure. Luckily for us (and somewhat unluckily for booster B1046.4) the separation will occur during the moment of most aerodynamic pressure, or max Q, and ultimately mean the full first stage will likely explode. Footage from the CRS-7 vehicle failure in June 2015 gives us insight to what we can expect. The in flight abort mission is, by its proposed timeline,

SpaceX is sending up another batch of Starlink satellites tomorrow night

Tomorrow, January 6th, SpaceX is launching another batch of Starlink satellites from SLC-40 (Space Launch Complex 40) in Cape Canaveral, FL.This launch is very similar to the launch that took place in November when the first operational batch of satellites were launched. The launch will be taking place at 9:19pm ET (2:19 UTC) and they will be attempting a drone ship landing for the first stage booster, which previously supported 3 other missions; Telstar 18V, Iridium-8, and Starlink v0.9 (the first Starlink launch). They’re also expected to attempt a fairing recovery from this mission with their recovery boat Ms. Tree. SpaceX is also testing a new experimental “darkening treatment” on one of

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