NASA selects companies to work on designs for human lunar landers

NASA announced in April that it has selected three companies to begin work on designs for human lunar landers, one of which the agency still hopes will be ready to land humans on the moon by the end of 2024. NASA selected teams led by Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX for 10-month study contracts forRead More

NASA to go ahead with Artemis program by 2024

NASA is forging ahead with its Artemis program to land humans on the moon by 2024, but the agency has also just offered its first plan for what a US lunar presence may look like after that milestone. “After 20 years of continuously living in low-Earth orbit, we’re now ready for the next great challenge of spaceRead More

Virgin Orbit chooses Japanese airport as its potential launch site

Virgin Orbit has identified an airport in Japan as a potential site for launch operations, joining airports in the United States and Great Britain as hosts for the air-launch company. Virgin Orbit said that, working with ANA Holdings and Space Port Japan Association, it selected Oita Airport on the island Kyushu as its preferred site.Read More

SpaceX Falcon Heavy to launch Psyche mission to metal asteroid in 2022

The $117 million Psyche mission will use one of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rockets, and it is scheduled to launch from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2022. The spacecraft will travel to a unique metal-rich asteroid named Psyche, which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Astronomers believeRead More

L3 Harris to maintain and modernize US military’s space surveillance sensors

L3Harris has been awarded a 10-year $1.2 billion contract by the US Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center to maintain and modernize the military’s network of space surveillance sensors. The award is for a new program named MOSSAIC, short for maintenance of space situational awareness integrated capabilities. The selection of L3Harris was announced inRead More

NASA unveils 16 payloads for private lunar landers

The commercial spaceflight industry is thriving, and regulators won’t get in the way. That’s the message that speakers at the 23rd Annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington this week want to get out. “The innovation, the technology, the leading edge, in many cases, is coming from the private sector,” said Rep. Garret Graves, R-LA,Read More

Maxar Technologies to demonstrate in-space assembly using robotic arm

Maxar Technologies recently announced a $142 million NASA contract to demonstrate in-space assembly using a robotic arm. Maxar said the contract will take its Dragonfly robotics program, which started in 2015 as a DARPA study, and pair it with Restore-L, a refueling spacecraft the company is building for NASA. Dragonfly has now been renamed theRead More

Astronomers discover 13 new black holes in dwarf galaxies

Astronomers seeking to learn about the mechanisms that formed massive black holes in the early history of the Universe have gained important new clues with the discovery of 13 such black holes in dwarf galaxies less than a billion light-years from Earth. These dwarf galaxies, more than 100 times less massive than our own MilkyRead More

SpaceX’s redesigned prototype to fly off in 3 months

SpaceX’s newly redesigned prototype of its Mars-colonizing Starship craft could get off the ground for the first time just two or three months from now, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said. SpaceX initiated that redesign after the first full-size Starship prototype, called the Mk1, blew its top during a pressurization test in November ofRead More

NASA identifies crash site of India’s Vikram lunar lander

NASA, with the assistance of an amateur image analyst, has identified the crash site of India’s Vikram lunar lander, the agency announced recently. NASA released images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) showing the impact site and resulting debris field from Vikram, which attempted to make a soft landing in the south polar regionsRead More