Retired Astronaut Bob Crippen on the 40th Anniversary of STS-1 and the Beginning of the Shuttle Program

These two astronauts were the prime crewmen for the first flight in the Space Transportation System (STS-1) program. Astronauts John W. Young, left, commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, manned the space shuttle orbiter 102 Columbia for the first orbital flight test on April 12, 1981. (Credit: NASA)

KENNED SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The Space Shuttle Columbia began a new era of human spaceflight when STS-1 lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 12, 1981, for the inaugural flight of the nation’s Space Shuttle Program. To mark the occasion, NASA is providing historical b-roll footage of the launch and landing as well as recently recorded soundbites from retired astronaut Bob Crippen.

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Briefings, Events, Broadcasts

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners. The flight follows certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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SpaceX Crew Ship Moves to New Station Port

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Crew Dragon Resilience with NASA astronauts  Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have re-docked to the International Space Station, another first for a commercial crew spacecraft.

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:30 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:08 a.m.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut  Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet  are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Following a short handover, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Hopkins, Glover and Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Noguchi, plan to return home off the coast of Florida about five days after the Crew-2 arrival to the space station as long as mission priorities and weather cooperate.

NASA’s BioSentinel Team Prepares CubeSat For Deep Space Flight

Austin Bowie inspects BioSentinel’s solar array. (Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart)

by Gianine Figliozzi
NASA’s Ames Research Center

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — BioSentinel gets a step closer to flight. Having completed assembly and a battery of tests, the BioSentinel team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley is in the final stretch of preparations to ship the spacecraft to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch.

BioSentinel’s deep space flight will go past the Moon and into an orbit around the Sun. It’s one of 13 CubeSats that will launch aboard Artemis I, the first flight of the Artemis program’s Space Launch System. Above, inside an anechoic chamber at Ames, quality assurance engineer Austin Bowie inspects BioSentinel’s solar array after completion of a test to determine the effects of electromagnetic spacecraft emissions on spacecraft systems.

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Sierra Nevada Announces Plans for Crewed Dream Chaser, Inflatable Space Station and LEO Commercialization

LIFE habitat cutaway (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Crewed Dream Chaser® Spaceplane to Shuttle Private Astronauts

SPARKS, Nev., March 31, 2021 (Sierra Nevada Corporation PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security company owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, outlined development plans for its low-Earth orbit (LEO) space station – leveraging its transportation and destination technologies – releasing new images, details and video of the unique concept in support of LEO commercialization.

The space station is a configuration of multiple large inflatable LIFE  habitats that can be serviced by both cargo and crew carrying Dream Chaser spaceplanes.

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NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station on Nov. 15, 2020, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is targeted for no earlier than Thursday, April 22, at 6:11 a.m. EDT. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

By Emily McLeod Sulkes
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

NASA invites the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Liftoff of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts is targeted for no earlier than 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Final Crew Members Named for Private Inspiration4 Crew Dragon Orbital Mission

Inspiration4 crew members Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux , Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski stand atop Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: SpaceX)

New Crew Members Representing Prosperity and Generosity Join Hope and Leadership to Complete the Crew Manifest

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., MARCH 30, 2021 (Inspiration4 PR – Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to space, today announced the final two members of the four-person crew that will undertake a historic voyage to the stars later this year. Christopher Sembroski of Everett, WA and Dr. Sian Proctor of Tempe, AZ will join previously announced crew member Hayley Arceneaux under the command of Jared Isaacman. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch the crew aboard a Dragon spacecraft later this year.

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NASA TV to Air First US Commercial Crew Port Relocation on Space Station

Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts aboard the International Space Station will mark another first for commercial spaceflight Monday, April 5, when the four astronauts will relocate the Crew Dragon spacecraft to prepare for the arrival of new crew members in late April and the upcoming delivery of new solar arrays this summer.

Live coverage will begin at 6 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Innovative Propulsion System Gets Ready to Help Study Moon Orbit for Artemis

CAPSTONE’s propulsion system undergoes environmental testing. Environmental testing ensures that spacecraft systems can operate after being launched into space and in the space environment. (Credits: Stellar Exploration Inc.)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, CubeSat will launch to a never-before-used cislunar orbit near the Moon.

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NASA Mega Moon Rocket Passes Key Test, Readies for Launch

The core stage for the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is seen in the B-2 Test Stand during a second hot fire test, Thursday, March 18, 2021, at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The four RS-25 engines fired for the full-duration of 8 minutes during the test and generated 1.6 million pounds of thrust. The hot fire test is the final stage of the Green Run test series, a comprehensive assessment of the Space Launch System’s core stage prior to launching the Artemis I mission to the Moon. (Credits: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — The largest rocket element NASA has ever built, the core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, fired its four RS-25 engines for 8 minutes and 19 seconds Thursday at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The successful test, known as a hot fire, is a critical milestone ahead of the agency’s Artemis I mission, which will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a test flight around the Moon and back to Earth, paving the way for future Artemis missions with astronauts.

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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites on Sunday; Falcon 9 First Stage to Launch for Record 9th Time

Credit: SpaceX

First stage to fly for record 9th time

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Sunday, March 14 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 6:01 a.m. EDT, or 10:01 UTC.

This mission represents the first time SpaceX will be reusing a Falcon 9 first stage for the ninth time.  The Falcon 9 first stage supporting this mission previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission, RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and five Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be located in the Atlantic Ocean. Falcon 9’s fairing previously flew on the Transporter-1 mission.

You can watch the launch webcast live starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

This week, the Starlink team launched service in Germany and New Zealand for the first time, and expanded its existing service in the UK. To see if Starlink is available in your area, visit starlink.com.

Space Station Hardware Developers, Payload Support Teams Celebrate Two Decades of Success, Prepare for Third

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson conducts a science experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox during Expedition 51 in 2017. The glovebox is one of 15 space station science hardware facilities managed for the agency by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (Credits: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Ask International Space Station facility engineers and payload operations teams at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, what makes them proudest as they look back on two decades of developing and testing science hardware and providing real-time support for experiments on orbit. Many will instinctively glance upward, as if the source of that pride might be passing overhead at that moment, 250 miles up.

Just as often though, they look to one another.

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SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites, Expand Services to UK, Germany and New Zealand

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

A Falcon 9 lit up the early morning Florida sky on Thursday, delivering an additional 60 Starlink satellites into orbit as SpaceX continues to build out its global broadband network.

Liftoff took place at 3:13 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The 60 Starlink broadband Internet satellites were successfully deployed into orbit.

SpaceX has launched 1,265 Starlink satellites, with 1,201 still in orbit. That means the company has launched about 10 percent of its global broadband constellation, which will total nearly 12,000 satellites.

It was the sixth launch and landing of the Falcon 9 first stage, which previously supported launch of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station last May. The booster also supported the launches of ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and a Starlink mission.

SpaceX also announced that it was extending its Starlink service to parts of western Germany and New Zealand’s South Island. The company is also expanding coverage beyond southern England to include Wales, Scotland Northern Ireland and parts of northern England.

SpaceX’s next launch is scheduled for Sunday, March 14 at 5:44 a.m. (0944 GMT). A Falcon 9 will lift off with 60 Starlink satellites from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites into Orbit

Credit: SpaceX

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Thursday, March 4 at 3:24 a.m. EST, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This was the eighth launch of this Falcon 9 booster, which previously supported Iridium-8, Telstar 18 VANTAGE, and five Starlink missions.

Unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable. At a time when more people are working from home and more students are participating in virtual learning, internet connectivity is more important than ever. With Starlink, we’re able to deploy quickly to areas that need it most.

In December, the Wise County Public School District in rural Virginia, where approximately 40% of teachers and students do not have internet access at home, announced it would provide some families in the area with Starlink to support remote learning. Starlink units were deployed in January and over 40 homes are now connected with high-speed internet.

If you’re interested in service, we recently started taking orders on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve your spot in line, head over to starlink.com for more information.