Starliner Orbit Flight Test 2 Now Targeted for NET March 25

The Orbital Flight Test Starliner being processed by technicians after return from White Sands Missile Range. (Credit: Boeing)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Boeing PR) — NASA and Boeing are targeting no earlier than Thursday, March 25, for the launch of Starliner’s second uncrewed flight test as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path to fly crew missions for NASA. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is designed, built, tested and flown by a team committed to safely, reliably and sustainably transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The target launch date is enabled by an opening on the Eastern Range; the availability of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket; steady progress on hardware and software; and an International Space Station docking opportunity.

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Astrobotic Completes Successful Testing with NASA’s Water Detecting Payloads

A rendering of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is shown, with NASA’s three water-detecting payloads (MSolo, NSS, and NIRVSS) highlighted in blue. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Three of NASA’s payloads set to fly aboard Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander in 2021 have successfully completed preliminary interface simulation testing between Astrobotic, NASA’s Ames Research Center, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center payload teams.

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ULA Successfully Launches NROL-44 Mission to Support National Security

A Delta IV Heavy launches the NROL-44 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla., (Dec. 11, 2020) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on Dec. 10 at 8:09 p.m. EST. To date ULA has launched 142 times with 100 percent mission success.

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NASA and Boeing Target New Launch Date for Next Starliner Flight Test

Starliner OFT-1 capsule after landing at White Sands Missile Range. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Boeing Mission Update
December 9, 2020

NASA and Boeing are targeting March 29 for the launch of Starliner’s second uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is a critical developmental milestone on the company’s path toward flying crew missions for NASA.

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Northrop Grumman Rocket Boosters Help Successfully Launch United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V

Northrop Grumman’s GEM 63 rocket motors propel the launch of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V on Nov. 13, 2020. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

MAGNA, Utah, Nov. 13, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Three of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 63) rocket boosters were used for the first time today to help successfully launch and deploy the National Reconnaissance Office launch 101 (NROL-101) on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle.

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ULA Successfully Launches NROL-101 Mission for National Reconnaissance Office

An Atlas V rocket launches the NROL-101 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Nov. 13, 2020 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off on Nov. 13 at 5:32 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Sticks a Fork in NASA’s 2024 Moon Landing Plan

Artemis Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It looks as if the Trump Administration’s goal of landing astronauts on the moon in 2024 is expiring at about the same time as the administration itself. The fatal blow is being struck by Congress, not the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has released a fiscal year 2021 funding bill that includes $1 billion for NASA to Human Landing System (HLS) that will take astronauts to and from the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program. The amount is far short of the $3.2 billion that NASA has said is needed for HLS to keep the 2024 landing on schedule.

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Atlas V Launch Rescheduled for Wednesday Evening

An Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:18 p.m. EDT on March 26, 2020. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing towards the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The mission is set to lift off on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch time is 5:54 p.m. EST.

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ULA’s Atlas V to Launch Reconnaissance Satellite on Tuesday

An Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-6 mission for the U.S Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:18 p.m. EDT on March 26, 2020. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing towards the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The mission is set to lift off on Tue., Nov. 3 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch time is 5:58 p.m. EST.

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ULA Atlas V Launch Scheduled for Nov. 3

Launch of the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission to study the Sun from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Feb. 9, 2020. (Credits: Jared Frankle, NASA Solar Orbiter Social Participant)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020 (ULA PR) – The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.

The launch period is 5:30 to 8:10 p.m. EST. The Atlas V will launch from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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ULA CEO Tory Bruno Visits The Space Show this Week

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Oct. 19, 2020; 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT) NO PROGRAM TODAY.

2. Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, 7 PM PDT (9 PM CDT; 10 PM EDT): We welcome AMANDA DRESCHLER and MICHAEL LIVINGSTON to discuss their Covid lockdown special film, ” We Can’t Go On.” For details see the upcoming show menu and the blog.

3. Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020; Hotel Mars TBA pre-recorded. See upcoming show menu on the home page for program details.

4. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020: No program today.

5. Friday, Oct. 23, 2020; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT: We welcome back TORY BRUNO, CEO of ULA.

6. Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome DR. ERIK SEEDHOUSE to discuss his latest books and more.

NASA Tipping Point Selections Include Cryogenic Fluid, Lunar Surface and Landing Tech

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following selections, organized by topic area, are based on NASA’s fifth competitive Tipping Point  solicitation and have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm-fixed price contracts lasting for up to five years.

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NASA Announces Partners to Advance ‘Tipping Point’ Technologies for the Moon, Mars

NASA and industry have developed and tested numerous technologies to enable long-term cryogenic fluid management, which is essential for establishing a sustainable presence on the Moon and helping crewed missions to Mars. For example, this 13-foot diameter cryogenic storage test tank evaluated technologies to reduce the evaporation or “boil off” propellant losses. Implementation of similar technologies in operational missions requires further maturation through in-space demonstrations. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 14 American companies, including several small businesses, as partners to develop a range of technologies that will help forge a path to sustainable Artemis  operations on the Moon by the end of the decade.

U.S. industry submitted the proposals to NASA’s fifth competitive  Tipping Point solicitation, and the selections have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm fixed-price contracts lasting for up to five years.

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SpaceX Loses Lawsuit Against U.S. Air Force Over Starship Funding

Starship lifts off on a point to point flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A federal judge had denied SpaceX’s claim that the U.S. Air Force should have provided development funding for its Starship booster, according to media reports.

USAF awarded $2.2 billion in contracts in October 2918 to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to help the companies develop new rockets to launch national security payloads. SpaceX’s proposal for Starship funding was rejected.

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Sensors Result in Delta IV Heavy, Falcon 9 Launch Scrubs

Launches of Delta IV Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets from Florida’s Space Coast were aborted with only seconds to go before liftoff less than 10 hours apart.

The countdown of an United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy was stopped 7 seconds before a planned 11:54 p.m. launch on Wednesday after a sensor detected an unidentified fault. Crews safed the vehicle on its launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The massive rocket is carrying the NROL-44 spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. ULA has not set a new launch date.

It was the sixth scrub or launch delay for the ULA booster since Aug. 27. Five of the delays occurred due to technical problems, the other resulted from weather.

Less than 10 hours later, an “out of family” ground sensor aborted the countdown of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center only 18 seconds before a planned 9:17 a.m. EDT liftoff.

The booster is carrying 60 spacecraft for the company’s Starlink satellite broadband constellation. SpaceX has not announced a new launch date for the flight.