Antares Flies, Falcon 9 Stays

An Antares rocket lifts off with the Cygnus resupply ship on Oct. 2, 2020. (Credit: NASA)

Update: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted the Falcon 9 launch was aborted due to an “nexpected pressure rise in the turbomachinery gas generator. No word on when they will try launching again.

A Cygnus resupply ship carrying nearly 8,000 lb of cargo for astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) was blasted into orbit by an Antares rocket on Friday night.

The Northrop Grumman booster lifted off on time at 9:16 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island in Virginia. The flight followed a scrubbed launch on Thursday due to a software problem with ground equipment.

Cygnus, which is also a Northrop Grumman vehicle, is scheduled to arrive at the ISS early Monday morning.

Results were not as good on Friday night for SpaceX, which suffered its second Falcon 9 abort of the week in Florida. The countdown from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was halted two seconds prior to a planned 9:43 p.m. EDT liftoff for an unknown reason.

The rocket is carrying the GPS IIII SV-04 navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System.

On Thursday morning, the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink broadband satellites from nearby Kennedy Space Center was halted with 18 seconds left in the count due to an out family reading from a ground sensor.

Cygnus Departs Space Station, Begins 4-Month Secondary Mission

Cygnus departs the International Space Station. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

DULLES, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced that its Cygnus™ spacecraft has successfully unberthed and departed from the International Space Station (ISS), beginning its secondary mission before it reenters Earth’s atmosphere. The NG-11 Cygnus spacecraft, named in honor of Apollo 1 astronaut and space visionary Roger Chaffee, left the ISS after a 109 day stay at the station.

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NASA to Broadcast Departure of Cygnus Cargo Ship From Station

April 19, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 71 and 72 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — More than three months after delivering several tons of supplies and scientific experiments to the International Space Station, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, the SS Roger Chaffee, will depart the orbiting laboratory Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Live coverage of the craft’s release will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at noon EDT, with release scheduled for 12:15 p.m.

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NASA’s Commercial Cargo & Crew Spending

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

In announcing its plan to send two people around the moon using the Falcon Heavy and Dragon 2 in 2018 before NASA can do so using its own rocket and spaceship, SpaceX paid tribute to the space agency that has funded its rise.

“Most importantly, we would like to thank NASA, without whom this would not be possible,” SpaceX said in a statement. “NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which provided most of the funding for Dragon 2 development, is a key enabler for this mission.”

NASA funding has been behind Elon Musk’s company every step of the way as SpaceX has developed Dragon and the Falcon 9 booster upon which the Falcon Heavy is based. So, no NASA and, in all likelihood, no SpaceX.

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Confidence, Skepticism Surround Private Human Spaceflight Efforts

Artists conception of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in orbit
Artists conception of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in orbit

After shuttle’s retirement, could commercial space flights deliver?
McClatchy Newspapers

“We believe we can eliminate the gap,” Elon Musk , chief executive of Space Exploration Technologies — SpaceX for short — of Hawthorne, Calif. , told the Augustine committee. “We can provide housekeeping and logistical services,” he said. “We’ll let NASA concentrate on the Moon and beyond.”

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