Categories
GeekWire

NASA and SpaceX rehearse for historic launch day

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken waves to onlookers outside the Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, just before he and crewmate Doug Hurley get into a Tesla Model X car for the drive to Launch Complex 39A and a rehearsal of next week’s countdown. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

NASA and SpaceX put astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken and the rest of the team at Kennedy Space Center in Florida through a “dry dress rehearsal” today in preparation for next week’s historic launch to the International Space Station.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

NASA gives thumbs-up to crewed SpaceX mission

Falcon 9 static fire
SpaceX conducts a static-fire test for its Falcon 9 rocket in advance of its Crew Dragon launch. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

NASA today signed off on the first launch to send a crew into orbit from U.S. soil in nearly nine years, and the rocket for that launch had its final test firing.

After reviewing mission plans for a day and a half, mission managers cleared SpaceX to send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station at 4:33 p.m. ET (1:33 p.m. PT) May 27.

“We had a very successful flight readiness review, in that we did a thorough review of all the systems and all the risks,” NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk, who presided over this week’s meetings, said at KSC during a post-review news briefing. “It was unanimous on the board that we are go for launch.”

After the briefing, SpaceX fired up the first-stage engines on its Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to conduct its traditional static-fire system check. In the wake of the test, SpaceX reported that everything was on track for the May 27 liftoff.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Astronauts arrive in Florida to set new traditions

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley take questions from journalists after their arrival at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA Photo)

Two NASA astronauts landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida today to go through a set of pre-launch traditions that haven’t been followed for nearly nine years — and create a few new traditions as well.

When Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken walked out of a NASA Gulfstream jet and met the press, they began a routine that’s due to climax next week with the first orbital launch from U.S. soil since the space shuttle fleet’s retirement in 2011.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is due to loft their commercial Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station a week from today. But first, they’ll participate remotely in a launch readiness review on Thursday, and then go through an in-person launch rehearsal at historic Launch Complex 39A on Saturday.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

SpaceX launches Starlink satellites and sets record

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster executed its fourth successful launch and landing as part of a mission that put 60 more Starlink broadband internet satellites into orbit, marking the seventh such mission.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

NASA revives formerly forbidden ‘worm’ logo

NASA logo on SpaceX rocket
The NASA “worm” logo appears on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that’s due to launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft as early as next month. (SpaceX Photo)

NASA is restoring a squiggly graphic representation of its acronym, known as “the Worm,” to a place of prominence, 28 years after it was consigned to the dustbin of space history.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Starlink launch succeeds, but booster gets busted

SpaceX launched 60 more satellites for its Starlink internet broadband constellation on a Falcon 9 rocket today, bringing the total count to 300.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

 

Categories
GeekWire

SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites

SpaceX launched its fourth batch of 60 Starlink satellites today, boosting its constellation to a world-record 240 satellites and bringing the company closer to starting up its global broadband internet service.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

SpaceX rehearses Dragon’s worst-case scenario

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from its Florida launch pad to begin an in-flight test of the Crew Dragon space taxi’s abort system. (SpaceX / NASA via YouTube)

With a fiery flash and volleys of cheers, SpaceX and NASA today rehearsed something they hope will never happen: a catastrophic rocket failure at the worst time in the launch of a crewed mission to the International Space Station.

Fortunately, the closest things to crew members on today’s in-flight abort test of the Crew Dragon spaceship were two test dummies, sitting on sensors in the seats that will tell engineers how flesh-and-blood fliers would have weathered the aborted trip.

If the results of the test look good, that should take care of the final major hurdle before two actual NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, ride a different Crew Dragon to the station and back later this year.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

SpaceX launches third batch of Starlink satellites

SpaceX launch
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket rises from its pad, sending Starlink satellites into space. (SpaceX via YouTube)

SpaceX sent a fresh batch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit tonight on a Falcon 9 rocket, executing a mission that aims to give the California-based company the world’s biggest commercial satellite constellation.

When added to the previous two 60-satellite launches, the Starlink tally comes to 180 satellites. Some of SpaceX’s previously launched satellites are no longer in service; nevertheless, the launch was expected to push Starlink past Planet’s constellation of roughly 140 Earth-imaging satellites.

SpaceX’s facility in Redmond, Wash., is playing the lead role in building Starlink satellites. Eventually, SpaceX aims to have thousands of the satellites in low Earth orbit — but the prospect of having so many spacecraft in orbit has sparked concerns about the effect on astronomical observations and space traffic jams.

Tonight’s liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida came at 9:19 p.m. ET (6:19 p.m. PT), marking the first orbital launch of 2020.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

SpaceX launches a double-duty telecom satellite

SpaceX sent a dual-payload telecommunications satellite to orbit today, recovered the Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage booster at sea, and narrowly missed catching the rocket’s nose cone components as they fell.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.