The OSIRIS-REx team successfully and safely completed sine vibration (sine vibe) testing on the spacecraft prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. The sine vibe tests are designed to verify the system performs as expected after being exposed to flight-like low frequency vibration input.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/11 10:10 CST
Three International Space Station crewmembers are safely back on Earth following a post-sunset Soyuz touchdown in Kazakhstan.
JAXA had a press briefing today to confirm the successful arrival of Akatsuki into Venus orbit. It's been a long time coming: today's announcement came twelve years to the day after Japan had to abandon efforts to put Nozomi into Mars orbit. They released lovely images and discussed future plans.
Posted by Sanjay Limaye on 2015/12/08 10:29 CST
One day after closest approach, Akatsuki is now speeding away from Venus at 4.09 kilometers per second and is 180,000 kilometers from the planet. In his last report from Sagamihara, Sanjay Limaye gets some updates on the new orbiter's trajectory.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/08 09:23 CST
SpaceX is preparing to return its Falcon rocket to service after the loss of a mission in June 2015. A backlog of payloads, including an ISS-bound Dragon cargo craft, await.
The Akatsuki team achieved something that no mission as done before – put a spacecraft into orbit around a planet using only the attitude control thrusters. An event that one could not even conceive or propose!
Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/06 05:28 CST
It took four tries for the weather to cooperate, but on Sunday afternoon, a Cygnus cargo spacecraft loaded with 3.3 metric tons of critical crew supplies launched toward the International Space Station.
Venus researcher Sanjay Limaye reports from the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) in Sagamihara on the status of Akatsuki's second Venus orbit insertion attempt.
This is it: Akatsuki's final chance at Venus orbit insertion. The rocket firing should begin on December 7 at 08:51 Japan time (December 6 23:51 UT / 15:51 PST) and last for 20 minutes. It will take two days for JAXA to determine whether the orbit has been changed enough for Akatsuki to stay at Venus.
Perhaps forgotten by the general public in the West, a long-lost spacecraft is set to enter orbit around our sister planet in December, picking up where ESA’s Venus Express left off when its operations ended last year.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/12/02 05:04 CST
Orbital ATK is returning its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to service on Thursday. This time, the ride to orbit will be a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
I just love photos of Earth from planetary missions -- especially if they manage to get Earth and Moon in the same shot, as Hayabusa2 did on November 26.
NASA placed its first official order for a SpaceX Crew Dragon to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the agency announced Friday.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/11/19 05:51 CST
Akatsuki is finally approaching its second attempt to enter Venus orbit, on December 7; let's all wish JAXA the best of luck! And PROCYON, whose ion engines have failed, is still an otherwise perfectly functional spacecraft that is taking photos of Earth and the Moon as it approaches for a flyby.
Since my last update, Curiosity drilled two new holes, at Big Sky and Greenhorn, and is now approaching Bagnold Dunes.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues to make steady progress toward launch in September 2016. Environmental testing is now underway to ensure the spacecraft is ready for the many conditions it will experience over its mission.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/11/06 11:53 CST
November is shaping up to be a busy month for Orion and Space Launch System hardware. A human-rated flight engine is in the test stand at Stennis Space Center, and a version of Orion's service module is getting ready to cross the Atlantic.