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Pretty picture: An Atlas launch and a very surprised bird

Emily Lakdawalla • July 19, 2013

If you take hundreds of photos of every single spacecraft launch you can get to, you will eventually get lucky shots like this one. It was taken by Ben Cooper at today's launch of the U.S. Navy satellite MUOS-2 and features a very surprised turkey vulture in a striking pose in front of the American flag.

J-2X: A Distant Dot Lights Up the Night

Jason Davis • July 18, 2013

On Tuesday, NASA released new high-definition video of a June 26 nighttime J-2X engine test at Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi.

In-flight entertainment: cameras aboard the Space Launch System

Jason Davis • July 09, 2013

When the Space Launch System lifts off on its inaugural flight in 2017, eight engineering cameras will collect crucial in-flight data while providing breathtaking views for the public.

Russian rocket crashes in spectacular explosion

Jason Davis • July 02, 2013

A Russian Proton-M rocket veered off course and crashed in a nearby field shortly after liftoff from Baikonur, Kazahkstan.

Ten years since Spirit's launch

Emily Lakdawalla • June 10, 2013

Ten years ago, Spirit launched on a Delta II rocket toward Mars, and I was there to see it.

Antares sails test payload into orbit

Jason Davis • April 22, 2013

Orbital Sciences Corporation completed a major milestone for NASA's COTS program as their Antares rocket sent a test payload into orbit.

Antares ready for inaugural flight

Jason Davis • April 11, 2013

Orbital Sciences Corporation is ready to send their Antares rocket system on its inaugural flight.

SpaceX's Grasshopper makes leap toward reusability

Jason Davis • December 26, 2012

SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket passed its most ambitious test flight yet, rising 12 stories before hovering and settling gently back down onto its landing pad.

North Korea launches first satellite

Jason Davis • December 12, 2012

North Korea successfully launched their first satellite from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station at 9:49 a.m. local time Wednesday.

One Year Ago

Casey Dreier • November 26, 2012

MSL Curiosity left the Earth one year ago today. This is my experience of the launch.

Examining India's new RISAT 1 Earth observation satellite

Jason Davis • May 02, 2012

Last week, India launched RISAT 1, a new Earth-observing satellite. How does its synthetic aperture radar compare to that of Envisat, which has fallen silent?

Of inclinations and azimuths

Jason Davis • April 11, 2012

A classified U.S. military satellite recently launched into an orbital inclination of 123 degrees. What makes this trajectory so unique? Pondering the answer affords the opportunity to learn some deceptively tricky concepts about the nature of all spacecraft orbits.

Curiosity is on its way to Mars!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2011

It was a textbook launch for the Atlas V 541 today at 15:02 UTC, and within an hour after liftoff, the Centaur second stage had sent Curiosity on its way for an 8.5-month journey to Mars.

SLS updates: tower crawl, engine burn and flight test

Jason Davis • November 21, 2011

A few updates on the Space Launch System, NASA's next-generation deep exploration vehicle.

From the "Just Plain Cool" department: Time-lapse photo of GRAIL's Delta 2 tower rollback

Emily Lakdawalla • September 08, 2011

The terrific launch photographer Ben Cooper is at the Cape waiting for GRAIL's Delta 2 rocket to take off, and last night he took this very cool photo.

GRAIL twins together on their rocket

Emily Lakdawalla • August 18, 2011

It's the first time I've ever seen anything like this -- two identical spacecraft, side by side on one launch adapter ring.

SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9; orbits, returns Dragon capsule

Emily Lakdawalla • December 08, 2010

"Falcon 9 nailed it!" said Bill Nye said this morning, congratulating SpaceX on what has looked like a flawless launch, orbit, and return of the Dragon capsule aboard its Falcon 9 rocket.

Falcon 9 ready for first flight

Emily Lakdawalla • June 03, 2010

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is poised for its maiden flight tomorrow, Friday, June 4, between 11:00 and 15:00 Eastern time.

Revolutionary NASA Solar Explorer Roars to Space

Ken Kremer • February 15, 2010

Planetary Society volunteer Ken Kremer reports for us from the Kennedy Space Center, where he is covering the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour, set to launch this weekend.

ESA mission analyst suggests 2010 AL30 might be Venus Express rocket

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2010

2010 AL30 zipped past us harmlessly about five hours ago. Because of its one-year orbital period, many people speculated it might be a manmade object, but 2010 AL30 might, in fact, be artificial.

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