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Blogs

Jason Davis' blogs from 2016

‘Apollo on steroids’: The rise and fall of NASA’s Constellation moon program
From 2005 through 2009, the space agency strove to recapture the glory of the space race—with less than half the funding

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/08/01 07:53 CDT | 18 comments

In part 2 of our series on the evolution of NASA's Journey to Mars, Michael Griffin gives the Constellation moon program a new look in an attempt to shorten America's International Space Station access gap after the space shuttles retire. But by 2009, the program is behind schedule and over budget.

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With retry scheduled tomorrow, NASA and Bigelow say BEAM will work—it's just a question of when

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/27 03:44 CDT

NASA will try again tomorrow to expand BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module. During a press teleconference this afternoon, officials said they were confident the module was going to expand—it's just a question of when.

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What's the matter with Russia's rockets?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/02 06:01 CST | 9 comments

Fifteen Russian rockets have failed in the past 6 years. Of those mishaps, all but two involved upper stages. So what's going on? The problem may actually lie far beyond the country's aerospace industry.

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Watch a test of the world's largest solid rocket booster tomorrow on NASA TV

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/27 06:04 CDT | 3 comments

Tomorrow morning at 10:05 a.m. EDT (14:05 UTC), NASA and Orbital ATK are test-firing the world's largest solid rocket booster in northern Utah. You can follow along live on NASA TV.

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Virgin Galactic Unveils New SpaceShipTwo

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/19 04:19 CST | 3 comments

Nearly 16 months after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo was destroyed in a fatal accident, the company is getting ready to fly again.

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Videos and updates: LightSail 2 shows off magnetic personality

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/13 06:33 CDT | 3 comments

It's been a few weeks since LightSail 2 passed its day-in-the-life test at Cal Poly. Here's a roundup of updates that were made in response to the test results, and a look at the project's next steps.

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Veteran space shuttle engine to be test-fired for SLS in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/09 01:30 CST

An veteran engine from the space shuttle program will be test-fired tomorrow at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, kicking off the next round of Space Launch System flight preparations.

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Upgraded LightSail Software Completes First Round of Flight Testing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/26 05:04 CST | 2 comments

LightSail has completed its first round of flight testing. The spacecraft is now armed with new software that will transmit almost three times as much health and status data back to Earth than it did during last year's test flight.

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Two Astronauts to Make Friday Trek to Edge of Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/13 01:32 CST

This Friday, astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will perform a spacewalk to replace a failed power regulator on one of the outermost sections of the International Space Station.

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Tugboat hauling shuttle tank to California rescues passengers of sunk fishing vessel

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/13 07:26 CDT

The crew of the tugboat hauling the last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank to California reports they have rescued four passengers from a fishing boat that sunk off the coast of Mexico.

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Tonight's Cygnus launch kicks off three ISS cargo runs in three weeks

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/22 06:32 CDT

Just days after receiving three new crew members, the ISS is about to become a veritable shipping hub, as three cargo ships launch to the orbital laboratory in as little as three weeks.

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Tomorrow morning, watch a new space module inflate—er, expand

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/25 01:03 CDT | 2 comments

NASA is set to fill a new space station module called BEAM with air Thursday morning. But does BEAM inflate, or expand?

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To the moon, via the space station? A Q&A with Orbital ATK

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/13 06:00 CDT | 4 comments

Two years after a devastating explosion, Orbital ATK is set to return its Antares rocket to flight. The commercial spaceflight company discusses its upgraded launcher, Cygnus supply spacecraft, and future ambitions, which include cislunar space.

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To Mars, with a monster rocket: How politicians and engineers created NASA's Space Launch System

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/03 06:00 CDT | 10 comments

NASA is building a giant rocket called the Space Launch System to send humans to Mars. In part 4 of our Horizon Goal series, we recap the messy tangle of politics and engineering that led to the vehicle's creation in 2011.

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Three-peat! SpaceX sticks another drone ship landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/27 06:03 CDT | 10 comments

SpaceX continued its impressive string of first stage recoveries today, sticking a Falcon 9 drone ship landing during the successful launch of THAICOM 8, a communications satellite.

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The flexible path to Mars: SLS, Orion and NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/02 06:01 CDT | 5 comments

Since 2011, a once-in-a-generation transformation has been sweeping through NASA's human spaceflight centers in preparation for the era of SLS and Orion. How have the programs fared, and what first steps is NASA taking as it prepares for the journey to Mars?

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The diverse ‘village’ behind Peggy Whitson, NASA's barrier-breaking astronaut

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/16 05:10 CST

During the run-up to her third mission, veteran NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has shifted the focus from herself to the team of trainers and technicians at Johnson Space Center.

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That new Soyuz smell: Next ISS trio launches tonight aboard upgraded crew craft

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/06 06:31 CDT

Expedition 48 crewmembers Kate Rubins, Takuya Onishi and Anatoly Ivanishin begin a two-day trip to the International Space Station tonight aboard a newly upgraded Soyuz MS spacecraft.

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Test stand glitch halts SLS engine firing in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/14 08:20 CDT

A test stand problem cut short today's test-firing of a Space Launch System development engine at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

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Take a look inside the station's new expandable module with astronaut Jeff Williams

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/06 12:55 CDT

BEAM, the International Space Station's new expandable habitat module, is open for business. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka entered the module at 4:47 a.m. EDT (9:47 UTC) this morning.

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Stressed about the election? Take a beautiful video tour of the International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/04 11:02 CDT | 3 comments

As the stressful election season draws to a close, a stunning new video tour of the International Space Station offers a reminder of what humans can do when we put aside our differences and work together.

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket explosion: What we know and don't know

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/01 10:32 CDT | 15 comments

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral this morning. Here's what we know and don't know.

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SpaceX Successfully Launches Ocean Satellite but Breaks a Leg on Drone Ship

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/17 04:40 CST

The Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellite reached orbit today, but SpaceX's third attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship came up short.

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SpaceX Set for Sunday Sea Satellite Launch, Booster Recovery Attempt

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/12 12:42 CST | 2 comments

SpaceX is set to launch a sea level-monitoring satellite from the California coast this Sunday, while attempting to land the rocket's spent first stage on a floating drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

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SpaceX drops satellite into high orbit but misses difficult booster landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/04 06:52 CST | 1 comments

SpaceX overcame high propellant temperatures, a boat too close to the launch pad, and pesky weather to launch a communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit this evening.

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Space station module expansion called off after BEAM doesn't budge

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/26 10:58 CDT | 1 comments

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace weren't able to get the space station's newest module up and running this morning. Another attempt could come as early as Friday.

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Space in transition: How Obama's White House charted a new course for NASA
In 2009 and 2010, the Obama administration orchestrated a major shift for NASA’s human spaceflight program

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/08/22 06:04 CDT | 7 comments

Our Horizon Goal series on NASA's human spaceflight program continues with part 3, in which newly elected President Barack Obama and his transition team search for a NASA administrator, commission a review of the Constellation program and decide whether to extend the life of the ISS.

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SLS Mockup Finds Path through Southern U.S.

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/17 12:09 CST

The SLS core stage pathfinder is a 65-meter-long, full-size mockup of the actual rocket's main section. Just like SLS, building, assembling and utilizing the pathfinder involves multiple contractors and NASA centers around the southern U.S.

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SLS CubeSats to Set Sail for Deep Space

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/10 11:28 CST | 1 comments

When SLS launches Orion to the moon in 2018, a fleet of deep space CubeSats will come along for the ride, including a solar sailing spacecraft similar to LightSail.

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Shuttle tank, meet canal: Engineering wonders cross paths in Panama

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/28 06:02 CDT | 4 comments

Two modern engineering marvels crossed paths this week here in Central America, as the last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank passed through the Panama Canal during a multi-week voyage from New Orleans to Los Angeles.

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Shuttle tank caps 41-day journey with trip through streets of Los Angeles

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/22 01:51 CDT | 1 comments

After a 41-day journey marked by stormy seas, a trip through the Panama Canal and a rescue off the Baja California coast, the last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank has arrived at its new home here in Los Angeles.

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Selfies, messages and names delivered for LightSail 2 flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/29 06:34 CDT

A miniature DVD containing images of space fans and names of Planetary Society members and supporters is ready to fly in space.

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Scientists play with fire aboard trash-filled cargo spacecraft

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/14 05:42 CDT | 1 comments

This afternoon, NASA started a fire aboard a trash-filled cargo spacecraft, but it was all in the name of science. Engineers at the agency's Glenn Research Center are studying how large-scale fires spread in space.

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Russia may lower its ISS crew complement from three to two

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/08/15 11:08 CDT | 2 comments

A Russian newspaper report, confirmed today by NASA, says Roscosmos may lower its ISS cosmonaut complement from three to two.

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Rulers in space! LightSail 2 equipped with boom fiducials

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/14 06:01 CDT | 2 comments

How will we tell if LightSail 2's booms are fully deployed? With fiducials—visual reference guides that feature our signature Planetary Society logo.

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Rocket Road Trip: Watch a new video series on NASA's human spaceflight program

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/28 07:18 CST

The Planetary Society debuts a new, five-part video series on NASA's human spaceflight program. We went on a 10-day, 450-mile journey throughout the southern U.S. to see how the agency is preparing to send humans beyond low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972.

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Review: New book brings artistry of Apollo photos to your living room

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/05 12:07 CST | 1 comments

Jason Davis reviews a new photo book showcasing a stunning collection of images taken by NASA's Apollo astronauts from 1968 through 1972.

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Review: Arrival’s surprising message of happiness and hope for humanity

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/30 07:01 CST | 6 comments

In a review of the new sci-fi film Arrival, Jason Davis says there's a lot to like about the movie's surprising message of happiness and hope for humanity.

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Remembering Ewen Whitaker, the "careful and caring" scientist who found Surveyors 1 and 3

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/21 06:02 CDT | 2 comments

Ewen Whitaker was one of the founding members of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, one of the world's first research institutions dedicated to studying the moon and planets.

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Recovered Falcon Booster in Good Shape, Ready for Testing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/04 03:11 CST | 1 comments

The used rocket booster SpaceX flown back to Cape Canaveral for an upright landing is undamaged and ready to be test fired, said company CEO Elon Musk.

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Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly alert: SpaceX doesn't expect to stick upcoming rocket landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/23 12:35 CST

SpaceX is launching the SES-9 communications satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. But the company says a successful first stage drone ship landing is "not expected."

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Quick multimedia roundup: China's new rocket blasts off on inaugural mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/25 03:35 CDT

China's new Long March 7 rocket successfully blasted off on its inaugural mission today at 8:00 p.m. Beijing time (12:00 UTC, 7:00 a.m. EDT).

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Planetary Society solar sails paved way for Alpha Centauri starshot

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/22 06:01 CDT | 4 comments

A new initiative to send a fleet of tiny spacecraft to Alpha Centauri is connected to The Planetary Society through its founders and efforts to advance solar sailing technology.

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Planetary Deep Drill Successfully Chews through Field Test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/20 10:42 CST | 1 comments

Late last year, a small team from Honeybee Robotics went to a gypsum quarry to test Planetary Deep Drill, a technology prototype designed to chew tens—and eventually, hundreds—of meters beneath icy planetary surfaces.

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Pictures and video: After dramatic sea rescue, shuttle tank berths safely in San Diego

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/16 12:31 CDT

Two-and-a-half days after a dramatic sea rescue, the tugboat crew hauling a space shuttle fuel tank to California bid farewell to some unexpected passengers last night in San Diego.

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Picture-perfect landing for Soyuz crew on sunny Kazakh steppe

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/18 09:10 CDT | 4 comments

Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko are back on Earth this morning following a picture-perfect landing on the sunny Kazakhstan steppe.

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OSIRIS-REx blazes into evening sky, starting journey to asteroid Bennu

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/08 08:56 CDT | 5 comments

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is safely en route to asteroid Bennu following an evening liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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One-year ISS mission draws to a close

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/25 03:46 CST

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are set to return to Earth next week after their record-breaking, year-long mission aboard the International Space Station.

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One-year crew all smiles after safe landing in Kazakhstan

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/01 11:44 CST

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are safely back on Earth today after 340 days in space. The one-year crew duo, along with Sergey Volkov, touched down in Kazahkstan Wednesday morning.

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On LightSail 1 launch anniversary, team prepares successor craft for day-in-the-life test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/20 06:32 CDT | 1 comments

One year ago today, LightSail 1 rode an Atlas V rocket into space. Now, the program stands on the brink of another major milestone, as engineers prepare for a full systems test of LightSail 2, a successor CubeSat that will attempt the first controlled solar sail flight in low-Earth orbit.

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Night owl? Early bird? Watch a Soyuz crew plunge back to Earth Saturday morning

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/17 01:41 CDT | 1 comments

Tomorrow morning, Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko are coming home from the International Space Station. But if you live in the United States or Europe, you're going to have to get up pretty early—or stay up late—to see it happen.

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New lunar mosaics emerge as Surveyor digitization project continues

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/06 06:04 CDT

A team of scientists at the University of Arizona continue their efforts to extract data from more than 90,000 images captured during NASA's Surveyor program. In the meantime, new first-look images and an animation have been released.

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New Budget Bolsters NASA's Journey to Mars Plans

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/08 06:04 CST | 16 comments

The recently passed omnibus spending bill directs NASA to work on a new upper stage for the Space Launch System, and begin development on deep space habitat modules.

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NASA Stays on Course for Asteroid Redirect Target

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/28 05:55 CST | 1 comments

NASA still plans to pluck a boulder off the surface of asteroid 2008 EV5, return it to lunar orbit and send a crew of astronauts for a visit in about ten years.

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NASA Could Choose Mars Human Landing Site during next Presidential Administration

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/22 05:03 CST

The place NASA intends to the land the first humans on Mars could be selected during the next presidential administration, according to the agency’s planetary science division director, Jim Green.

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NASA Adds Dream Chaser Spacecraft to ISS Cargo Roster

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/15 12:27 CST | 4 comments

NASA is adding a miniature space shuttle to its fleet of commercial spacecraft capable of ferrying cargo to the International Space Station.

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Multimedia roundup: Flawless ride to orbit for Expedition 48 crew

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/06 10:58 CDT

Expedition 48 crewmembers Kate Rubins, Takuya Onishi and Anatoly Ivanishin are safely in orbit following an early morning launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Multimedia roundup: Falcon 9 makes dual-satellite delivery run

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/15 06:41 CDT

SpaceX placed two communications satellites into orbit today, but the company's attempt to go four-in-a-row on first stage drone ship recoveries fell short.

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Multimedia roundup: Blue Origin completes two-parachute test flight

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/20 12:30 CDT | 6 comments

Yesterday in West Texas, Blue Origin launched its New Shepard spacecraft on its sixth suborbital test flight. The capsule normally descends using three parachutes, but on Sunday, just two were used to show the spacecraft could still land safely in the event of a parachute mishap.

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Multimedia recap: Two launches, a landing, a docking, and a berthing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/20 12:35 CDT

Four days of cargo craft mania came to a close at the International Space Station this morning, as astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams snagged an approaching SpaceX Dragon vehicle and berthed it to the laboratory's Harmony module.

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Mostly smooth sailing in San Luis Obispo: LightSail 2 completes day-in-the-life test

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/24 02:41 CDT | 7 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft breezed through a major systems test today, demonstrating the CubeSat can successfully deploy its antenna and solar panels, communicate with the ground, and unfurl its 32-square-meter solar sails in space.

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Meet LightSail 2, The Planetary Society's new solar sailing CubeSat

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/29 06:35 CST | 1 comments

The Planetary Society's solar sailing CubeSat has a new designation: LightSail 2. To celebrate the name change, we're releasing a new video showing footage from a late January sail deployment at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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Mars 2020 rover rolls into final design and fabrication phase

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/15 06:16 CDT | 9 comments

NASA's next Mars rover is rolling off the drawing board and into its final design and fabrication phase, the agency announced today, during a televised event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that highlighted some of the mission's technology.

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Live mice, cabbage, and a drone ship: Your SpaceX Dragon launch preview

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/07 05:36 CDT | 5 comments

Tomorrow afternoon, SpaceX plans to launch its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station for the first time since a catastrophic accident last June.

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LightSail 2 will transmit Morse code from space, and you can make the sound your ringtone

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/10 06:30 CDT | 2 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 (.-.. / ... / ..---) spacecraft will identify itself from orbit using Morse code, and you can make the sound your ringtone.

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LightSail 2 update roundup: Testing, delivery and a new animation in the works

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/07 06:01 CDT | 4 comments

LightSail 2 and Prox-1 are expected to meet for integration by the end of the year. Here's an update roundup, including a sneak peek of new animations and the abstract from a recently accepted paper on the spacecraft's attitude control system.

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LightSail 2 engineers continue to test for success

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/18 06:00 CDT | 3 comments

It's been a busy two months of system testing for The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 spacecraft. More trials are on the horizon, including a trip to a special magnetic cage at Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory.

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Last unflown space shuttle tank heads seaward for new mission

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/11 04:03 CDT

The last unflown space shuttle external fuel tank was loaded onto a barge at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility Sunday in New Orleans. It will ship to the California Science Center in Los Angeles to be joined with space shuttle Endeavour.

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Kate Rubins, NASA's DNA sequencing scientist, returning to Earth

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/28 06:04 CDT

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is returning to Earth from the International Space Station. During her mission, she became the first person to sequence DNA in space.

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Join The Planetary Society on social media for an epic #RocketRoadTrip

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/02 06:02 CDT

From September 6-16, The Planetary Society is visiting four NASA centers focused predominantly on the agency’s Journey to Mars program. Follow us on social media with the hashtag #RocketRoadTrip.

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ISS-bound Progress spacecraft fails to reach orbit, breaks apart over southern Siberia

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/01 09:49 CST

This morning's launch of an uncrewed Russian Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station went awry. Following a third-stage failure, the vehicle reentered Earth's atmosphere and broke apart over southern Siberia in Russia.

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In pictures: Russian cargo ship shuffle underway

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/31 04:18 CDT

Russian ISS controllers are in the process of swapping out a trash-filled cargo ship for a new one bearing fresh supplies, following the successful launch of a Progress spacecraft from Kazakhstan today.

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In Pictures: Orion Assembled and Shipped to Kennedy Space Center

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/05 10:33 CST

The shell of NASA's next Orion spacecraft has been welded together and shipped to Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Here's a photo recap of the assembly and transport process.

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In Pictures: Cygnus Takes out the Trash

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/02/19 01:08 CST | 1 comments

Early this morning, Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra released a trash-filled Cygnus cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station. Orbital ATK flight controllers will send Cygnus into Earth's atmosphere for a controlled reentry Saturday morning.

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In pictures: Beautiful night launch sends Cygnus on its way

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/23 08:41 CDT | 1 comments

Here's a photo roundup from last night's Atlas V launch, which sent a Cygnus cargo craft on its way to the International Space Station.

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How should America feel about China's space ambitions?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/10/14 06:00 CDT | 16 comments

China is sending two astronauts on a month-long mission to the country's new space station. What are China's long-term space goals? Does the narrative of a space race between the U.S. and China fit? If so, what happens if America loses?

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Horizon Goal: A new reporting series on NASA’s Journey to Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/18 07:03 CDT | 1 comments

We're embarking on a multi-part series with the Huffington Post about the world's largest human spaceflight program. In part 1, we look at how the Columbia accident prompted NASA and the George W. Bush administration to create a new vision for space exploration.

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Ground finale? Deployment test moves LightSail 2 closer to handoff

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/12/06 08:34 CST

LightSail 2 successfully demonstrated all of its critical functions during what may have been the CubeSat's final end-to-end systems test at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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Full-circle ceremony sends last shuttle tank to sea

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/13 11:20 CDT

The last unflown space shuttle fuel tank is underway to California, following a full-circle ceremony in view of hardware built for the shuttle's heavy lift successor, the Space Launch System.

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Follow along: SpaceX CRS-8 launch and landing

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/08 11:56 CDT

Follow along with The Planetary Society as SpaceX launches a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS and attempts to land a used booster rocket on a drone ship in the ocean. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:43 p.m. EDT (20:43 UTC).

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Follow along: Expedition 47 crew launches to International Space Station

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/18 12:05 CDT | 2 comments

Follow along with The Planetary Society as the crew of Expedition 47 launches to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for 5:26 p.m. EDT (21:26 UTC); docking and hatch opening starts six hours later.

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Follow a space shuttle tank through LA with this timelapse video

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/03 08:06 CDT

This timelapse video follows some of the space shuttle external tank's 19-hour journey from Marina del Rey to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

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Five years after Atlantis' last launch, five favorite stories about the shuttle program

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/08 06:02 CDT | 1 comments

On the five-year anniversary of the final space shuttle launch, Jason Davis shares five of his favorite stories about the program.

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Five things we learned from our #RocketRoadTrip

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/21 06:02 CDT | 3 comments

We're back from our #RocketRoadTrip through four states with NASA field centers involved in the agency's Journey to Mars program. We'll be sorting through our material for quite some time, but meanwhile, here are five key things we learned.

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First SLS flight engine test goes the distance in Mississippi

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/10 04:14 CST | 1 comments

A rocket engine that once blasted space shuttles into orbit was test-fired today in Mississippi, in preparation for its upcoming duty launching an astronaut crew to the moon.

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First Look: Newest LightSail Spacecraft Unfurls Solar Sails

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/29 05:31 CST | 3 comments

The Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft successfully deployed its solar sails Thursday, wrapping up an initial round of system-level tests to prepare the CubeSat for flight.

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Expedition 47 preview: Astronaut Jeff Williams' career spans history of ISS

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/17 06:30 CDT

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams embarks on his fourth trip to the ISS tomorrow. He launches aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur with cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka at 5:26 p.m. EDT (21:26 UTC).

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Carrying names of 440,000 well-wishers, OSIRIS-REx ready for journey to Bennu and back

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/07 12:24 CDT | 7 comments

OSIRIS-REx is ready to begin its journey to Bennu and back. The asteroid was named by a Planetary Society contest winner, and the spacecraft bears the names of 440,000 well-wishers.

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Cargo craft mania! A quick guide to four days of Dragon and Progress at the ISS

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/15 11:33 CDT

Two cargo spacecraft are heading to the International Space Station as part of a choreographed, four-day dance that begins this weekend. Here's a quick guide.

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Big booster blasts Utah hillside, and NASA discusses Journey to Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/28 06:41 CDT | 1 comments

NASA and Orbital ATK successfully completed a qualification motor firing of a five-segment solid rocket booster that will fly on the Space Launch System in 2018.

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BEAM expanded and pressurized: Your news, commentary and tweet roundup

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/28 11:18 CDT

BEAM is expanded and pressurized! The International Space Station's newest module, which will serve as a technology demonstrator for in-space expandable habitats, was fully filled with air this afternoon.

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Back to school: LightSail 2 and Prox-1 provide unique experience for university students

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/08/08 06:00 CDT

From Cal Poly to Georgia Tech, university students working on SmallSat projects gain critical real-world spaceflight experience, preparing them for promising careers in the space industry.

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All the way to orbit: After 35 years, is the RS-25 still the Ferrari of rocket engines?

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/05/09 06:00 CDT | 21 comments

The RS-25 powered the space shuttle for three decades, and will soon be used on the Space Launch System. Is it still the Ferrari of rocket engines? A deep dive on performance, reliability and the politics of rocket science.

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All about China's new rocket and spaceport, which may see action this Saturday

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/06/23 06:33 CDT | 1 comments

Sometime between Saturday and Wednesday, China plans to launch a brand new rocket from a brand new launch site, and conduct a small-scale test of its next-generation crew capsule.

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All about BEAM, the space station's new inflatable module launching Friday

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/04/05 06:31 CDT | 1 comments

This Friday, SpaceX plans to launch a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the ISS. Packed inside Dragon's trunk is a new inflatable station module called BEAM, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module.

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A week in the solar system

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/10 05:45 CST | 1 comments

A roundup of pretty pictures and news from our robotic ambassadors around the solar system, from November 4 through 8.

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A tribute to Scott Kelly, astronaut and human being

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/03/04 06:31 CST | 3 comments

Thanks to social media, we get to know individual astronauts better than we have at any other time in the history of spaceflight.

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A million people in 40 to 100 years: SpaceX unveils plan to colonize Mars

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/09/27 10:46 CDT | 12 comments

After much anticipation, Elon Musk revealed his plans to colonize Mars. Here are the details, some questions yet to be answered, and a few thoughts on how this could change the way we think about human spaceflight.

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