It’s official, SpaceX’s Dragon V2 capsule, the first human-rated commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station, departed early Friday morning and later splashed down into the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 200 miles from Florida’s coast, marking a new era of spaceflight. Ripley, an anthropomorphic test device in a flight suit, was onboard the spacecraft for the maiden voyage, complete with sensors to help better understand what astronauts will experience when they blast off in the capsule. Read more for the splash down footage and additional information.
Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft captured a stunning selfie on its historic journey to the Moon. The photo shows the robotic lander looking back at Earth from a distance of 23,363.5 miles. It was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX on February 21 and is projected to reach the lunar surface on April 11. Read More for a video about its mission and additional information.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule successfully docked with the ISS at 5:51 a.m. ET, approximately 27-hours after blasting into orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Dragon V2 connected with a docking port on the station’s Harmony module as it cruised 250 miles over the Pacific Ocean. “Congratulations to all the teams on a successful docking,” said NASA astronaut Anne McClain who radioed Mission Control from aboard the space station. It will now spend the next five days attached to ISS and return to Earth in an Atlantic Ocean splashdown on Friday morning (March 8). Read more to see astronauts inspecting the unit.
At a post-launch press conference earlier this morning, Elon Musk said “I’d be happy to go on the vehicle. I think it’s a good design,” of the Crew Dragon spaceship. There were no humans onboard this time, but the space capsule was carrying 400 lbs of cargo and a female crash-test dummy named “Ripley” to the International Space Station, where it’s scheduled to arrive around 3:30 a.m. ET before autonomously docking at 6 a.m. ET. Read more for two more videos, launch included, and additional information.
It’s been roughly 8-years since the last manned US space flight, but NASA and SpaceX are set to send the Dragon V2, a new space capsule for astronauts, on Saturday at 2:49 am ET (0749 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The capsule will arrive at the International Space Station by Sunday, with a return to Earth set for next Friday. Read more to watch both the SpaceX and NASA live streams.
SpaceX and NASA’s first experimental launch, called Demo-1, of Dragon V2, a commercial spaceship designed to fly astronauts into orbit, is scheduled to blast off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday at 2:49 a.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The test capsule won’t have a crew on board, but it will transport a dummy in full gear and cargo to the the ISS. If this is a success, SpaceX may launch its first astronauts into space as soon as July. Read more for another video and additional information.
Elon Musk’s shiny new SpaceX Starship is aiming for Mars, but we could see it aid in the construction of a moon base even sooner. “Starship will also be good for creating a base on the moon. We’ll probably have a base on the moon before going to Mars,” said Musk in an interview with Popular Mechanics published Monday. The stainless steel rocket is being built at the company’s facility near Brownsville, Texas, and a shorter test version is designed for low altitude “hop” flights, which will not reach orbit. Read more for another video and additional information.
SpaceX is set to launch the first privately developed lunar lander toward the moon on tonight atop its Falcon 9 rocket. This will be the first privately funded lunar lander mission to reach the moon. The 1,322 robot lander, called Beresheet, which is Hebrew for “in the beginning”, was designed by SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit. “I wanted to show that Israel — this little country with a population of about 6 or 8 million people — could actually do a job that was only done by three major powers in the world: Russia, China, and the United States,” said Morris Kahn, a billionaire who funded about $43 million of the roughly $100 million mission to Business Insider. Read more for the livestream (begins in a few hours) and additional information.
Elon Musk’s launched his own person Tesla Roadster, complete with mannequin driver, Starman, into orbit around the sun on Feb. 6, 2018, using SpaceX’s massive Falcon Heavy rocket. It’s currently on an elliptical path that takes it out beyond Mars at its most distant point from the sun and near Earth’s orbit at its closest solar approach, making its orbital period around 557 Earth days. According to an orbit-modeling study performed last year the roadster will crash into Venus or Earth within the next 10-20 million years, with a 6% chance of it hitting the later within the next million or so years. Read more for another video and additional information.
Elon Musk has just Tweeted photos of the completed SpaceX Raptor engine for the Super Heavy rocket system, which is the successor of the Merlin engine that is the essential component of the Starship Super Heavy (SSH), a large passenger vessel and rocket system that will hopefully bring humans to and from Mars one day. The SSH will come equipped with 31 Raptor engines, and be capable of a thrust of 1,700 kilonewtons with a specific impulse of 330 seconds at sea level, rising to 356 seconds in a vacuum, and an exit diameter of 1.3 meters. Read more for another video, picture and additional information.