Archive: Space

The Air Force's X-37B unmanned spaceplane (Photo courtesy of Air Force)

Air Force’s X-37B Spaceplane To Launch Next Week

The U.S. Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office is making final preparations to launch the fifth mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) on Sept. 7, the service said Aug. 31. The Boeing [BA]-built unmanned reusable spaceplane, which will lift off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will […]

The Dream Chaser spaceplane undergoes a captive-carry flight test. (NASA photo)

Dream Chaser Spaceplane Undergoes Captive-Carry Flight Test

The Dream Chaser reusable spaceplane, which Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) is developing to ship cargo to the International Space Station, has completed the first of two captive-carry flight tests that are supposed to lead to a free-flight test later this year. During the Aug. 30 captive-carry test, which lasted 1 hour and 41 minutes and […]

Orbital ATK's Minotaur IV launch vehicle. Photo: Air Force.

DARPA, SOCOM Providing Secondary Payloads For Air Force ORS-5 Satellite Launch

The Orbital ATK [OA] Minotaur IV rocket that will launch the Air Force Operationally Responsive Space 5 (ORS-5) space-tracking satellite is also carrying two secondary payloads from Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and one from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), government and industry officials said Aug. 24. The Minotaur, whose lower stages use three […]

SpaceX's Dragon space capsule awaits its launch as part of an uncrewed pad abort test. Photo: SpaceX.

SpaceX’s Musk Unveils New Spacesuit

SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted the “first picture” of his company’s new spacesuit on social media Aug. 23. The photograph shows a sleek, mostly white suit buckled into what seems to be a spacecraft. A man’s face appears in the helmet behind a tinted shield. The spacesuit, which vaguely resembles the uniform of a Star […]

Artist's concept of the completed Orion spacecraft. Image: NASA.

NASA’s Newest Orion Crew Capsule Powered Up For First Time

The Orion crew capsule that will be the first to fly aboard NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket has been powered up for the first time, Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin [LMT] announced Aug. 22. The event, which took place Aug. 11 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, “was the first time […]

Engineers stand in front of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS)-5 satellite in the MIT Lincoln Laboratory clean room in Lexington, Mass. (Photo courtesy of MIT Lincoln Lab)

Air Force Readies ORS-5 Space-Tracking Satellite For Aug. 25 Launch

The U.S. Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office has completed a flight readiness review for the ORS-5 space-tracking satellite, keeping the mission on track for an Aug. 25 launch, the service announced Aug. 18. Built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, ORS-5 is slated to lift off on an Orbital ATK [OA] […]

Air Force’s New Space Operations Directorate Nears IOC

The U.S. Air Force expects its new space operations directorate to achieve an initial operational capability (IOC) on Aug. 21, the service announced Aug. 17. The Air Force also revealed that Shawn Barnes, its deputy director for legislative liaison, will become the directorate’s senior civilian, serving as the assistant deputy chief of staff for space […]

The payload fairing for NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) is moved into position to encapsulate the spacecraft. (NASA photo)

NASA Exploring Next-Generation Space Communications Satellites

With NASA gearing up to launch its last Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M), the agency has begun studying what its next generation of space communications satellites might look like. One feature NASA definitely wants is dramatically higher data-transfer rates than it gets from the TDRS constellation, which was conceived in the 1970s, said Badri Younes, […]

Orbital ATK's Minotaur IV launch vehicle. Photo: Air Force.

Air Force Studying Possible Commercial Role For Surplus ICBM Motors

The U.S. Air Force plans to finish a study later this year on the potential impact of changing existing law to allow surplus intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) motors to be used on commercial space launches, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report Aug. 16 While the Department of Defense and NASA use […]

The Air Force's X-37B unmanned spaceplane (Photo courtesy of Air Force)

Air Force’s X-37B Spaceplane Might Fly Again In September

The next launch of the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B unmanned reusable spaceplane will occur “no earlier than September,” launch vehicle provider SpaceX said Aug. 14. The Air Force had previously indicated that the launch would occur “no earlier than August,” but it cautioned that the launch date was “still in the process of being manifested […]