U.S. astronauts now fly to the International Space Station (ISS) from American soil, right?
So why is a NASA astronaut about to blast-off to the ISS from Russia at a cost of over $90 million?
Despite the success of “Launch America” back on May 30, 2020 when NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley journeyed to and from the ISS in SpaceX hardware during the historic SpaceX Crew Demo-2 mission, NASA astronaut Kate Rubin will this week leave Earth from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
As I reported back in June, it’s the final part of an existing contract between NASA and the Russian space agency to send a US astronaut to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Astronauts make round trip to space station from U.S. soil
NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley (C) waves to onlookers as he boards a plane at Naval Air Station Pensacola to return him and NASA astronaut Robert Behnken home to Houston a few hours after the duo landed in their SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft off the coast of Pensacola, Fla,, on August 2, 2020. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA | License Photo
Hurley is helped out of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft onboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship after he and NASA astronaut Robert Behnken landed in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Bill Ingalls/UPI
NASA astronaut Robert Behnken smiles before being helped out of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA
Behnken (L), and Hurley are seen inside the Crew Dragon onboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after landing in the Gulf of Mexico.
NASA and SpaceX’s crewed mission has been delayed to November
The agency cited “off-nominal behavior” from the Falcon 9’s engine
The delay can provide more time to ensure the mission’s safety
NASA and SpaceX’s Crew-1 has been delayed due to “off-nominal” behavior from the Falcon 9.
It was in May when NASA and SpaceX successfully launched astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS), marking the first time that American astronauts launched from American soil in nearly a decade. But that successful mission was just a demonstration and the first actual crewed operational flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, the Crew-1 mission, was set for a late October launch following several delays.
But on Oct. 1, NASA released a statement on the Crew-1 mission, noting a new target of “no sooner than early-to-mid November.” The agency cited “off-nominal behavior” from the Falcon 9’s first
“We have a strong working relationship with our SpaceX partner,” Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s human exploration and operations mission directorate, said in the post. “With the high cadence of missions SpaceX performs, it really gives us incredible insight into this commercial system and helps us make informed decisions about the status of our missions. The teams are actively working this finding on the engines, and we should be a lot smarter within the coming week.”
SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.
The mission, which had previously been scheduled for Oct. 31, would launch NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover as well as Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the space station for a stay of about six months.
It would be SpaceX’s first operational mission of flying full crews for extended stays after it successfully completed a shorter test mission with two astronauts in
A San Antonio company is partnering with the military and SpaceX to move cargo anywhere in the world in an hour using commercial spacecraft — including vertical-landing rockets built in Texas.
U.S. Transportation Command, which is responsible for moving military personnel and equipment around the world, said it’s working with Exploration Architecture, or XArc, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop “rapid transportation through space” capabilities.
XArc, with six employees, is responsible for determining what’s needed on the ground to launch and land commercial spacecraft around the world.
The collaboration is the latest development in Texas’ still-expanding role in space travel and could help the U.S. military more quickly respond to threats and humanitarian crises around the world.
The aim is to use commercial space vehicles, including SpaceX’s Starship, to deliver payloads anywhere in the world. Starship can carry loads of 220,000 pounds.
SAN FRANCISCO – Exolaunch signed an agreement to secure rides for dozens of small satellites on SpaceX rideshare missions scheduled to launch later this year and in 2021.
Under the agreement announced Oct. 8, Germany’s Exolaunch plans to integrate 30 U.S. and European cubesats and microsatellites on Falcon 9 rideshare flights to sun-synchronous orbit scheduled to launch in December. Exolaunch plans to integrate roughly the same number of satellites on a SpaceX rideshare flight in mid-2021.
In response to growing demand for launch services, Exolaunch plans to open an office in the United States. The company has not yet selected a location.
“As we continue to sign on more U.S.-based customers, it makes sense strategically for Exolaunch to establish an additional office in the U.S,” Connor Jonas, Exolaunch program manager, said in a statement.
Exolaunch is continuing to sign up customers for the second and third Falcon 9 rideshare missions
SpaceX is preparing to launch four NASA astronauts on its Crew Dragon spaceship this Halloween — the first of six crewed missions the space agency has contracted from the rocket company founded by Elon Musk. (The one that concluded in August was considered a demonstration.)
That’s on top of the cargo resupply missions that SpaceX will regularly launch to the International Space Station for NASA. The company has been sending a spaceship designed to carry supplies, called Cargo Dragon, to the orbiting laboratory since 2012. That vehicle has made over 20 trips to the station and back.
Combined, the two types of Dragon spacecraft are scheduled to launch into space seven times over the next 14 months.
“Every time there’s a Dragon launch, there’ll be two Dragons in space,”
Space fans have been starved for action lately, with three big missions repeatedly scrubbed and postponed over the past several weeks. But early on Tuesday, SpaceX finally ended the streak that became known as #Scrubtober (and previously known as #Scrubtember) with the launch and deployment of 60 new Starlink satellites via a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral.
This Starlink mission was the Falcon 9 rocket booster’s third flight overall. It sent astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to orbit in May and then launched a South Korean satellite in July. So far, SpaceX has managed to launch and land the same rocket up to six times.
The Falcon 9 first stage landed again on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic about 8.5 minutes after launch Tuesday. SpaceX also reports that it caught at least