DoD space agency to award multiple contracts for up to 150 satellites

WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency will solicit bids for an upcoming procurement of up to 150 satellites to be launched in late 2024, agency director Derek Tournear said March 4. A request for proposals will be issued in August and multiple contracts could be awarded before the end of the year, Tournear said at…

Author Andy Weir offers 'Project Hail Mary' mission patch on virtual book tour

Andy Weir is ready to launch his next space adventure and has a mission patch waiting for you if you choose to join him. The author of the 2014 bestseller “The Martian,” which was adapted into the hit Ridley Scott feature film starring Matt Damon, is now back with another tale of discovery, speculation and…

Newfound exoplanet could be 'Rosetta Stone' for studies of alien atmospheres

A newly discovered alien world could help astronomers better understand the atmospheres of rocky planets.  The newfound exoplanet, Gliese 486 b, circles a dim red dwarf star just 26 light-years from Earth and is about 1.3 times larger and 2.8 times more massive than our home planet, a new study reports. Gliese 486 b whips…

S. Korea’s Kencoa Aerospace expands space business in U.S. with new capital

SEOUL, South Korea — Kencoa Aerospace Corp., a South Korean aircraft assembler and parts supplier that has NASA, SpaceX and Blue Origin as clients, is planning to expand its U.S. parts manufacturing plant in Georgia. The company raised 30 billion won ($26.6 million) in February by issuing convertible bonds to domestic institutional investors and will…

Perseverance rover flexes its arm on Mars for the 1st time

NASA’s Perseverance rover has spent a busy two weeks settling into its new home on Mars, most recently flexing its robotic arm for the first time. Perseverance touched down on the Red Planet on Feb. 18 to begin work looking for traces of ancient life and selecting rock samples for a future mission to carry…

Scientists still stuck on Betelgeuse antics a year after strange dimming episode

A year ago, the bright red star Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation hit the headlines when stargazers noticed a stark fading episode that astronomers couldn’t explain. They still can’t, although they keep trying. The suspense is particularly high now, since the star, which typically dims and brightens on a regular schedule, should soon start to…

'For All Mankind' sneak peek: Astronaut handles zipper malfunction in 'Rules of Engagement'

“For All Mankind” shows an amusing twist in its latest episode airing Friday (March 5): a zipper “malfunction” that stops famed astronaut Gordo Stevens from getting to a meeting on time. Stevens (played by Michael Dorman) was one of the astronauts on the fictional version of the Apollo 10 mission that came close to landing…

Astronaut-explorer Richard Garriott sets records on dive to deepest point on Earth

The son of a NASA astronaut and a video game pioneer who previously traversed both the North and South poles and funded his own trip to the International Space Station, Garriott completed a dive to Challenger Deep, the lowest point on Earth, on Monday (March 1). “I am the first person to go pole to…

Large asteroid Apophis will safely fly by Earth on Friday

Our solar system’s most infamous asteroid will pass by Earth on Friday (March 5), and with a high-end telescope you can watch it as it safely whizzes by our planet. We’re talking about none other than asteroid 99942 Apophis, which will come even closer to Earth on April 13, 2029, when it passes through the…

'Liftoff': Eric Berger's tale of the wild years of SpaceX's youth

Long before SpaceX’s self-landing rockets, Tesla-riding space mannequin or Starship prototype tests for future Mars missions, the California company was already doing daring things in space exploration. Veteran Houston-based space reporter Eric Berger, now of Ars Technica and formerly of The Houston Chronicle, tackles the early years of SpaceX in his new book “Liftoff: Elon…

Lab-grown black hole analog behaves just like Stephen Hawking said it would

In 1974, Stephen Hawking theorized that the universe’s darkest gravitational behemoths, black holes, were not the pitch-black star swallowers astronomers imagined, but they spontaneously emitted light — a phenomenon now dubbed Hawking radiation.  The problem is, no astronomer has ever observed Hawking’s mysterious radiation, and because it is predicted to be very dim, they may…

Falcon 9 launches Starlink satellites, lands booster

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched a new set of Starlink satellites and landed the booster March 4, two and a half weeks after the landing failed on the previous launch. The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 3:24 a.m. Eastern. The rocket deployed its payload…

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches and lands for 8th time, delivering 60 Starlink satellites to orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a new batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit Thursday morning (March 4), and nailed its landing on a floating platform at sea to top off the long-awaited mission.  The successful liftoff came just a few hours after SpaceX’s Starship prototype, SN10, successfully completed…

SpaceX launches and lands Starship prototype, which later explodes

WASHINGTON — SpaceX launched a prototype of its Starship next-generation vehicle March 3, landing it safely only to have the vehicle explode minutes later. The Starship SN10 vehicle lifted off from the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, test site at about 6:15 p.m. Eastern. A launch attempt three hours earlier was aborted at engine ignition because…

SpaceX's SN10 Starship prototype lands after epic test launch — but then explodes

SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype went out in a blaze of glory. The Starship SN10 spacecraft touched down successfully after a high-altitude test flight today (March 3), a major milestone for the company and its crewed Mars ambitions. But the vehicle didn’t manage to hold itself together, exploding about eight minutes after landing. The big stainless-steel…

Biden’s first strategic guidance sets broad national security priorities 

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden issued a national security blueprint that lays out broad goals and priorities for his administration and identifies China as the United States’ primary competitor.  With regard to space, the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance released March 3 says the United States will “explore and use” outer space but also ensure…

VIPER lunar rover mission cost increases

WASHINGTON — A NASA rover mission to look for ice at the south pole of the moon has passed a key review, but now costs significantly more than previously advertised. NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission passed its confirmation review Feb. 24, the agency said in a statement. That allows the mission to…

Delayed Indonesian broadband satellite SATRIA fully funded

TAMPA, Fla. — Indonesia’s government has secured financing to continue manufacturing the SATRIA broadband satellite, although its intended orbital slot remains up in the air. Thales Alenia Space started developing the Ka-band spacecraft in September after receiving partial financing, which spokesperson Sandrine Bielecki told SpaceNews covered work up until this point. Bielecki said the program…

Foust Forward | Will Jeff Bezos kick-start Blue Origin? Does he need to?

Back in the 1990s, space advocates had visions of reusable launch vehicles that would lower the cost of getting to orbit, opening the door to everything from space hotels to space solar power satellites. The problem, they argued at conferences as they showed viewgraphs of their designs, was not technical but financial: few were willing…

SpaceX may launch a Starship SN10 test flight today. Here's how to watch live.

SpaceX is preparing to launch its latest Starship prototype on a high-altitude test flight, possibly as early as today (March 3).  The Starship SN10 prototype could fly from SpaceX’s South Texas test facility near Boca Chica Village in Cameron Country during a nine-hour window that opened at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT or 9 a.m.…