Study: 2019 Sees Record Loss of Greenland Ice

After a brief period of moderate ice loss, the Greenland ice sheet melted in 2019 at the fastest rate ever measured. Greenland set a new record for ice loss in 2019, shedding the most mass from its giant ice sheet in any year since at least 1948. The large loss – 532 billion tons -is…

Raging California wildfires spotted from space (photos, video)

Earth-orbiting satellites have spotted the wildfires ripping through Northern California. As record-high temperatures hit the U.S. West Coast this past week, wildfires began to spread rapidly in a region west of Sacramento, quickly growing to encompass 124,000 acres (50,000 hectares), according to the New York Times. As the fires rage on, they are being monitored…

Report endorses giving Commerce Department responsibility for space traffic management

WASHINGTON — A report commissioned by Congress agreed with the administration that the Commerce Department is the best agency to handle civil space traffic management (STM) responsibilities. The report by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), published Aug. 20, was requested by Congress in fiscal year 2020 appropriations legislation. Some members were skeptical that…

Spaceflight planning three Sherpa launches in 2021

WASHINGTON — Small satellite rideshare organizer Spaceflight is preparing to launch a series of progressively upgraded Sherpa orbital transfer vehicles that will act as smallsat deployers, space tugs and platforms for hosted payloads.  The first vehicle, designated Sherpa-FX, is scheduled to launch no earlier than December on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission. Sherpa-FX will…

NatGeo sets October launch date for 'The Right Stuff' on Disney Plus

“The Right Stuff” now has a launch date. National Geographic’s new scripted series about America’s first astronauts is set to blast off on Oct. 9 on the Disney Plus streaming service. Based on journalist Tom Wolfe’s 1979 bestselling book by the same title, “The Right Stuff” dramatizes the history behind NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts…

Japanese startup ispace raises $28 million in new funding for private moon landings

The Japanese space startup ispace is launching a new “Blueprint Moon” data analysis service on top of its plans for private lunar landings after raising $28 million in new investments. The Tokyo-based ispace announced the successful “series B” funding round and the launch of its Blueprint Moon business line during a news conference Wednesday (Aug.…

NASA investigating small air leak on International Space Station

NASA is tracking down the source of a minor air leak on the International Space Station. Crewmembers of the station’s current Expedition 63 are in no immediate danger and will spend the weekend in the orbiting laboratory’s Russian segment, inside the Zvezda service module, NASA officials said in an update today (Aug. 20). Astronauts can…

SES taps SpaceX for two additional Falcon 9 launches

WASHINGTON — Fleet operator SES on Aug. 20 said it selected SpaceX to launch four recently ordered O3b mPower broadband satellites.  The agreement means SpaceX will launch all 11 of SES’s O3b mPower satellites to medium Earth orbit across four Falcon 9 launches. Boeing is building all 11 mPower satellites.  SES chose SpaceX in 2019…

U.S. military eyes a role in the great power competition for lunar resources

WASHINGTON — The competition for the moon between the Unites States and China is being closely watched by the Defense Department as the military expects to play a role protecting U.S. access to cislunar space. One concern for the Pentagon is the possibility that China establishes a presence on the moon before the United States…

How Earth-orbiting satellites are tracking the 2020 hurricane season

While humans on Earth prepare for hurricane season, satellites in orbit are making their own preparations.  This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is ramping up as it enters its period of peak activity, which lasts from mid-August to late October. And, as Earth-orbiting satellites have already detected, it’s going to be a doozy.  “We were predicting…

First American flag launched and returned from orbit 60 years ago

The first American flag to be flown into space and return to Earth intact did so 60 years ago this month — nine months earlier than another flag said to hold the same distinction. Secretly stowed on board the first human-made object to be recovered from orbit, the U.S. flag was revealed during a White…

Blue Origin team delivers lunar lander mockup to NASA

WASHINGTON — The Blue Origin-led team that is one of three working on lunar lander concepts for NASA’s Artemis program has delivered a full-sized mockup of that lander to the agency for testing by engineers and astronauts. Blue Origin announced Aug. 20 that its “National Team” has installed an engineering model of the lander in…

Pictures from space! Our image of the day

Space can be a wondrous place, and we’ve got the pictures to prove it! Take a look at our favorite pictures from space here, and if you’re wondering what happened today in space history don’t miss our On This Day in Space video show here!   Hurricane Genevieve Aug. 20, 2020: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy…

Japanese HTV cargo ship, the last 'White Stork' in space, burns up in Earth's atmosphere

The last of Japan’s first-generation space cargo ships has gone out in a blaze of glory. The ninth and last-ever H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), a robotic International Space Station resupply ship also known as Kounotori (Japanese for “white stork”), burned up in Earth’s atmosphere as planned today (Aug. 20). HTV-9 departed the station on Tuesday…

Asteroid flyby: How Earth's gravity changed record-breaking space rock's path forever

The record-breaking asteroid 2020 QG won’t soon forget its run-in with Earth. Early Sunday morning (Aug. 16), the car-sized 2020 QG zoomed just 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) above the Indian Ocean, making the closest known flyby by an asteroid that didn’t end up slamming into our planet. Though 2020 QG survived the encounter, its path…

The FCC has approved Amazon's plan for its Kuiper satellite constellation. Here's what that means.

Amazon has official approval to deploy a new satellite constellation for broadband service. In late July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates telecommunications services in the United States, voted 5-0 to allow the e-commerce company to deploy and operate a constellation of 3,236 satellites. Amazon first announced the initiative, called Kuiper, last year. The…

Japanese lunar lander company ispace raises $28 million

WASHINGTON — A Japanese company planning a series of lunar lander missions has raised $28 million that will allow it to complete development of its first mission. Tokyo-based ispace announced Aug. 20 it raised the Series B round from a number of investors, led by Incubate Fund, a Japanese venture capital fund that has supported…

NASA Establishes Board to Initially Review Mars Sample Return Plans

The board will assist with analysis of current plans and goals for one of the most difficult missions humanity has ever undertaken. NASA has established a Mars Sample Return Program Independent Review Board to proactively assist with analysis of current plans and goals for one of the most difficult missions humanity has ever undertaken: the…

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Recharges Its Batteries in Flight

Headed to the Red Planet with the Perseverance rover, the pioneering helicopter is powered up for the first time in interplanetary space as part of a systems check. NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter received a checkout and recharge of its power system on Friday, Aug. 7, one week into its near seven-month journey to Mars with…

Celebrate Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Views From Above

Marking its 15th anniversary since launch, one of the oldest spacecraft at the Red Planet has provided glimpses of dust devils, avalanches, and more. Since leaving Earth 15 years ago, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has reshaped our understanding of the Red Planet. The veteran spacecraft studies temperatures in Mars’ thin atmosphere, peers underground with radar,…