September full moon 2020: The 'Corn Moon' swings by Mars

The Corn Moon will be full on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 1:22 p.m. EDT (1722 GMT), four days before the moon occults Mars, according to NASA’s SkyCal site.  In New York City, the moon will be situated in the constellation Aquarius, rising the evening of Sept. 2 at 8:06 p.m. local time.…

Ozone pollution levels have increased over the past 20 years, study finds

Ozone pollution has increased across the Northern Hemisphere over the past 20 years, researchers have found in a new study — the first study to use ozone data collected by commercial aircraft.  In the new research, scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder studied levels…

Best night sky events of September 2020 (stargazing maps)

See what’s up in the night sky for September 2020, including stargazing events and the moon’s phases, in this Space.com gallery courtesy of Starry Night Software. Tuesday, Sept. 1 from 9:55 to 11:13 p.m. EDT — Moon occults star Tau Aquarii In the eastern evening sky on Tuesday, Sept. 1, observers using binoculars and backyard…

Night sky, September 2020: What you can see this month [maps]

A clear night sky offers an ever-changing display of fascinating objects to see — stars, constellations, and bright planets, often the moon, and sometimes special events like meteor showers. Observing the night sky can be done with no special equipment, although a sky map can be very useful. Binoculars or a good beginner telescope will…

Meet 'Lunar Cruiser': Japan's big moon rover for astronauts gets a nickname

We now know what to call the crewed lunar rover being developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota. The pressurized moon vehicle, which is expected to launch in the late 2020s, has been nicknamed “Lunar Cruiser,” JAXA and Toyota representatives announced in an update last week. The moniker, a nod to Toyota’s…

Musk emphasizes progress in Starship production over testing

WASHINGTON — SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company is making “good progress” on its next-generation Starship launch vehicle despite delays in the schedule of test flights of the vehicle. In an interview broadcast during the Humans to Mars Summit by the advocacy group Explore Mars Aug. 31, Musk emphasized the progress the company…

Lockheed Martin, York Space win contracts to produce 20 satellites for Space Development Agency

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s space agency on Aug. 31 announced the first major contract awards for a network of satellites in low Earth orbit that will talk to each other and relay data down to military forces on the ground, on ships or airplanes. Lockheed Martin received a $187.5 million contract and York Space Systems…

PLD Space completes critical testing of its Teprel-B rocket engine

VALLETTA, Malta — Spanish launch startup PLD Space has completed critical testing of the company’s Teprel-B rocket engine. The engine is expected to power the single-stage suborbital Mirua 1 launch vehicle. In an Aug. 28 statement, PLD Space said it had successfully completed a series of thrust vector control tests on the kerosene-fueled Teprel-B rocket…

SpaceX delays launch of next 60 Starlink internet satellites to Thursday

SpaceX has pushed the launch of its next big batch of Starlink internet satellites back two days, to Thursday (Sept. 3). A Falcon 9 rocket had been scheduled to loft the 60 Starlink satellites on Tuesday morning (Sept. 1) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But those plans have changed, SpaceX representatives announced today…

The Andromeda galaxy's halo is even more massive than scientists expected, Hubble telescope reveals

Galactic halos are both more massive and more complicated than scientists realized, according to new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. The venerable telescope turned its sights on the neighboring Andromeda galaxy using dozens of different quasars to map the galactic halo. Andromeda, more formally known as M31, is a spiral-shaped galaxy about the same…

ULA investigating cause of Delta 4 Heavy mission abort

WASHINGTON — United Launch Alliance has not yet confirmed exactly what caused a dramatic abort of a Delta 4 Heavy launch just three seconds before liftoff on Aug. 29. “We are in the middle of conducting a thorough investigation to determine the root cause of the NROL-44 on-pad abort,” ULA spokeswoman Julie Arnold said in…

Vintage NASA satellite falls to Earth, meets fiery doom after 56 years in space

A long-retired NASA satellite burned up in Earth’s atmosphere over the weekend, the agency has confirmed. NASA launched the satellite, called Orbiting Geophysics Observatory 1, or OGO-1, in September 1964, the first in a series of five missions to help scientists understand the magnetic environment around Earth. OGO-1 was the first to launch but the…

Tech executive Victoria Coleman named director of DARPA

WASHINGTON — Technology executive and Pentagon advisor Victoria Coleman has been named director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Department announced Aug. 31. Coleman replaces Steven Walker, who stepped down in January 2020. DARPA deputy director Peter Highnam has served as acting director. A DARPA spokesman said Coleman will officially join the…

China makes progress on spaceport project for sea launches

HELSINKI — China is making progress with a spaceport to facilitate sea-based launch activity and development of rockets, satellites and related applications. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the country’s main space contractor, is developing the spaceport in Haiyang City on the coast of the eastern province of Shandong. The ‘Eastern aerospace port’…

Commercial crews and private astronauts will boost International Space Station's science

A golden age may be coming for human spaceflight research as more astronauts than ever fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard commercial crew vehicles and through private companies, NASA officials said during an online conference Thursday (Aug. 27). “We’re going to have more people on the International Space Station than we’ve had in…

NASA asteroid mission Lucy begins spacecraft assembly before 2021 launch

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is one step closer to getting up close and personal with a host of strange space rocks as assembly begins. Lucy will make an ambitious journey across the asteroid belt out to Jupiter’s neighborhood, studying a total of eight different space rocks over nearly a decade. But before the spacecraft can begin…

Black hole 'hair' could be detected using ripples in space-time

The information locked inside black holes could be detected by feeling their ‘hair,’ new research suggests. Black holes are celestial objects with such massive gravity that not even light can escape their clutches once it crosses the event horizon, or point-of-no-return. The event horizons of black holes lock secrets deep within them — secrets that…

Rocket Lab returns to flight with Capella Space launch

WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab successfully launched a radar imaging satellite for Capella Space Aug. 30 in the first flight of its Electron rocket since a failure nearly two months earlier. The Electron lifted off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 11:05 p.m. Eastern. It deployed its payload, the Sequoia radar imaging…

Rocket Lab's Electron booster returns to flight with Earth-observing satellite launch

Rocket Lab is back in action. The California-based company’s two-stage Electron rocket aced its return-to-flight mission tonight (Aug. 30), delivering an Earth-observation satellite to orbit. The launch, which took place at 11:05 p.m. EDT (0305 GMT on Aug. 31) from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand launch site, was the first for the company since July 4,…

SpaceX launches Argentine radar satellite, rideshare smallsats on Falcon 9 rocket

WASHINGTON — SpaceX completed its first Cape Canaveral polar launch Aug. 30, delivering an Argentine radar satellite and two smallsats into low Earth orbit using a Falcon 9 rocket.  Falcon 9 lifted off at 7:19 p.m. Eastern, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, overcoming a 60% chance of a weather delay from extensive…