Launch

  • The US Space Force has delivered its first national security payload into orbit, with a satellite successfully lifting off atop a United Launch Alliance rocket today to complete a network of protected communications satellites for US armed forces.
  • SpaceX has successfully deployed 60 communication satellites to bolster the population of its Starlink megaconstellation. The launch saw the third landing of a Falcon 9 core stage, and the impressive catch of a fairing half as it fell to Earth.
  • Science stands still for no one, and with a new year comes a new calendar of exciting events in spaceflight and exploration. New Atlas rounds up some of the most important milestones to look forward to in 2020.
  • India's first lunar landing mission, Chandrayaan-2, lifted off at 2:43 pm IST on July 22 (July 21, 21:13 GMT) atop a GSLV MkIII-M1 rocket from the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, India.
  • The Stratolaunch aircraft has been slowly but surely edging towards takeoff with a series of increasingly rapid taxi tests. Its latest outing has seen the team clock the gargantuan dual-fuselage plane at speeds fast approaching those typically needed for regular aircraft to lift-off on the runway.
  • After successfully completing low-speed taxi testing earlier this year, the giant Stratolaunch aircraft successfully hit a new milestone recently, reaching 90 mph during its latest stage of runway testing. The announcement comes days after co-founder of the company Paul Allen passed away.
  • NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin were forced to make an unplanned descent through Earth's atmosphere today following a malfunction of their Soyuz launch vehicle. The crew has now touched down in Kazakhstan, where they are being attended by rescue personnel.
  • A revolutionary satellite entered space and a veteran rocket retired today as ICESat-2 lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. At 6:02 am PDT atop the last Delta II booster as it headed into a polar orbit 2 to monitor the ice caps using a new laser system.
  • Firing rockets from beneath the wings of an airborne 747 isn't the most conventional way to get satellites into space, but Virgin spinoff company Virgin Orbit has been awarded a license for its maiden attempt to do just that, with hopes of beginning commercial services before the year is out.
  • ​​Photographing rocket launches involves some pretty fine margins – too far away and you’ll miss out on some spectacular snaps, too close and you might just get burned. NASA photographer Bill Ingalls has experienced this firsthand during the launch of a SpaceX rocket on Tuesday.
  • The latest version of SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster lifted off today at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At 4:14 pm EDT (20:14 GMT), the first Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) carrying the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • At 4:05 am PDT (11:05 GMT), NASA's historic InSight mission to Mars lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on the first leg of its 301 million mi (485 million km) journey.