Launch

  • 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.
  • On May 5, the first interplanetary mission to launch from the US Pacific coast is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The InSight mission will lift off atop an Atlas V rocket on its first leg to Mars to conduct studies of the planet's structure.
  • The gargantuan Stratolaunch dual-fuselage aircraft, with a wingspan of 385 ft (117 m), is one step closer to reaching the skies after it recently completed a second taxi test that saw it hit a speed of 46 mph (74 km/h) as it stormed down a runway in Mojave, California.
  • Commercial space travel took a quantum leap forward this Tuesday, as SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket made its maiden flight. At 3:45 pm EST, the world's most powerful operational booster lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on a mission intended to gather information about the launch system.
  • NASA's Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument was launched into orbit earlier today atop an Ariane 5 rocket, with a mission to shed light on how the uppermost layers of Earth's atmosphere can be affected by powerful space and Earth-based weather events.
  • New Zealand officially joined the ranks of spacefaring nations today as Rocket Lab's Electron booster reached orbit in the first successful commercial space launch in the southern hemisphere.
  • Rocket Lab has announced a launch date for its next Electron rocket test. The 10-day launch window opens on December 8 in what will be the first flight of the commercial booster since its not entirely successful inaugural launch in May.