SpaceUniversity

Musk says Starship may be ready for orbital launch next month, but FAA review continues

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, said Friday the company’s huge new Starship rocket could be ready for its first orbital test launch from South Texas as soon as November, but the schedule comes with two big uncertainties that may push the launch to next year. “If all goes well, Starship will be ready …

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The Early Solar System Had a Gap Where the Asteroid Belt is Today

Wind the cosmic clock back a few billion years and our Solar System looked much different than it does today. About 4.5 billion years ago, the young Sun shone much like it does now, though it was a little smaller. Instead of being surrounded by planets, it was ensconced in a swirling disk of gas …

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NASA targets February launch for Artemis 1 moon mission

The 74,000-pound Orion spacecraft was lifted inside the Vehicle Assembly Building this week, and mounted to the top of the Space Launch System. Credit: NASA/Frank Michaux With NASA’s powerful new 322-foot-tall moon rocket fully stacked at Kennedy Space Center, managers said Friday that Feb. 12 is the soonest the unpiloted Artemis 1 mission could blast …

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Images: Atlas 5 blasts off with NASA’s Lucy asteroid mission

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket streaked into space from Cape Canaveral before dawn Oct. 16 with NASA’s Lucy asteroid mission, a robotic probe to explore a group of enigmatic asteroids leading and trailing Jupiter in its orbit around the sun. The Atlas 5 launcher, powered by a Russian RD-180 main engine, lifted off …

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Ariane 5 launch delayed for more ground systems checks

An Ariane 5 rocket on its launch pad Thursday night in Kourou, French Guiana. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/JM Guillon Arianespace delayed the launch from French Guiana of a European Ariane 5 rocket with two geostationary communications satellites Friday to conduct more checks of ground support equipment at the spaceport. The mission, set to loft payloads for SES …

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Progress cargo ship relocated to new module at International Space Station

The Progress MS-17 spacecraft approaches the International space Station for docking Friday. Credit: Roscosmos A Russian Progress supply ship docked with the new Nauka lab module at the International Space Station Friday, completing a 29-hour free flight after detaching from a different port at the complex. The relocation positions the Progress spacecraft to assist with …

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A map of River Beds on Titan for Dragonfly to Explore

Explorers either have the benefit of having maps or the burden of creating them.  Similarly, space explorers have been building maps as they go, using all available tools.  Those tools might not always be up to the task, but at least something is better than nothing.  Now, a new map of an exploration destination has …

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I Could Look at James Webb Unboxing Pictures all Day

On Oct. 12th, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) arrived safely at Port de Pariacabo in French Guiana after spending 16 days traveling between California and South America. Since then, the observatory was transported from California to French Guiana and brought to a cleanroom in the Guyanese Space Center (GSC). Here, crews “unboxed” the observatory …

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Uh oh, one of Lucy’s Solar Arrays Hasn’t Latched Properly

As we’re fond of saying here at UT, space exploration is hard. Many things can go wrong when launching thousands of kgs of highly engineered equipment that took years to develop into space.  Now, something seems to have gone wrong with NASA’s latest Discovery mission.  Lucy, launched successfully by a ULA rocket on October 16th, …

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Meteorites Found With Little Pieces of Other Stars

When Carl Sagan said, “We are all made of star stuff,” he didn’t just mean we were made up of parts of our own star. Other stars contributed to the material that built our solar system, and some of that “presolar” material is still present in a pristine form inside meteorites.  Now, a team led …

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