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June 24, 2019

Falcon Heavy rocket set to attempt SpaceX’s “most difficult launch ever”

The Falcon Heavy rocket is seen in its hangar in Florida before rollout to the launch pad. [credit: SpaceX ]

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket will attempt its most technically demanding mission yet on Monday night, with a rideshare flight organized by the U.S. Air Force. Company founder Elon Musk has characterized the mission as “Our most difficult launch ever.”

During this Space Test Program-2 flight, the world’s most powerful operational rocket will attempt to deliver 24 different payloads into three different orbits, resulting in [...]

 
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June 21, 2019

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 prepares to go sailing on sunlight

Among the many spacecraft and satellites ascending to space on Monday’s Falcon Heavy launch, the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 may be the most interesting. If all goes well, a week from launch it will be moving through space — slowly, but surely — on nothing more than the force exerted on it by sunlight.

LightSail 2 doesn’t have solar-powered engines, or use solar energy or heat for some secondary purpose; it will literally be propelled by the physical force of photons hitting its immense shiny sail. Not solar wind, mind you — that’s a different thing altogether.

It’s an idea, explained Planetary Society CEO and acknowledged Science Guy Bill [...]

 
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June 21, 2019

NASA could see more delays for SpaceX and Boeing private space flights

When NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX contracts to develop vehicles that can take astronauts to the ISS, it was hoping they’ll be done by 2017. Unfortunately, both companies grappled with technical challenges that forced them to delay their timelines….
 
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June 14, 2019

NASA ask private companies to share how they might supply the Lunar Gateway

NASA’s stated goal of sending the first woman ever, and the first man since the Apollo program to the Moon involves setting up a new space station that will orbit the Moon which is supposed to begin being built by the end of 2022 per current timelines. Today, the U.S. space agency issued an open call for industry feedback and insight on how American companies might help supply said station.

Like the ISS, the forthcoming ‘Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (aka the LOP-G, but much more commonly simply referred to as ‘The Gateway’) will need regular resupply runs, and delivery of cargo – both for the many stages of its build, which are projected to span at [...]

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