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Next Launch AFSPC-4 on a Delta 4 - Medium+ rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 23 Jul 14 23:03:00 GMT

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Curiosity Discovers First Meteorites on Mars - And they are Huge and Made of Heavy Metal

NASA’s Curiosity rover found this iron meteorite called "Lebanon” while driving across Mars on May 25, 2014.  This mosaic combines imagery from the ChemCam and Mastcam instruments.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/IAS/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity rover found this iron meteorite called “Lebanon” while driving across Mars on May 25, 2014. This mosaic combines imagery from the ChemCam and Mastcam instruments. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/IAS/MSSS
See our meteorite mosaics below

Heralding another notable achievement, NASA’s industrious rover Curiosity has simultaneously discovered her 1st meteorites on the Red Planet. NASA has just released a new mosaic – shown above – of the meteorite named “Lebanon” found by Curiosity in late May and illustrated in the newly published imagery and classed to be an iron or ‘heavy metal’ meteorite.

The SUZ sized robot actually found at least a pair of “iron meteorites near each other,” Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) spokesman Guy Webster confirmed to AmericaSpace.

Continue reading Curiosity Discovers First Meteorites on Mars – And they are Huge and Made of Heavy Metal

Hank Hartsfield, Shuttle Discovery's First Commander, Dies Aged 80

STS4-088-S82-32199-5.29.82 Retro Space Images post of NASA image of STS 4 Hank Hartsfield Ken Mattingly Photo Credit NASA / Retro Space Images posted on AmericaSpace

Hank Hartsfield (left), pictured with crewmate Ken Mattingly, shortly before the launch of STS-4 in June 1982. Photo Credit: NASA

Former NASA astronaut Hank Hartsfield, a veteran of three shuttle missions in the early 1980s—including command of the maiden voyage of the fleet leader, Discovery—passed away earlier today (Thursday, 17 July), reportedly due to complications from recent back surgery. He was 80. The news of Hartsfield’s death was reported by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) and his former crewmate Mike Mullane added a touching Facebook tribute in which he reflected on “a great Commander and Pilot” and noted that he was “honored to have been a member of his crew.”

Continue reading Hank Hartsfield, Shuttle Discovery’s First Commander, Dies Aged 80

Soyuz TMA-14M Crew Discuss 'Regular and Normal' Mission to Space Station

Soyuz TMA-14M crew members Aleksandr Samokutyayev, Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Yelena Serova are pictured during an emergency procedures training session at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. Photo Credit: NASA

Soyuz TMA-14M crew members Aleksandr Samokutyayev, Barry “Butch” Wilmore, and Yelena Serova are pictured during an emergency procedures training session at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. Photo Credit: NASA

With 10 weeks to go before they head into orbit for a six-month expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), the joint U.S.-Russian crew of Soyuz TMA-14M assembled before an audience of journalists, students, and social media yesterday (Wednesday, 16 July) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, to discuss their upcoming mission. Russian cosmonauts Aleksandr Samokutyayev and Yelena Serova—the latter of whom will become only the fourth Russian woman in history to venture into space and the first to embark on a mission to the ISS—and U.S. astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore are expected to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on the night of 25/26 September for a 167-day expedition that will feature several Visiting Vehicles and as many as three EVAs.

Continue reading Soyuz TMA-14M Crew Discuss ‘Regular and Normal’ Mission to Space Station

Expedition 40 Welcomes 'Seventh Crew Member' as Spaceship Janice Voss Arrives at Space Station

Less than three days after its rousing launch from the Virginia coast, Orbital Sciences Corp. has delivered the second of eight Cygnus cargo vehicles to the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: NASA

Less than three days after its rousing launch from the Virginia coast, Orbital Sciences Corp. has delivered the second of eight Cygnus cargo vehicles to the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: NASA

Less than three days since it launched its mighty Antares booster from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Va., Orbital Sciences Corp. has triumphantly brought its second “dedicated” Cygnus cargo ship—and its third overall, counting last September’s ORB-D “Demonstration” mission—to a smooth berthing at the International Space Station (ISS). Flying 260 miles (420 km) above northern Libya, Cygnus was grappled by the station’s 57.7-foot-long (17.6-meter) Canadarm2 robotic arm at 6:36 a.m. EDT Wednesday, 16 July. Fittingly for a spacecraft whose name is the Latin for “swan,” today’s capture was led by Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson. A little more than two hours later, at 8:53 a.m., the cargo craft was firmly berthed at the “nadir” (or Earth-facing) port of the Harmony node, preparatory to hatch opening and crew ingress. Click here to see AmericaSpace’s stunning imagery of the ORB-2 launch.

Continue reading Expedition 40 Welcomes ‘Seventh Crew Member’ as Spaceship Janice Voss Arrives at Space Station

NASA Seeks Science Instrument Proposals for Future Mission to Europa

The Europa Clipper is a leading contender for a return mission to Jupiter's ocean moon. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

The Europa Clipper is a leading contender for a return mission to Jupiter’s ocean moon. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For many space enthusiasts, a new mission to Jupiter’s ocean moon Europa is high up on their wishlists. Today, NASA announced that they are seeking proposals for science instruments for just such a mission, bringing it one step closer to reality.

Continue reading NASA Seeks Science Instrument Proposals for Future Mission to Europa

PHOTOS: Antares Thunders Toward Space Station on Orbital's Second Contracted NASA Resupply Mission

The Orbital Sciences Antares rocket thundering away from MARS Pad 0A at Wallops Flight Facility in VA to begin a 17,500 mph chase to catch the International Space Station Sunday, July 13, 2014. Photo Credit: John Studwell / AmericaSpace

The Orbital Sciences Antares rocket, thundering away from MARS Pad 0A at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to begin a 17,500 mph chase to catch the International Space Station, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Photo Credit: John Studwell / AmericaSpace

On Sunday, July 13, Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched their 22-story-tall Antares rocket on its second contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. Liftoff of the two-stage Antares booster, carrying Cygnus—whose mission, designated “ORB-2,” is named in honor of the late NASA astronaut Janice Voss—took place on time at 12:52 p.m. EDT from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Va. Within 10 minutes of leaving Earth, Antares had already boosted Cygnus into an initial orbit of 125 x 185 miles (200 x 300 km), inclined 51.6 degrees to the equator, allowing the unpiloted craft to begin deploying its solar arrays and communications appendages, ahead of rendezvous and berthing at the ISS on Wednesday morning.

Continue reading PHOTOS: Antares Thunders Toward Space Station on Orbital’s Second Contracted NASA Resupply Mission

Commentary: Forty-Five Years After Apollo 11—An Inspiration For the Future, or Just Another Anniversary? (Part 1)

Artist's concept image of a boot print on the moon and on Mars. This week marks the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the Moon, in 20 July 1969. Will this anniversary be celebrated as just another historical event ever-receding further into the past, or as a source of inspiration for future achievements in space? Image Credit: NASA

Artist’s concept image of a boot print on the Moon and on Mars. This week marks the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11′s landing on the Moon, in 20 July 1969. Will this anniversary be celebrated as just another historical event ever-receding further into the past, or as a source of inspiration for future achievements in space? Image Credit: NASA


“We are not made wise by the recollections of the past,

but by our responsibility for the future.”

— George Bernard Shaw

 

The date is 16 July 2014 and the preparations for the celebration of the upcoming Apollo 11 anniversary are in full swing on NASA’s Moon base Artemis, as well as on the various complexes that have been built on the lunar surface by private space companies in recent years. Thirty-three thousand miles above them, on the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point, the Expedition 50 crew of the International Lunar Gateway Station is in the middle of its own preparations for the arrival of the next-generation Nautilus-X hardware and Bigelow crew habitats that will be part of the massive Prometheus spacecraft currently being assembled there, which will propel the first humans ever beyond the asteroid belt, for NASA’s long-awaited manned flyby of Jupiter. There are high hopes that the mission will be able to launch on time, so as to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the 20th anniversary of the first manned landing on Mars. Meanwhile, on the Martian base Ares, a team of engineers from NASA and the private space industry are giving the final touches on the local in-situ resource utilisation hardware that will be responsible for filling up the orbital fuel depots with the necessary propellant that will return Prometheus home, following its long journey toward the outer Solar System.

Continue reading Commentary: Forty-Five Years After Apollo 11—An Inspiration For the Future, or Just Another Anniversary? (Part 1)

PHOTOS: SpaceX Falcon Takes Flight to Deliver First Wave of New ORBCOMM OG2 Satellite Fleet to Orbit

The SpaceX Falcon-9 v1.1 rocket ignites at Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex-40 to deliver the first wave of a new fleet of ORBCOMM telecommunications satellites on Mon., July 14, 2014. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

The SpaceX Falcon-9 v1.1 rocket ignites at Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex-40 to deliver the first wave of a new fleet of ORBCOMM telecommunications satellites on Monday, July 14, 2014.
Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

After numerous delays, going back several months, Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched their Falcon-9 v1.1 rocket on Monday, July 14. The rocket, flying its fifth mission, took to the skies from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-40 a little later than expected, at 11:15 a.m. instead of the first opening at 9:21 a.m., to give teams at the launch site time to resolve a potential ground systems issue. 

Presented here is our photo gallery from our coverage of the launch, as well as a portion of our post-launch report, the full version of which can be read HERE. 

Continue reading PHOTOS: SpaceX Falcon Takes Flight to Deliver First Wave of New ORBCOMM OG2 Satellite Fleet to Orbit

SpaceX Successfully Launches Long-Delayed Orbcomm OG- 2 Mission

In its third Falcon 9 v1.1 launch of 2014, and its fifth overall, SpaceX successfully broke a two-month hiatus and lofted six Orbcomm Generation-2 (OG-2) satellites into low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/AmericaSpace

In its third Falcon 9 v1.1 launch of 2014, and its fifth overall, SpaceX successfully broke a two-month hiatus and lofted six Orbcomm Generation-2 (OG-2) satellites into low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/AmericaSpace

After two frustrating months, SpaceX has successfully launched its third Falcon 9 v1.1 mission of 2014, boosting six Orbcomm Generation-2 (OG-2) satellites into a circular orbit of approximately 460 x 460 miles (750 x 750 km), inclined 52 degrees to the equator, on behalf of Orbcomm, Inc. It is hoped that the small satellites will remain operational for at least five years, providing two-way messaging services for global customers. Liftoff of the Falcon took place at 11:15:00 a.m. EDT Monday, 14 July, from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. It occurred near the end of the 2.5-hour “window” and came only days after the Air Force officially certified SpaceX as having undertaken three successful consecutive flights, thereby placing the Hawthorne, Calif.-based launch services provider one step closer to its much-publicized and bitterly contested goal of delivering high-priority national security payloads into orbit.

Continue reading SpaceX Successfully Launches Long-Delayed Orbcomm OG- 2 Mission

Achievement Unlocked: Testing Complete on James Webb Telescope's Backplane Structure

An artist's concept of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Image Credit: NASA/ESA

An artist’s concept of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Image Credit: NASA/ESA

NASA announced on July 8 that it had completed static load testing on the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) Primary Mirror Backplane Support Structure (PMBSS). The testing was completed by two of the contractors tapped to work on JWST, the Northrop Grumman Corporation and ATK. This latest developmental milestone moves the telescope closer to its intended launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, at current time scheduled to take place in October 2018 from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. Following its launch, the telescope will be “unfolded” and placed into an Earth-Sun Lagrangian point L2 “halo orbit,” where it will observe the cosmos.

Continue reading Achievement Unlocked: Testing Complete on James Webb Telescope’s Backplane Structure