Can We Send a Probe to Proxima Centauri? Yes, But it May Get Banged Up on the Way There

Artist’s conception of a Breakthrough Starshot spacecraft, a tiny circuit board-like “wafer” attached to a lightsail. Image Credit: Breakthrough Initiatives

Now that we know the closest star system to us has at least one planet, an Earth-mass and potentially habitable one at that, there is one big question a lot of people are asking: […]

Mars Cube One: New Deep-Space CubeSats Will Travel to Mars Along With InSight Lander

Artist’s conception of the MarCO CubeSats flying past Mars as the InSight lander descends to the surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The next NASA mission to Mars, the InSight lander, will include some additional experimental technology: the first deep-space CubeSats. Two small CubeSats will fly past the planet as the lander is descending through the […]

LightSail A Success: Planetary Society Reviews Data and Plans for 2016 Mission

LightSail captured this image of its deployed solar sails in Earth orbit on June 8, 2015. Photo Credit and Caption: The Planetary Society

It’s not a true space mission without a little bit of drama, and The Planetary Society had just that. Unforeseen software glitches, spacecraft falling silent, and periods of no contact with […]

PHOTOS: Atlas-V Delivers Lightsail and Air Force X-37B to Orbit Packed With Cubesats and Experiments

The Air Force AFSPC-5 mission launched into clear blue skies from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station today. Onboard is the secretive X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (its fourth mission) and a variety of cubists and experiments for the NAVY, NRO, USAF and NASA, including the Lightsail test article from The Planetary Society. Photo Credit: Alan […]

PHOTOS: Atlas-V Ready to Launch AFSPC-5 Mission With X-37B Spaceplane and Lightsail Wednesday

A United Launch Alliance Atlas-V 501 rocket stands tall atop Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral AFS on May 19, 2015. The Air Force X-37B OTV-4 spaceplane is onboard, as well as the Planetary Society’s Lightsail test article, several small satellites for the NAVY and NRO, and a NASA materials science experiment. Liftoff is […]

Fourth Atlas-V Spaceplane Launch Heralds X-37B Program Shift As Centaur to Deploy Naval Satellites at Higher Inclination

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) at Vandenberg Air Force Base after completing 674 days in space. A total of three X-37B missions have been completed, totaling 1,367 days on orbit. OTV-4, launching on the AFSPC-5 mission May 20, is more focused on military spaceplane payload development instead of X-37B flight testing of its […]

The Planetary Society's LightSail to Launch Aboard Atlas-V May 20

From The Planetary Society: “The Planetary Society’s LightSail solar sailing spacecraft is scheduled to ride a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to orbit in 2016 with its parent satellite, Prox-1.” Image Credit: Josh Spradling /The Planetary Society (http://sail.planetary.org/gallery/lightsail.html)

The idea of solar sails carrying satellites and humans into space has been something bandied about for […]

PHOTOS: X-37B Spaceplane and Lightsail Stacked Atop Atlas-V for May 20 AFSPC-5 Launch

The Air Force’s AFSPC-5 payload, encapsulated inside a 5-meter diameter payload fairing, is mated to an Atlas V booster inside the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41. Photo Credit: ULA

The rocket tasked with launching the next mission from Cape Canaveral, Fla., is well into its […]