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SpaceX launches rocket with 24 satellites

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The Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket, blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in the U.S. state of Florida at 2:30 a.m. American Eastern Time (06:30 GMT).

This is Falcon Heavy’s third launch and its first nighttime launch.

The mission, dubbed STP-2 for the Department of Defence’s Space Test Programme 2, is one of the most challenging launches in Space X history.

According to Space X, the mission owing to four separate upper stage engine burns, three separate deployment orbits and a total mission duration of over six hours.

The company said spacecraft deployments began about 12 minutes after liftoff, the deployments are expected to last more than three hours.

SpaceX said that the rocket also reused the recovered side boosters from the last Falcon Heavy launch in April.

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Spotlight: SpaceX Crew Dragon successfully docks with ISS in historic mission

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SpaceX has completed the first part of its historic crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday morning, when its Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully docked with the orbiting laboratory.

In a first for a commercial spacecraft, Crew Dragon docked with the ISS at 10: 16 a.m. Eastern Time Sunday, a few minutes earlier than planned, carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The two astronauts entered the ISS at 1:22 p.m. Eastern Time, after hatch opened.

The docking was a delicate and dangerous part of the mission. The spacecraft performed a series of phasing maneuvers to position itself for rendezvous and docking with the ISS.

The two astronauts onboard worked with SpaceX mission control to verify that the spacecraft was performing as intended by testing the environmental control system, the displays and control system, and maneuvering the thrusters, among other things.

“It’s been a real honor to be a small part of this nine-year endeavor since the last time a United States spaceship docked with the International Space Station,” Hurley said after docking completed.

“We have to congratulate the men and women of SpaceX, at Hawthorne McGregor and at Kennedy Space Center. Their incredible efforts over the last several years to make this possible can not go overstated,” the astronaut added.

The mission went smoothly, ground officials said.

A screengrab from Spaceflight Now‘s Twitter account on May 31, 2020, shows a frame of the replay of “the Crew Dragon‘s automated docking with the International Space Station at 10:16 a.m. EDT (1416 GMT)” on Sunday. (Xinhua)

A screengrab from Spaceflight Now‘s Twitter account on May 31, 2020, shows a frame of the replay of “the Crew Dragon‘s automated docking with the International Space Station at 10:16 a.m. EDT (1416 GMT)” on Sunday. (Xinhua)

Before opening the hatch and entering the station, Behnken and Hurley conducted a series of pressure and leak checks to ensure their safety. The hatch opened at 1:02 p.m. Eastern Time.

“They made it. After launching from @NASAKennedy on the @SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft yesterday, @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug have officially joined the @Space_Station crew today at 1:02pm ET – making history in the process.” NASA tweeted.

The two astronauts entered the ISS at 1:22 p.m. Eastern Time. They joined fellow NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts aboard the station, becoming members of the Expedition 63 crew.

Behnken and Hurley will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

Their docking came after the astronauts spent about 19 hours inside Crew Dragon orbiting around Earth, following Saturday‘s launch.

A screengrab from ISS National Lab‘s Twitter account on May 31, 2020, shows a photo of the Crew Dragon‘s “docking to the ISS (International Space Station)” on Sunday. (Xinhua)

A screengrab from ISS National Lab‘s Twitter account on May 31, 2020, shows a photo of the Crew Dragon‘s “docking to the ISS (International Space Station)” on Sunday. (Xinhua)

 

The Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The launch marks the first time since 2011 that American astronauts have launched from an American rocket on American soil to the ISS. It is also for the first time in history, NASA astronauts have launched in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft into orbit.

After reaching orbit, Behnken and Hurley announced that they had named their capsule Endeavour.

This is SpaceX‘s final test flight for NASA‘s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations.

The mission’s duration has not been announced. NASA said it will be determined based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch. ■

(XINHUA)

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Spotlight: NASA, SpaceX launch first crewed mission from U.S. soil since 2011

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Two NASA astronauts took off from U.S. soil on Saturday, riding aboard SpaceX‘s Crew Dragon spacecraft in a historic test flight to the International Space Station (ISS).

The mission, dubbed Demo-2, is the first crewed launch to orbit from U.S. soil since NASA‘s shuttle program ended in 2011, and also the first-ever manned space launch by a private company, ushering in a new era of U.S. space exploration.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time, from historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are co-commanders on the mission.

Launch Complex 39A has served as backdrops for America’s most significant manned space flight endeavors, including Apollo 8, Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle Columbia.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence watched the launch at the center.

“It’s incredible, the technology, the power. I’m so proud of the people at NASA, all the people that worked together, public and private. When you see a sight like that it’s incredible,” Trump said after the launch at the space center.

Pence said none of this would have been possible without the personal courage and the unflinching skill of the two American astronauts.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted, “For the first time in 9 years, we have now launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. I’m so proud of the NASA and SpaceX team for making this moment possible.”

NASA confirmed main engine cutoff and separation of the rocket’s first and second stages minutes after the lift-off.

Falcon 9‘s reusable first stage booster has successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship off the Florida coast.

The Crew Dragon reached Earth orbit about 12 minutes after takeoff, and is making its way to the ISS, according to NASA.

The spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the space station on Sunday at 10:27 a.m. Eastern Time. The spacecraft is designed to do this autonomously, but the two astronauts and the station will be monitoring approach and docking, and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary.

After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew. They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

The mission will conclude with the Crew Dragon undocking from the station, deorbiting, and returning Behnken and Hurley to Earth with a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, according to NASA.

The mission duration has not been announced yet. NASA said it will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch.

Behnken and Hurley were among the first astronauts to begin working and training on SpaceX‘s next-generation human space vehicle, and were selected for their extensive test pilot and flight experience, including several missions on the space shuttle, according to NASA.

Behnken will be the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the ISS.

Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as launch, landing and recovery.

It is the first-ever crewed mission for SpaceX since its founding 18 years ago, and the first time ever that a privately developed spacecraft launched humans into Earth’s orbit.

Since the final flight of NASA‘s space shuttle program in July 2011, the space agency has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to get its astronauts to and from the ISS. Since then, NASA, SpaceX and Boeing have been working for years to end that dependence.

In 2014, the two companies signed multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA‘s Commercial Crew Program to finish development of their astronaut taxis and fly six operational crewed missions to and from the orbiting lab.

The Crew Dragon has reached the ISS once before, on the uncrewed Demo-1 mission in March 2019. Demo-2 is the first orbital human mission to launch from the United States.

This is SpaceX‘s final test flight for NASA‘s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations.

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX‘s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

SpaceX currently is readying the hardware for the first space station crew rotational mission, which would happen after data from this test flight is reviewed for certification, according to NASA.

(XINHUA)

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SpaceX launches NASA astronauts into orbit on historic mission

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NASA and SpaceX launched Crew Dragon spacecraft from NASA‘s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, carrying two American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time, from historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are co-commanders on the mission.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence watched the launch at the center.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted, “For the first time in 9 years, we have now launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. I’m so proud of the NASA and SpaceX team for making this moment possible.”

NASA confirmed main engine cutoff and separation of the rocket’s first and second stages minutes after the lift-off.

Falcon 9‘s reusable first stage booster has successfully landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship off the Florida coast.

The Crew Dragon reached Earth orbit about 12 minutes after takeoff, and is making its way to the ISS, according to NASA.

The spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the space station on Sunday at 10:27 a.m. Eastern Time. The spacecraft is designed to do this autonomously, but the two astronauts and the station will be monitoring approach and docking, and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary.

After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew. They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

The mission will conclude with the Crew Dragon undocking from the station, deorbiting, and returning Behnken and Hurley to Earth with a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, according to NASA.

The mission duration has not been announced yet. NASA said it will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch.

Behnken and Hurley were among the first astronauts to begin working and training on SpaceX‘s next-generation human space vehicle, and were selected for their extensive test pilot and flight experience, including several missions on the space shuttle, according to NASA.

Behnken will be the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the ISS.

Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as launch, landing and recovery.

This is SpaceX‘s final test flight for NASA‘s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations.

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX‘s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

(XINHUA)

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NASA, SpaceX postpone historic astronauts launch for weather reason

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NASA and SpaceX postponed historic launch of two astronauts to space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday due to bad weather.

“Due to the weather conditions, the launch is scrubbing,” NASA tweeted.

The crewed mission will be the first time since 2011 that American astronauts launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX said the launch was delayed due to unfavorable weather in the flight path.

The next launch opportunity is scheduled on Saturday, May 30 at 15:22 Eastern Time.

“No launch for today – safety for our crew members is our top priority,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted.

The countdown was halted less than 17 minutes before the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was due to lift off from historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Later the propellant has been offloaded from the rocket, the launch escape system has been disarmed, and the two astronauts safely exited the vehicle, according to NASA.

“As the egress team assists astronauts out of the capsule, we are looking at a 50 percent chance of favorable weather for Saturday’s launch,” NASA tweeted.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Crew Dragon spacecraft and veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to orbit.

The spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the ISS about 24 hours after launch.

After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew. They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

This is SpaceX’s final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations.

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

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NASA, SpaceX make final preparations for historic launch

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Two NASA astronauts will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, the first launch of American astronauts on an American rocket from American soil since 2011.

The mission team concluded the launch readiness review for the upcoming mission, dubbed Demo-2, on Monday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, at a prelaunch briefing.

NASA and SpaceX key managers have given the “go” for the launch, she said, adding the team continues to make progress toward the mission.

“The only thing need to do is how to control the weather on the launch day,” Lueders said.

Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. Eastern Time from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A.

The two astronauts are scheduled to arrive at the ISS about 24 hours after launch.

The spacecraft is designed to do this autonomously, but astronauts aboard the spacecraft and the station will be monitoring approach and docking, and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary, according to NASA.

After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew. They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

The mission duration has not been announced yet. NASA said it will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch.

(XINHUA)

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NASA astronauts enter routine quarantine for historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launch

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Two NASA astronauts entered quarantine on Wednesday to prepare for a historic launch to space on a SpaceX spacecraft, according to a latest NASA release.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which is scheduled to lift off on a Falcon 9 rocket on May 27, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

It will be NASA’s first SpaceX crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS).

For crew getting ready to launch, “flight crew health stabilization” is a routine part of the final weeks before liftoff for all missions to the space station, according to NASA.

Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine helps ensure the astronauts arrives healthy, protecting themselves and their colleagues already on the ISS, said NASA.

Behnken and Hurley will be the first American astronauts to fly to the ISS aboard an American spacecraft launched from American soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

They will meet up with the Expedition 63 crew already in residence aboard the orbiting laboratory.

(XINHUA)

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SpaceX halts U.S. satellite launch for national security mission

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Satellite

Orlando (Fla). Dec. 18, 2018 Elon Musk’s SpaceX halted Tuesday’s launch of a long-delayed navigation satellite for the U.S. military, postponing for at least a day the space transportation company’s first designated national security mission for the United States.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket,, was due to take off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral shortly after 9:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), but was stopped minutes before takeoff.

It is carrying a roughly 500 million global dollars  positioning system (GPS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

“This abort was triggered by the onboard Falcon 9 flight computer,” a SpaceX official narrating the launch sequence said, adding that SpaceX would attempt the launch on Wednesday morning.

SpaceX later tweeted that the Falcon 9 and payload remain healthy and cited an “out of family” reading on the rocket’s first stage sensors for the delay.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who traveled to Florida to watch the launch, announced afterward that President Donald Trump would direct the Pentagon to establish a Combatant Command to oversee America’s activities in space.

The Space Command, the 11th such Combatant Command in the U.S. military, comes as the United States seeks to grow its military footprint in space.

A successful launch would be a significant victory for Musk, a billionaire entrepreneur who spent years trying to break into the market for lucrative military space launches, long dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co.

SpaceX sued the U.S. Air Force in 2014 in protest over the military’s award of a multibillion-dollar, non-compete contract for 36 rocket launches to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed.

SpaceX dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition, according to SpaceX’s website.

The next year, SpaceX won an 83 million dollars Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a lifespan of 15 years, Air Force spokesman William Russell said by phone.

Tuesday’s launch was to be the first of 32 satellites in production by Lockheed under contracts worth a combined 12.6 billion dollars for the Air Force’s GPS III programme Lockheed spokesman Chip Eschenfelder said.

“Once fully operational, this latest generation of GPS satellites will bring new capabilities to users, including three times greater accuracy and up to eight times the anti-jamming capabilities,” said Russell.

The GPS satellite launch was originally scheduled for 2014 but has been hobbled by production delays, the Air Force said.

The next GPS III satellite will launch in mid-2019, Eschenfelder said, while subsequent satellites undergo testing in the company’s Colorado processing facility.

The launch marks SpaceX’s first so-called National Security Space mission as defined by the U.S. military, SpaceX said.

In 2017, the Hawthorne, California-based company launched payloads for the Department of Defense that were not designated as a National Security Space missions.

Edited by: Udochukwu Ifionu
(NAN)

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SpaceX set to identify first paying passenger for moon trip

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SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the moon and will announce details on Monday, the company said.

The individual will travel in a giant spacecraft that SpaceX has designed to fly to Mars.

SpaceX said that the moon mission “is an important step toward enabling access for everyday people, who dream of travelling to space.”

SpaceX founder and Chief Executive, Elon Musk, will fill in other details in making the announcement on Monday evening.

“No matter, who SpaceX has signed for its “BFR Lunar Mission,” the company is hyping it as an epic trip. BFR is shorthand for Big Falcon Rocket.

“Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history,” SpaceX said on Twitter, adding that no one has visited the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

SpaceX announced in February 2017 that two people had signed up for a trip around the moon it aimed to launch before the end of 2018.

That mission was to use SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Falcon Heavy rocket.

The flight never materialised but SpaceX representatives told the Wall Street Journal in June that such a mission remained in the company’s plans.

“It is possible SpaceX will release a timeline on Monday and announce whether the passenger is one of original people, who signed up for the original flight,’’according to Space.com.

Edited by: Fatima Sule/Grace Yussuf
(NAN)

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SpaceX to reveal identity of passenger on world’s first private trip around the moon 

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  SpaceX said it will reveal the identity of  person it chose as passenger on a first trip around the moon on Monday.

The hard-charging rocket firm, run by billionaire Elon Musk, announced the news from its official Twitter handle.

The flight on its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) would be “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space,” the aerospace company wrote on Twitter.

“Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972,” it added.

The company said more details would be made available on Monday.

Asked on Twitter, whether he would be the passenger, billionaire Musk posted an emoji of the Japanese flag.

He introduced the BFR, composed of a rocket and spaceship, in 2017, saying it was aimed at allowing people to colonide Mars and that the company wanted to land two cargo ships on the Red Planet in 2022.

The first ship carrying crews could arrive two years later, he said.

The company announced plans to send two private passengers around the Moon in February 2017, with take-off planned for this year.

However the passengers were never named and the flight has yet to materialise.

It was not clear if one of those passengers was the same as the one mentioned in the s statement.

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