Escaping Gravity and the struggle to reshape NASA

On Sept. 16, 2021, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ascended into space with a crew capsule atop it, carrying four private citizens—two men and two women. It was the first orbital spaceflight in history without a government employee aboard. More recently, in April of 2022, another milestone was achieved, with the first fully private flight to the International Space Station, in which the four-man crew performed research there for more than two weeks before returning to Earth.

Astronomers want “strong finish” for SOFIA

In a June 15 statement, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) acknowledged the impending end of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a Boeing 747 with a 2.7-meter infrared telescope mounted in its fuselage. NASA announced April 28 an agreement with its partner on SOFIA, the German space agency DLR, to cease flight operations of SOFIA at the end of September. That announcement came a month after NASA’s fiscal year 2023 budget request proposed ending the project.

Op-ed | A new way to incentivize safer conditions for operating in space

The rising number of satellites launched in recent years, driven by the emergence of new actors and commercial satellite constellations in low-Earth orbit, has amplified concerns about preserving the long-term use of the space environment. Each year, the space industry sees record numbers of satellite launches, while not enough satellites are removed from already congested orbits at the end of their lives.