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Rocket Lab to recover booster on launch next month

Rocket Lab will take another step toward booster reusability next month, if all goes according to plan.

Rocket Lab intends to recover the first stage of an Electron launcher during its next mission, which is scheduled to lift off from New Zealand during a two-week window that opens on Nov. 11, representatives of the California-based company announced on Tuesday (Oct. 19).

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Home News Spaceflight SpaceX, NASA target Halloween launch for Crew-3 astronaut flight to space station

NASA’s next space station launch is set for Halloween and will put four more astronauts into space on a SpaceX rocket.

The Crew-3 launch is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. EDT (0721 GMT), using a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch will take place at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA Television and SpaceX broadcast details will be released at a later date.

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Russian cargo ship to make a novel day-long parking spot swap at space station

An uncrewed Russian cargo ship will begin swapping parking spots at the International Space Station tonight (Oct. 20) in a move that will take just over a day to reach its new berth.

The Progress 78 spacecraft is scheduled to undock from Russia’s Poisk module at the station at 7:42 p.m. EDT (2342 GMT). There won’t be any coverage of the undocking on NASA Television, but you can watch it redock at its new port at the International Space Station on Thursday.

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Disability ambassadors successfully complete Zero-G flight

On Sept. 15, Hayley Arceneaux became the first person with a prosthesis to fly to space when she launched aboard SpaceX’s private Inspiration4 orbital mission. And earlier this year, in February, the European Space Agency put out a call for people with disabilities to apply to become astronauts, or “parastronauts,” with the agency. However, spaceflight is not yet fully available to those with disabilities: a problem that Mission: AstroAccess aims to solve. 

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Germany’s Exolaunch expands overseas for larger share of U.S. launch market

TAMPA, Fla. — German launch services provider Exolaunch is expanding to the U.S. in search of a greater share of the rapidly growing market, stepping up competition against Seattle-based rideshare broker Spaceflight. About half the nearly 100 satellites Exolaunch has already booked for launches next year are for U.S. customers, newly appointed Exolaunch USA CEO Chris Hearsey told SpaceNews.

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US Senate appropriators direct NASA to select second Artemis lunar lander

WASHINGTON — Senate appropriators want NASA to select a second company for its program to develop crewed lunar landers, but provided the agency with only a small increase in funding to support that.

The Senate Appropriations Committee released Oct. 18 drafts of its versions of nine appropriations bills for fiscal year 2022, including commerce, justice and science, which funds NASA. That bill offers $24.83 billion for NASA overall, slightly above the administration’s request of $24.8 billion but less than the $25.04 billion in a House bill.

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Chinese partnership to create Tianxian SAR satellite constellation

A Chinese state-owned enterprise and a private firm are partnering to establish a 96-satellite SAR constellation, with the first launch set for February 2022.

The 38th institute of the giant state-owned enterprise China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) will work with private satellite manufacturer Spacety to construct a X and C-band synthetic aperture radar constellation named Tianxian. The constellation will consist of 96 small satellites launched into various planes.

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Satellites capture reinvigorated La Palma volcanic eruption

Satellites have captured stunning new images of the intensifying volcanic eruption on the Spain-owned island of La Palma as new streams of lava spilled out over the weekend.

The revitalized volcanic eruption was accompanied by boulders the size of a house rolling out of the Cumbre Vieja volcano’s crater, where part its cone collapsed on Saturday (Oct. 9), as locals reported dozens of Earth tremors up to 3.8 magnitude since Sunday. The reports signal Cumbre Vieja was still far from going to sleep. 

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope arrives in French Guiana ahead of Dec. 18 launch

A cargo ship carrying the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope arrived in French Guiana on Tuesday (Oct. 12), wrapping up a 16-day ocean voyage that covered 5,800 miles (9,300 kilometers), NASA officials said.

The ship, known as the MN Colibri, departed from Seal Beach in Southern California’s Orange County on Sept. 26. It entered the Panama Canal on Oct. 5, moving from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and then made its way to French Guiana, a French territory on South America’s northeastern coast.

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How to watch NASA’s Lucy asteroid mission launch this week online

Lucy — which will study Trojan asteroids, or asteroids that share the orbit of the giant planet — will fly to space from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. With blast-off targeting 5:34 a.m. EDT (0934 GMT), live launch coverage will begin at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) on NASA Television, the NASA app, NASA social media channels and here at Space.com.

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Rocket Lab to launch NASA smallsat using SBIR award

Rocket Lab will launch a NASA technology demonstration satellite under an unconventional arrangement as the agency works on a more standardized approach for launching smallsats.

Rocket Lab announced Oct. 6 that NASA selected the company to launch the Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) spacecraft on an Electron rocket. The 12-unit cubesat will test the deployment of a solar sail using composite booms seven meters long. Those booms, which will unspool over the course of 20 to 30 minutes, are designed to be lighter that traditional metallic booms while also being less susceptible to thermal distortion.

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Why a Labrador crater is the perfect training ground for future moon explorers

One of the most iconic moments of the 20th century was the first step by a human on the surface of another planetary body. That first footprint was, of course, made by Neil Armstrong on the moon on July 21, 1969. Like many of you, I was not alive to witness this historic event, and so have spent much of my career dreaming of the time when humans will once again venture beyond the protection of low Earth orbit, back to the moon, and then on to Mars. That day is getting tantalizingly close with the launch of NASA’s Artemis Program. 

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