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Virgin Orbit launches seven cubesats on third operational mission

Cosmic Girl, the Boeing 747 aircraft that serves as the launch platform for LauncherOne, took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 4:39 p.m. Eastern. It released the rocket at approximately 5:52 p.m. Eastern, which then ascended to low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 500 kilometers. Virgin Orbit tweeted an hour after release that all seven satellites on the rocket had been deployed.


SpaceX launches third dedicated smallsat rideshare mission

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 10:25 a.m. Eastern Time January 13, 2022. The upper stage reached orbit eight and a half minutes later and, after a second burn 55 minutes after liftoff, deployed its payloads into a 525-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit over the following half-hour.


‘Cosmic monster’ star spits energy with the force of a billion suns

A dense, magnetic star violently erupted and spat out as much energy as a billion suns — and it happened in a fraction of a second, scientists recently reported.

This type of star, known as a magnetar, is a neutron star with an exceptionally strong magnetic field, and magnetars often flare spectacularly and without warning. But even though magnetars can be thousands of times brighter than our sun, their eruptions are so brief and unpredictable that they’re challenging for astrophysicists to find and study.


KSC to study potential new Starship launch pad

The center announced last week that it was starting the process of an environmental review of the proposed Launch Complex (LC) 49 in response to an inquiry from SpaceX. The center did not disclose a timeline for conducting the review but said it would precede any agreement with SpaceX to develop the site.


White House commits to ISS extension

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration formally supports extending operations of the International Space Station through the end of the decade, an announcement that is neither surprising nor addresses how to get all the station’s partners, notably Russia, to agree on the station’s future.