After Dragon, SpaceX’s focus returns to Falcon

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft descends towards splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the Baja California coast on Tuesday. (credit: SpaceX)

After all the drama of its launch, the return of the latest Dragon spacecraft was, fortunately, a bit anticlimactic. The International Space Station’s robotic arm unberthed Dragon from the station, releasing it at 6:56 [...]

Virgin continues progress towards first powered SpaceShipTwo flight

Virgin Galactic wants to make sure people know its first powered SpaceShipTwo (SS2) flight is coming soon. Yesterday the company tweeted a photo of what it called the second “in a short series of final tests” of the vehicle’s hybrid rocket motor prior to that first flight:

The 2nd in short series of final tests [...]

Musk on the Dragon glitch, Texas spaceport plans, and needling Bezos

While Musk debuted the video of the latest Grasshopper test Saturday in his on-stage interview at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, it wasn’t the only space-related topic discussed during the hour-long event. Musk also provided some new insights on the problems the company’s latest Dragon spacecraft experienced immediately after launch on [...]

More on Grasshopper’s “Johnny Cash hover slam” test

Saturday afternoon Elon Musk was the subject a keynote interview at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. It was at the conference that he showed the first video of Thursday’s test flight of SpaceX’s Grasshopper vehicle. How new was this video? “You’re the first people to see that video,” he told [...]

SpaceX’s Grasshopper flies again

Grasshopper, the reusable launch vehicle (RLV) technology demonstrator developed by SpaceX, made its fourth flight on Thursday, according to government records. The list of flights performed under experimental permits issued by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation now includes a flight on Thursday, March 7, by Grasshopper from SpaceX’s test site near McGregor, Texas. [...]

Virgin entering phase of “final confirmation firings” before first powered SpaceShipTwo flight

SpaceShipTwo, the suborbital vehicle under development by Virgin Galactic and its partner Scaled Composites, has been on the verge of beginning powered flights for a few months now, after performing a glide flight in a “powered flight configuration” in December. There’s been little news from Virgin since then, until a blog post today by Sir [...]

Dragon cleared for Sunday berthing with the ISS

NASA announced Saturday afternoon that the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched Friday, which has recovered from a thruster problem that jeopardized its mission, is cleared to arrive at the station just one day later than planned. Dragon will rendezvous with the station in the early morning hours Sunday, with the station crew scheduled to grapple the [...]

Falcon launches, but Dragon having some problems

This time it’s the spacecraft that’s causing some problems for SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on time at 10:10 am EST (1510 GMT) after a trouble-free countdown and placed the Dragon into orbit nine minutes later, all according to plan. However, SpaceX reported a problem with the Dragon immediately after separation, offering no [...]

On eve of its next mission, SpaceX offers new details on previous Falcon 9 launch

The Falcon 9 carrying the Dragon spacecraft for the CRS-2 mission undergoes a hot fire test on the pad on Monday, February 25. (credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is on track to launch this Friday the second of 12 contracted cargo missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Launch of the Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon [...]