David Szondy / New Atlas
NASA has released the names of the first nine US astronauts for the first four manned, commercial space flights. A mixture of ex-Space Shuttle crews and test pilots, the nine men and women will be the first to ride on an American-made and flagged spacecraft since the Shuttle was retired in 2011, and will act as crew on the first two test flights and the first two mission flights to the International Space Station (!SS).
The space agency’s August 3 announcement is the latest step in the United States’ return to a manned spaceflight program. Since the last Space Shuttle mission, STS-135, landed at the Kennedy Space Center on March 9, 2011, NASA has been completely dependent on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry crews to the ISS. To return manned launches to American territory, the US government has encouraged private firms to develop and operate complete space launch systems to send astronauts and cargo to the space station and return them to Earth.
SpaceX will launch a powerful Telstar communications satellite into orbit early Sunday morning (July 22), testing out the spaceflight company’s new Block 5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket for the second time.
The launch is set to occur Sunday between 1:50 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. EDT (0550 to 0950 GMT) from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and you can watch it live online here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX. You can also follow the action directly at SpaceX’s site.
SpaceX successfully completed a test-fire of the two-stage Falcon 9 Wednesday (July 18), firing the first stage’s nine Merlin engines at full power to test them before lowering the rocket to attach the satellite payload, according to SpaceflightNow.
SpaceX will launch a new resupply mission to the International Space Station early Friday (June 29), and you can watch the spaceflight action live online.
A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with the company’s robotic Dragon cargo capsule is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Friday at 5:42 a.m. EDT (0942 GMT). You can watch the launch here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 5:15 a.m. EDT (0915). You can also watch it live directly via NASA TV, or via SpaceX’s website.
SpaceX won’t launch two space tourists on a mission around the moon in 2018 after all, according to media reports.
In February 2017, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that the company aimed to fly two paying customers on a weeklong journey around the moon before the end of 2018, using its Dragon capsule and powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. (The customers, who have never been publicly identified, put down a deposit for the mission, SpaceX representatives said at the time.)
SpaceX will launch a communications satellite early Friday morning (June 1), and you can watch the liftoff live.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a used first stage is scheduled to lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12:29 a.m. EDT (0429 GMT) Friday and carry the SES-12 satellite to orbit for the Luxembourg-based telecom company SES. You can watch the launch live here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via SpaceX’s website