SpaceX plans to conduct the debut launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket this summer using two boosters that have already flown on other missions, SpaceX Founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said March 30. Speaking after the company’s success in launching its first pre-flown first stage with the SES-10 satellite aboard, Musk said SpaceX has worked out most of the challenges associated with getting three Falcon 9 cores to fly together — a task that has proven much more complex than it originally appeared.
The NASA team studying a lander mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa says their work is continuing even though the White House is requesting no funding for the mission in its latest budget. In a presentation at a meeting of the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science at the National Academies here March 29, Barry Goldstein of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said that ongoing studies of the proposed lander are continuing, including a mission concept review scheduled for June.
Space Systems Loral (SSL) has filed a lawsuit against Orbital ATK after an employee of that company accessed sensitive information in a NASA computer system about SSL satellite servicing technologies
The suit, filed March 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Newport News, Virginia, is the latest development in a dispute involving the two companies and a government agency regarding the development of systems to service satellites.
Plans to continue a NASA mission to intercept a small asteroid will depend on a decision due by the end of April on NASA’s 2017 budget, an agency official said March 20. In an interview after a town hall meeting at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference here, Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said a decision about whether to proceed with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will depend on funding by and direction from Congress.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched the EchoStar 23 satellite early March 16 on the rare mission that did not attempt a recovery of the rocket’s first stage. The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:00 a.m. Eastern. The launch was delayed by about 25 minutes because of upper level wind conditions. Poor weather scrubbed the previous launch attempt March 14. The rocket’s payload, EchoStar 23, separated from the Falcon 9 upper stage 34 minutes after liftoff, after being inserted into a geostationary transfer orbit.