I’ve recently seen a few interesting things in the press, so it’s the moment for another roundup of what’s happening in outer space (and Earth’s Lower Orbit, too). This edition is all about space missions: the months ahead are going to be busy.
Falcon Heavy is ready to depart. If everything goes how it should, 6 February will be the date, and it promises to be historical. In case you missed this step in Elon’s ambitious space program, Falcon Heavy is the massive rocket (sort of Saturn V, just to be clear) that will eventually take humans to Mars. A curiosity: the Falcon Heavy rocket will carry a payload of and play David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity.” Nice touch.
NASA’s new Martian Lander is getting ready for action, and it will have solar-powered wings once on the Martian surface, where it’s supposed to land by November 2018. The Lander, NASA said, has just passed a critical test. “This is the last time we will see the spacecraft in landed configuration before it arrives at the Red Planet,” said Scott Daniels, Lockheed Martin InSight Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) Manager. “There are still many steps we have to take before launch, but this is a critical milestone before shipping to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.” The InSight launch window opens in May.”
The video tells the story better than any description.
Keeping at launches and missions, I’ll finish with a look at the past – at something that has already made history – and the present, too, since the site is still being used as we speak.
This article from Space.com is interesting even though it’s not a news, per se. It’s about the famous Russian complex – Baikonour Cosmodrome – from where the entire Soviet space programme has come from. “Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan has been the launch site for Soviet and Russian space missions since the beginning of space exploration in 1957. The first satellite and the first human flew into space from there. Today, the site is heavily used for Soyuz astronaut launches to the International Space Station.” More about it here.