Clean Up In NSSL’s Lane 1

The US military’s scheme to diversify its stable of rocketmakers is running into a problem: None of them is likely to fly their rockets on time. 


Kim Jong Un and Putin Meet at Spaceport, Discuss Rockets and Satellites

Kim Jong Un met with Russian president Vladimir Putin at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome space center yesterday, marking the first meeting between the leaders in four years. Against the backdrop of the Russian launch facility, the pair discussed providing support for Kim’s satellite program and the possibility of sending the first North Korean to space. After […]


SpaceX Files its Starship Mishap Report to the FAA

SpaceX has filed a final mishap investigation report to the FAA for its April 20 Starship integrated flight test, the FAA told Payload on Tuesday.  Submitting the report is an important regulatory step toward SpaceX launching Starship on its second orbital test flight, a milestone that will require sign-off from the FAA.  “When a final […]


Lockheed Nabs $500M to Build Nuclear Powered Rocket

NASA and DARPA have chosen Lockheed Martin ($LMT) to develop the first nuclear-powered Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) rocket for a demo as early as 2026, the trio announced Wednesday. The contract is valued at $499M, with funding split evenly between the two government agencies.  Lockheed Martin will build the spacecraft, and BWX […]


ULA Pushes Vulcan Launch to Q4 Due to Centaur Issue

The space world will have to wait a little bit longer to see Vulcan fly. The ULA rocket’s maiden launch has been delayed to Q4 while engineers fix a structural issue with its Centaur V second-stage rocket that caused May’s monstrous explosion on the test stand, ULA chief Tory Bruno announced yesterday. Right of boom: […]


A Look at SpaceX’s Starship Upgrades as it Prepares for Second Flight

Since Starship’s first orbital flight test nearly three months ago, SpaceX has been working around the clock modifying the rocket, rebuilding the launch pad, and defending itself against an environmental lawsuit as the launch giant prepares for its second orbital attempt.  Upgrades to Starship SpaceX will be using Booster 9 and Starship 25 for its […]


Firefly Aerospace Buys Spaceflight Inc.

Launch startup Firefly Aerospace announced yesterday that it has acquired Spaceflight Inc., a space services and transportation company, to build its on-orbit service offerings. Firefly did not disclose the terms of the deal.  Firefly: The Texas-based rocket startup, which focuses on the small to medium-lift market, achieved orbit for the first time in October with […]


Sierra Space Powers up Dream Chaser in Preparation for Maiden Flight

Sierra Space turned on its Dream Chaser spaceplane for the first time Wednesday, checking off a major milestone before its first flight to the ISS, which is expected at the end of the year. Dream Chaser 101 The autonomous spaceplane is designed to launch vertically atop a heavy-lift rocket, but land horizontally on a runway. […]


NASA Inspector General Highly Critical of SLS Spending

NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a scathing report yesterday on the cost overruns in the engine and booster contracts under the Artemis SLS program. The report revealed $23.8B of total SLS expenses since 2012, resulting in a dizzying $4.2B cost per launch.  Over the Moon: SLS is an expendable heavy-lift rocket designed to […]