The Planetary Society declared the success of the mission to test the LightSail solar sail. Started on May 20, 2015 as a secondary payload in the launch of the military shuttle X-37B, the CubeSat-class nanosatellite that contained the solar sail has overcome various problems. Eventually the onboard systems have been tested collecting a lot of data useful for the complete mission scheduled for 2016. A few days ago, the LightSail prototype fell back into the atmosphere, disintegrating.
Yesterday NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) system, which will be used to land vehicles that can be very big on Mars, completed its second test over the Pacific Ocean. The result was only partially positive because the huge parachute that is part of this system deployed but didn’t inflate properly.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, announced the results of the investigation on the failure of the mission of the Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft. The problem was found to be in the separation system between the spacecraft and the third stage of the Soyuz 2-1a rocket used to launch it. A new Progress mission to bringh supplies to the International Space Station could be scheduled for early July, probably using a Soyuz-U rocket, the version used until recently.
A little while ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft ended its CRS-6 (Cargo Resupply Service 6) mission for NASA splashing down without problems in the Pacific Ocean a little more than 200 km (a little more than 150 miles) off the coast of California. The Dragon left the International Space Station a few hours earlier.
The mini-shuttle X-37B blasted off atop an Atlas V 501 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The launch seems to have gone well but ULA (United Launch Alliance), which manages it, broadcat the images providing information on the progress of the operations just for a few minutes. That’s because the mission of this spaceplane is carried out by the US Air Force and is partially covered by military secret.