Launches

The OSIRIS-REx space probe blasting off atop an Atlas 5 rocket (Photo NASA/Kim Shiflett)

A few hours ago NASA’s OSIRIS-REx blasted off atop an Atlas 5 411 rocket from Cape Canaveral. After nearly 55 minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s Centaur last stage, after a few more minutes it deployed its solar panels and started communicating with the mission control center. At that point it started its journey to the asteroid 101955 Bennu to collect a sample and take it back to Earth.

SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft starting its CRS-9 mission blasting off atop a Falcon 9 rocket (Image NASA)

A few hours ago SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-9 (Cargo Resupply Service 9) mission, also referred to as SPX-9. After almost ten minutes it separated successfully from the rocket’s last stage and went en route. This is the ninth mission to send the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with various cargoes and then return to Earth, again with various cargoes.

The Progress MS-3 cargo spacecraft blasting off atop a Soyuz U rocket (Image NASA TV)

A few hours ago the Progress MS-3 spacecraft blasted off atop a Soyuz U rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about nine minutes it separated successfully from the rocket’s last stage and was placed on its route. The cargo spacecraft began its resupply mission to the International Space Station also called Progress 64. The spacecraft was launched in the route that requires two days of travel.

SpaceX Red Dragon spacecraft on Mars' surface (Image courtesy SpaceX. All rights reserved)

SpaceX announced plans to send its first commercial mission to the planet Mars as early as 2018. In Elon Musk’s company’s plans, the journey will be carried out automatically by the Red Dragon spacecraft, a variant of the Dragon 2. The Red Dragon will be launched atop a Falcon Heavy rocket, the version of SpaceX rocket with two additional boosters. NASA will provide technical support but will not fund the mission.