Launches

The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft at lift off atop a Soyuz rocket (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago ago the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko to transport them to the International Space Station. The new version of the Soyuz spacecraft was launched once again in the route that will take two days instead of the six-hour fast path to keep on testing the new on-board systems.

The Cygnus space cargo ship blasting off atop an Antares rocket (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

It was late afternoon in California when Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft blasted off atop an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), part of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) on Wallops Island. After about nine minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage went en route to its destination. This is its sixth official mission, called Orbital-5 or simply Orb-5 but also CRS OA-5, to transport supplies to the International Space Station for NASA.

Tiangong-2 after blasting off atop a Long March 2F T2 rocket (Image courtesy CCTV)

A little while ago the Chinese space laboratory Tiangong-2 (Heavenly Palace 2) was launched from the Jiuquan base atop a Long March 2F T2 rocket. After about 10 minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage, deployed its solar panels and was place in a temporary orbit. Over the next few days, its thrusters will be used to adjust the orbit to an altitude of about 393 kilometers (238 miles).

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.