Friday’s launch marked only the third time that Elon Musk’s private space-faring firm has flown astronauts. The Falcon 9 rocket blazed across a black sky just before sunrise, and NASA confirmed shortly after liftoff Friday that the astronauts had safely reached orbit. Rocket startup Astra failed to send a rocket into orbit for the third time — with this attempt sending the craft hovering instead of launching towards space. South Korea will also continue to move forward with its space rocket and satellite projects. The Nuri project began in 2010 with an ambitious goal to launch a rocket with the country’s own technology.

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NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer make up the third crew rotation mission to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program. The launch’s timeline is dependent on ground tests, including a January “dress rehearsal” for the launch. NASA also announced two additional two-week, unmanned flight periods in March and April that are based on the moon’s alignment with Earth, the Times reported.

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Their flight lasted 10 minutes and 10 seconds — five minutes shy of Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 flight in 1961. Shepard’s daughters, Laura and Julie, were introduced at a press event a few hours later. The crew for the second long-duration SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, are pictured during a training session at the SpaceX training facility in Hawthorne, Calif.

The launch Friday will bring the total number of Starlink spacecraft SpaceX has launched to 1,844 satellites, including failed and decommissioned spacecraft, adding to the largest fleet ever put into orbit. In September, SpaceX launched the first batch of 51 Starlink satellites into a 70-degree inclination orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base. That orbital shell will eventually contain 720 satellites at an altitude of 354 miles . The booster will attempt to land on SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” in the Atlantic Ocean, while the second stage will fire into orbit with a single burn of its Merlin engine. Deployment of the 53 Starlink payloads is expected at T+plus 15 minutes, 31 seconds, according to a mission timeline provided by SpaceX. Crew-3’s fourth astronaut is Tom Marshburn, 61, who will set off on his third trek to orbit since joining NASA’s astronaut corps in 2004.

We are proud to be entrusted with such an important mission and to be returning to the Atlas rocket’s human spaceflight heritage dating back more than 50 years. Equally as important as the structural attachments between the launch vehicle elements are the electrical and data connections which allow the computers in the Core Stage to talk to the avionics in the Boosters. Additional engineering tests and joint exercises with agency support centers around the country will then precede a roll out to Launch Complex 39B for additional engineering tests and a final Wet Dress Rehearsal. After the WDR, the vehicle will be rolled back to the VAB for final pre-flight and launch preparations before returning to the pad for liftoff.

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Russia showed off a prototype of its new fifth-generation warplane at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday as the United Arab Emirates‘ deal to buy American F-35 fighter jets makes slow progress. It was the first time the Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate, unveiled in July, had been shown outside Russia, and according to the Russian state news agency it was visited by an Emirati delegation. A glitzy English-language computer simulation video showed the light tactical warplane, capable of simultaneously carrying five air-to-air missiles, destroying multiple targets at once.

United Launch Alliance has selected K-12 student payloads to launch aboard three intern-built sport rockets at this summer’s Student Rocket Launch. The Landsat program is the only U.S. satellite system designed and operated to repeatedly observe the global land surface at a moderate scale that shows both natural and human-induced change. Landsat 9 will provide continuity with the nearly 50-year long Landsat land imaging data set.

The crew capsule reached an apogee of 350,827 feet before returning to Earth nearly 10 minutes after launch. Roughly seven and a half minutes after launch, New Shepard’s booster landed back on the pad. Boeing completes and delivers first Space Launch System core stage, the next step toward NASA’s Artemis I mission to lunar orbit.