All Space stories

Apr 30, 2021 - Science

NASA orders SpaceX to stop work on lunar spacecraft as rivals challenge contract

Photo: Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images

NASA has told Elon Musk's SpaceX to pause work under an exclusive Moon program contract until the Government Accountability Office rules on rival bidders' challenges, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Companies including Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin vied for the contract as a source of funding to build a lunar spacecraft. The high-profile project is looking to send humans back to the Moon for the first time since 1972.

Senate confirms Bill Nelson as NASA administrator

Bill Nelson. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) was unanimously confirmed by Senate on Thursday to serve as head of NASA.

The big picture: As NASA administrator, Nelson will lead the agency as it works to send astronauts back to the Moon, which would pave the way for an eventual Mars mission.

Apr 29, 2021 - Science

Jeff Bezos teases tickets to space

Photo: Getty Images

Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin teased the start of ticket sales for its New Shepard rocket on Thursday.

Driving the news: In a video, Jeff Bezos wears a cowboy hat (channeling Kimbal Musk) and drives a Rivian, an electric truck contracted by Amazon, to a New Shepard test flight landing site.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 27, 2021 - Science

NASA and SpaceX still pushing for a Moon landing in 2024

Photo: NASA

NASA and SpaceX still appear to be pushing to meet the 2024 deadline to land astronauts back on the Moon first set by the Trump administration.

The big picture: In its first 100 days, the Biden administration undid many of the Trump administration's policies but President Biden has largely hewed closely to Trump-era space policies.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 27, 2021 - Science

Astronomer Jill Tarter is on a search for extraterrestrial life

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images

Astronomer Jill Tarter wants the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) to be taken seriously.

Why it matters: SETI as a scientific field has long played second fiddle to other, well-funded searches for direct and indirect signs of life — like NASA’s Mars program and the hunt for alien planets around distant stars.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 27, 2021 - Science

Blue Origin protests NASA's Moon lander contract with SpaceX


Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is challenging NASA's decision to award SpaceX the sole contract to build a human lander system for the space agency's return to the Moon.

Why it matters: These types of big government contracts are hugely important as a source of funding for Blue Origin and SpaceX.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 27, 2021 - Science

A make-or-break moment for cleaning up space junk

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies and governments around the world are racing to figure out how to clean up human-made junk that is cluttering space.

Why it matters: Trackers are seeing more and more close calls between satellites, as companies work to deploy constellations of hundreds to thousands of small spacecraft, adding to fears that those small satellites could become junk themselves.

Apr 24, 2021 - Science

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft docks with International Space Station, carrying 4 astronauts

SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft launch to the International Space Station. Photo: Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images

The second operational SpaceX spacecraft carrying four astronauts for a six-month mission arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday morning.

The big picture: The Crew Dragon spacecraft "Endeavour," which launched on a Falcon 9 rocket Friday, docked autonomously with the ISS at 5:22 a.m. ET, joining another Crew Dragon spacecraft, "Resilience."

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 23, 2021 - Science

SpaceX launches crew of four to the International Space Station

The rocket launches from Florida. Photo: NASA TV

Four astronauts took flight to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon early Friday morning.

The big picture: This marks the third time SpaceX has launched people to space for NASA, helping the space agency end its reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft and rocket for trips to the space station.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 22, 2021 - Science

Our Earth in context with other worlds

Data and planet illustrations: NASA; Graphic: Annelise Capossela, Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Earth is special, even in the context of the thousands of planets outside of our solar system so far found by astronomers.

Why it matters: The holy grail for researchers remains finding an Earth-sized planet in a similar orbit to our Earth around a Sun-like star.