All Space stories

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 6, 2021 - Science

Russia is dialing up its military space ambitions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Russia is staging shows of military might in orbit as its civil and commercial space sector loses its longstanding edge.

Why it matters: These demonstrations threaten to undermine responsible behavior in space, and could put U.S. military — and possibly commercial — assets in orbit at risk.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 3, 2021 - Science

Companies race to design private space stations before ISS goes offline

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies are rapidly designing private space stations that could one day dominate operations in orbit around Earth.

Why it matters: NASA is hoping private industry will start to take over operations in low-Earth orbit once the International Space Station comes to an end, creating a robust commercial market in that part of space.

Space as a (weather) service

Photo: NASA

The private weather company ClimaCell has raised more than $185 million in part to help finance its ambitions to build a fleet of satellites designed to monitor and forecast the weather.

Why it matters: The company — which announced a $77 million Series D capital raise today — is aiming to do something different than most space-faring weather firms. Instead of gathering data to sell it to others, it plans to use it to improve its own analytical offerings.

Mar 30, 2021 - World

Rising tides and supermoon helped free massive ship from Suez Canal

The "Ever Given" ship. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Rescuers who dislodged the massive "Ever Given" ship from the Suez Canal on Monday got the aid of a supermoon, which raised water levels about 19 inches above normal tides and made it easier to pull the vessel, The Wall Street Journal reports.

How it works: Tides are usually higher during a full or new moon. But that effect was boosted by the year's first supermoon — which occurs when a full moon orbits closest to the Earth.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Mar 30, 2021 - Science

SpaceX's latest test of prototype Starship appears to end in failure

SN11 takes flight. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX launched a prototype of its Starship rocket Tuesday designed to one day send people and cargo to deep space destinations like Mars. The vehicle appeared to fail as it was coming in for a landing.

Why it matters: The most recent launch was part of SpaceX's test campaign designed to develop Starship and get it flying to orbit in the not-too-distant future.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Mar 30, 2021 - Science

Final two crewmembers chosen for all-civilian mission to space

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches people to orbit. Photo: SpaceX

A geoscientist and a former Space Camp counselor will round out the crew of the first all-civilian mission to space launching later this year.

Why it matters: The mission is one of the first true tests of the future space companies like SpaceX hope to build — one in which anyone has the chance to fly to space, even without government backing.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Mar 30, 2021 - Science

We're starting to answer some big questions about Mars

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The rovers and orbiters studying Mars are being tasked with answering the persistent questions that remain about the Red Planet, decades after NASA sent its first missions to the world.

Why it matters: New spacecraft recently sent to Mars will help NASA and other space agencies fill in gaps in knowledge, moving them ever-closer to finding out whether the world once played host to life.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Mar 27, 2021 - Science

"The Expanse" offers a realistic depiction of space colonization

The cover of the first book in "The Expanse" series.

A series of novels that have been turned into a TV show offers one of the most realistic visions of what the colonization of space might actually be like.

Why you should read and watch: "The Expanse" imagines a future where human beings have moved into space without growing much beyond the often unjust political and economic systems of today.

Mar 23, 2021 - Science

NASA's Mars helicopter may make first flight in April

A concept illustration of NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Photo illustration: NASA via Getty Images

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity, which hitched a ride to the Martian surface on the Perseverance rover, may attempt its first test flight in early April, NASA announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: If the test is successful, Ingenuity will be the first helicopter to fly on another planet, possibly opening up a new way to robotically explore space.

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

What's next for NASA's Space Launch System

The SLS lighting up. Photo: NASA/Robert Markowitz

NASA has cleared its final major hurdle before its next huge rocket can make its inaugural flight to space.

Why it matters: The rocket — known as the Space Launch System — is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, and it's considered key to NASA's plans to send missions to the moon and beyond.