All Space stories

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 4, 2021 - Science

Hubble watches a planet grow

PDS 70b (the bright spot to the middle left) forming around its star. Photo: NASA/ESA/University of Texas/STScI

The Hubble Space Telescope has caught sight of a huge planet forming around a star 370 light-years from Earth.

Why it matters: Named PDS 70b, the planet is the youngest ever directly imaged by the powerful telescope and could help scientists learn more about how worlds grow up around their stars.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 4, 2021 - Science

Government cash is king for private spaceflight

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The public fights between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk over their space companies point to a broader truth in the space industry: There isn't enough money to go around.

Why it matters: The promise of commercial human spaceflight still hinges on billions of dollars of investment from the U.S. government.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 2, 2021 - Science

Four astronauts delivered back to Earth by SpaceX

Photo: NASA

An international crew of four astronauts is back on Earth after a long-duration stay on the International Space Station.

The big picture: Sunday's splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico marks the end of SpaceX's first fully operational crewed mission to the space station.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 1, 2021 - Science

Vice President Harris will chair the National Space Council

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with NASA astronaut Victor Glover. Photo: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

The Biden administration will keep the National Space Council — reestablished initially by the Trump administration — and Vice President Kamala Harris plans to chair it.

Why it matters: Many see the National Space Council as integral to policy development and inter-agency collaboration as the nation increasingly relies on space for national security and other uses.

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

Photo: NASA/JPL/USGS

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.