December 17, 2020
SpaceX’s final Falcon 9 launch of the year will carry a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency. SpaceX aborted a launch attempt Thursday morning to assess a second stage sensor reading, and delayed the mission to Friday during a three-hour window opening at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT).
- Watch a live view of the Falcon 9 rocket on pad 39A (members only)December 17, 2020
- PSLV delivers Indian communications satellite into orbitDecember 17, 2020A government communications satellite to link Indian citizens with telemedicine, education, and other services rocketed into orbit Thursday on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
- Chinese sample return capsule lands on Earth after round-trip flight to moonDecember 16, 2020A capsule containing moon rocks landed in a remote, snow-covered corner of China Wednesday, bringing home the first samples from the lunar surface in 44 years and completing the Chinese space program’s most challenging robotic mission to date.
- Live coverage: PSLV successfully launches from IndiaDecember 17, 2020India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carried a new communications satellite into orbit Thursday, replacing a satellite launched in 2011 providing telemedicine, remote education, and other telecom services across the Indian subcontinent. Liftoff occurred at 5:11 a.m. EST (1011 GMT).
- Astra’s smallsat launcher reaches space on second test flightDecember 16, 2020On its second test flight Tuesday, Astra’s privately-developed small satellite launcher ran out of fuel seconds before reaching the velocity needed to enter orbit but exceeded the company’s expectations with an otherwise-successful climb into space from Kodiak Island, Alaska.
- Chinese spacecraft heading back to Earth with lunar samplesDecember 15, 2020A Chinese spacecraft ferrying rocks drilled from the moon’s surface is on course to land back on Earth Wednesday and deliver the first fresh lunar samples to scientists sin