TOP STORIES: October 2019

30 October 2019

Each month we round up some of the top stories in space, entrepreneurship, innovation, finance and technology.

Here’s our round-up for October:

Plans for UK’s first moon rover announced at New Scientist Live


The UK is sending its first rover to the Moon, and it is going to be tiny. SpaceBit, a UK-based space start-up, announced at New Scientist Live, a contract with the US space robotics company Astrobotic to send a rover aboard the Astrobotic lander that is headed to the Moon in 2021. Read more at New Scientist.

Virgin Orbit to add extra rocket stage to LauncherOne for interplanetary missions

Virgin Orbit, while preparing for the first flight of its LauncherOne smallsat rocket, is in the process of choosing an engine for a three-stage variant that would be capable of sending payloads to other planets. Read more at Space News.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket mated to the company’s Cosmic Girl plane during tests in October 2018. Credit: Virgin Orbit

NASA sets launch date for Starliner mission to space station

NASA invited media to the launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The news release included a launch date for the mission: December 17. This uncrewed test flight will validate the in-flight capabilities of the Starliner vehicle and the Atlas V rocket that will launch it into orbit. This mission is a precursor to human flights on Starliner, which NASA has paid Boeing to develop for astronaut transport to the International Space Station. Read more at Arstechnica.

This illustration shows Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Credit: Boeing

First All-Woman Spacewalk

On Oct 18, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch performed the first all-woman spacewalk. Koch & Meir replaced a faulty battery charge/discharge unit that failed to activate after a previous spacewalk. This was the fourth spacewalk for Christina Koch and the first for Jessica Meir. Watch the video below.