Via Satellite’s Top 10 Spaceflight Photos in 2017
Each year, the global space industry raises the bar on what mankind is able to accomplish beyond the confines of the Earth’s atmosphere. Amid the uprise of fully reusable rockets and record-breaking smallsat launches, we’ve curated a gallery of our favorite moments in spaceflight in 2017.
First SpaceX Relanding
This photo captures SpaceX’s Falcon 9 as it extends its carbon fiber legs for the company’s first ever rocket relanding in March.
ISRO’s Record-Breaking Launch
In February, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) broke the record for the most satellites (104 in total) deployed in a single launch.
Star Wars in Orbit
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) settle in (with juice bags in hand) to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Astronauts Return to Earth
The Soyuz MS 4 spacecraft descends with astronauts Fyodor Yurchikhin, Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer aboard near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Sept. 3.
Planet Captures Soyuz Launch
Planet angled a Dove satellite 50 degrees off-nadir to capture this time lapse of a Soyuz launching 48 of its own satellites in July.
Arianespace Nighttime Launch
Ariane 5’s gas plumes contrast starkly against the night sky during the launch of Intelsat 37e and BSAT 4a in October.
SpaceX to Send Tesla to Deep Space
This photo shows SpaceX Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elon Musk’s personal Tesla before integration on Falcon Heavy. SpaceX will launch the car into deep space for Heavy’s first demo flight in January.
Stratollite’s Maiden Voyage
World View technicians inflate the company’s massive High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS), Stratollite, ahead of its inaugural launch from Spaceport Tuscon in October.
Delta 2 Drips in Gold
Warm sunbeams illuminate United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta 2 rocket as it stands poised to launch JPSS 1 for NASA and NOAA in November.
Vector Flies First Prototype
In August, Vector Space Systems highlighted the minimal ground infrastructure needed for its Vector R rocket by conducting a test flight in the middle of an empty road at Georgia’s Spaceport Camden.
Honorable Mention: Floating in the Abyss
Former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II passed away on Dec. 21 at the age of 80. In memory of his passing and his contributions to the space program, NASA republished this iconic 1984 photo of McCandless free-floating 320 feet away from the ISS’ Orbiter.