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From: Eric9/14/2017 9:15:47 AM
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Elon Musk just released a supercut of SpaceX rocket explosion videos with never-before-seen footage

Watch SpaceX blow up a lot of rockets while trying to land them

Elon Musk believes in the dictum "If you're going to fail, fail spectacularly."

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From: supernova239/14/2017 3:06:32 PM
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SpaceX's internet satellite strategy faces possible setback after FCC decision

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From: Eric9/18/2017 2:13:07 PM
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SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down in Pacific with a crew of mouse astronauts

Mark Austin

Digital Trends

September 17, 2017

After a month at the International Space Station, the SpaceX Dragon capsule has returned to Earth with nearly two tons of cargo aboard. The payload includes 20 live mouse astronauts, part of a NASA study examining biological changes in blood vessels and eyes caused by the zero-gravity environment of space.

The Dragon capsule was launched back in August with more than three tons of supplies for the International Space Station, including the Hewlett Packard Spaceborn Computer that may someday help humans reach Mars. In addition to the live mice, the delivery also included a special treat for the space station astronauts.

The mice are part of NASA’s Rodent Research-9 study, enacted to find ways to help humans cope with the effects of a zero-gravity environment. The study may also help arthritis sufferers back here on Earth....

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SpaceX, Dragon Capsule & Falcon 9: Latest News

Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is a commercial company aiming to launch cargo, and eventually people, to low-Earth orbit. The firm is developing its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 booster under contracts from NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program and its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

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From: Eric9/18/2017 2:18:37 PM
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Falcon Heavy

My comments:

First launch of the Heavy coming up in November.


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From: Eric9/21/2017 7:51:06 AM
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Satellite arrives for early October SpaceX launch from Kennedy Space Center

James Dean, FLORIDA TODAY Published 12:11 p.m. ET Sept. 20, 2017 | Updated 12:34 p.m. ET Sept. 20, 2017

A commercial satellite has arrived in Cape Canaveral for the Space Coast's next launch, planned in early October by a SpaceX rocket that will be lifting off for the second time.

Jointly owned by Luxembourg-based SES and Colorado-headquartered EchoStar Corp., the more than 11,000-pounds communications satellite was shipped from Toulouse, France, but manufacturer Airbus Defense and Space.

The satellite known as EchoStar 105/SES-11 will provide digital television and broadband data services in North America, including the United States, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The mission will re-use a Falcon 9 rocket that launched a NASA supply mission to the International Space Station in February.

[ SpaceX files 'Starlink' trademark for satellite internet constellation]

[ Northrop to acquire rocket launcher Orbital ATK]

It will be the third time SpaceX has launched a previously flown — or what the company calls "flight proven" — booster, as it aims to make reusing rockets more routine.

SES was the customer for the first of those flights back in March, also used a rocket from a ISS resupply mission launched about a year earlier.

In June, a Falcon rocket that had launched commercial satellites in January lifted off again with a Bulgarian communications satellite.

The upcoming launch from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center is tentatively expected in the first week of October, but no date has been announced.

[ SpaceX celebrates Falcon 9 landing failures in fiery blooper reel]

SpaceX separately is targeting an Oct. 4 launch of Iridium Communications satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Vandenberg at 10:38 p.m. this Thursday (1:38 a.m. Friday Eastern time) will host United Launch Alliance's attempt to deliver a classified U.S. intelligence mission to orbit on an Atlas V rocket.

ULA plans to follow that flight with another Atlas V launch of a National Reconnaissance Office mission from Cape Canaveral in October.

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From: Eric9/21/2017 8:02:16 AM
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SpaceX's superfast satellite broadband network might be called 'Starlink'

The company plans to launch a constellation of thousands of satellites to provide affordable global internet.

By Shubham Sharma
September 21, 2017 07:09 BST

SpaceX's satellite broadband network could be called StarlinkROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty ImagesSpaceX might name its satellite-based broadband internet network 'Starlink', according to a new report from Geekwire.

The name comes to light with the discovery of two applications SpaceX filed to get 'Starlink' trademarked from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The first set of documents – filed on 21 August 2017 – notes a host of services that might be covered under the upcoming satellite network.

Some of the key services mentioned in the application were "Satellite communication and transmission services," "wireless broadband communication services," "high-speed wireless Internet access," "satellite photography services," and "remote sensing services, namely, aerial surveying through the use of satellites".

Meanwhile, the second application filed on the same date, focuses on "Satellites for scientific and commercial purposes; equipment for receiving, processing, and transmitting voice, video, data and information via telecommunications and wireless signals," and other products that might be needed for the network.

Back in 2015, Elon Musk announced the multi-billion satellite project as a way to provide low-cost broadband internet with fiber-like speeds across different parts of the world and to fund the company's Mars settlement program. The idea of launching a constellation of thousands of satellites is expected to be an additional revenue generator in the long-run. Musk estimates the project would cost around $10bn (£7.4bn) over a period of five years.

The mission of full and continuous global coverage would be accomplished by stationing the satellites at specific heights and angles to cover all of the latitudes on Earth. The company intends to launch the small satellites in phases, starting 2019 until the system reaches full capacity in 2024. It will also demonstrate the technology with the launch of two satellites, one before the end of this year and another early next year, according to Patricia Cooper, SpaceX's vice-president of satellite government affairs.

Apart from this, not many details have surfaced about the plan for taking the network of satellites off the ground. Musk could provide more details next week when he speaks at the International Astronautical Congress, Australia, on September 29.

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From: Eric9/22/2017 9:17:01 AM
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SpaceX to kick off October with two launches and landings in 48 hours

By Eric Ralph
Posted on September 21, 2017


SES-11 to be the last launch from LC-39A ahead of pad modifications for Falcon Heavy

After successfully weathering Hurricane Irma, SpaceX is preparing to remedy a slow month with three or even four launches in October.

Beginning on October 2nd, schedules have firmed up for the launch of SES-11 aboard a refurbished Falcon 9 first stage. SES, a Luxembourg-based satellite communications company, took the courageous and pioneering step of purchasing the first reused Falcon 9 for a commercial launch, culminating in the successful SES-10 mission in March 2017. Following that successful first reuse, SpaceX would later launch Bulgariasat-1 aboard a similarly-refurbished booster. SES-11 will become the third commercial reuse of an orbital rocket when it launches early next month from SpaceX’s LC-39A launch pad, and is currently expected to attempt a landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean....

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From: Eric9/25/2017 8:39:50 AM
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  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business
  • Technology

  • In space capsules, there’s little room but big improvements

    Originally published September 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    This artist concept shows Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner flying in space. The Starliner is a reusable spacecraft that can transport passengers to the International Space Station. (Boeing)

    Boeing and SpaceX are relying on the tried-and-true gumdrop-shaped capsule design as the two companies each develop spacecraft under NASA contracts to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

    Samantha Masunaga
    Los Angeles Times (TNS)

    LOS ANGELES — In 1961, an American astronaut reached space for the first time and soared through the heavens in a gumdrop-shaped capsule.

    Since then, people have flown to the moon, created space planes and designed rockets that return to Earth for precision landings. But when astronauts lift off next year from U.S. soil for the first time in six years, their vehicle of choice will be another capsule.

    Boeing and SpaceX are relying on the tried-and-true design as the two companies each develop spacecraft under NASA contracts to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

    Despite the sleek spaceships of sci-fi imaginings or the familiar winged body of the shuttle, engineers have returned to the seemingly clunky capsule again and again for a simple reason — it works.

    “The capsule is a very durable technology,” said Matthew Hersch, assistant professor of the history of science at Harvard University. “It may not be romantic to fly, but it’s going to get you there and back safely.”

    Since the end of the shuttle program, the U.S. has relied on Russia to transport its astronauts to and from the space station in the Soyuz spacecraft, another capsule.

    Boeing and SpaceX said they are confident their vehicles will fly next year, despite recent reports from the U.S. Government Accountability Office noting that delays for the two companies have pushed the first test flights past the initial deadline.

    The new spacecraft have a number of features that weren’t available on earlier capsules — touch-screen displays, large windows, more powerful electronics and lighter materials.

    A new spacesuit from SpaceX that is designed for its crewed flights. (The Associated Press)

    The spacesuits that astronauts will wear also have been slimmed down. SpaceX has released several photos of its spacesuit, which Chief Executive Elon Musk said was tested to ensure astronauts would stay safe even if the pressure in the capsule dropped suddenly. Boeing’s “Boeing blue” spacesuit is about 40 percent lighter than previous suits, and the gloves were specially designed to let astronauts interact with touch screens.

    In the early days of the U.S. space program, astronauts lamented riding in anything that allowed for such limited human control. Borrowing the name from something you swallow didn’t enhance the appeal.

    Initially, there was great enthusiasm for making those spacecraft look like airplanes, but it was difficult to create wings that could navigate various parts of a mission and survive the heat of re-entry, Hersch said.

    Any spacecraft rated to carry humans has a specific set of requirements. It must be efficient in its volume with enough space for all necessary life systems, but have as low a mass as possible. It also has to withstand tremendous G-forces, pressure and heat during launch and re-entry.

    The heat shield on a capsule’s blunt, slightly curved bottom helps protect the crew as the vehicle re-enters the atmosphere.

    Capsules are aerodynamically stable when traveling at supersonic speeds during re-entry and require little maneuvering to return to Earth in an emergency, giving them “inherent stability,” said David Giger, senior director of Dragon development engineering at SpaceX.

    “What’s really interesting about capsule design is it’s aerodynamically efficient both on ascent and descent,” said David Barnhart, director of the USC Space Engineering Research Center. “It only takes one event to take it back down, which is essentially a re-entry burn, and that’s good because it minimizes moving parts and complexities.”

    In creating spacecraft for NASA’s commercial-crew program, both Boeing and SpaceX have built on the example of their predecessors.

    Boeing constructed its design based on some of the data from the 1950s- and ’60s-era Mercury and Gemini, as well as NASA’s Orion, a crew spacecraft that first flew in 2014 and is scheduled to ride into space atop the agency’s Space Launch System rocket in 2019.

    Rob Adkisson, right, chief engineer with the commercial group program of Boeing, with David Schiller, leader of the commercial crew aerostructures integrated product team at the Boeing Huntington Beach, California, test facility, examine a capsule heat shield component. (Al Seib/TNS)

    Rob Adkisson, Boeing’s chief engineer for the commercial crew program, said the CST-100 Starliner’s compact capsule design matches its mission as a “people mover,” compared with the larger space shuttle that essentially functioned as a “truck back and forth.”

    “It looks a lot like Gemini and Mercury,” he said of the Starliner. “But it’s quite a bit different.”

    The Chicago aerospace giant’s Starliner will blast into space on an Atlas V rocket before deploying and docking autonomously at the space station. When returning to Earth, the spacecraft will jettison its service module, deploy parachutes to slow down and drop its heat shield so the vehicle’s air bags can inflate for a softer ground landing.

    Mannequins riding the Starliner during a recent test were “barely jostled” inside, Adkisson said. The capsule is designed to be reused 10 times.

    A version of the capsule is undergoing tests at a Boeing facility outside Los Angeles where space structures for the Apollo program, the original Delta and Delta II rockets and parts of the space station were also cleared before their missions. The CST-100 Starliner capsule is set to make its debut test flight in June 2018, with a crewed test flight two months later.

    “You design robust margins into what you do, demonstrate that everything operates as we expect it to,” Adkisson said. “That gives us a lot of confidence and gives our customer a lot of confidence that we’ve got it nailed.”

    One major development is the fine-tuning of the capsule’s heat protection. The Starliner’s base heat shield has an ablator, a proprietary material that absorbs energy on re-entry and only chars “like a marshmallow,” said David Schiller, leader of Boeing’s commercial crew aerostructures integrated product team.

    The base heat shield and its four backshells located around the crew vehicle are made of composite materials. A glass-phenolic honeycomb core is wedged between the composite layers, like an ice-cream sandwich, to provide high strength while staying lightweight. The entire vehicle is covered with thermal protection, including a type of woven ceramic “blanket” similar to the ones used on the space shuttle, and ceramic tiles on the backshells to deflect heat.

    Like Boeing, SpaceX also looked to previous capsules when it first embarked on its Dragon spacecraft.

    Back then, the company, headquartered near Los Angeles, was still very young, so engineers looked at the legacies of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The lessons are incorporated in its Dragon 2 crew transporter capsule, along with those learned from developing SpaceX’s Dragon 1 vehicle, currently used by NASA to take supplies to the space station.

    The Dragon 2’s abort system is a marked change from the capsule used in the Apollo program, which used a rocket on a tower located at the top of the capsule and was discarded on the way up to orbit. SpaceX’s launch-abort system can be used at any time during the ascent and stays on the capsule so it can be recovered on splashdown — part of the company’s emphasis on reusability, said Giger of SpaceX.

    The SpaceX capsule will also use more automation, such as its docking ability, to improve safety and allow the crew to focus on crucial tasks, Giger said. The company is also working on developing the capsule’s precision landing capability in the ocean so recovery crews can arrive within minutes.

    “Just because it looks like a capsule does not mean the inherent technology is the same,” Giger said.

    Dragon 2, which will ride into space on a Falcon 9 rocket, is set to make its first test flight in February 2018, and a crewed flight will come four months later.

    In the meantime, the capsule’s hardware is going through qualification testing and software is being developed and evaluated, said Garrett Reisman, director of space operations at SpaceX and a former NASA astronaut who flew on two space-shuttle missions.

    “We’re trying to take a giant leap forward in safety,” Reisman said. “We have the opportunity to do that through design, improvements in technology and also by leveraging all the history that our partner NASA brings to the table … to make sure we don’t repeat mistakes made in the past.”

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    From: Eric9/28/2017 9:30:27 AM
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    SpaceX's Elon Musk, Lockheed Martin Announcing Updated Mars Plans Tonight

    By Mike Wall, Senior Writer | September 28, 2017 07:00am ET

    Tonight (Sept. 28), SpaceX and Lockheed Martin will unveil their latest plans for getting people to Mars. Both companies will do so at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia. First up is Lockheed, which will announce updates to its "Mars Base Camp" concept at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT; 7:30 a.m. Friday local Adelaide time). You can watch the presentation via Australia's Science Channel.

    Then, at 12:30 a.m. EDT Friday (0430 GMT; 2 p.m. Adelaide time), SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk will reveal changes to the company's Mars-colonization architecture, which Musk first announced last year at the 67th IAC in Mexico. [ SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport for Mars in Images]

    "Major improvements & some unexpected applications to be unveiled on Friday at @IAC2017 in Australia," he said via Twitter Monday (Sept. 25).

    Artist's illustration of SpaceX's planned Interplanetary Transport System launching a colony ship toward Mars. This artwork is based on the architecture Elon Musk unveiled in September 2016; the SpaceX founder and CEO will reveal an updated version on the night of Sept. 28, 2017.
    Credit: SpaceX

    "Headed to Adelaide soon to describe new BFR planetary colonizer design in detail @IAC2017. This should be worth seeing. Design feels right," Musk added in another tweet Tuesday (Sept. 26). (BFR stands for Big F***ing Rocket.)

    SpaceX webcast Musk's talk at last year's IAC live and is expected to do so again for the upcoming presentation; check or the company's Twitter feed (@SpaceX) for updates.

    Lockheed's idea centers on a six-person space station, which company representatives have said could be orbiting the Red Planet by 2028 or so. The astronauts aboard this Mars Base Camp could perform a variety of valuable scientific and exploration work, from operating rovers in near-real time on the surface to scouting out spots for future crewed landings, project team members have said.

    "The presentation will include a look at how Mars Base Camp aligns with NASA’s lunar Deep Space Gateway, and a debut of a crewed Mars lander concept," Lockheed representatives said in a media advisory about Thursday's IAC talk.

    At last year's IAC meeting, Musk unveiled SpaceX's planned Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), a huge, reusable rocket-spaceship combo designed to help establish a million-person city on Mars in the next 50 to 100 years. The 40-foot-wide (12 meters) booster would feature 42 Raptor engines and be more than twice as powerful as NASA's Saturn V moon rocket. The ITS spaceship, meanwhile, would be capable of carrying a minimum of 100 people to the Red Planet.

    Though Musk hasn't revealed what the "major improvements" to this original design might be, there's reason to believe the new iteration may scale things back a bit. In July, a Twitter user asked Musk for hints about the new architecture. "A 9m diameter vehicle fits in our existing factories ... " Musk responded.

    Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on

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    From: Eric9/29/2017 9:12:14 AM
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    Musk Wants to Build a Rocket That Will Get You Anywhere on Earth in an Hour

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