Tag Archive: SpaceX

SpaceX Shows Off Dragon V2, Its Brand New Manned Space Capsule







” At an evening event in the SpaceX Headquarters on Thursday night, CEO and founder Elon Musk revealed the Dragon V2 space capsule, a next-generation version of SpaceX’s current Dragon capsule that will be able to ferry up to seven crew members and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and eventually to other destinations. The capsule is reusable, and will be able to make a controlled landing “with the precision of a helicopter” upon re-entry. 

  The capsule, which has been in development for several years with help from NASA, will be a part of a new generation of commercial space vehicles since the US shuttered its own shuttle program in 2011. Currently, NASA pays Russia around $71 million a head to taxi astronauts to and from the ISS on Soyuz vehicles.

  Tonight, Musk told the press that his company foresees being able to send astronauts to the ISS and back for around $20 million per seat.

  Musk added that depending on how many flights SpaceX is able to launch, that cost-per-head number could come down significantly to where it could “potentially get into the single-digit-million figure.”

  NASA has publicly stated that it wants a commercial space vehicle to be ready for prime time by 2017; Musk told Ars tonight that NASA is being characteristically cautious: “from a SpaceX standpoint we expect to be ready to transport crew by 2016,” he said. “We feel fairly confident that we’ll be ready in two years.” When the Dragon V2 does launch, it’ll launch from the historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, which SpaceX recently signed a 20-year lease for.”


Ars Technica has much more











Photographer Captures SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch Like Never Before



Wow! Photographer Captures SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch Like Never Before (Image)





” In the image, photographer David A. Kodama captures the SpaceX rocket launch in stages, from liftoff through its ascent into orbit. 

SpaceX launched the first of its upgraded unmanned Falcon 9 rockets on Sept. 29 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The rocket launched the CASSIOPE space weather tracking satellite into orbit for the Canadian Space Agency. [See more amazing launch photos of SpaceX’s new Falcon 9 rocket]

Kodama used a Nikon D700 camera with a Sigma 15 mm fisheye lens shot at 3-second intervals, Kodama captured the unmanned, next-generation rocket’s trajectory as it launched from the SpaceX launch pad at Vandenberg at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) on Sept. 29.”


More pictures here











SpaceX Successfully Launches Its Next Generation Rocket



” On Sunday, September 29, commercial space company SpaceX had a successful launch of its next generation Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Station in California.

On top of the rocket is the Canadian Space Agencies CASSIOPE satellite. The goal of the satellite is to better understand “space weather” – the impact of cosmic and solar radiation on the Earth. This is a commercial milestone for the company, as CASSIPOE is the first satellite the company has launched with the Falcon 9. (Previous satellite launches were completed with the company’s Falcon 1 rocket.) “











Daily Video 9.10.13

“When Can I Buy My Ticket to Outer Space?”



Published on Sep 9, 2013

 ” “How is it that I have billions or hundreds of millions of dollars, and I can’t buy a ticket to space?” asks Katherine Mangu-Ward, as she explains why a handful of super-rich men have decided to fund a new era of private space travel. “This is not the deal. This is not what I thought was going to happen when I was 10.”

Mangu-Ward, managing editor of Reason magazine, joined Charles Murray, José Cordeiro, and Aaron Day, at FreedomFest 2013 in Las Vegas, to discuss the future of space exploration. The mainstream media’s outlook has been uniformly pessimistic on the subject. NASA has scaled back its ambitions and its budget has contracted, while government-backed missions have drifted away. President Bush’s ambitious plan for a manned mission to Mars, announced in 2004 to great fanfare, never got off the ground.

So why is the FreedomFest panel so optimistic about space travel? Because while government is underperforming, entrepreneurs from all over the world are picking up the slack. 

José Cordeiro talks about the pioneers who are backing a variety of innovative ways to fund space travel privately. MarsOne, based in the Netherlands, is planning a trip to the red planet by documenting the entire process and turning it into a reality show. Billionaire Richard Branson is creating the space tourism industry with Virgin Galactic’s innovative approach to spacecraft. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is generating revenue by transporting cargo into orbit for NASA.

Charles Murray, co-author of “Apollo,” says that the first moon landing was accomplished by a government bureaucracy that acted like “the most audacious entrepreneurs you’ve ever seen.” Murray tells the story of a one-great organizational spirit that has steadily declined since the 1960s.

Aaron Day analyzes the psychology of today’s space entrepreneurs, from Burt Rutan’s pessimistic take on historical progress in space, to Elon Musk’s record of accomplishing more with fewer resources. 

Runs about 36 minutes.

Edited by Todd Krainin. Camera by Paul Detrick and Alex Manning.

Go to http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/08/30… for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.”









SpaceX Joining Virgin Galactic At Spaceport America





” New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced on Tuesday that SpaceX has signed a three-year agreement to use Spaceport America for flight testing.

According to a Spaceport America statement, SpaceX will be leasing land and facilities at the New Mexico site to conduct the next phase of flight testing for its reusable rocket program.

“I am thrilled that SpaceX has chosen to make New Mexico its home, bringing their revolutionary ‘Grasshopper’ rocket and new jobs with them,” Governor Martinez said today. “We’ve done a lot of work to level the playing field so we can compete in the space industry. This is just the first step in broadening the base out at the Spaceport and securing even more tenants. I’m proud to welcome SpaceX to New Mexico.”

SpaceX just finished up its first series of testing the new Grasshopper vehicle in McGregor, Texas. The company is planning to begin the next phase of development for tests performed in New Mexico.”








Orbital Sciences Antares Test Launch Scrubbed After Malfunction (+video)





” The launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation‘s Antares rocket was scrubbed Wednesday afternoon after an umbilical cord to the rocket’s second stage detached prematurely

.The rocket is one of two commercial rockets NASA is relying on to resupply the International Space Station in the post-space-shuttle era.

Umbilical cords typically supply power and allow flight controllers to monitor a rocket’s systems until shortly before launch, when these functions are transferred to the rocket’s internal control systems.

The cord dropped from its connector about 12 minutes before the main engines were to ignite. The ground team must drain the fuel tanks before technicians can reach the rocket and pinpoint the cause of the failure.”












Who Has the Right To Mine An Asteroid?














” As PopMech has relentlessly covered, the race is on to tap the mineral wealth tucked away in the asteroids. But are these big space rocks free for the taking, or will asteroid miners find themselves bogged down in outer space red tape? Instapundit blogger and resident contrarian Glenn Harlan Reynolds investigates.

Suddenly, the idea of asteroid mining is everywhere. As a recent feature here in Popular Mechanics noted, asteroid mining has gone from a “someday” idea to a business plan for more than one company. As a professor who’s been writing, teaching, and practicing space law since the 1980s, I say, why not? Asteroids are valuable, they’re out there, and they are free for the taking.

Or are they?

Asteroids are certainly available, and they’re valuable. More than 750,000 asteroids measure at least 1 kilometer across, and millions of smaller objects are scattered throughout the solar system, mostly in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even a comparatively small asteroid is potentially quite valuable, both on Earth and in space.

A 79-foot-wide M-type (metallic) asteroid could hold 33,000 tons of extractable metals, including $50 million in platinum alone. A 23-foot-diameter C-type (carbonaceous) asteroid can hold 24,000 gallons of water, useful for generating fuel and oxygen. Even 1 gallon of water, at 8.33 pounds per, can cost tens of thousands of dollars to launch into Earth orbit. Prices will probably come down now that SpaceX and other private launch companies are in the game. But the numbers would need to improve a lot for water launched from Earth to compete with water that’s already floating in space. “




 Golden Spike To Offer Trips To The Moon For $1.4 Billion





“Aspiring moon travellers would be well advised to start saving up now if they fancy a trip to the moon. Golden Spike has announced it plans to launch commercial moon trips from 2020, a mere snip for billionaires at $1.4 billion for two people.

Top luminaries with experience in outer space are behind the company that plans to launch commercial trips to the moon by the end of the decade. Former NASA associate administrator Alan Stern, who is a planetary scientist, heads up the Golden Spike as company president.”


 The Future Of Rapid Transit As Envisioned By SpaceX



” Taking to the stage at this year’s Economist Innovation Awards, Elon Musk of SpaceX let slip a few more choice details about his “Hyperloop” high-speed transportation system that would see commuters travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a mere 30 minutes, describing the concept for the first time as a cross between Concorde and railgun.”

” CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Oct 12 – An
experimental communications satellite flying piggyback aboard a Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 9 rocket fell out of orbit and burned up in the atmosphere
following a problem during liftoff, satellite operator Orbcomm said on Friday.


The New Jersey-based company’s OG2 satellite was a prototype for a new 17- member communications satellite network scheduled to be launched aboard two more Falcon 9 rockets in 2013 and 2014.
Orbcomm declared the satellite a total loss and filed a claim under an insurance policy worth up to $10 million, “which would largely offset the expected cost of the OG2
prototype and associated launch services and launch insurance,” the company said in a statement. “


“Twenty-five teams are officially in
the running for the Google Lunar X
PRIZE (GLXP) , the $30 million prize for soft-landing a privately funded
unmanned spacecraft on the moon. As the 2015 deadline approaches, however, it has become clear which teams are the early leaders in the chase to pull off a feat achieved only by two world superpowers, and not since the 1970s. “This is really a predictable watershed
year for the competition,” says Bob
Richards, co-founder and CEO of Moon Express, one of the top contenders in the competition. Richards spoke to PM by phone as he drove to his team’s headquarters at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Bay Area. A rocket launch must be booked two years in advance, according to Richards, “so if
you don’t have a launch contract 24
months before the expiry of the prize, you’re just not credible.” “

SpaceX Dragon Blasts Off …

... to International Space Station

Video at the link 

 ” A commercial cargo ship rocketed into orbit Sunday in pursuit of the International Space Station, the first of a dozen supply runs under a mega-contract with NASA.

It was the second launch of a Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab by the California-based SpaceX company. The first was last spring.

This time was no test flight, however, and the spacecraft carried 1,000 pounds (453.6 kilograms) of key science experiments and other precious gear on this truly operational mission. There was also a personal touch: chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream tucked in a freezer for the three station residents.

The company’s unmanned Falcon rocket roared into the night sky right on time, putting SpaceX on track to reach the space station Wednesday. The complex was soaring southwest of Tasmania when the Falcon took flight.

Officials declared the launch a success, despite a problem with one of the nine first-stage engines. The rocket put Dragon in its intended orbit, said the billionaire founder and chief executive officer of SpaceX, Elon Musk.”

” Coming in October: SpaceX Dragon Gets Down to Work”

” NASA’s launch schedule at Cape Canaveral now includes a rough date for the next Space Exploration
Technologies (SpaceX) cargo-delivery trip to the International Space Station, giving an October date for the launch.

“Hopefully this is a really straightforward mission,” Elon Musk told PM during our recent trip to the headquarters of SpaceX
in Hawthorne, Calif. “