Items tagged with SpaceX

When SpaceX wants to do something, you best believe it's going to be huge. Its latest task? Trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission to let it launch over 4,400 internet-beaming satellites into orbit. To put that into perspective, that's more satellites than the total number in use today. As it stands today, there are 1,419 satellites in orbit hard at work, and some other 2,600 that are inactive and just hogging a piece of space. Even combined, all those satellites still fall short of the number SpaceX wants to deploy, so to call this ambitious is a huge understatement. The goal here is to use these satellites to provide internet to all sorts of users - home and business... Read more...
SpaceX has been flying so high in 2016 that its spectacular Falcon 9 explosion came as quite a shock to many in the space industry. There has been much conjecture regarding the explosion, including several conspiracy theories. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently stated that his company has discovered the root cause of the failure, solving the “toughest puzzle” it has ever encountered. The explosion occurred on September 1st in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket was supposed to launch Facebook's first satellite for use with its Internet.org initiative. Although the craft was destroyed, thankfully no one was injured. SpaceX has sifted through 3,000 different channels of telemetry and video data in order... Read more...
A SpaceX Falcon 9 static fire test went horribly wrong earlier this week -- what was supposed to be a routine test run before today's scheduled launch ended in a massive fireball. The explosion, which occurred while fueling the liquid oxygen tanks, resulted in the destruction of Facebook's first satellite for use with its Internet.org initiative. Luckily for SpaceX, it has a lot of data to pore over this weekend. In a blog post, SpaceX says that the anomaly occurred eight minutes prior to the expected test fire at Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral. Fortunately, the launch pad was clear of all personnel, so while the craft was destroyed, there were absolutely no injuries to report.... Read more...
SpaceX may have had plenty of successes sending its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit with expensive payloads and then returning the booster stage to earth intact, but the company’s string of victories came up short this morning. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded while sitting on its launchpad during a static fire test. The test was a routine procedure leading up to the scheduled September 3rd launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. According to eyewitness accounts, multiple explosions were heard, with the force of the blasts shaking buildings located miles away from the launch pad. Not surprisingly, those in close proximity to the launch facilities took to Twitter to not only post pictures,... Read more...
We think it’s pretty safe to say that SpaceX has pretty much gotten this whole “let’s land a multi-million-dollar rocket back on earth after blasting it into space” thing mastered by now. After some rather spectacular failures and some extremely close calls, SpaceX completed its first successful powered Dragon 9 recovery in late December 2015. Early this morning, the company accomplished its fourth successful Falcon 9 landing in the Atlantic Ocean on the “Of Course I Still Love” drone ship. This was the sixth successful landing overall if you count the two previous landings on solid ground. Of course, the successful landing on the drone ship was just the icing on the cake. SpaceX’s primary mission... Read more...
SpaceX has done it again. Earlier this morning the company achieved a successful launch and landing of its Falcon 9 main stage booster. This is the second time SpaceX has landed its rocket on land and the the fifth booster the company has [successfully] returned from space. The Dragon capsule that sat on top of the Falcon 9 safely made it into Earth orbit at around 1AM ET. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams will use the International Space Station's robotic arm to capture the spacecraft on Wednesday morning. You can check out the launch and landing in the below video (landing happens around the 25 minute mark). The Dragon capsule is loaded with 5,000 lbs. of supplies for the ISS and its crew. The capsule... Read more...
We can’t fault SpaceX for attempting to push the envelope with every single rocket launch, but when you’re innovating at such a rapid pace, accidents are bound to happen. Luckily for SpaceX, the primary mission of its most recent Falcon 9 launch went off without a hitch. SpaceX was able to put the EUTELSAT 117 West B and ABS-2A satellites into a geostationary transfer orbit shortly after it blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force station this morning in Florida. If this were any other company, that would have meant “mission accomplished” and on to the next rocket launch. But this is SpaceX we’re talking about. Like it has done on its three most recent launches, the company hoped to successfully... Read more...
SpaceX is just making this look way too easy now. Yesterday, the company landed yet another Falcon 9 rocket successfully on its floating “drone ship” in the Atlantic Ocean. This was the third straight “at sea” landing and the fourth overall successful landing for SpaceX (the first occurred on a landing pad at Cape Canaveral back in December). The primary mission of SpaceX’s launch was to deliver the THAICOM 8 commercial satellite into a supersynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite will eventually be “reduced” to a circular geostationary orbit of about 35,800 kilometers. THAICOM 8 weighs approximately 3,000 kg and has been designed to last at least 15 years. After successfully completing its... Read more...
SpaceX has made three successful landings of its Falcon 9 boosters in the past six months — one via land and two at sea. The first landing occurred on December 21st, when a Falcon 9 touched down on its landing pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida after launching 11 ORBCOMM satellites into orbit. Its second and third successful landings occurred in early April and early May respectively, with each landing on an autonomous drone ship at sea. Now SpaceX has a problem — it’s soon going be running out of space to store its returned Falcon 9 boosters. The company just delivered the third Falcon 9 to its Cape Canaveral hanger; a hanger that was only designed to house five rockets at a time (just look as these... Read more...
Reusability is the name of game with rockets from Blue Origin and SpaceX. Back in early April, the Blue Origin New Shepard reusable rocket booster made its third suborbital flight (reaching a height of 339,138 feet) and successfully touched down on its landing pad at the end of the mission. At the time, we were presented with an external chase view of the New Shepard landing on its pad, which is impressive enough. However, Blue Origin decided this week to give space geeks another more impressive view of that same landing to peruse via YouTube: a view from the vent camera that is mounted just below the New Shepard’s ring fin. Needless to say, the view is breathtaking, as we can clearly see the... Read more...
Elon Musk is going to need a bigger rocket hangar. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket stuck its second at-sea drone ship landing early this morning after launching at 1:21am EST. This the third time the company has recovered the vehicle post-launch, and the second time the rocket has landed intact on the drone ship. The primary mission was to send a Japanese JCSAT-14 communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit high above the Earth and SpaceX delivered as promised.  Like every good space nerd I stayed up until 1:21am in order to watch the rocket launch (ok, I watched it when I woke up in the morning, but who is counting). SpaceX said on Monday that a successful... Read more...
It’s safe to say that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is grinning ear to ear, waiting for the perfect opportunity to throw some shade on his competitors with the confirmation that his company’s first-stage Falcon 9 rocket landed successfully on an off-shore drone ship. This is the fourth time that SpaceX has attempted to land a Falcon 9 off-shore, with all three previous attempts ending in spectacular failure. But the rocket gods were with SpaceX today and the Falcon 9 touched down just slightly off center on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship. There was no drama, just a picturesque landing that caps off years of development and gallons of sweat and tears. Landing on a drone ship is an incredibly... Read more...
On Earth, Elon Musk is conquering the electric car market with Tesla Motors. In Earth’s orbit, the Musk-helmed SpaceX is revolutionizing commercial spaceflight and aiming to send U.S. astronauts into space with its Falcon rockets and Dragon crew capsules now that the Space Shuttle has been mothballed. But this is Elon Musk that we’re talking about here — he of course has even higher aspirations. Later this year, we’ll get a taste of what SpaceX is cooking up as it aims to go past Earth’s orbit onto a more ambitious destination: Mars. While visiting Hong Kong this week, Musk indicated that he plans to reveal this September preliminary information on SpaceX spacecraft architecture that will take... Read more...
When it comes to successful return landings for its Falcon 9 reusable rockets on Earth, it looks as though SpaceX has everything figured out. Things haven’t looked so hot at-sea, however, with SpaceX racking up two previous failures prior to yesterday’s third failed landing attempt on a floating droneship in the ocean. But we’ve got to give SpaceX a lot of credit for actually sticking the landing, something that CEO Elon Musk alluded to with the following tweet yesterday afternoon: However, that was not what prevented it being good. Touchdown speed was ok, but a leg lockout didn't latch, so it tipped over after landing. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 17, 2016 What we... Read more...
SpaceX looked to pop open the champagne bottles with a successful landing at sea following its landmark ground landing last month. However, an unscathed landing at sea has eluded SpaceX once again. We must start off by saying that SpaceX’s primary mission, to launch NASA’s Jason-3 ocean-monitoring satellite into orbit, was a success. However the the first stage Falcon 9 rocket once again failed to land upright and intact on its floating barge platform. At this point, we don’t have video footage of the landing, but SpaceX took to Twitter to write: First stage on target at droneship but looks like hard landing; broke landing leg. Primary mission remains nominal → https://t.co/tdni53IviI... Read more...
Still on a euphoric high after its successful powered landing of a Falcon 9 rocket last month, SpaceX is looking to achieve the feat again. However, instead of attempting a relatively “easy” landing on solid ground, SpaceX is once again aiming for the fences and will attempt another landing on a floating barge at sea. If you recall, SpaceX’s last two attempts to land its Falcon 9 at sea resulted into spectacular fireballs. In both instances, the Falcon 9 made it to the platform, but failed to land upright and intact. However, SpaceX hopes that the third time will be a charm when a Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on January 17th. After the Falcon 9 delivers a NASA satellite... Read more...
If you have even a passing interest in space travel, the past few months have been incredibly exciting. Blue Origin pushed the envelope by shooting its New Shepard launch system to a height of 62 miles and then successfully performing a controlled landing the BE-3 rocket booster back to earth. SpaceX last month leapfrogged those efforts, sending its Falcon 9 even faster and higher to a height of 124 miles, before making a successful powered landing. The endgame for both Blue Origin and SpaceX is to significantly reduce the costs of space travel. In the case of Blue Origin, the company is looking to send well-heeled individuals into space to experience brief moments of weightlessness, while SpaceX... Read more...
Blue Origin New ShepardA new space race is taking place today, and it’s being dominated by Silicon Valley companies looking to make space travel more affordable for military, commercial and civilian launches. In November, we saw Blue Origin’s New Shepard space launch system make an incredible voyage to a suborbital height of 62 miles, and then safely land its BE-3 rocket back to Earth. At the time, Elon Musk congratulated Blue Origin (which is helmed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) for its accomplishment, but noted that what SpaceX was trying to achieve with its reusable Dragon 9 rockets was a much harder feat and not directly comparable. Congrats to Jeff Bezos and the BO team for achieving VTOL on... Read more...
Folks, we just witnessed history this evening. After two previous failed landings (one in January, one in April) and a complete vehicle failure in June, SpaceX struck gold tonight, successfully completing a powered, upright landing of its Falcon 9 rocket. The significance of this achievement is profound, as the Falcon 9 not only blasted off in to space, but it achieved orbit (launching 11 ORBCOMM satellites in the process) at a height of 200km. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin completed a vertical landing of its BE-3 rocket engine last month, but that rocket didn’t travel as high or as fast as the Falcon 9 -- more importantly, it never achieved orbit. Previously, rockets were a one-way proposition;... Read more...
Google just landed itself an experienced and well rounded engineer who's been associated with several high profile companies and projects. His name is Robert Rose and his most recent stint before joining Google was with Tesla, which builds and sells electric vehicles. The company is also involved in self-driving and assisted-driving vehicle technologies, the latter of which is where Rose lent his skills.In his short time at Tesla, Rose was in charge of the Autopilot team through the release of software version 7.0. Autopilot 7.0 introduced things like Autosteer and Auto Lane Change for the Model S. It also brought things like improved climate control, better efficiency and performance for real-wheel... Read more...
Elon Musk surprised the audience of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night when he suggested that one way to prepare Mars for habitation could be to drop nukes on it. Musk, who is the founder of Tesla, SpaceX and other companies pushing the technology envelope, was discussing the possibility of warming Mars to convert it from the cold, barren planet that it is to something more hospitable. When it comes to warming Mars, “There’s a fast way and a slow way,” Musk said shortly after he referred to Mars as a “fixer-upper of a planet.” Not surprisingly, Colbert asked for the fast way. “The fast way is drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles.” They never got around to the alternative, though... Read more...
Space travel is back, baby! Not that it ever truly stopped, but with the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, NASA has been transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) by way of Russia's Soyuz spacecraft. That's set to change with NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which will see Boeing and SpaceX offering commercial spaceflights from U.S. soil. NASA has selected four astronauts to train and prepare for commercial spaceflights from the private sector. They include Robert Behnken, Eric Does, Douglas Hurley, and Sunita Williams, all of which will work closely with Boeing and SpaceX to develop their crew transportation systems and provide crew transportation services... Read more...
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