Tag: Falcon 9

Musk Looks to Launch Large Constellation of Broadband Satellites

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The Wall Street Journal has more on the story:

Mr. Musk is working with Greg Wyler, a satellite-industry veteran and former Google Inc. executive, these people said. Mr. Wyler founded WorldVu Satellites Ltd., which controls a large block of radio spectrum.

In talks with industry executives, Messrs. Musk and Wyler have discussed launching around 700 satellites, each weighing less than 250 pounds, the people said. That is about half the size of the smallest communications satellites now in commercial use. The satellite constellation would be 10 times the size of the largest current fleet, managed by Iridium Communications Inc.

To be sure, the venture would face large financial, technical and regulatory hurdles, and industry officials estimate that it would cost $1 billion or more to develop the project. The people familiar with the matter cautioned the venture is in its formative stages, and Mr. Musk’s participation isn’t certain.

Messrs. Musk and Wyler are considering building a factory to make satellites, the people said. One of the people said initial talks have been held with state officials in Florida and Colorado about locating the factory.

In addition to Mr. Musk, WorldVu is seeking a satellite industry partner to lend expertise to the project, this person said.

SpaceX Builds Enough Merlin 1D Engines for 10 Falcon 9 Flights

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The 100th Merlin 1D engine to come off the assembly line. (Credit: SpaceX)

The 100th Merlin 1D engine to come off the assembly line. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) – Less than two years after SpaceX began producing the Merlin 1D engines that power the Falcon 9 rocket, the 100th Merlin 1D engine is complete. SpaceX is currently the largest private producer of rocket engines in the world.

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NASA Captures Falcon 9 Descent Data to Help With Planetary Exploration

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars.

“Because the technologies required to land large payloads on Mars are significantly different than those used here on Earth, investment in these technologies is critical,” said Robert Braun, principal investigator for NASA’s Propulsive Descent Technologies (PDT) project and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “This is the first high-fidelity data set of a rocket system firing into its direction of travel while traveling at supersonic speeds in Mars-relevant conditions. Analysis of this unique data set will enable system engineers to extract important lessons for the application and infusion of supersonic retro-propulsion into future NASA missions.”

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Cool Falcon 9 Landing Video

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Video Caption: This Falcon 9 video combines videos of the returning Falcon 9 first stage, from a range of Space X video sources for the CRS3 and Orbcomm missions, and features a NASASpaceflight.com animation of the ocean landing.

UT at Brownsville Gets $10 Million for Space Commercialization Efforts

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Elon Musk (center) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry break ground on a new launch complex. (Credit: Texas Governor's Office)

Elon Musk (center) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry break ground on a new launch complex. (Credit: Texas Governor’s Office)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Gov. Rick Perry has announced a combined investment of $9 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and The University of Texas System to create a powerful research and technology commercialization partnership that will create limitless possibilities for South Texas.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has also announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $1.2 million to the University of Texas at Brownsville. The EDA investment will help build a high-tech business incubation facility that will spur new business development associated with the region’s growing space industry cluster, according to the grantee.

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Proton Returns to Flight as Khrunichev Looks to Compete With SpaceX

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Holy shi'ski! The rocket...it go KABOOMSKI! (Credit: Tsenki TV)

A Proton rocket launches its payloads into Baikonur. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

After being grounded for four months, Russia’s accident prone Proton booster will be back in action Sunday morning with officials once again praying it launches a payload into space rather than back to Earth.

Meanwhile, Russian officials are moving ahead with an expensive plan to overhaul Proton’s builder, Khrunichev, to allow it to compete with American start-up SpaceX on price and to produce a new family of Angara boosters.

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SpaceX Breaks Ground on Launch Facility in Texas

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Elon Musk (center) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry break ground on a new launch complex. (Credit: Texas Governor's Office)

Elon Musk (center) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry break ground on a new launch complex. (Credit: Texas Governor’s Office)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (Texas Governor’s Office PR) – Gov. Rick Perry on Monday helped break ground on the SpaceX Commercial Launch Facility located near Boca Chica Beach, which will launch commercial satellites into orbit.

“This announcement represents a huge step forward for our state and continues our nation’s proud legacy of scientific advancement,” Gov. Perry said. “It builds upon our pioneer heritage, our tradition of thinking bigger, dreaming bolder, and daring to do the impossible. SpaceX is the latest in a long line of forward-thinking companies that have made Texas home, and I couldn’t be prouder to help break ground on this revolutionary new facility.”

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NASA Ames Research Heads for Space Station

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Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Ames Research Center has launched four life science experiments to the International Space Station aboard NASA’s commercial cargo resupply flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The research missions include a microbiology study of yeast, a fruit fly study designed and built by students, a plant biology investigation and the maiden voyage of NASA’s new rodent research system.

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Falcon 9 Launch Scrubbed; Next Attempt Early Sunday Morning

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SpaceX scrubbed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon freighter bound for the International Space Station early Saturday morning due to bad weather over the launch site.

The company will try again Sunday morning at 1:52 a.m. EDT. This is an instantaneous launch window. They need to launch exactly on time or they will need to delay another day.

A Few Thoughts on Commercial Crew….

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Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
It’s been two days since NASA announced commercial crew awards to Boeing and SpaceX. Now that the blogosphere and Twitterati have had their say, let’s step back and take a closer look at the most misunderstood aspect of NASA’s decision.

Much has been made about the disparity in award amounts, with Boeing receiving $4.2 billion and SpaceX “only” $2.6 billion. The difference has been variously attributed to SpaceX’s lean operations, Boeing’s high costs and overhead, and Boeing’s political influence on Capitol Hill. Some people believe NASA shafted SpaceX, giving far less funding to a superior company.

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