Tag: SpaceX

SpaceX Applies for Spaceport Building Permits, Acquires More Texas Land

Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

With a crucial environmental review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) behind it, SpaceX has begun to apply for building permits for its planned Texas spaceport as it acquires more land to support it:

On Monday, SpaceX’s Dogleg Park LLC submitted an application for a permit to install small solar panels off-grid in the vicinity of the proposed launch control center at the potential launch site. The contractor is SolarCity. Elon Musk, founder of the California-based Space Exploration Technologies, is chairman of SolarCity.

And on Tuesday, Brownsville Economic Development Council Executive Vice-President Gilbert Salinas also submitted an application for a commercial permit in connection with the BEDC-SpaceX-University of Texas at Brownsville’s STARGATE project for construction of a 12,000 square foot tracking center.

Meanwhile, t5he company has been buying up additional land in the Boca Chica Beach area south of Brownsville where the spaceport will be constructed:

The purchase from private landowners was officially filed in the public record July 8, one day before the FAA issued its Record of Decision to support the issuance of launch licenses that would allow Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical rockets from the proposed private spaceport at Boca Chica Beach….

Public records reflect that the 50 acres that were purchased this month through SpaceX’s company Dogleg Park LLC would have been those under option or lease since at least June 2012.

The purchase brings SpaceX’s property holdings at Boca Chica Beach to approximately 100 acres of land.

Through Dogleg and The Flats at Mars Crossing LLC, the firm consistently has purchased and had leased properties at the Boca Chica site from early June 2012 through this month.

Elon Musk to Appear on The Simpsons


Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

One of America’s favorite billionaires will meet one of its most hated in the upcoming season of The Simpsons:

The Simpsons panel was unusually light on guest-star news, with exec producer Al Jean making only one announcement: Elon Musk will play himself in an upcoming episode in which Mr. Burns loses all of his money to the Tesla/SpaceX tycoon.

Mr. Burns is, of course, C. Montgomery Burns, the elderly and evil owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant who employs Homer Simpson. Musk owns two companies, Solar City and Tesla, that are focused on clean energy.

This is the 26th season of the animated show, which already has 552 episodes under its belt.

Space Access Society Update


Space Access Update #136 7/27/14
Copyright 2014 by Space Access Society

In this Issue:

- Bill Gaubatz
- Experienced Engineering Teams And US Space Launch Development Policy
- SLS Sole-Sourcing
- 2014 Space Politics: Halftime Report

  • Senate Appropriations Impasse, Other Legislation
  • Commercial Crew & Cargo at Crossroads
  • Defense Launch & Propulsion Politics

- Supporting Space Access

Continue reading ‘Space Access Society Update’

Judge Recommends Mediation in SpaceX-USAF Dispute


ULA_logoSpace News has an update on SpaceX’s lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force over the 36-core bulk buy from ULA:

Judge Susan Braden on July 24 directed the two sides to explore a third alternative: mediation. As part of that process, she directed the Air Force to provide SpaceX with information by Aug. 18 on the missions in question to allow the company to determine which ones it could launch. She also ordered the service to explain to SpaceX how it plans to execute the block-buy contract with ULA during the next six months.

At the same time, Braden asked SpaceX to provide, by Sept. 10, a list of proposed issues for mediation, potential mediators and a timetable. The Air Force will then have until Oct. 14 to determine whether SpaceX’s proposed terms for mediation are acceptable.

Meanwhile, Braden denied a motion from ULA to dismiss the lawsuit. ULA had argued that SpaceX waited too long to challenge the contract and thereby waived its legal standing to do so.

But Braden said ULA “has no basis to challenge” SpaceX’s standing. She was silent on the Air Force’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which is based on a similar argument.

Read the full story.

Layoffs Reported at SpaceX



UPDATE: A Friday evening communication from SpaceX Communications Director John Taylor:

“I can tell you that there was an annual review cycle completed recently, along with some rebalancing of resources. Our resulting headcount reduction was less than 5 percent. SpaceX expects to see net positive employee growth in 2014 of approximately 20 percent.”

A reliable source reports SpaceX fired 200 to 300 people over the past week, reportedly for poor performance.

However, speculation focuses on the possibility that the company is experiencing a cash-flow crunch. The company has added thousands of employees in recent years despite a launch rate that is low compared with its main rival, United Launch Alliance.

I’ve asked SpaceX for a comment, but the company has not responded yet.

Video of Falcon 9 First Stage Descent to Ocean


Video Caption: Video of the Falcon 9 first stage reentry and landing following successful delivery of six ORBCOMM satellites to orbit. This test confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able consistently to reenter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity.

After landing, the vehicle tipped sideways as planned to its final water safing state in a nearly horizontal position. The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight. Going forward, we are taking steps to minimize the build up of ice and spots on the camera housing in order to gather improved video on future launches.

USAF Review of SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Continues

Falcon 9 in flight with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 in flight with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Bloomberg News has an update on the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to certify SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1 to launch military payloads. The service is reviewing the results of three successful flights of the booster as well as SpaceX’s processes on the ground.

Bloomberg obtained a redacted copy of a May 20 letter and briefing paper discussing the review that the Air Force sent to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic panel.

Continue reading ‘USAF Review of SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Continues’

Commercial Crew Partners Continue Milestone Work


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their  Space Act Agreements with the agency.

NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move ahead with plans to develop the first American spacecraft designed to carry people into space since the space shuttle.

Continue reading ‘Commercial Crew Partners Continue Milestone Work’

Congressmen Seek Answers About Falcon 9 Problems

Falcon 9 second stage engine burn.

Falcon 9 second stage engine burn.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mike Coffman PR) –  Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), along with Representative Cory Gardner (R-CO), sent a letter to the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) expressing strong concerns over anomalies that have occurred on taxpayer-funded space launch vehicles, and the lack of public disclosure or transparency of these anomalies.  The letter expresses concern over an epidemic of anomalies that have occurred during SpaceX launches or launch attempts, and communicates frustrations with NASA’s refusal to provide insight into those mishaps.

[Editor's Note: The letter is also signed by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL).]

Continue reading ‘Congressmen Seek Answers About Falcon 9 Problems’

USAF Counts SpaceX Falcon 9 Flights Toward Certification

Falcon 9 lifts off with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 lifts off with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

 – The U.S. Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center declared both the Dec. 3, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014 flights of the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle will each count as a successful flight towards Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) certification. This completes the three flights required for the flight experience requirement.

Continue reading ‘USAF Counts SpaceX Falcon 9 Flights Toward Certification’