Tag: SpaceXPage 2 of 86

Falcon 9 Launches AsiaSat8 into Orbit

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Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Hong Kong, 5 August 2014 (AsiaSat PR) – AsiaSat8 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle successfully lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, U.S.A. at Hong Kong Time 4:00 p.m. (4:00 a.m. EDT or Cape Canaveral local time) on the 5th of August.

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Proton Woes Force ILS to Layoff Quarter of Workforce

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ILS_logoSpace News reports that International Launch Services is laying off a quarter of its workers due to various issues affecting the Russian Proton launch vehicles the company commercial markets.

Officials cited three unrelated issues for the staff reduction:

  • recent failures of the Proton, which have grounded the vehicle for months at a time and made it difficult to market;
  • rising tensions between Russia and Western nations over Ukraine, which has made sales more difficult; and,
  • a temporary shift toward lighter satellites, which has benefited providers such as SpaceX.

Instead of planning for seven to eight launches per year, the company is now planning for three to four, requiring a reduction in staff. ILS is based in the United States.

Proton is used for both commercial and Russian government launches. The failures have occurred in government missions.

It’s Official: SpaceX Building Launch Site in Texas

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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.

AUSTIN, Texas (Rick Perry PR) — Gov. Rick Perry has announced the state is offering $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) to bring SpaceX’s commercial rocket launch facility to Cameron County.

Contingent upon final approval of local agreements and receipt of additional required permits, this facility will create 300 jobs and pump $85 million in capital investment into the local economy.

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Elon Musk Fears Digital Super Intelligent Robocalypse: Should You Worry, Too?

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By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest. However, for some it is given over to pondering where our rapidly advancing technology is taking us as we barrel at exponential speeds through a series of disruptive game-changing pivots on our way to Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity, where we will all happily merge with our super intelligent machines.

Or something. You can probably tell I’ve recently been in Silicon Valley.

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SpaceX Launches 3D-Printed Part to Space

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Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — Through 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, robust and high-performing rocket parts can be created and offer improvements over traditional manufacturing methods. SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft more reliable, robust and efficient than ever before.

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SpaceX Applies for Spaceport Building Permits, Acquires More Texas Land

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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

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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

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Earth_from_space_graphic
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

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Judge Recommends Mediation in SpaceX-USAF Dispute

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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.

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Layoffs Reported at SpaceX

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spacex_logo_sm

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.