NASA officially awarded Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) a $178-million contract for Earth’s first mission to conduct detailed investigations of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Called the Europa Clipper mission, it’s set to launch in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Once Europa Clipper reaches the moon, it will conduct a detailed survey and use a suite of science instruments to investigate whether the icy moon has conditions suitable for life. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Elon Musk revealed SpaceX’s new autonomous spaceport drone ship, and it’s called A Shortfall of Gravitas (ASOG), named after the science fiction series Culture by Scottish writer Iain Banks. This new vessel joins Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) and Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) in recovering rockets at sea, as it just began its first sea trial just outside of Port Fourchon. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: Kendall Dirks
Elon Musk’s SpaceX may conduct Starship launches from an ocean spacesport as early as next year, as the company is currently hiring offshore operations engineers to help design its next-gen transportation system designed transport astronauts to the Moon, Mars and even places on Earth. Currently, three locations are being considered: Florida’s Space Coast, the South Texas facility, and dedicated offshore platforms, including one off the Mississippi coast. Read more for a video and additional information.
Sure, the SpaceX Starship system may not have the ability to transport astronauts right now, but when all testing is complete, the interior may surprise you. This fully reusable, two‑stage‑to‑orbit super heavy‑lift launch vehicle consists of a booster stage named Super Heavy and a second stage, also called “Starship,” with the latter designed to be a long‑duration cargo and passenger‑carrying spacecraft. Read more for a video and additional information.
Geometric Energy Corporation announced DOGE-1, a dogecoin-funded mission to the Moon that SpaceX will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket in the first quarter of next year. Despite Elon Musk making an SNL appearance last night, Dogecoin lost over a third of its price on Sunday, which may have had something to do with the CEO calling it a ‘hustle’ during his guest-host spot. Read more for two videos, including one from his SNL appearance, and additional information.
Project Mars: A Technical Tale by Dr. Wernher von Braun may have predicted the future, or at least the part about who may eventually help colonize Mars. That’s right, in one passage of this book von Braun states that “a Martian government was created led by ten men, whose leader was elected by universal suffrage for five years under the name or title of Elon.” Read more for two videos and additional information.
The SpaceX Starship SN15 prototype rocket lifted off at 6:24 PM EDT and performed a belly-flop before managing a soft landing, with just a fire at the bottom of the spacecraft caused by the methane fuel it uses. This marks the first successful landing after four previous prototypes ending in explosions. SpaceX will use the data gathered from these prototypes to develop a much larger Starship that will one day transport humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Read more for the complete launch and landing video.
You may have see Elon Musk in the Cybertruck at the Tesla Austin gigafactory, but Jeff Bezos wasn’t about to be shown up by the SpaceX CEO. So, he visited the Blue Origin’s latest landing of its New Shepard rocket at its West Texas facility in a Rivian R1T electric pickup truck. However, this trip wasn’t about seeing progress on the site, but rather to promote ticket sales for suborbital tourist rides on New Shepard, which begin later this week on May 5. Read more for the video and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA
The SpaceX Crew-2 mission will transport NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, to the International Space Station for a six-month science mission. It’s scheduled to launch at 5:49 a.m. EDT Friday, April 23, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Read more for the livestream and a bonus video.
NASA is preparing to send human astronauts back to the Moon as part of the Artemis program, and the agency has selected SpaceX to continue development of the first commercial human lander. When completed, it will be able to safely transport the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface. The Space Launch System rocket will be used to launch four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for their multi-day journey to lunar orbit, while two of them transfer to the SpaceX human landing system (HLS) for the final leg of their journey to the surface of the Moon. Read more for two videos and additional information.