If all goes as planned, especially the weather, SpaceX will launch its three-core Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center Monday night at approximately 11:30 p.m. PT / 2:30 a.m. ET from pad 39A, capping off the event with dual booster landings on the Space Coast. About eight minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s two previously flown side boosters will return to land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. STP-2, the Department of Defense mission, boasts 24 test and experimental payloads slated for deployment over a six-hour mission. Read more for the livestream that starts in about 2-hours as of this post.
SpaceX’s latest Falcon Heavy rocket is set for its third and most complicated launch yet later today from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. How? It’s carrying two dozen satellites into Earth orbit, and the entire mission will span over six hours since its upper stage must deliver its payloads to three different orbits. These satellites include an atomic clock for deep space navigation and the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2, which uses pressure from light particles hitting the sail for navigation. Read more for another video and additional information.
Photo credit: Malcolm Denemark via The Daily Mail
SpaceX has successfully launched the first part of its satellite train into space, and it’s aimed to deliver global high-speed internet to all parts of Earth. The agency’s Falcon 9 rocket sent 60 satellites into the sky this past Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and each one of these weighs in at 500-pounds. “This mission will push the operational capabilities of the satellites to the limit. SpaceX expects to encounter issues along the way, but our learnings here are key to developing an affordable and reliable broadband service in the future,”said SpaceX in a statement. Read more for two additional videos and information.
Joe Barnard, amateur rocketeer and founder of Barnard Propulsion Systems (BPS), specializes in making flight hardware for others in the hobby, and is currently working on mastering propulsive landings for model rockets. This is the same principle that enables SpaceX to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets after boosting a payload to orbit. Thrust vectoring allows for control over the direction of a rocket’s engines during flight to change its trajectory and stabilize the vehicle, and Barnard is a pioneer in DIY thrust vectoring. Read more for two more videos (launch and landing).
SpaceX’s Elon Musk has big plans for its BFR rocket, including landings on the Moon and Mars. The company’s CEO has shared a new image of the Starship on the Moon, and also indicated that despite irregular terrain, Starhopper could handle landing and relaunching from a surface that is not perfectly flat, so a landing platform is not required. The Starhopper test rocket completed its first test burn using the company’s Raptor engine last month in a tethered hop, moving just a few inches off the ground, and will eventually make more with three Raptor engines at higher altitudes. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: Futurism
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is a big fan of Game of Thrones and just before the Season 8 premier last night he Tweeted something along the lines of adding stainless-steel dragon wings to Starship. “With steel membrane wings like a Dragon, we may be able to lower Starship’s orbital reentry temp to ~1000 degrees C, which would allow the whole surface to be uncooled bare metal,” said Musk. Read more for a video explaining why Starship has a stainless steel design and additional information.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is currently the world’s most powerful operational rocket, and today, it launched its first commercial mission from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in a key demonstration for CEO Elon Musk who hopes to land lucrative military launch contracts in the future. The booster carried Arabsat-6A, a 13,000-pound Saudi telecommunications satellite designed to provide television, internet and mobile phone service to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, into orbit. Read more for the launch and to see the three boosters land back on Earth.
Photo credit: Space Padre Isle
SpaceX successfully fired up its Raptor-powered Starhopper rocket on Wednesday evening at the company’s facility in southern Texas. The company is in the early stages of developing its Starship rocket, which boasts a large booster called “Super Heavy” that is being built to transport up to 100 people to the moon and beyond. These next-generation Raptor engines, of which the Starhopper is equipped with one, is the second “flight ready” version of the engine that SpaceX has tested. Read more for the firing video and additional information.
Even when the Concorde was in service, it still took just over 3-hours to travel from New York City to London, but SpaceX could change that within a decade. If you were to take the same journey Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship, it would take just 29 minutes. Analysts believe that point-to-point rocket travel will be worth $20-billion in less than 10-years, thanks to SpaceX rockets traversing the upper atmosphere. Read more for a TED Talks video about these 30-minute trips.
It’s official, SpaceX’s Dragon V2 capsule, the first human-rated commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station, departed early Friday morning and later splashed down into the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 200 miles from Florida’s coast, marking a new era of spaceflight. Ripley, an anthropomorphic test device in a flight suit, was onboard the spacecraft for the maiden voyage, complete with sensors to help better understand what astronauts will experience when they blast off in the capsule. Read more for the splash down footage and additional information.