Archive for the ‘SpaceX’ Category

SpaceX Wants to Build “Commercial Cape Canaveral” Deep in the Heart of Texas

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
spacex commercial cape canaveral.jpg

The stars at night are big and bright CLICK HERE deep in the heart of Texas. So where better to launch vehicles to get closer to them.

SpaceX has begun preliminary paperwork to establish a launching facility in South Texas, near the Mexican border. The move accomplishes several goals for the ambitious private spaceflight firm.

Price: the facility is closer to the SpaceX testing facility in McGregor, Texas. Also, a launch space they don’t have to share (which will never be the case in Cape Canaveral) would mean they could have more flexibility with schedule and could continue to bring launch prices down to the ultimate goal of $1000 per pound.

Politics: Texas is home of the largest congressional opponents to commercial spaceflight. By putting a massive facility right in their backyard, it could stem some of the animosity.

Innovation: launching the rockets from west of Florida means they could possibly keep their Sunshine State facilities as landing areas for the rockets. This is a key part of founder Elon Musk’s dream of legitimate rocket reusability.

Read the full notice below, or check out what Ars Technica makes of the news.

[SpaceX Filing]

[Ars Technica]

SpaceX Will Launch First Commercial Spacecraft to Spacestation on April 30

Friday, March 16th, 2012
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We finally have a date.

SpaceX announced they will send the first commercial spacecaft to spacestation into orbit on April 30th. If successful, the unmanned Dragon capsule will dock with the International Space Station representing a major step for space exploration in the Post Dreams era.

Here is how the mission will go down.

As the Dragon capsule approaches the station, astronauts onboard the outpost will grab onto it using the space station’s robotic arm. The capsule will then be attached to the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony node. This process is similar to how the unmanned Japanese cargo freighters are manually docked to the space station.

So, who is down for a April 30th meet up?

[Fox News]

Boo: SpaceX Delays February Launch

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

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The first private craft set to dock with the International Space Station will have to wait a little longer. An unmanned capsule to be launched by WeirdThings’ favorite SpaceX will not happen on February 7th as initially planned. The delay is attributed to additional preparation time.

“We believe that there are a few areas that will benefit from additional work,” said Kirstin Brost Grantham, a spokeswoman for the company, also known as SpaceX.

“We will continue to test and review data. We will launch when the vehicle is ready,” she said.

The flight will be the second and possibly last test flight before privately owned SpaceX begins delivering cargo to the station under a $1.6 billion NASA contract.

Considering the critical nature of such an early flight and what it means for private exploration in general, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. Still, those anxious for SpaceX to continue its evolution will have to sit tight.

[Reuters]

SpaceX Sets Launch Date For First Private Spacecraft To Dock With ISS

Saturday, December 10th, 2011
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We are unapologetic fanboys for SpaceX. In the tank. Drinking the Kool-Aid. In fact, don’t be surprised if publisher Andrew Mayne gets a tattoo of the SpaceX logo with “RAD” in the middle.

So there is a reason we’ve collectively marked February 7th, 2012 on our calendars. It will represent the first time a private spacecraft will be launched into orbit and dock with the International Space Station.

Here is what’s at stake:

NASA’s plan for the future. NASA has agreed pay SpaceX $1.6 billion for 12 cargo shipments to the ISS, or $133 million per flight. It represents a dramatic increase in value for the program considering each Space Shuttle launch came with a billion dollar tab per pop.

Private, commercial space travel’s plan for the future. Right now, the money needed to get companies like SpaceX off the ground is in government contracts. If this mission proves out, it continues the trend of creating a safe environment for more investment, which drives prices down, which makes it more affordable for other business entities, which means more ships go up creating infinite possiblities.

SpaceX’s plan for the future. It’s no secret that SX mastermind Elon Musk wants to die on Mars in a hot tub whilst high fiving Doctor Manhattan flanked by a half dozen tittering coeds from Mars University. Or something like that. Considering the breakneck pace that his company is on, this is not as insane as one might think PRESUMING massive milestone moments like this goes well. ISS dock begets manned missions begets long range missions begets warm up the tub!

[Fox News]

SpaceX Announces Radically Cheaper Spaceflight

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

At a National Press Club luncheon today, Elon Musk, head of SpaceX announced plans for a reusable rocket that could dramatically lower the cost of going into space by a factor of 100. By amortizing the hardware costs over a lifespan of 1,000 launches, the capital costs per launch would be $50,000 (plus $200,000 in fuels costs and support). He compares the goal of the rocket to achieve the same level of reliability as a 747.

SpaceX envisions a three stage rocket where each stage returns to Earth via powered flight, as opposed to crashing into the ocean or burning up in the atmosphere.

In a speech that outlaid his goal of seeing humanity becoming an interplanetary species, he explained the need for this technology to help humanity make a permanent settlement on Mars. Musk suggested the cost of such a trip could eventually fall to the price of an ‘average California home’.

SpaceX

Click the image below for an awesome animation of their space flight mission profiles:

Listen now

 

SpaceX Reveals Images of Next Generation Spacecraft

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Along with announcement for an Elon Musk appearance at the National Press Club, SpaceX revealed new conceptual images laying out their vision for the future of spaceflight.

One image gives us our first look at what is probably the ‘Grasshopper’ reusable vertical take-off and landing rocket that SpaceX sought permission from the FAA to test at their McGregor field launch facility.

For more images, including the Dragon capsule doing a landing, check out the SpaceX page.

SpaceX to Launch Vertical Take-off and Landing “Grasshopper” Rocket

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Those ambitious folks at SpaceX aren’t going to let American enterprise sit out the new space race. They’ve requested permission to test out a vertical take-off and landing rocket system at their test site in McGregor, Texas.

Although building on existing systems, like their Merlin engines, this is a new area of space flight for them. Previously they’ve focused on the more traditional approach of single-use rockets.

Recently, Jeff Bezos backed Blue Origin, tried a similar test, which ended in a crash after attaining 45,000 feet of altitude.

Both programs are very similar to the McDonnell Douglas DC-X single-stage vertical take-off and landing program which was abandoned in the 1990’s.

The FAA document

via SpaceRef.com and NasaWatch.com

Did Space X just show its secret plans for a mission to Mars?

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Space X released a video today showing their plans and capabilities for their Dragon space capsule. Besides the ability to ferry crew to and from orbit and to the International Space Station, Elon Musk, head of Space X has said that the capsule itself would be capable of using its built-in rockets to land on any solid planet, moon or asteroid in the Solar System. He described the heat shielding as being rated for “Martian and lunar” velocities.

Landing is one thing. What about a return trip, some have asked? If you look closely at the video Space X released you can get some idea of what they may have planned for a trip to Mars.

In the screen grab you can see the Dragon crew capsule in the foreground. In back of it looks like a crew habitat made from the stage of a rocket. Further in back you can see a platform with what looks like an ascent vehicle perched upright. This solves the ascent question.

Space X has talked publicly and informally about its plans for the future of space exploration. Besides the forthcoming Falcon 9 Heavy lift rocket, that would be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V, they’ve also talked about a Falcon X Heavy and Falcon XX vehicles with 250,000 pounds of cargo capacity.

From the video it looks like we can see three of the four components you would need for a Mars round trip. The Dragon capsule as a lander for the astronauts. The crew habitat visible in the background and the ascent vehicle on a platform further out. Not shown is the space vehicle that would be used to bring astronauts from Earth orbit to Martian orbit.

If you look at Space X’s plans for future rocket engine technology, there are plans for motors that would be more than capable of the return trip. The one thing we haven’t seen is what their plans are for the spacecraft itself. It’d be curious to see what Elon Musk and Space X think this would look like. Let’s hop for more videos.

Elon Musk Says Falcon 9 Heavy Rocket Could Successfully Go To Mars And Back

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Elon Musk’s Space X promised a big announcement today and it was the unveiling of the Falcon Heavy. The short list of features: it can put 100,000 – 120,000 lbs. in orbit, has the thrust capacity of 15 Boeing 747s combined, is 30% the cost of previous rockets of this size, meets NASA requirements for human transport, can do the a trip to the ISS, moon or Mars(!!!) and back AND is ready to launch by the end of 2012.

Musk:

“Falcon Heavy would be capable of launching people as soon as we’ve proven it out with a few launches,” Musk said. “It opens up a wide range of possibilities, such as a mission to the moon or conceivably even Mars,” he said.

“First launch from our Cape Canaveral launch complex is planned for late 2013 or 2014,” Musk said.

M-A-R-S. Mars.

[Fox News]