SpaceX

Science • Space
Amazon gets approval to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit for internet services
Amazon gets approval to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit for internet services
Credit: unsplash.com / NASA

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a request from Amazon to launch 3,236 communication sattelites into low earth orbit.

The company plans to provide a low-latency, high-speed satellite-based internet connections to United States households with it's Project Kuiper. Amazon has announced that it will invest over $10 billtion into the project and will build a supporting infrastructure on the ground in addition to launching the satellites.

With Project Kuiper Amazon goes into direct competition to the Starlink network by SpaceX that aims towards the same goals.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Elon Musk claims that "Aliens built the pyramids", Egypt denies and invites him
Elon Musk claims that "Aliens built the pyramids", Egypt denies and invites him
Credit: unsplash.com / Shotaro Hamasaki

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has tweeted on Friday that "Aliens built the pyramids obv" (obv = obviously). The tweet has been shared widely on Twitter and received over 500,000 likes.

The Minister of International Co-operation of Egypt Rania al-Mashat has responded to the claim and denied that they were built by aliens. She said that "I invite you & Space X to explore the writings about how the pyramids were built and also to check out the tombs of the pyramid builders".

At a later point, Elon Musk linked a BBC History site that provides information about the history of the workers that built the pyramids.

Science • Space
SpaceX Capsule splashdown successful, first water landing since 1975
SpaceX Capsule splashdown successful, first water landing since 1975
Credit: @NASA, via Twitter

Doug and Bob are back on planet Earth. The Crew Dragon capsule splashed down safely at 2:48 PM EDT in the Gulf of Mexico. Sunday's splashdown marked NASA's first water landing since 1975.

Science • Space
SpaceX Crew Dragon departed and headed home
SpaceX Crew Dragon departed and headed home
Credit: SpaceX (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Bob and Doug are getting ready for splashdown. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule successfully undocked from the ISS on Saturday night at 7:35 PM EDT. NASA's astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley had been in Space since May, joining NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian Russian astronauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

If the weather and sea conditions in the Gulf of Mexico remain favorable, splashdown will be at 2:48 PM EDT on Sunday.

Science • Space
SpaceX Crew Dragon in preparation to return to Earth
Personnel from NASA, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force practicing recovery operations for the SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Personnel from NASA, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force practicing recovery operations for the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Credit: SpaceX / Public domain

Bob and Doug are coming home. SpaceX's Crew Dragon will undock from the ISS at 7:34 PM EDT on August 1. Splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City is expected at around 2:42 PM EDT on August 2.

A final decision on whether to proceed with the mission will be made approximately six hours before undocking and will largely depend on weather conditions and Hurricane Isais, which is currently headed towards Florida.

Science • Space
SpaceX launches South Korea satellite, recovers booster and two fairings
SpaceX launches South Korea satellite, recovers booster and two fairings
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on Monday delivered the ANASIS-II, a South Korean military communications satellite, to orbit and set a new record for the fastest turnaround time for reusing a rocket. The first stage booster successfully landed on the "Just Read the Instructions" droneship.

The company also set a new milestone by catching both halves of the nosecone fairing. Catching the $6-million fairing spares it from suffering any saltwater damage and so allows it to be used again with minimal maintenance, reducing costs.

Science • Space
SpaceX going to launch a South Korean satellite Monday
Falcon 9 booster
Falcon 9 booster Credit: Official SpaceX Photos (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

SpaceX scheduled the launch of a Falcon 9 carrying ANASIS-II, a South Korean military communications satellite, Monday, with a window from 21:00(UTC) to 00:55(UTC).

The Falcon 9 booster is the same one that catapulted astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken toward the International Space Station in May, which would be a record for the quickest turnaround time between flights of an orbital-class rocket stage.

Science • Space
Crew Dragon set to return on August 1
NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission will return U.S human spaceflight to the International Space Station from U.S. soil with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on an American rocket and spacecraft for the first time since 2011.
NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission will return U.S human spaceflight to the International Space Station from U.S. soil with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on an American rocket and spacecraft for the first time since 2011. Credit: SpaceX (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are coming home. SpaceX's Crew Dragon is set to return home to Earth on August 1 and splashdown is targeted for August 2. The actual date though is depending on the weather.

Science • Space
SpaceX to launch third Starlink mission in a month
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Credit: 2nd Lt. Alex Preisser/USAF (Public Domain)

SpaceX is scheduled to launch a Falcon 9 rocket as part of the Starlink 9 mission this Thursday. The launch is planned for 20:39(UTC) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This will be the third Starlink launch in June alone, bringing the size of the growing constellation to around 600 satellites and closer to the threshold of 800 required for some limited broadband service to begin.

Science • Space
SpaceX has until July 15 to prove Starlink could qualify for $16 billion federal funding
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Credit: 2nd Lt. Alex Preisser/USAF (Public Domain)

SpaceX's Starlink network of low-Earth orbit small satellites plans to compete for the rural broadband funding, a $16 billion federal funding auction. To qualify for the auction the FCC requires that participants demonstrate latency under 100 milliseconds until July 15.

On a public notice released on June 11, the FCC stated it had "serious doubts that any low-Earth orbit networks will be able to meet the short-form application requirements for bidding in the low-latency tier".

SpaceX's announces it could have latencies around 20 milliseconds.

Science • Space
SpaceX launched more 58 Starlink satellites, and three Planet SkySats hitched a ride
Deployment of SkySats during June 13 launch
Deployment of SkySats during June 13 launch Credit: SpaceX (Reproduction)

Earlier today SpaceX successfully launched its first rideshare mission into orbit, lofting a new batch of 58 Starlink internet satellites along with three Planet SkySats before landing the Falcon 9 rocket on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Planet satellites are part of that company’s existing SkySat constellation, which includes just over a dozen washing machine-sized craft that generate high-resolution images of our home planet.

The launch was the second Starlink mission so far this month, with one more on the schedule for no earlier than June 22.

Science • Space
SpaceX's Crew Dragon will return to Earth with astronauts Behnken and Hurley
Doug Hurley (left) and Bob Behnken (right) at crew extraction rehearsal from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon
Doug Hurley (left) and Bob Behnken (right) at crew extraction rehearsal from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls / Public domain

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will return to Earth from the ISS on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft in August. Their exact return date will depend on numerous factors such as weather conditions, the astronauts' work progress onboard ISS as well as the overall condition and performance of Crew Dragon.

Science • Space
Starship rocket is the top priority for SpaceX
Starship | First test vehicle
Starship | First test vehicle Credit: SpaceX (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

As SpaceX employees and fans all over the world celebrate the success of the Crew Dragon Demo 2 mission that launched two American Astronauts off American soil to the International Space Station just last week, Elon Musk emailed the SpaceX staff to remind them of the next major goal they should turn their attention to.

“Please consider the top SpaceX priority (apart from anything that could reduce Dragon return risk) to be Starship”

The CEO underlined that Starship development progress needs to be accelerated "dramatically and immediately". As the company just fulfilled its first promises by delivering Nasa astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station as part of the commercial crew program, it will now be able to allocate significantly more resources, in terms of both staff and finance to the development of the Starship program.

In his email, Elon also re-assured his employees that those who are considering moving to Texas in order to better support the companies new objectives, will be able to shuttle using a dedicated SpaceX aircraft.

Science • Space
SpaceX sets record with its reusable Falcon 9 rocket

10 years ago, SpaceX launched its self-landing rocket Falcon 9 for the first time. After its few initial fails, the company made history by landing the rocket, offering the world some spectacular images to be remembered by generations to come.

This Thursday, the 4th of June, SpaceX reached two new milestones using its reusable rocket system. By launching its Falcon 9 rocket and deploying a new batch of 60 Starlink satelites, the company reached the incredible milestone of 5 flights and landings of the same orbital-class rocket. As this was Falcon 9's 85th launch, it has now become the most flown operational rocket in the United States.

Moreover, the company is estimated to have saved roughly $232.5 million from this one Falcon 9 rocket alone, as the re-usability of the launch vehicle saves around $46.5 million for each successfully landed flight.

Science • Space
SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites
SpaceX Logo
SpaceX Logo Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

SpaceX has launched on Wednesday another 60 internet-beaming satellites, bringing the company's constellation to around 480.

One of the 60 Starlink satellites has a visor system installed to block the sun from reflecting off of its communication antenna surfaces. If the system works, it should greatly reduce sunlight reflected off of the satellite back to Earth, one of the major criticisms from astronomers.

Also, this was the fifth launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, achieving a new record in booster reusability for the company.

Science • Space
SpaceX Starship "hops" expected in coming weeks, launch debut still on track for 2020
Starship | First test vehicle
Starship | First test vehicle Credit: SpaceX (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

SpaceX's Starship is undergoing extremely fast-paced development in South Texas, Boca Chica Beach where the 5th, 6th and 7th prototypes are currently being assembled, some of them about to be ready for testing.

On Friday, May 29th the 4th Starship prototype had just successfully completed a static fire test, when liquid methane was being spotted leaking in huge quantities. Shortly thereafter the liquid methane ignited and detonated the Serial Number 4 build of Starship, with steel debris being propelled all around the development and testing area.

In an interview by Spiegel, Hans Koenigsmann, VP of Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX and veteran employee of 18 years stated among other things, that despite the latest deveopments he expects the first test flights of 150 m altitude hops to happen in the coming weeks. Moreover, he stated that with the tests going according to plans, Starship is still predicted to debut its orbital launch by the end of 2020.

While Starship SN4 performed an "Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly" as SpaceX employees and fanatics often call a rocket exploding beyond repair, the next prototype in line SN5 is effectively complete and ready for testing.

Per Koenigsmann, the first Starship 150m flight could debut by the end of June 2020.

Science • Space
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 capsule docked with space station at 14:16(UTC)
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 capsule docked with space station at 14:16(UTC)
Credit: SpaceX (Reproduction)

The Dragon capsule docked at the International Space Station at 14:16(UTC), slightly ahead of schedule, 422km above the border between northern China and Mongolia. The completion of the docking procedure happened at 14:30(UTC).

Science • Space
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 capsule set to dock with space station at 14:30(UTC)
Astrounauts Bob Behnken (far) and Doug Hurley (near)
Astrounauts Bob Behnken (far) and Doug Hurley (near) Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

The Dragon capsule launched yesterday from Cape Canaveral will dock to the International Space Station at 14:30(UTC). Although astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are on board, the docking procedure should be fully automated.

Science • Space
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 launch successful
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission launch
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission launch Credit: NASA via YouTube Livestream

The SpaceX Demo-2 mission launch was successful. The Falcon 9 rocket landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship.

NASA Astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken on board the Crew Dragon is on a 19-hour flight to the International Space Station and are expected to dock with ISS on Sunday.

The astronauts will be staying for several months to perform duties and conduct experiments.

Science • Space
SpaceX's 'Demo-2' mission to attempt to launch today
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will make another attempt to launch two NASA astronauts to the space station today at 19:22(UTC). If the launch attempt is delayed once again due to the weather — there's currently a 50% chance of unfavourable launch weather — the next available launch window will be on Sunday, May 31, 19:00(UTC).

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley are expected to dock Crew Dragon with the ISS about 19 hours after liftoff.