Pentagon wants SpaceX delivering cargo around the globe — and a live test could come next year

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is seen in this false color infrared exposure as it is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station on May 30, 2020.

By Aaron Mehta 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Transportation Command is taking the potential for cargo delivery via orbit seriously enough that it hopes to test the concept with SpaceX as soon as next year, the command’s head said Wednesday.

In what he called a “provocative thought,” Gen. Stephen Lyons said: “I’m really excited about the team that’s working with SpaceX on an opportunity, even perhaps in as early as ’21, to conduct a joint proof of principle” for space-based delivery.

The dream, Lyons told the National Defense Transportation Association, is to be able to move 80 tons of cargo — the equivalent of a C-17 transport — via a space-based vehicle anywhere on the globe within one hour.

“Think about the speed associated with that, whether a small force element or other capability,” he said. “I can tell you [SpaceX is] moving very, very rapidly in this area.”

A TRANSCOM spokesman said details of the potential “proof of principle” are being worked out with SpaceX, and it will involve “delivering cargo from one place to another through space.”

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SpaceX Muscle Launch Explores Secrets of Aging

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SpaceX has been ferrying cargo to the International Space Station since 2012, sending various items — from robot parts and a vegetable garden to genetically engineered mice — aboard its rockets. And while they may sound random, each item serves its own purpose in the critical research being performed at the ISS — including this next one.

SpaceX has launched human muscle cells into space in an attempt to explore something that will have applications in space and on earth as well: the effects of aging.

A team of scientists at the University of Liverpool has undertaken a research initiative they’re calling the MicroAge study, the main objective of which is to learn why people’s muscles get weaker with age.

This phenomenon parallels one that’s been occurring with astronauts: in zero gravity muscles tend to grow weaker as well.

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All future Starlink satellites will have laser crosslinks

Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, expects the next Starlink mission will launch in about three weeks.

by Jason Rainbow — August 26, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS — SpaceX is adding laser terminals on all future Starlink satellites and is the reason behind a break in launches for the broadband megaconstellation, president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said.

Shotwell told the Space Symposium Aug. 24 that its decision to add laser crosslinks, enabling the satellites to communicate with each other to reduce their reliance on ground stations, is “why we have been struggling” to launch a Starlink mission since June 30.

SpaceX had been conducting an aggressive launch campaign with its Falcon 9 rocket throughout the first half 2021 before the hiatus, enlarging the Starlink constellation to more than 1,600 satellites in low Earth orbit.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Shoots for the Moon—by 2024 or Sooner

A SpaceX rocket, carrying astronauts, lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021.

By Al Root

SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk said his space company can be ready to go to the moon in the next three years.

Musk said in a Saturday Twitter post responding to a question about the timeline that SpaceX’s lunar lander would be ready for its moon mission “probably sooner” than 2024. 

SpaceX won NASA’s lunar lander contract in April, beating Jeff Bezos’s space company Blue Origin and Leidos (ticker: LDOS) unit Dynetics for the job. 

The NASA program, dubbed Artemis, is slated to take astronauts, including women, to the moon in 2024. SpaceX will make a reusable lander it calls Starship that will eventually carry people to Mars if Musk’s ultimate ambitions are realized. 

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SpaceX and a Canadian Startup Will Turn Space Into a Billboard

Space is going to be a billboard. If you like to run your own ad, the collaboration accepts cryptocurrencies only. 

By  Ameya Paleja

Just as paid human spaceflights are about to begin, advertising is making a mark in space too. A Canadian startup called Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC) has tied up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, taking advertising to space on a small satellite aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, Business Insider reported. However, the collaboration won’t feature a classic advertising billboard that we are used to see around, the ads will run on a pixelated display screen on a satellite called a CubeSat. 

Calgary-based GEC is an intellectual property, manufacturing, and logistics company, all rolled into one. Through its subsidiaries, Geometric Space, GeometricLabs, Geometric Medical, and Geometric Gaming, the company is inventing and manufacturing products and services for its customers in the private as well as the public sectors. As the company claims, during the pandemic, it supplied “ethically sourced” nitrile gloves to institutions in Canada and the U.S. while also developing a solid-state Sodium-Ion battery product. 

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Elon Musk Wants to Turn SpaceX Starship to a Giant Space Telescope; Is It Possible?

Elon Musk, SpaceX Chief Engineer, and the SpaceX team are recognized by Vice President Mike Pence inside the Vehicle Assembly Building following the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

By Aubrey Clarke 

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, recently stated that the company’s Starship could be converted into a “huge telescope” with 10 times the resolution of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The recent revelation indicates that the billionaire still has lots of ambitious ideas for the company’s spaceship.

SpaceX’s Starship might bring the first astronauts to the Moon’s surface since the Apollo missions, clean up our planet’s increasingly polluted orbit, and possibly assist in the establishment of a metropolis on Mars.

Musk has now stated that he wishes to bring astronomical observations into the twenty-first century.

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ELON MUSK SAYS UPCOMING SPACEX STARSHIP CAN ‘FLY AROUND SPACE AND CHOMP UP DEBRIS’

Elon Musk says SpaceX can fly around space and “chomp up debris” with its upcoming Starship craft.

Starship is central to many of SpaceX’s aims, and continues to be under development. It hopes to eventually use it to carry people to space, the Moon and further, and it has conducted a number of often spectacular tests.

But it comes at the same time as SpaceX and other companies face criticism over their contribution to “space debris”, which can block out the view of the sky and poses a threat as it fills up the sky. Numerous experts have warned that the growing number of satellites and other materials above the Earth could possibly cause a disastrous collision.

Its Starlink space internet satellites, for instance, have faced both criticism and risk from the increasing number of satellites they share the sky with. They have been attacked by astronomers who argue that they are crowding out the view of the sky, and have been forced to change orbit to avoid the risk of collisions.

But Mr Musk has said on Twitter that the company could also help fix that problem, using its Starship to pick up that litter from the sky.

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Elon Musk Says SpaceX’s Starship SN16 Might Jump to Hypersonic Flight

The Starship SN10, on ascent.

By  Brad Bergan

Appearances can be deceiving.

In a bizarre turn of events, SpaceX just rolled its newest Starship, SN16, from its Boca Chica, Texas factory directly to the nearby “rocket garden,” where the private aerospace firm retires its Mars-vehicle prototypes. But appearances can deceive: Soon after industry experts made their peace with SN16, CEO Elon Musk tweeted that no, this was not the case, at all.

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SpaceX Starlink internet could be coming to an airline near you

By Trevor Mogg

As SpaceX continues to deploy numerous satellites in low-Earth orbit as part of its Starlink internet project, the company revealed this week that it’s talking to “several airlines” about the possibility of providing in-flight Wi-Fi.

Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s VP of Starlink and commercial sales, revealed the news during an event at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit on Wednesday, The Verge reported.

“We’re in talks with several of the airlines,” Hofeller told a panel at the event, adding, “We have our own aviation product in development … We’ve already done some demonstrations to date and looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future.”

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SpaceX reveals new Crew Dragon with an incredible window dome

By Chris Davies 

SpaceX has revealed a new image of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, showing an incredible glass dome window on top for incredible views of space. The new image shows the familiar bullet-shaped craft but now with a pop-up nose cone, which hinges back to reveal what might end up being the best seat in orbit.

It’s based on the existing Crew Dragon design, but does away with the docking adapter that would ordinarily be intended to mate with the International Space Station. That’s there so that astronaut missions can take place, shuttling people up and down from the ISS, as well as cargo and other items.

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SpaceX reveals the grand extent of its starport plans in South Texas

An orbital view of SpaceX’s South Texas launch site, with SN10 on the pad, in early March. Maxar Technologies

By Eric Berger 

THE COMPANY WILL HAVE TWO ORBITAL, AND TWO SUBORBITAL LAUNCH PADS.

As part of a federal review process for its plans in South Texas, details of SpaceX’s proposed spaceport have been made public. They were posted late last week in a public notice from the US Army Corps of engineers, which is soliciting public comments on the changes.

Most notably, the new documents include a detailed architectural drawing of the multi-acre site at the southern tip of Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico. The major hardware that exists or will be built includes:

  • Two orbital launch pads, one of which is already under constriction
  • Two suborbital launch pads, one of which already exists
  • Two landing pads, one of which already exists
  • Two structural test stands for Starship and the Super Heavy booster
  • A large “tank farm” to provide ground support equipment for orbital flights
  • A permanent position for the totemic “Starhopper” vehicle at the site’s entrance
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