Elon Musk’s SpaceX bags $1.5 billion contract for Starship to take humans to Moon

Artist’s rendering of SpaceX Starship human lander design. (Photo: Nasa)

  • SpaceX is developing the Starship and has recently conducted an engine test
  • Nasa had in July 2021 given the first contract to SpaceX
  • The objective of the contract is to develop and demonstrate a Starship lunar lander

By India Today Web Desk: Amid his chaotic management at Twitter, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has bagged another contract valued at $1.5 billion to develop its Starship human landing system to transport humans to the Moon. With Nasa launching the Artemis-1 mission that will return humans to the lunar world, Starship will be part of long-term lunar exploration plans.

SpaceX is developing the Starship and has recently conducted an engine test where it fired all 14 engines. The company is working to conduct the first orbital flight of Starship by either end of this year or the beginning of 2023. As part of the new contract, SpaceX will provide a second crewed landing demonstration mission in 2027 for the Artemis IV mission.

“Returning astronauts to the Moon to learn, live, and work is a bold endeavour. With multiple planned landers, from SpaceX and future partners, we will be better positioned to accomplish the missions of tomorrow: conducting more science on the surface of the Moon than ever before and preparing for crewed missions to Mars,” Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson, said in a statement.

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SpaceX announces a new ‘flat high performance’ Starlink dish for internet on moving vehicles

A vehicle with the new Starlink RV hardware attached.

By Chris Young

The newly-designed dish allows users to have a permanent high-performance Starlink installation on their vehicles.

SpaceX announced it is now accepting orders for its new “flat high-performance” Starlink dish for moving vehicles.

In a Tuesday tweet, the private space firm explained that the new offering allows customers to “enjoy high-speed, low-latency internet while on the move!”

The new type of dish is installed on top of the vehicle and its positioning makes it more streamlined and also means it can connect with more Starlink satellites at any given time, SpaceX explains on its website. 

The new hardware is essentially an add-on for the Starlink RV service, announced in May this year, which allows users to connect to the internet while on the move — the service has enabled several users to live an enviable off-grid lifestyle. 

SpaceX CEO added on Twitter that the new option “works on any moving land object.” The newly-announced flat high-performance hardware is part of SpaceX’s push to upgrade its Starlink service worldwide by bringing it to more countries — it is currently available in more than 30 countriesworldwide and will come to many more over the next year or two — and also to moving vehicles, including RVs, cruise ships, private jets, and passenger airliners.

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SpaceX announces Starlink Internet service on airplanes

SpaceX announced that its satellite internet service Starlink will be available on select airplanes beginning next year.Starlink Aviation will offer Internet speeds of up to 350 Mbps to each plane that is equipped with its Aero Terminal, which it says is fast enough for video calls, online gaming, “and other high data rate activities.”

“With Starlink, passengers will be able to access high-speed, low-latency internet from the moment they walk on their plane,” SpaceX said in a tweet.According to The Verge, most flights offer speeds that max out around 10 Mbps per flight. Some satellite systems offer between 30Mbps and 100Mbps.

According to Starlink Aviation’s website, the new service will have global coverage, with deliveries expected in mid-2023.”Since the satellites are moving in low-Earth orbit, there are always satellites overhead or nearby to provide a strong signal at high latitudes and in polar regions — unlike with geo-stationary satellites,” Starlink Aviation’s website said.

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World’s first space tourist set to fly around the Moon with SpaceX

A SpaceX Starship. Photo: SpaceX

By Miriam Kramer

Businessman Dennis Tito, the first-ever space tourist, has scored another trip to space — and this time he’s going around the Moon with SpaceX.

Why it matters: SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to make life multi-planetary by bringing about a future where humans are living on Mars and possibly deeper into the solar system.

  • These types of private missions allow the company to test the technology they see as key to creating that future.

What’s happening: SpaceX announced today that Tito, 82, and his wife Akiko Tito will circle the Moon with 10 other, yet-to-be-named crewmembers on the third crewed flight of the company’s Starship, designed for deep space exploration. 

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Elon Musk’s Mars rocket Starship moves to launch pad as orbital test flight looms

SpaceX must obtain a licence from US authorities before the rocket can take off

By Sarwat Nasir

A prototype of Elon Musk’s Mars rocket, known as Starship, was moved to its launch pad on Wednesday in preparation for an orbital test flight.

Images published by SpaceX showed Ship 24 being taken to a pad in Starbase, the launch site the company uses in Boca Chica, Texas.

Starship is set to be the world’s most powerful rocket and SpaceX plans to use it to send humans and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

“Ship 24 was transported to the pad at Starbase in preparation for the first orbital flight test of Starship,” SpaceX said on Twitter.

Starship has been in development for many years and has completed high-altitude tests, but it has not yet completed an orbital flight.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX pulls another $1.7 billion in funding

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule docks at the International Space Station in April. ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Claudia Assis

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, has pulled in another $1.7 billion in equity funding, according to a filing Monday.

Privately held SpaceX, led by Tesla Inc. TSLA, 12.25% Chief Executive Elon Musk, sold about $1.68 billion in new equity in a $1.72 billion offering, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The first sales occurred late last month, it said. 

The round brings the company’s valuation to about $125 billion, from about $100 billion late last year. 

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Elon Musk’s dream Mars rocket gets green light to launch, with conditions

SpaceX’s giant Starship rocket standing at its Texas launch pad. Elon Musk’s company is looking to attempt the first orbital test flight of the nearly 400-foot-tall Starship sometime this year.

While the US government has found “No Significant Impact”, it is placing some limitations on launches and conditions that need to be met to operate the futuristic base.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX cleared a major hurdle as the US government concluded an environmental review of its gigantic, futuristic Starship base in Texas. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) saw no environmental concerns but laid down 75 conditions to reduce the impact on the region.

The environmental review was for the proposed SpaceX Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket program in Boca Chica located at the southernmost tip of Texas, about 1,000 miles west of Cape Canaveral where SpaceX launches astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station for Nasa.

Following the decision, SpaceX tweeted, “One step closer to the first orbital flight test of Starship.”

However, there’s no guarantee a launch license will be issued, since other factors such as safety and financial responsibility requirements still must be met at the Boca Chica site, according to the FAA. The agency said as a result of the requirements there will be more advanced notice of launches to reduce a highway closure during launch operations.

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Elon Musk: SpaceX will build over 1,000 Starships to move 1 million humans to Mars

Starship | First test vehicle.

By  Chris Young

They’re basically very ‘modern Noah’s Arks.’

It’s not so long ago, in the grand scheme of things, that SpaceX was struggling to make it to orbit.

Last week, May 31, marked the 10-year anniversary of the completion of SpaceX’s first Dragon mission, COTS 2, to and from the International Space Station. 

Only a few years before, on September 28, 2008, the company reached orbit on its fourth attempt with Falcon 1.

Despite his PR inelegance and all his deadline exaggerations, it’s hard to argue against SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s impressive track record when it comes to spaceflight — his most far-out statements are known to cause even skeptical space enthusiasts to froth at the mouth. 

Still, Musk’s latest claim shared on Twitter, alongside a slide deck for a presentation he recently gave at SpaceX, will likely prove divisive.

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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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