SpaceX aims to launch ‘all-civilian’ trip into orbit

SpaceX will launch two crewed flights for NASA in 2021 and four cargo refueling missions, and it hopes to launch the world’s first commercial astronaut mission

SpaceX announced Monday it’s aiming to launch this year the first all-civilian mission into Earth’s orbit, led by a tech billionaire who plans to raffle off one of the spots aboard the craft.

Entrepreneur Jared Isaacman is to be joined by three other novice astronauts for a multi-day journey into space, including one lucky winner of a drawing.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure: a journey into outer space on the first all-civilian space flight,” according to a website dedicated to the mission.

SpaceX, the company started by Elon Musk, said Isaacman is “donating the three seats alongside him… to individuals from the general public who will be announced in the weeks ahead.”

Launch of the Dragon spacecraft is being targeted for “no earlier than the fourth quarter of this year”, the firm said. 

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Elon Musk reveals ambitious plans to get humans to Mars by 2026 – seven YEARS before NASA aims to take astronauts to the Red Planet

The worlds richest man, Elon Musk, has revealed an ambitious plan to get humans on Mars by 2026 – seven years before NASA aims to land astronauts on the Red Planet.

By Ryan Morrison

  • Elon Musk says the first crewed flight to the Red Planet could happen in 2026
  • This isn’t a ‘hard deadline’ as a number of new technologies are needed first
  • Speaking on Clubhouse, Musk says it is vital humans become multi-planetary 
  • He said the first Mars colony will be a ‘frontier’, dangerous and a ‘hard place’
  • Musk said by the fourth or fifth Martian landing – operating every two years or so – he’d consider allowing his children to make the trip to the Red Planet 

Speaking on the audio-only Clubhouse app on Sunday, the SpaceX founder told the Good Times Show his goal was to establish a self-sustaining Martian civilisation.

The ambitious deadline gives him five and a half years to get the massive Starship spacecraft off the ground – but there is a long way to go as the massive 160ft rocket is still at the prototype stage – with a second high-altitude test flight due soon. 

It currently takes at least six months to get to the planet, but Musk believes that could be down to as little as a month, with flights operating every two years. 

He said the first colony will be a tiny, dangerous, ‘frontier-like’ environment as they begin to establish propellant manufacturing, food production and power plants. 

NASA plans to put the first humans on Mars by 2033 as part of its Artemis program that will see the next man and first woman land on the Moon in 2024. 

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SpaceX’s Newest Starlink Satellites Have Space Lasers

By Ryan Whitwam 

SpaceX made history recently when it launched a record 143 satellites on a single rocket. Among the plethora of spacecraft were ten new Starlink internet satellites. According to CEO Elon Musk, these are the first nodes in SpaceX’s network that have fully operational laser communication systems, allowing the satellites to talk to each other without ground stations for faster, more expansive coverage. 

Last weekend’s launch was also notable because it deployed its payload in a polar orbit, which uses more fuel than placing things in an equatorial orbit. Objects in a polar orbit will eventually pass over the entire surface of the planet because their movement is perpendicular to the Earth’s rotation. That’s why most mapping satellites are in polar orbits. Starlink satellites in polar orbits can also help boost coverage, but this also means they’ll pass over areas with no ground station coverage. 

The solution, apparently, is lasers. It’s always fun when the solution is lasers. 

The batch of ten Starlink satellites includes a finished version of the laser intersatellite links the company tested on a few other nodes last year. As these satellites pass over the poles, there will be no visible ground stations to relay data. However, the lasers can transfer directly between satellites, keeping them connected to the rest of the constellation. 

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ELON MUSK’S SPACEX IS CONVERTING OIL RIGS INTO SPACEPORTS FOR MARS-BOUND STARSHIP

SpaceX has acquired two oil rigs stationed in the Gulf of Mexico (Getty Images)

By Anthony Cuthbertson

Private space firm previously said it is ‘actively developing the technologies…with the ultimate goal of enabling human life or mars’.

SpaceX has acquired two offshore oil rigs that it is in the process of converting into spaceports for its Mars-bound Starship spacecraft, according to reports.

The rigs, renamed Deimos and Phoibos after the two moons of Mars, cost $3.5 million (£2.6m) each after the previous owner filed for bankruptcy, Spaceflight’s Michael Baylor reported.u

The oil rigs were confirmed by aerospace and launch photographer Jack Beyer, who posted photos of their transformation to Twitter on Tuesday.

Work on the rigs is taking place in the Port of Brownsville near SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas where the Starship craft is being developed.

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The plan to turn scrapped rockets into space stations

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Spent rockets are dangerous space trash, but they could be the future of living and working in orbit.

IN EARLY OCTOBER, a dead Soviet satellite and the abandoned upper stage of a Chinese rocket narrowly avoided a collision in low Earth orbit. If the objects had crashed, the impact would have blown them to bits and created thousands of new pieces of dangerous space debris. Only a few days prior, the European Space Agency had published its annual space environment report, which highlighted abandoned rocket bodies as one of the biggest threats to spacecraft. The best way to mitigate this risk is for launch providers to deorbit their rockets after they’ve delivered their payload. But if you ask Jeffrey Manber, that’s a waste of a perfectly good giant metal tube.

Manber is the CEO of Nanoracks, a space logistics company best known for hosting private payloads on the International Space Station, and for the past few years he has been working on a plan to turn the upper stages of spent rockets into miniature space stations. It’s not a new idea, but Manber feels its time has come. “NASA has looked at the idea of refurbishing fuel tanks several times,” he says. “But it was always abandoned, usually because the technology wasn’t there.” All of NASA’s previous plans depended on astronauts doing a lot of the manufacturing and assembly work, which made the projects expensive, slow, and hazardous. Manber’s vision is to create an extraterrestrial chop shop where astronauts are replaced by autonomous robots that cut, bend, and weld the bodies of spent rockets until they’re fit to be used as laboratories, fuel depots, or warehouses.

The Nanoracks program, known as Outpost, will modify rockets after they’re done with their mission to give them a second life. The first Outposts will be uncrewed stations made from the upper stages of new rockets, but Manber says it’s possible that future stations could host people or be built from rocket stages already in orbit. In the beginning, Nanoracks won’t use the interior of the rocket and will mount experiment payloads, power supply modules, and small propulsion units to the outside of the fuselage. Once company engineers have that figured out, they can focus on developing the inside of the rocket as a pressurized laboratory.

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SpaceX Starlink : User terms of service declare Mars as ‘free planet’

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SpaceX has released its terms of service to beta testers, and it makes a strong statement about Mars’ future government.

STARLINK’S BETA TEST IS REQUIRING PARTICIPANTS TO RECOGNIZE MARS AS A “FREE PLANET.”

It’s an unusual bit of fine print, and the implications go far beyond securing good internet on Earth.

SpaceX’s internet connectivity constellation Starlink, which began forming in May 2019, has started inviting interested fans to the “Better Than Nothing” beta test. While the final version aims to offer gigabit download speeds at low latency to anyone with a view of the sky, the beta is offering more like 50 to 150 megabits per second – hence the humble-brag test name.

But the Starlink terms of service, as spotted by Twitter account “WholeMarsBlog” and confirmed by Reddit moderator “Smoke-away,” require users to agree that “no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities.”

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Work begins on Starlink-like constellation of small hypersonic missile-tracking satellites

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The Pentagon’s grand space strategy envisions a shift from larger, expensive satellites to massive constellations of smaller, easier to replace ones.

 The U.S. military has hired L3Harris and SpaceX to build small satellites with powerful infrared sensors capable of spotting and tracking ballistic missiles and hypersonic weapons. These satellites could become part of a large and broader early warning constellation with hundreds of space-based sensors and communications nodes watching for incoming threats, monitoring their flight, and potentially providing targeting data to missile defense assets.

The Pentagon announced that the Space Development Agency (SDA) had awarded the contracts to L3Harris and SpaceX, worth around $193.5 million and just over $149 million, respectively, on Oct. 5, 2020. Each company will be responsible for building four satellites, each with a wide field of view (WFOV) overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensor, in support of work on what SDA calls Tranche 0 of the Tracking Layer of the planned overarching early warning constellation.

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Elons Musk’s Space X’s road to the fastest internet from orbit: Here’s what latest stats say

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SpaceX Launches Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been dreaming of creating a constellation of broadband satellites surrounding the Earth. He vowed to provide the fastest broadband internet service to anyone in the world, and he seems to be on his way to fulfilling his promise.

With the new data from Speedtest.net, Starlink users can expect download speeds from 11 megabits per second (Mbps) to 60 Mbps while upload speeds range between 5 Mbps and 18 Mbps. Starlink is currently at 80% to the required satellites to achieve “moderate” capability, but its recent performance is impressive.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – OCTOBER 07: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the SAOCOM 1A and ITASAT 1 satellites, as seen during a long exposure on October 7, 2018 near Santa Barbara, California. After launching the satellites, the Falcon 9 rocket successfully returned to land on solid ground near the launch site rather than at sea. The satellites will become part of a six-satellite constellation that will work in tandem with an Italian constellation known as COSMO-SkyMed.

Although the results show just 6% of the 1 Gbps that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires for the $16 billion funding competition under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), it is still much faster internet than many rural service providers.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX: We now want to bring Starlink internet from space to 5 million in US

The rise of Elon Musk and SpaceX

 SpaceX asks to operate 5 million end-user terminals after the US approves Amazon’s rival satellite broadband plan.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has applied for a license to roll out five million ‘UFO on a stick’ end-user terminals, after 700,000 US residents signed up to be updated about the service’s availability.

“SpaceX seeks to increase the number of fixed earth stations authorized under this blanket license from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000,” the company said in an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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GPS III isn’t fully operational yet, but when it is, it’ll be great

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The GPS III satellite armada will eventually make our GPS technology more accurate, but we’re not quite there yet.

Just three satellites have been launched thus far, and only one of them is operational at the moment.

Elon Musk recently tweeted that our ‘GPS just got slightly better,’ but that isn’t entirely true.

We tend to take GPS for granted these days. It works pretty well already and it feels like it’s always been there, even though it’s a relatively new technology, all things considered. It’s not perfect, of course, and we can see evidence of that in our map apps and games like Pokemon Go that sometimes send us flying all over the map as it tries to zero in on our position.

But like any technology, it’s improving, and the launch of a new GPS III satellite is a tiny step toward a more accurate Global Positioning System for the future. Elon Musk is obviously very proud that he has played a part in this and tweeted out a not-entirely-accurate boast that your GPS just got better.

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Elon Musk reveals when Starlink internet service will go live

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SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service will begin private beta testing in around 3 months, with a public beta opening in around 6 months.

Elon Musk revealed this tentative timeline in a tweet after the Wednesday launch of 60 new Starlink satellites.

On Wednesday afternoon, SpaceX sent one of its Falcon 9 rockets into space. It was carrying 60 shiny new satellites that will eventually become part of the company’s Starlink communications network. SpaceX has been launching the pint-sized satellites into space for months already, with over 400 of them now in orbit around Earth.

The long-term plan is for Starlink to serve high-speed data to just about every corner of the globe, but with an estimated 40,000 satellites needed to fulfill the company’s most grand ambitions, it was unclear exactly how long it would take before the system was up and running in any capacity. Thanks to some tweets by SpaceX boss Elon Musk, now we know.

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