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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SpaceX’s first manned flight gets a launch window

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When will SpaceX’s first manned flight launch? No earlier than mid-to-late May, the company declared via its Twitter account Wednesday. The “Demo–2” Crew Dragon flight will see astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley fly to the International Space Station. A successful mission will enable SpaceX to send NASA astronauts to the space station, giving the agency a new means of ferrying crew.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX: Now 1 million Starlink user terminals OKed for US internet service

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The Federal Communications Commission has approved SpaceX’s application to roll out a million user terminals in the US to connect with its growing Starlink satellite broadband network.

The approval gives SpaceX a 15-year “blanket license for the operation of up to 1,000,000 fixed earth stations that will communicate with its non-geostationary orbit satellite system”.

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Human settlements in space are closer than we think. Here’s what it will look like

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From vast spaceships orbiting close to Earth to tunnels the size of Los Angeles under the surface of the moon

 European Space Agency’s plan for the Moon Village.

“We already have, or at least understand, the technology needed for a moon base,” says Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist from the University of Westminster in London. “The time frame could be in a matter of years,” he adds, “if money were no object and nations around the world were to decide that they needed to build a lunar base together.”

Prof. Dartnell is not alone in his optimism. Many scientists, space engineers and industrialists believe that humanity is on the brink of a breakthrough in settlement. Recent developments could advance the realization of this vision.

For example, a report published last month stated that the radar used by the Chinese spacecraft that was the first to reach the far side of the moon is particularly useful for locating subterranean ice layers. One day, that ice may make it possible for people to remain on the moon for lengthy periods.

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Elon Musk says he’s ‘definitely going to be dead’ before humans ever reach Mars — unless the pace of innovation picks up

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An illustration of a woman orbiting Mars inside a SpaceX vehicle. Elon Musk/SpaceX

Elon Musk said he’s “definitely going to be dead” before humans reach Mars unless innovation speeds up.

The SpaceX CEO made the comments on Monday while speaking to attendees of the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, DC.

Musk said the biggest obstacle is designing and building a large and “rapidly reusable” rocket.

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You can now book an all-inclusive 10-day trip to the International Space Station for $55 million

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The trip is expected to launch during the second half of 2021.

It may not be a trip to the moon, but Axiom Space is offering deep-pocketed customers a trip to space. And no, we’re not talking a quick little jaunt into orbit either. Instead, the company is offering an all-inclusive stay on the International Space Station for the humble sum of $55 million.

On Thursday, Axiom announced it had signed a contract with SpaceX that will allow a trained commander and three private astronauts the chance to hitch a ride to the space station aboard one of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsules, reports the New York Times. Expected to take place next year, the trip could very likely be the first fully private human spaceflight to orbit.

Currently scheduled to launch during the second half of next year, the trip will give customers the chance to “experience at least eight days of microgravity and views of the Earth that can only be appreciated in the large, venerable station,” according to a press release from Axiom. In addition to the two days of travel and room and board on the ISS, the company will also provide training, planning, life support, medical support, crew provisions, certifications, on-orbit operations and overall mission management.

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Here are all the ways to visit space this decade (if you’re extremely rich)

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Glamping in zero gravity will cost a few millions bucks at least.

Have you always dreamt of leaving Earth? Are you a member of the two, or better yet three commas club? Well it’s a great time to be alive because after decades of delays, the space tourism industry may finally be taking off. Not just the kind Dennis Tito pioneered in 2001, where you buy a ticket from the Russian government to visit the International Space Station (ISS), but real honest-to-goodness free market tourism with multiple private companies vying to turn your hard-earned millions into an out-of-this-world experience.

SpaceX, which is preparing to launch astronauts to the ISS any month now in its newly human-rated Crew Dragon capsule, announced last week that NASA won’t be the only paying customer for its new vehicle. The private company is also offering to launch up to four private citizens into orbit in late 2021 or 2022. And SpaceX is far from the only company on the verge of starting space tourism operations. Here’s a primer to where and when you can go, and how much it might cost you.

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SpaceX will launch private citizens into orbit

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SpaceX is planning to send up to four private citizens into space to take a trip around Earth sometime at the end of 2021 or in early 2022. The spaceflight company announced an agreement on Tuesday with Space Adventures, a space tourism business that has helped seven different private citizens take trips to (and from) the International Space Station aboard Russia’s Soyuz rocket and spacecraft.

Space Adventures said the price of the mission will not be disclosed, and the two companies were light on other details, like what kind of preparation the tourists will have to go through. The companies did say Tuesday that the tourists will fly in the human-rated version of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and that they will orbit Earth at two to three times the roughly 250-mile height of the ISS.

SpaceX has spent the last few years building and testing out this new version of Dragon as part of a contract with NASA to shuttle astronauts to and from the ISS, after years of using the spacecraft to shuttle cargo to the space station. The private spaceflight company recently completed the second major flight test of the Crew Dragon, as it’s called, which demonstrated the capsule’s ability to escape an exploding rocket.

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SpaceX launches 60 new Starlink satellites, sticks rocket landing at sea

Watch: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 60 satellites into orbit

Following the successful launch, the rocket’s first stage gently touched down on a SpaceX drone ship landing platform.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX successfully launched its fourth batch of Starlink satellites into orbit and landed a rocket landing Wednesday following days of weather delays for the mission.

A sooty Falcon 9 rocket — which made its third flight with this launch — roared to life at 9:06 a.m. ET, lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here in Florida. The rocket carried 60 Starlink satellites for SpaceX’s growing constellation, the second such launch by the company this month.

Last week, strong upper level winds forced the private spaceflight company to postpone the Starlink-3 mission’s launch. SpaceX then aimed for the backup launch date of Jan. 28, but rough seas where the drone ship was waiting may have thwarted any attempt at a landing.

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SpaceX is about to launch a historic mission with actual people on board Crew Dragon

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SpaceX is poised to launch its first astronauts into space this spring: Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

 Their flight on the company’s Crew Dragon spaceship will mark the first time an American spacecraft has carried NASA astronauts since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

Behnken and Hurley’s liftoff is expected to launch a new era of US spaceflight, since it will allow NASA to stop relying on Russian launch systems to get astronauts into space. It will probably also make the two astronauts the first to ever fly a commercial spacecraft.

“Bob and I were lucky enough to be selected together,” Hurley told The Atlantic in September. “As we get closer to launch, things in the last year have actually been pretty hectic. We’ve been spending increasing amounts of time in California, because that’s where most of the work is being done for Dragon.”

In preparation, they have run through emergency procedures, undergone extensive training the Crew Dragon’s mechanisms, worn their new spacesuits, and met with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

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1,000 Starships and 20 years are needed to build sustainable city on Mars, says Elon Musk

 

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The CEO of SpaceX took to Twitter to share the news of how dangerous and arduous the task continues to be.

Elon Musk shared more details about what will be needed to reach Mars and to build a sustainable city there.

The SpaceX CEO and his company have been working hard at their long term vision of setting up an actual city on the Red Planet, which could sustain life.

The timeline Musk shared via Twitter could be interpreted as an ambitious goal or an impressive one.

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Elon Musk says building the first sustainable city on Mars will take 1,000 Starships and 20 years

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk went into a bit more detail about the timelines and vehicle requirements to not only reach Mars, but to set up a sustainable base on the Red Planet that can serve as an actual city, supporting a local population. That’s the long-term vision for Musk and his space technology company, after all — making humans an interplanetary species. The timeline that Musk discussed today, replying to fans on Twitter, might be incredibly impressive or incredibly ambitious, depending on your perspective.

Addressing a question about comments he made earlier this week at the U.S. Air Force startup pitch day event in California, Musk said that his stated launch cost of only around $2 million per Starship flight are essentially required, should the final goal be to set up a “self-sustaining city on Mars.” In order to make that city a reality, he added, SpaceX will need to build and fly around 1,000 Starships according to his estimates, which will need to transport cargo, infrastructure and crew to Mars over the course of around 20 years, since planetary alignment only really allows for a realistically achievable Mars flight once every two years.

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