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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SpaceX wants to land Starship on the Moon before 2022, then do cargo runs for 2024 human landing

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Speaking at a quick series of interviews with commercial space companies at this year’s annual International Astronautical Congress, SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell shed a little more light on her company’s current thinking with regards to the mission timelines for its forthcoming Starship spacefaring vehicle. Starship, currently in parallel development at SpaceX’s South Texas and Florida facilities, is intended to be an all-purpose successor to, and replacement for, both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, with a higher payload capacity and the ability to reach the Moon and eventually Mars.

“Aspirationally, we want to get Starship to orbit within a year,” Shotwell said. “We definitely want to land it on the Moon before 2022. We want to […] stage cargo there to make sure that there are resources for the folks that ultimately land on the Moon by 2024, if things go well, so that’s the aspirational time frame.”

That’s an ambitious timeline, and as Shotwell herself repeatedly stated, these are “aspirational” timelines. In the space industry, as well as in tech, it’s not uncommon for leadership to set aggressive schedules in order to drive the teams working on projects to work at the limits of what’s actually possible. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is also known for working to timelines that often don’t match up with reality, and Shotwell alluded to Musk’s ambitious goal setting as a virtue in another part of her onstage interview at IAC.

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‘Whoa, it worked’: Elon Musk tweets via SpaceX’s Starlink Satellites

 

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A view of SpaceX’s first 60 Starlink satellites in orbit, still in stacked configuration, with the Earth as a brilliant blue backdrop on May 23, 2019.

 But Starlink won’t be truly operational until several hundred more satellites go up.

SpaceX’s nascent internet-satellite constellation is already providing some boutique service, according to Elon Musk.

Late last night (Oct. 21), SpaceX’s billionaire founder and CEO said via Twitter that he was attempting to post something via Starlink, the orbiting network that the company began assembling this year. And 2 minutes later, he tweeted the result: “Whoa, it worked!!”

That’s quite something, considering that Starlink is just a shell of its envisioned future self. SpaceX has approval to launch about 12,000 Starlink satellites and recently applied for permission to loft up to 30,000 more. But the company has launched just 60 of the craft to date, all of which rode to orbit this past May aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

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Battle for Mars: Planet Bezos, Planet Musk, Planet Branson, or Planet New America?

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On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” becoming the first human being to walk on the moon. NASA reported to Congress that the Apollo program cost $25.4 billion ($176 billion in 2019 dollars). At the time, there were only two entities with the resources to accomplish a mission of this scale: America and its cold war rival, the Soviet Union. America won.

Through the lens of history, the Apollo program had less to do with our innate curiosity, our need to explore, or our quest for knowledge than it had to do with proving to the Soviets that America had “space superiority” and could efficiently deliver weapons of mass destruction at will.

As the cold war drew to a close, NASA did its best to convince our military-industrial complex that we needed to continue to explore “the final frontier.” It has been an uphill battle, and today, NASA’s budget is a fraction of what most scientists believe it should be.

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Everyone’s going back to the moon. But why?

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The Deep Space Gateway, seen here in an artist’s rendering, would be a spaceport in lunar orbit. Boeing

As the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo landing approaches, a host of countries are undertaking lunar missions. What’s behind the new space race?

At 2.51am on Monday 15 July, engineers at India’s national spaceport at Sriharikota will blast their Chandrayaan-2 probe into orbit around the Earth. It will be the most ambitious space mission the nation has attempted. For several days, the four-tonne spacecraft will be manoeuvred above our planet before a final injection burn of its engines will send it hurtling towards its destination: the moon.

Exactly 50 years after the astronauts of Apollo 11 made their historic voyage to the Sea of Tranquillity, Chandrayaan-2 will repeat that journey – though on a slightly different trajectory. After the robot craft enters lunar orbit, it will gently drop a lander, named Vikram, on to the moon’s surface near its south pole. A robot rover, Pragyan, will then be dispatched and, for the next two weeks, trundle across the local terrain, analysing the chemical composition of soil and rocks.

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LightSail 2 gets ready to make its debut in space

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Artist’s concept of LightSail 2 above Earth. Image: The Planetary Society

Yesterday, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched NASA’s STP-2 mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying with it a whole raft of technology demonstrations that will one day aid in smarter spacecraft design and help the agency’s efforts in getting to Mars.

Some of the more high profile projects included a Deep Space Atomic Clock that could change the way deep-space navigation is conducted, and a new propulsion system that runs on a high-performance and non-toxic spacecraft fuel called the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM).

However, also stashed amongst NASA’s payloads was a small satellite built by Georgia Tech students, called Prox-1 and packed safely within that like a Russian nesting doll, is a citizen-funded project that originally sprang from the mind of Carl Sagan.

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Elon Musk’s Starlink:The hidden agenda behind SpaceX’s mission to DOMINATE space internet?

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ELON MUSK’s Starlink, the controversial space internet system designed by SpaceX, may have an undisclosed purpose.

Aside from providing high-speed internet access to billions of people in “underserved communities around the world”, Elon Musk’s vision could advance the ambitions of SpaceX’s sister company, Tesla. Manny Shar, head of analytics at Bryce Space and Technology, told Express.co.uk: “I do see the potential for Tesla with Starlink.” When a Tesla vehicle rolls off of the manufacturing line it comes internet-connected with an AT&T LTE cellular connection much like what is in a mobile phone.

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Space X launches 60 satellites for Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet Constellation

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The 60 satellites packed tightly into a fairing.

With one launch in the books and potentially dozens still to go, SpaceX has begun its build-out of the ambitious Starlink internet constellation—a series of interconnected satellites designed to deliver high-speed internet to paying customers around the globe.

The 60 Starlink satellites, each weighing 500 pounds (227 kg), were released to low Earth orbit (LEO) yesterday at around 11:32 pm ET, SpaceX confirmed in a series of tweets. Together, the tightly packed satellites weighed 13.6 metric tons, “making this launch the heaviest mission for SpaceX to date,” according to SpaceNews.

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A 30 million page library is heading to the moon to help preserve human civilization

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Falcon 9 rocket launches carrying Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Feb. 21, 2019.

The massive archive is aboard Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft.

When Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft launched toward the moon last week, it was carrying a mysterious cargo. Mission planners called it a time capsule but hinted that that wasn’t the whole story. Now the truth is out: The little lunar probe carries a 30-million-page archive of human knowledge etched into a DVD-size metal disc.

The Lunar Library, as the archive is known, constitutes a “civilization backup” to help ensure that our distant descendants never lose humanity’s collective wisdom, according to Nova Spivack, co-founder of Arch Mission Foundation, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit behind the project. The foundation is building a space-based archive designed to survive for 6 billion years or more — a million times longer than the oldest written records in existence today.

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