One article pondering how the planned super-heavy lift rocket from SpaceX will open up space travel like the DC-3 did for air travel. The third reuse of a Falcon 9 booster and the 18th recovery of a booster. Also, three articles on SpaceX’s plans for Mars colonization:
In a major speech, Mr. Musk revealed the revised plans for SpaceX’s journey to Mars. The revision I see is a slightly scaled-down interplanetary spacecraft which can be multipurposed for lunar activity, resupplying ISS, or any other mission requiring heavy lift.
The vehicle will have 31 engines instead of the 47 planned a year ago. It will still lift 150 tons into low earth orbit.
Key concepts will be reusability of lift vehicles and in-orbit refueling to get vehicles ready for the interplanetary trip. Concept will be capsules can land vertically and will be able to take off without crew input.
Interplanetary capsule will be designed to have 100 person capacity and will have areas on board for entertainment.
The first trips to Mars could be in 2022 or more likely delayed until 2024. That is only 5 or 7 years from now.
Outlines of the Mars colonization plan are in line with what I’ve read before.
Lots of fun articles in the last two months describing the wide open frontier of space exploration.
Ghana puts their first sat into orbit. Yes, Ghana. Very cool.
In the GPS world, Japan gets another sat in orbit and an Indian launch fails.
SpaceX may have more launches this year than Russia and one commentator thinks SpaceX will be dominant in the launch market for decades to come
7/8/17 – Behind the Black – Ghana launches its first satellite and 223 Live News, Ghana’s first Space Satellite enters Orbit – A cubsate built by university students in the western Africa country was launched from the ISS. The small satellite will take pictures of the country in low- and high-resolution. It will also be able to broadcast the national anthem and other music during national events.
Ghana is the first sub-Saharan country to get a satellite in space.
The sat went to the ISS on June 10 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.
It’s been a good month for SpaceX. Three launches and one recovery of an already recycled Dragon capsule. China has demonstrated that rocket science is rocket science, meaning launches don’t always work.
Amazing news from the wide open frontier of private space exploration:
SpaceX recovers yet another Falcon 9 booster and reuses a Dragon capsule for the first time
Rocket Lab successfully launches their first booster which will lift small sats into low earth orbit
More on mining moon and asteroids
Concept for mining rocket fuel on the moon
SpaceX lifts a heavy commercial satellite into geosync orbit
6/3/17 –I got home about two minutes after the Falcon 9 was successfully recovered. Watched the archived copy of SpaceX’s CRS-11 launch of a re-used Dragon to resupply ISS. The Falcon 9 booster was also reused. This is the 5th recovery of Falcon 9 on land and the 11th recovery in total. Awesome.
Made note of a fun tidbit of trivia. The booster and payload went from 0 to 1,002 km/h in 60 seconds on the way up. On the recovery the Falcon 9 booster went from descent speed of 1,119 km/h to zero in the last 29 seconds.
Pause for a moment and consider the staggering results.
Space remains the final frontier. And it will be private sector entrepreneurs, not government bureaucrats, who will take us there.
Article gives a summary of the private sector companies, funded by filthy rich guys who choose to pour their wealth into space exploration, that have expanded our reach into space. According to the article, these companies have done more than NASA has in the last several decades.
It is astounding to ponder the news from the wide open frontier of space. I’m continually amazed by what is happening.
3/7/17 – Space News- NASA seeks information on commercial Mars payload service– NASA issued a Request For Information asking for plans to provide cargo runs to Mars. They are looking for outline of plans in terms of payload mass and weight, nature of vehicle, and timing for start of operations. The RFI indicates 2020 as a start date.
Two companies are described in the article as likely players in Mars cargo runs.
SpaceX would use their new lander Red Dragon as testbed for cargo vehicle. Launch was scheduled for 2018 but has slipped to 2020.
Mars One also has plans for a lander, as an intermediate step for crewed travel. First launch was planned from 2018 but that is now looking like 2022.
3/14 – Behind the Black – SpaceX wins another Air Force launch contract– Ticket price to launch a GPS satellite is $96.5M, up by $14M from the last launch by SpaceX for USAF. Post speculates SpaceX is trying to improve their margin by undercutting ULA less this time around.
The competition to be a commercially competitive space launch provider gets far more serious with SpaceX successfully launching a reused Falcon 9 booster to get SES-10 into a geosync orbit.
On the same day as SpaceX made such tremendous progress, two competitors dropped further behind.
Competition speeds up
I was so fortunate as to check my Twitter feed as SpaceX began its live coverage of the launch. It was such a joy to watch the successful launch and an even bigger thrill to see Main Engine Cutoff, which meant the reused booster did its job.
Here are many of the key achievements and targets for both companies. I sorted and regrouped the items that drew my interest. As you consider the list, you can see both companies are making rapid progress. The competition is getting serious.
In Behind the Black’s favorite phrase, the competition heats up. Check out the news just this week for Blue Origin becoming a very serious player.
3/7 – Florida Today Blue Origin books first New Glenn launch contract– Eutelsat Communications has booked the first launch on the New Glenn rocket from Blue Origin. First launch is expected in 2021 or 2022, which is only four or five years away.
I am astounded at the number of companies taking on the challenge to explore space. It’s staggering to see the innovation emerging.
Check out the number of competitors that are in the game. That is fantastic. The more companies pushing to figure out how to get in space and provide commercially attractive service at a profit, the harder everyone else will push for progress. Good.
Check out that awesome graphic at the top of the page. Lots of thanks and all the credit to Blue Origin. I’ve been looking for something like that visual for a long time. Yeah, you will be seeing it again and again on my blog.
Check out what some of the competitors are doing. This is what I’ve noticed in just the last few weeks:
United Arab Emirates has a goal to establish an inhabited settlement on Mars by 2117 – Such an idea is no longer ridiculous. Ten years ago it would have been foolish; today, it is quite plausible.
A concept of how the moon could be occupied within four years – this is also not a silly idea anymore.
2/20 – Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space – UAE’s March to Mars – The United Arab Emirates plans to have an inhabited settlement on Mars by 2117.
In all seriousness, I say go for it!
They are recruiting a cadre of research scientists for an international team. They plan to launch an orbiter to study the planet more closely. They want to develop a faster transport system. They are already designing a city, which will be robot-built, presumably to be near-inhabitable by the time humans arrive.