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.
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.
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.
Just watched the recovery of a Falcon 9 booster. I missed the launch. Very cool video from the on-board camera as the booster descended through a cloud bank and landed dead center on the pad.
This mission, CRS-10, will deliver over 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station. Two really cool things. First, a private company providing supply runs to ISS is a thing. Second, it is almost routine to recover the first stage.
For a more overall view (and under fair use) I added up the launches from 1998 through 2006 and then from 2007 through 2016. I chose a break of 2007 because that is when Lockheed Martin and Boeing formed their joint venture, United Launch Alliance. Here are the long-term trends:
I just watched SpaceX lift 10 satellites into low-earth orbit for Iridium. This will allow Iridium to replace their constellation of communication sats. Another 71 sats will go up, of which 60 more will be lifted by SpaceX.
Here are merely two of the super cool aspects of this launch.
I will modify their tally by adding another 15 launches by China as reported by GBTimes, China to attempt close to 30 space launches in 2017. Behind the Black explains that China is somewhat secretive about their space plans, so they don’t announce all their expected launches.