Showing posts with label SpaceX. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SpaceX. Show all posts

27 June, 2024

NASA picks SpaceX to bring down the International Space Station

SpaceX has been selected from very few other options to take the International Space Station out of its orbit and crash it into the sea at the end of its life during the early 2030s.

Elon Musk's California-based SpaceX is set to build a spacecraft capable of pushing the 430-tonne ageing space station from its position and directing it to an area of the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo.

Point Nemo is approximately 2,500km from land and is considered a safe place for the space platform to splash down. Its name was derived from the famous captain in Jules Verne's book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. 

It is understood the contract is up to $843m which is around £668m for SpaceX who will create a sort of tug to bring down the station when it reaches the end of its working life. The details of the designs have not yet been released by either NASA or SpaceX.  

Ken Bowersox, NASA's director of space operations said: "Selecting a US De-orbit Vehicle for the International Space Station (ISS) will help NASA and its international partners ensure a safe and responsible transition in low Earth orbit at the end of station operations. This decision also supports NASA's plans for future commercial destinations and allows for the continued use of space near Earth." 

14 March, 2024

Latest SpaceX launch goes further than before.

The latest starship from SpaceX launched today, becoming the heaviest manmade object in space, at least for a while.  Elon Musk claimed it would be the starship that takes humanity to Mars. The two-stage vehicle made what appeared to be a perfect getaway from its Texas launch site, to send its upper portion around the globe to a re-entry over the Indian Ocean.

Radio contact was lost towards the end but the firm said it was "incredible to see how far we got this time around".  They lost contact with it, presumably because it had broken up and according to some, the fact the craft didn't survive re-entry to splashdown would be a disappointment, it still represents a major step forward in the development of the world's most powerful rocket. 

The FAA said, a mishap occurred during the SpaceX Starship OFT-3 mission that launched from Boca Chica, Texas, on 14th March. The mishap involved both the Super Heavy booster and the Starship vehicle.

No public injuries or public property damage have been reported. The FAA is overseeing the SpaceX-led mishap investigation to ensure the company complies with its FAA-approved mishap investigation plan and other regulatory requirements. 
A mishap investigation is designed to further enhance public safety, determine the root cause of the event, and identify corrective actions to avoid it from happening again. 
SpaceX will not need to worry though, the FAA is taking a back seat in the investigation process allowing Musk's space firm to say what went wrong and what went right and the regulator would then rubber stamp whatever SpaceX’s final report says, including any corrective actions. 

A return to flight is based on the FAA determining that any system, process, or procedure related to the mishap does not affect public safety. In addition, SpaceX may need to modify its license to incorporate any corrective actions and meet all other licensing requirements. 

18 November, 2023

Another SpaceX test fails.....

SpaceX's uncrewed spacecraft Starship, developed to carry astronauts to the moon and beyond, failed in space shortly after lifting off on Saturday, cutting short its second test but making it further than an earlier attempt that ended in an explosion.

The two-stage rocketship blasted off from the Elon Musk-owned company's Starbase launch site near Boca Chica in Texas, helping boost the Starship spacecraft as high as 90 miles (148 km) above ground on a planned 90-minute test mission to space and back.

But the rocket's Super Heavy first stage booster, though it achieved a crucial maneuver to separate with its core Starship stage, exploded over the Gulf of Mexico shortly after detaching, a SpaceX webcast showed.

Meanwhile, the core Starship stage boosted further toward space, but a few minutes later a company broadcaster said that SpaceX mission control suddenly lost contact with the vehicle.

"We have lost the data from the second stage... we think we may have lost the second stage," SpaceX engineer and livestream host John Insprucker said. He added that engineers believe an automated flight termination command was triggered to destroy the rocket, though the reason was unclear.

21 April, 2023

SpaceX's next-generation Starship exploded minutes after lift-off.....

The latest launch of a SpaceX rocket ended in disaster after it exploded minutes after lift off in an uncrewed test flight from South Texas on Thursday.  Reuters reported that the flight test was the first for Starship mounted atop the company's new Super Heavy rocket, and the first launch ever for that lower-stage booster, which SpaceX claims is the most powerful launch vehicle on Earth.

Executives from SpaceX are spinning the event as a success as the craft made it halfway to the edge of space, nearly 25 miles up before it failed.  The original plan was for the craft to climb to around 90 miles or so before re-entering the earth's atmosphere near Hawaii.

15 February, 2022

Polaris Program Will Undertake a Series of Pioneering SpaceX Dragon Missions, Demonstrating New Technologies and Culminating in the First Human Spaceflight on Starship

Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4, announced the Polaris Program, a first-of-its-kind effort to rapidly advance human spaceflight capabilities while continuing to raise funds and awareness for important causes here on Earth. The program will consist of up to three human spaceflight missions that will demonstrate new technologies, conduct extensive research, and ultimately culminate in the first flight of SpaceX’s Starship with humans on board.

The first mission, Polaris Dawn, is targeted for no earlier than the fourth quarter of this year and will be commanded by Isaacman, an accomplished pilot and astronaut who led Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit that helped raise over $240 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“The Polaris Program is an important step in advancing human space exploration while helping to solve problems through the use of innovative technology here on Earth,” said Isaacman. “On Polaris Dawn, we endeavour to achieve the highest Earth orbit ever flown in addition to conducting the world’s first commercial spacewalk and testing of Starlink laser-based communication. Alongside these important objectives, we will be supporting scientific research to advance both human health interests on Earth and our understanding of human health during future long-duration spaceflights.”

Building upon the Inspiration4 mission, Polaris Dawn will continue to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.

The Polaris Dawn Mission

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Polaris Dawn mission from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dragon and the Polaris Dawn crew will spend up to five days in orbit, flying higher than any Dragon mission to date and endeavouring to reach the highest Earth orbit ever flown.

While in orbit, SpaceX mission control will carefully monitor Dragon and the crew as they:

Attempt the first-ever commercial spacewalk with SpaceX-designed extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits, upgraded from the current intravehicular (IVA) suit. The development of this suit and the execution of the EVA will be important steps toward a scalable design for spacesuits on future long-duration missions.
Become the first crew to test Starlink laser-based communications in space, providing valuable data for future space communications systems necessary for human spaceflight to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
Conduct scientific research designed to advance both human health on Earth and our understanding of human health during future long-duration spaceflights. This includes, but is not limited to:
Using ultrasound to monitor, detect, and quantify venous gas emboli (VGE), contributing to studies on human prevalence to decompression sickness;
Gathering data on the radiation environment to better understand how space radiation affects human biological systems;
Providing biological samples towards multi-omics analyses for a long-term Biobank; and
Research related to Spaceflight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS), which is a key risk to human health in long-duration spaceflight.
SpaceX and Polaris Dawn will also collaborate with the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH), BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado Boulder, Space Technologies Lab at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Weill Cornell Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

25 January, 2021

Spaceflight deploys 16 payloads on SpaceX Transporter-1 mission

Spaceflight Inc., a global launch services provider, successfully launched and deployed 16 payloads, including 15 from its next-generation orbital transfer vehicle (OTV), Sherpa-FX1, aboard the SpaceX Transporter-1 mission. Dubbed SXRS-3 by Spaceflight, the mission launched January 24 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It delivered Spaceflight’s Sherpa-FX1 to Sun-Synchronous Low Earth Orbit (525 km alt), where it deployed payloads for more than 10 organizations.