These satellites will demonstrate the ability to provide high-speed internet connectivity for ground stations with a signal delay of less than 20 milliseconds, which is comparable to wired broadband. And this is just the first wave: Eventually, Musk expects SpaceX’s Redmond factory to turn out more than 1,000 satellites a year, with regular 60-satellite launches adding to the constellation.
More than a year after SpaceX sent its Falcon Heavy rocket on a majestic test launch, the second Falcon Heavy put a satellite in orbit today for its first customer. Then, for the first time, all three of the rocket’s reusable booster cores landed safely and successfully. SpaceX also recovered both halves of the rocket’s nose cone and intends to reuse those components as well.
The SpaceX commercial astronaut capsule has splashed down successfully in the Atlantic Ocean, marking a significant step in Nasa’s quest to resume manned space flight from the US. Footage of the landing shows the capsule hitting the water gently under four billowing red and white parachutes. A boat, the GO Searcher, was waiting to recover the capsule, which splashed down about 280 miles (450 km) from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
A sleek new American-built capsule with just a test dummy aboard docked smoothly with the International Space Station on Sunday in a big step toward putting the U.S. back in the business of launching astronauts. The white, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule, developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX company under contract to NASA, closed in on the orbiting station nearly 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean and, flying autonomously, linked up on its own, without the help of the robotic arm normally used to guide spacecraft into position.
No amount of money will buy you a ticket to Mars right now, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the cost of relocating to another planet could be $500,000 in the not-too-distant future. If you decide you don’t like it on Mars, no problem; you can come back to Earth for free. Musk cautions that his ballpark estimate is highly dependent on volume, though.
It’s been a long time coming, but NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is close to its first launch. SpaceX says it is currently planning for the initial test flight of its crewed Dragon capsule next month. This comes after a series of setbacks as both SpaceX and Boeing trudged through the testing and review process that will eventually return manned spaceflight to the US.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket does not have a spotless record. In the last few years, SpaceX has lost one vehicle on the launchpad and another broke apart en route to the International Space Station (ISS). Yet, SpaceX is on a roll as it nears three dozen successful Falcon 9 launches in a row. The company is also cruising toward certification to ferry astronauts to the ISS.
David Strauss, an analyst and oddsmaker at MyBookie, says NASA is the underdog and Musk is the favorite. “Bezos may have the discipline, but Musk has the infrastructure and just the right amount of craziness to make a successful mission happen,” he said today in a news release. “The days of government organizations staging trips to another planet are behind us. I would be surprised if NASA truly makes it back to the moon.”
The future of Tesla may be imperiled by a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit that seeks to oust Elon Musk, the chief executive. But SpaceX, one of Musk’s other companies, has continued to garner support from its key customers, especially NASA, which can’t afford to see one of its main suppliers falter.