Tag Archives: launch

SpaceX carries out first commercial launch

SpaceX carries out first commercial launchSpaceX carried out its first commercial launch on Thursday with its Falcon Heavy rocket easing a Saudi telecoms satellite into orbit. The bright white rocket rose with a roar and spewed thick gray smoke on the ground as it made its way up into clear blue skies over Cape Canaveral, Florida, trailing a long plume of orange fire. About 34 minutes after liftoff, the shiny silver satellite was successfully deployed.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Pentagon Admits Plan to Launch 1,300 Satellites Might Not Prevent Chinese or Russian Attacks

Pentagon Admits Plan to Launch 1,300 Satellites Might Not Prevent Chinese or Russian AttacksPhoto Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast/GettyA new Pentagon space agency wants to launch nearly 1,300 small satellites and, in the process, totally reinvent the way the military operates in orbit.The goal: to help the U.S. satellite constellation survive a sneak-attack by China or Russia. With hundreds of satellites in orbit, no single satellite is critically important, or so the thinking goes. If the Chinese or Russians were to knock out one or even dozens of satellites, scores more could take their place.But the new “mega-constellation” plan from the Space Development Agency might not actually work. The agency’s own director, Fred Kennedy, said it probably was “no panacea” against an enemy attack.It could be prohibitively expensive to deploy so many sats. Rocket launches are getting cheaper. But they might not yet be so cheap that the Pentagon could afford to conduct hundreds of them in a short span of time.In any event, the agency’s plan is advisory. The Pentagon could just ignore it. But the idea is interesting if no for other reason than its contrarianness. Today the U.S. military and other government agencies, universities and private companies together operate around 850 satellites, according to a count by the Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists. Second-place China has 280 satellites and Russia, in third place, has 150.But America’s satellites increasingly are vulnerable to attack, according to military officials. “China and Russia both are building direct-ascent weapons that can shoot down our satellites,” U.S. Air Force general John Hyten, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, said on Tuesday at the annual Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs.“Direct-ascent weapon” is military parlance for “rocket.”That’s not all. Hyten also said Russia and China also are building lasers that can blind American spacecraft and jammers that cut the satellites’ links to controllers on the ground plus “on-orbit” weapons—in essence, kamikaze satellites that can ram into American sats.Not only are Moscow and Beijing building arsenals for taking down America’s space assets, they’re “doing it aggressively and quickly,” Hyten said.To be clear, the U.S. military has anti-satellite weapons of its own. And American sats aren’t exactly defenseless. Starting in 2018, the Air Force spent a billion dollars adding “resilience features” to some of its spacecraft. Resilience features might include better thrusters, allowing the spacecraft to maneuver more quickly in order to avoid attack. They may also include extra sensors on the spacecraft that act as a sort of orbital home-security system, monitoring the approach of potential assailants, according to James Oberg, an independent space expert and former NASA mission control specialist.“Now that autonomous mini-satellites can approach other satellites, sometimes without detection from the ground, space-based detection must be installed on the potential targets,” Oberg told me. The sensors could include cameras, radars, radio-signal detectors and “sniffers” that can track the energy from other satellites' thrusters, Oberg added.But the Space Development Agency, a small research organization that opened shop in March, wants to take a different approach. The Pentagon asked Congress for $ 150 million to fund the new agency through 2020.Rather than beefing up individual spacecraft, under the mega-constellation plan the military would simply buy lots more small, inexpensive satellites, reinforcing or replacing the roughly 170 large, expensive sats the armed forces currently operate.Speaking at the Colorado conference on Tuesday, Kennedy said he wants to see the Pentagon deploy “hundreds, perhaps even a thousand or more small satellites exhibiting a host of capabilities.”A graphic Kennedy displayed broke down the numbers of different kinds of spacecraft in the proposed mega-constellation. In all, 1,258 small satellites would crowd low orbit, scanning the Earth and space and relaying radio communications. Three copies of an “advanced maneuvering vehicle”—presumably some version of the Air Force’s secretive X-37B robotic mini-shuttle—would orbit above the other sats. Artificial intelligence would help ground-based controllers to maneuver and coordinate the hundreds of spacecraft, Kennedy said.But the plan hinges on very cheap space launches. Lots of them. In 2018, U.S. entities launched just 31, mostly big, satellites—many of which might remain in orbit a decade or longer. Since small satellites might last just a year or two, to build the mega-constellation the military could need to expand its launch activities by a factor of 20. It could be pricey. According to a 2018 paper by NASA researcher Harry Jones, the price per pound of a satellite launch has decreased from around $ 24,000 in the 1980s and 1990s to just $ 1,200 in 2019. But launching 600 or more satellites annually instead of 30 could more than offset the falling per-pound price of a launch.Kennedy acknowledged the downsides of his agency’s satellite plan. “We recognize that this isn’t the sum total of the nation's space construct,” he said. "We should not jump to extremes.”But even experimenting with a new approach to deploying satellites could result in better technology and methods that could make it harder for Russia or China to knock out America’s spacecraft, Kennedy said. “This puts us on a wonderfully disruptive path.”Kennedy said his agency would begin conducting conducting war games in order to test out the mega-constellation concept starting in 2022.Read more at The Daily Beast.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

SpaceX postpones first commercial launch due to strong wind

SpaceX postpones first commercial launch due to strong windSpaceX postponed Wednesday what would have been its first commercial launch with the Falcon Heavy rocket, citing strong wind in the upper atmosphere. The rocket is to carry a Saudi satellite operated by Arabsat, a year after sending founder Elon Musk’s red Tesla roadster into orbit as a test. The Falcon Heavy had been scheduled to lift off from the Kennedy Space center in Florida at 6:36 pm (2236 GMT) and place the six-ton Arabsat-6A satellite into geostationary orbit about 22,500 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

The Latest: Booker raised $5 million since campaign launch

The Latest: Booker raised $  5 million since campaign launchThe Latest on the Democratic race for president (all times EDT):



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Order a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition on April 4 and you could win $100,000

Order a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition on April 4 and you could win $  100,000On April 4, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition will be available for preorder, but you better move fast because only 4,190 units will be produced. This past weekend, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition that debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November will finally be available for purchase. Preordering, however, will only be open on Jeep 4×4 Day, April 4.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Apple to launch a new credit card with Goldman. Are the perks worth it?

Apple to launch a new credit card with Goldman. Are the perks worth it?Apple Inc said on Monday it will launch a credit card with Goldman Sachs Group Inc this summer that can be used to earn cash back on the purchase of Apple products, but analysts suggest its rewards do not stand out among rivals. The Apple Card will sync with iPhone’s users’ Apple Wallet and work through its payment system Apple Pay, said Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay. Cardholders will earn 2 percent cash back on all purchases made using their phones or 3 percent cash back on Apple products.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Elon Musk's Las Vegas high-speed tunnel could launch stalled projects across the country

Elon Musk's Las Vegas high-speed tunnel could launch stalled projects across the countryThe Boring Company founder Elon Musk and his vision to create high-speed transit tunnels to help solve the nation's high infrastructure cost for a fraction of the price might finally come to fruition out in the desert.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

North Korea 'preparing to launch rocket', aerial photos suggest

North Korea 'preparing to launch rocket', aerial photos suggestSatellite photographs suggest North Korea appears to be preparing to launch missiles or possibly a space rocket, less than two weeks after Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un to try and bring an end to the country’s nuclear weapons programme. The factory was where North Korea built its first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. The activity at Sanumdong comes after two US think tanks and South Korea’s spy agency said this week the North was also rebuilding a rocket launch site at Sohae in the west of the country.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

N. Korea may be preparing a missile or space launch: NPR

N. Korea may be preparing a missile or space launch: NPRNorth Korea may be preparing for a missile or space launch, US news outlet NPR has reported, based on satellite image analysis of a key facility near Pyongyang. NPR said the images of Sanumdong, one of the facilities Pyongyang has used to produce inter-continental ballistic missiles and space rockets, were taken days before US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Hanoi for their high-stakes summit, which ended in failure.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Trump would be 'very disappointed' in Kim Jong Un if North Korea is rebuilding launch site

Trump would be 'very disappointed' in Kim Jong Un if North Korea is rebuilding launch siteSatellite images show North Korea started rebuilding a rocket launch site after a summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un broke down.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines