Tag Archives: SpaceX

SpaceX is about to launch the ashes of 152 people into space

SpaceX is about to launch the ashes of 152 people into spaceSpaceX may be yet to launch any living human astronauts into space, but the remains of over 150 people are going to get the ride of their afterlives on Monday night thanks to the company's Falcon Heavy rocket. Among the various satellites and instruments being carried into orbit by SpaceX this evening is a collection of "spaceflight memorials" by a company called Celestis.Celestis offers a rather unique service in that it provides a way for family members to send the remains of their loved ones into space as a tribute and memorial. In this case, the company bought space aboard the Falcon Heavy and will be carrying out the wishes of many of its clients at once, sending the cremated remains of 152 people into Earth orbit.During tonight's launch — assuming it proceeds during its scheduled launch window — the human remains will be released into orbit aboard one of two dozen satellites the Falcon Heavy is hauling.Among those included in tonight's launch — Celestis calls them "participants" — are former NASA astronaut Bill Pogue, Japanese professional basketball star Masaru Tomita, and spaceflight historian Dr. James M. Busby. The full list of 152 individuals, and their memorials, is available online.Believe it or not, this isn't the first time that Celestis has sent human remains into space — in fact, it's not even close. The company has successfully completed 15 launches already, sending the ashes of celebrities like Star Trek "Scotty" actor James Doohan and scientist Eugene Shoemaker into space in decades past.Tonight's Falcon Heavy launch is scheduled to take place at 11:30 p.m. EDT tonight (Monday, June 24th). Following the launch, Celestis will actually be hosting its own "Memorial Service" live stream to honor all of the individuals that were carried skyward. You can watch that live stream starting a couple of hours after the launch via the live stream window below.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXBCgEWYMpc



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NASA says there’s ‘no doubt’ SpaceX Crew Dragon explosion has pushed back crewed flights

NASA says there’s ‘no doubt’ SpaceX Crew Dragon explosion has pushed back crewed flightsNASA desperately needs a way to get its astronauts into space without paying for pricey seats aboard Russian rockets, but the agency's two best hopes — SpaceX and Boeing — are stumbling a bit at the finish line. Boeing's Starliner has been plagued by delays nearly from the start, and SpaceX is now dealing with its own list of problems.In remarks to reporters at the Paris Airshow, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine admitted that the recent destruction of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule during static testing is a major setback for NASA's crewed flight schedule. The race to be the first to deliver a suitable solution for NASA's needs now appears to be anyone's game."There is no doubt the schedule will change," Bridenstine reportedly said during his brief talk. "It won't be what was originally planned."Back in late April, something went seriously wrong during a static test of Crew Dragon's thrusters. The thrusters being tested were those that would spring into action if a launch had to be aborted after it had already lifted off. They're designed to push the crew capsule away from the rest of the launch vehicle, keeping the crew safe.Unfortunately, a glitch that so far has been described only as "an anomaly" occurred and the entire Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed in a fiery explosion. Details regarding exactly what went wrong have been scant, but both NASA and SpaceX are still conducting their investigations into the matter.Up until that point, SpaceX was clearly beating competitor Boeing in the race to finish a crew-capable NASA spacecraft. However, an explosion can be a pretty big setback, and now it's unclear when SpaceX will be able to resume its testing and get back on track. In the meantime, NASA will just have to wait.



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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.



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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.



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SpaceX launches unmanned U.S. space capsule to space station

SpaceX launches unmanned U.S. space capsule to space stationCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – A SpaceX rocket with a newly designed unmanned crew capsule blasted off on Saturday for the International Space Station, in a key milestone for Elon Musk’s space company and NASA's long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from U.S. soil later this year. SpaceX's 16-foot-tall (4.9 meter) Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at TK 2:49 a.m. (0749 GMT), carrying a test dummy nicknamed Ripley. …



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SpaceX rocket with unmanned U.S. capsule blasts off for space station

SpaceX rocket with unmanned U.S. capsule blasts off for space stationSpaceX’s 16-foot-tall (4.9 meter) Crew Dragon capsule, atop a Falcon 9 rocket, lifted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 2:49 a.m. (0749 GMT), carrying a test dummy nicknamed Ripley. The capsule successfully separated from the rocket about 11 minutes later, sparking cheers in the control room, and began its journey to the space station. The space station’s three-member crew was expected to greet the capsule, carrying 400 pounds (181 kg) of supplies and test equipment, early Sunday morning, NASA said.



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SpaceX kicks off a 'new era in spaceflight' with the Crew Dragon launch

SpaceX kicks off a 'new era in spaceflight' with the Crew Dragon launchIt's been a momentous Saturday for SpaceX, and for the future of crewed voyages into space. At 2:49 a.m. ET, the American aerospace company founded by Elon Musk staged its first launch of Crew Dragon. It's big news because this is the first time a commercial interest has launched a spacecraft that was built to carry humans. LIFTOFF! The next big leap in a new chapter of U.S. human spaceflight systems has left the pad. @SpaceX’s #CrewDragon demo flight will be the 1st commercially-built & operated American spacecraft designed for humans to dock at the @Space_Station. Watch: t.co/Fm5NQSfAXJ pic.twitter.com/YoiOf67kQL — NASA (@NASA) March 2, 2019 SEE ALSO: SpaceX launches moon lander, lands booster despite tough conditions American spaceflight has traditionally been the domain of NASA, but the past decade has seen a gradual shift toward having commercial interests share the responsibility. SpaceX and Boeing are leading that charge, so the successful Crew Dragon launch represents a major milestone moment. It's still just a first step, however. Although the Dragon capsule itself is designed to carry a crew of up to seven astronauts skyward, the one that launched on Saturday — Demo-1 is its designation — is more of a test run: it's carrying a few hundred pounds of cargo, plus a sensor-filled dummy named "Ripley." NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine hailed the launch as a "new era in spaceflight."  He added: "We are looking forward to being one customer of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit, so we can drive down costs and increase access in ways that, historically, have not been possible."  The cost savings Bridenstine mentioned are very real. After NASA retired its shuttle fleet in 2011, the U.S. has relied on Russia to bring astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Hitching a ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket costs roughly $ 80 million per seat, compared to the $ 51 million cost to fly on a SpaceX or Boeing vehicle. Bridenstine's comments don't make it very clear, but NASA is closely involved with the U.S. development of commercial spaceflight. The agency's influence shapes various aspects of third-party planning, including design, safety, and funding, under its Commercial Crew Program. Now that Demo-1 is in space, the next phase of its mission begins. Early on Sunday morning, the capsule will dock with the ISS to drop off its cargo. After that, Demo-1 will detach and begin its return trip to Earth. Assuming everything goes well for Demo-1, the first Crew Dragon launch to carry actual humans into space could come as soon as summer 2019. WATCH: This space harpoon could be a solution to our growing space junk problem



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Elon Musk's SpaceX and Nasa launch new astronaut capsule

Elon Musk's SpaceX and Nasa launch new astronaut capsuleElon Musk's SpaceX has successfully  launched a rocket out of the Earth's atmosphere, heralding the rebirth of American manned spaceflight later this year. The unmanned crew capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Florida bound for the International Space Station at 7.49am GMT on Saturday. Nasa and SpaceX successfully launched the new astronaut capsule on a week-long trip to the International Space Station and back – a key step towards resuming manned space flights from US soil after an eight-year break. This time around, the only occupant on board SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule is a dummy named Ripley, named after the character in Alien played by Sigourney Weaver. But if the test goes smoothly, Nasa plans to put two astronauts aboard by the end of the year. View this post on Instagram All systems and weather are go ahead of Crew Dragon's first test flight tomorrow morning at 2:49 a.m. EST, 7:49 UTC A post shared by SpaceX (@spacex) on Mar 1, 2019 at 12:43pm PST Musk, the SpaceX founder, said the launch had left him “emotionally exhausted”. “That was super stressful – but it worked, so far,” he said. Before lift off Musk tweeted a photo of the inside of the Crew Dragon capsule with the Ripley mannequin strapped in it. The new capsule, carrying 400 pounds of supplies and test equipment, is scheduled to reach the ISS by Sunday, with a return to Earth next Friday. "This is a critically important event in American history," the head of the US space agency, Jim Bridenstine, told reporters, with the rocket and capsule visible behind him on the legendary launch pad where the Apollo missions to the Moon began. "We're on the precipice of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil again for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011." SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off to ISS from Kennedy Space Center Credit: REUTERS The excitement was palpable at Cape Canaveral, from the space-fan volunteers guiding media on site, to the tourists who came to watch the launch light up the overcast skies. "It's been a long eight years," the Kennedy Space Center's director Bob Cabana, a former astronaut himself, said as SpaceX employees milled around the rocket. Falcon 9 rocket, with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on board, as it was rolled out to the launch pad Credit: NASA/JOEL KOWSKY/AFP/Getty Images After the shuttle program was shuttered in July 2011 after a 30-year run, Nasa began outsourcing the logistics of its space missions. It pays Russia to get its people up to the ISS orbiting research facility at a cost of $ 82 million a head, for a round trip. In 2014, the US space agency awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task. But the program has suffered delays as safety requirements are much more stringent for manned flights than for unmanned missions to deploy satellites. "We're going to have more access to space at a better cost than at any point in human history," said Bridenstine, adding he was "100 percent confident" that a manned flight would happen by year's end. What will be learned  Saturday's flight aims to test the vessel's reliability and safety in real-life conditions. The dummy that will ride in the capsule – which SpaceX's Hans Koenigsmann prefers to call a "smartie" – has been nicknamed Ripley in honor of the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the "Alien" movies. It will be fitted with monitors to test the forces that future astronauts will be subjected to on takeoff and when they return to the Earth's atmosphere and then splash down in the Atlantic, slowed down by giant parachutes. Blast off Credit: AP Photo/Terry Renna "We're going to learn a ton from this mission," said Kathy Lueders, the manager of Nasa's Commercial Crew program. For SpaceX, which Musk founded in 2002, sending an astronaut into orbit would be a culmination of years of hard work and high-risk investment. "Every mission is important, but this is even more important, said Koenigsmann, the firm's vice-president for build and flight reliability. "Early on, our goal was human spaceflight," he said. "Human spaceflight is a core value of business of SpaceX." In less than a decade, SpaceX has become a key partner for Nasa, in addition to dominating the market for private satellite launches. Its Falcon 9 rockets have resupplied the space station 15 times in seven years, even though one of them blew up in 2015.



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Ripley, the SpaceX test dummy, is buckled in and ready for launch

Ripley, the SpaceX test dummy, is buckled in and ready for launchSpace travel is set to take a pivotal step forward this weekend. SpaceX, in the first test demonstration of a commercial crew capsule designed to eventually send astronauts to the International Space Station, plans to launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft on Saturday, March 2, at 2:49 a.m. ET, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The commercial spaceflight company has worked closely with NASA engineers to design a capsule that meets the agency's rigorous safety standards. This six-day mission — which carries along a test dummy covered in sensors, nicknamed Ripley — endeavors to blast into space, attach to the space station, and then parachute back down to Earth.  (There will be no humans aboard.) "I’m very comfortable with where we’re headed with this flight. I fully expect we’re going to learn something on this flight. I guarantee you everything will not work exactly right. And that’s cool," Bill Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for NASA’s human spaceflight program, said during a launch briefing last week,
The Washington Post reports.  We are excited that Ripley, an anthropomorphic test device, will be making the trip to and from @Space_Station. She is outfitted with many sensors to provide teams detailed information to further understand the effects on future crew members who will be traveling in Crew Dragon. t.co/yo19LYZwCy — NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) March 1, 2019 "… We want to maximize our learning so we can get the stuff ready so when we put crew on we’re ready to go do a real crew mission,” Gerstenmaier said. This launch is the opening gun in a new space race, specifically as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The program involves NASA working with two partners, SpaceX and Boeing, to build revolutionary spacecraft to bring astronauts to the space station and low orbits around Earth.  SEE ALSO: NASA dropped a space exploration robot into Cape Cod’s waters to reach the darkest unknowns The Dragon capsule holding Ripley — which NASA calls an "anthropomorphic test device" — will launch atop SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9 rocket — the same rocket the company uses to launch supplies to the space station.  Unlike Elon Musk's Starman — which SpaceX strapped tightly to a Roadster during last year's sensational test launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket — Ripley serves an engineering purpose. Ripley, donning a sleek white spacesuit, is covered in sensors to measure the vibrations and sound occurring inside the capsule during its high-speed journeys to, around, and back to Earth.  SpaceX and @NASA have completed thousands of hours of tests, analyses, and reviews in preparation for Crew Dragon’s first test flight to the @space_station pic.twitter.com/JvJqeoLKVy — SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 28, 2019 If the early Saturday morning launch goes as planned, the Dragon capsule will dock with the space station at 6:00 a.m. March 3, where it will stay for five days. Then, on Friday, March 8 at around 2:30 a.m. ET, the capsule will leave the space station and some five hours later fall through Earth's atmosphere. Soon after, the spacecraft will deploy four large parachutes to slow down.  NASA expects a gentle splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off of Cape Canaveral, Florida at around 8:45 a.m. ET.  The U.S. has lacked both a rocket and spaceship to launch astronauts into space since the retirement of the Shuttle program, in 2011. Since then, NASA has had to purchase pricey seats aboard Russia's Soyuz rocket, which cost $ 81 million per seat. The Demo-1 Flight Readiness Review has concluded. The Board set March 2 at 2:48 a.m. EST as the official launch date for @SpaceX's flight to @Space_Station. #LaunchAmerica t.co/2DIJ99guG2 pic.twitter.com/86lV29gVNS — NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) February 22, 2019 Acknowledging that there may be delays with the SpaceX and Boeing crew capsules, NASA has purchased two more future seats aboard the Soyuz rockets, one in 2019 and one in 2020, Space News reports. But when SpaceX and Boeing's spacecraft do start carrying real passengers — not test dummies — the price for a ride into space will fall considerably, to around $ 58 million per seat, NASA said.  WATCH: This "horror" was spotted off the coast of the Carolinas



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Pentagon to review certification of Elon Musk's SpaceX launch vehicles

Pentagon to review certification of Elon Musk's SpaceX launch vehicles“Our objective is to determine whether the U.S. Air Force complied with the Launch Services New Entrant Certification Guide when certifying the launch system design for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles,” U.S. Department Of Defense Deputy Inspector General Michael Roark said in the memo. The review will begin this month, the memo stated.



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