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Tech & Science Elon Musk’s SpaceX is about to land its 50th Falcon 9 booster

02:50  15 february  2020
02:50  15 february  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

SpaceX Starlink launch: How to watch Falcon 9 deliver 60 more satellites to space

  SpaceX Starlink launch: How to watch Falcon 9 deliver 60 more satellites to space Elon Musk's spaceflight company is set to kick off 2020 by adding another 60 satellites to its mega constellation.The launch has been delayed several times, but the Falcon 9 is now scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Monday, at approximately 9:19 p.m. ET (6:19 p.m. PT). Weather conditions at Cape Canaveral are looking good, with a less than 10% chance of cancellation and a 20% chance of delay.

Once thought impossible, SpaceX is on the verge of its 50 th landing of a booster rocket after launch, a milestone that has helped convince the space industry that ditching Once thought impossible, reusing rocket boosters has become routine. Two booster rockets from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy

Since landing the first Falcon 9 booster in late 2015, SpaceX has attained a 79 percent success rate at landing on both sea and land . We’ve almost come to expect landings after each SpaceX launch now. The company has also been unusually open when it comes to failed landings, including

a large body of water with smoke coming out of it: Two booster rockets from the Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy return for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Feb. 6, 2018. Reusing rocket engines helps the private SpaceX cut the cost of launching satellites and other payloads. © John Raoux/AP Two booster rockets from the Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy return for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Feb. 6, 2018. Reusing rocket engines helps the private SpaceX cut the cost of launching satellites and other payloads.

The effort to return booster rockets to Earth had been tried and had failed several times; it turns out landing a rocket back on Earth safely is pretty difficult. So Elon Musk was not deluding himself in 2014 when he calculated the odds that his company, SpaceX, would eventually get it right: “not great — perhaps 50 percent, at best.”

And then they did. Just before Christmas 2015, a Falcon 9 booster became the first rocket to deliver a payload to orbit, reorient itself, fly back through the atmosphere, find its landing spot — in that case, a pad on the coast at Cape Canaveral — and touch down softly.

Why SpaceX is blowing up a Falcon 9 rocket

  Why SpaceX is blowing up a Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX launching its final unmanned test flight Saturday that it needs before it can send astronauts to the International Space Station. The in-flight abort test, scheduled for a Saturday morning launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is meant to try out the spacecraft Crew Dragon's "escape capabilities" or its ability for astronauts to jettison if there were an emergency during launch, according to a statement from NASA. © SpaceX via NASA The uncrewed in-flight abort demonstration is targeted for 8 a.m. EST on Jan. 18, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. There is a four-hour test window.

Elon Musk ’ s space company hit the new milestone for Falcon 9 rocket missions early this morning, launching a six-ton satellite the size of a small SpaceX ’ s price can go down further, however, thanks to its reusable booster , which can return to earth autonomously after flinging its payload into space .

Elon Musk ' s space company is shooting for its 50 th Falcon 9 launch in under eight years. Several of its rockets made multiple trips -- and history. SpaceX said in a statement it "will not attempt to land Falcon 9 ' s first stage after launch due to unfavorable weather conditions in the recovery area off of

Since then, SpaceX has done it again and again, so many times that Musk has achieved his goal, normalizing a feat once thought impossible. Now SpaceX is on the verge of its 50th landing in a launch now scheduled for Sunday, a milestone celebrated within the company and the larger space industry, which has come to agree that ditching rocket boosters into the ocean — the practice for decades — is an expensive waste of a perfectly good vehicle.

“We got there much faster than I ever thought we would,” said Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut who worked at SpaceX for years and now serves as a consultant. “Just over four years — that is really remarkable, the fact that it has become routine in four years. It’s still not routine to me. I get excited. I still get goose bumps.”

SpaceX to simulate astronaut ejection in final test

  SpaceX to simulate astronaut ejection in final test SpaceX will on Sunday simulate its emergency abort system on an unmanned spacecraft, the last major test before it plans to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The space company of entrepreneur Elon Musk, under contract with NASA, will launch its Crew Dragon capsule from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida between 8:00 am (1300 GMT) and 2:00 pm.This test will check the capsule's ability to reliably carry crew to safety in the event of an emergency on ascent.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said the booster appeared to be undamaged. The hydraulic pump for the landing fins apparently stalled, but the engines stabilized the approximately 160-foot-tall booster just in time, allowing for "an intact landing in water!" Musk noted via Twitter. "Ships en route to rescue

March 6, Elon Musk ' s space company reached another milestone, launching its 50 th Falcon 9 Falcon 9 first stage landing in December 2015, then relaunched one of its recovered boosters for As SpaceX hits its stride, landing and relaunching Falcon 9 s and eating up launch industry market

For years, rocket boosters propelled their payloads to space, then separated and fell back to Earth, splashing down into the ocean. To Musk and others who pursued the dream of landing the rockets as a way to make space more accessible, that was like throwing away the airplane after a trip from New York to Los Angeles.

“For us to really open up access to space, we have to have full and rapid reusability,” Musk has said.

Precisely how much money SpaceX saves is hard to say. As a privately held company, it doesn’t release precise dollar amounts. But it sells each Falcon 9 launch for about $62 million, and the overwhelming cost of each launch is in the booster, which houses nine engines. The propellant, Musk has said, is a fraction of the cost, about $200,000 or so.

a boat is docked next to a body of water: A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster sits a stop a drone ship as it returns to harbor in December, 2019. (Photo courtesy of SPaceX) A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster sits a stop a drone ship as it returns to harbor in December, 2019. (Photo courtesy of SPaceX)

The space shuttle was reusable as well, but it took an army of workers to get it ready for the next flight, and it never achieved the kind of efficiency initially envisioned. “The key isn’t just to make it reusable,” Reisman said. “If you have to completely rebuild it every time, your economic advantage is going to erode. I can tell you achieving that economically affordable reusability is key, and we’ve done that.”

SpaceX is already launching more Starlink satellites: How to watch

  SpaceX is already launching more Starlink satellites: How to watch Elon Musk is already the world's largest satellite constellation operator, but he's just getting going.The company is set to launch another 60 of the space routers from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station just before noon Eastern Time on Tuesday, pending a successful static fire test Monday.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk took questions before the company launches the new version of its Falcon 9 rocket known as Block 5. Musk dove into a plethora of new information and technical data, detailing the goals and upgrades for the workhorse orbital-class rocket, which has become the company' s

SpaceX founder Elon Musk presented an updated and "final iteration" of SpaceX ' s Big Falcon Rocket design on Sept. HAWTHORNE, California — Elon Musk has finally revealed the person who is paying SpaceX untold millions to have the rocket company launch a private mission around the moon.

Jeff Bezos agrees. His space company, Blue Origin, has landed a series of New Shepard boosters as well — but those go up to scratch the very edge of space before falling back down on trips that don’t orbit the Earth. It plans to recover its more powerful New Glenn rocket, however, in much the same way SpaceX does. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, has talked about recovering not the entire booster, but popping out the most valuable part — the engines — and catching them with a grappling hook as they fall back to Earth under a parachute. And Rocket Lab had initially said it wouldn’t try to reuse its small rockets but has since reversed course.

“SpaceX’s technical validation of reusable rockets has opened new horizons for the launch sector while inciting the firm’s competitors to invest in technological innovation as a means to fight market share erosion,” Maxime Puteaux and Alexandre Najjar, consultants at Euroconsult, wrote in a recent SpaceNews op-ed.

SpaceX has also gotten better at refurbishing the rockets faster between flights. While the first booster took a year to relaunch, SpaceX flew one last year after just 82 days, and the rocket it plans to fly on Sunday’s mission had a still faster turnaround — only about 60 days between its last launch and its next one, the company said.

SpaceX saves mannequins from fireball. Next up, astronauts.

  SpaceX saves mannequins from fireball. Next up, astronauts. SpaceX saves mannequins from fireball. Next up, astronauts.The explosion would have come as a setback during normal flight operations, but for this intentional safety test, events could not have played out more smoothly. “As far as we can tell thus far, it’s a picture-perfect mission,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX’s Chief Engineer and founder, in a press release. “It went as well as one can possibly expect.” Now that the capsule has proven itself capable of handling emergencies both in the air and on the ground, SpaceX expects to launch its first astronauts in the late spring or early summer.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk on May 10 went into detail on modifications made to the latest version of the Falcon 9 , including redesigning a SpaceX wants to land and, within 24 hours, relaunch a Block 5 first stage before the end of 2019, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company' s Interplanetary Transport System ( ITS ) to send The ITS rocket will be more or less a scaled-up version of the first stage of SpaceX ' s Falcon 9 The Raptor engine, which SpaceX recently test-fired for the first time, is about the same size as

SpaceX doesn’t just land on land. It lands on a robot ship at sea it calls an “autonomous spaceport drone ship.”

“It’s quite a tiny target. It’s like trying to land on a postage stamp there,” Musk said in 2016. “It’s like a carrier landing versus a land landing.”

Bringing the rocket home is “supremely difficult,” Reisman said. The rocket and the drone ship essentially work to meet up in the exact same spot in the ocean, and the booster has to be constantly decelerating and get as close to zero velocity as it can at the precise moment it is touching down. It also needs to be able to survive high temperatures as it screams back through the atmosphere.

For a few years, SpaceX struggled as one booster after the other crashed and burned. It happened so frequently the company came up with a term for it — “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”

When SpaceX finally pulled off a drone ship landing in 2016, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, tweeted their congratulations. “Opens the imagination to what is possible,” Hadfield wrote.

Then-President Obama also weighed in, writing, “It’s because of innovators like you & NASA that America continues to lead in space exploration.”

President Trump has been enamored of the landings as well. Musk “does good at rockets, too, by the way,” he told CNBC recently. “I never saw where the engines come down with no wings, no anything, and they’re landing. I said, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’ ”

SpaceX now has not just one landing pad at Cape Canaveral, but two — one for each of the side boosters that fly on its Falcon Heavy rocket, which come down in tandem.

Having mastered the art of recovering boosters, SpaceX is now going after another part of the rocket — the nose cone, or fairing, which sits atop the rocket and protects the satellite being launched. The company has a couple of ships with giant nets affixed to them that try to position themselves under the fairing as it falls from space under a parachute. So far, it has caught three.

In 2017, Musk said the fairings cost about $6 million each — not a lot in the context of a rocket, but not chump change, either.

“At one point, we’re, like, debating, ‘Should we try to recover it or not?’ ” Musk said. “It’s like, ‘Guys, imagine you had $6 million in cash in a palette flying through the air, and it’s going to smash in the ocean. Would you try to recover that?’ Yes. Yes, you would.”

SpaceX may spin out internet-from-space business and make it public .
SpaceX may spin out internet-from-space business and make it public“That particular piece is an element of the business that we are likely to spin out and go public,” Shotwell said, according to Bloomberg. “Right now, we are a private company, but Starlink is the right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public.

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