SpaceX’s reusable rockets may have the lion’s share of attention and media buzz but the US Air Force has also something to boast that is both closer to home but also more daring.The Boeing-made X-37B spacecraft, or more accurately spaceplane’ has just landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, October 27 at 3:51 a.m. Not only is this the vehicle’s third successful landing, it is also the longest time an X-37B has flown in orbit, finally crossing the two-year threshold.The Air Force’s X-37B program is less ambitious than SpaceX’s interplanetary travel goals but it is, at the same time, also more daring.The idea of keeping a spacecraft flying in orbit for years, landing them and reusing them, and even test new systems while in space is by no means a small task.It’s no surprise that this achievement is being celebrated not only by the USAF and Boeing but the space science community at large as well.The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 5 or OTV-5 launched on September 7, 2017, onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 vehicle.
The U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane returned to terra firma on Sunday after spending 780 days in low-Earth orbit.It was the unmanned spacecraft’s longest mission to date, beating its previous record, set in 2017, by 63 days.“The X-37B continues to demonstrate the importance of a reusable space plane,” Barbara Barrett, secretary of the Air Force, said in a statement after it landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.Barrett added that each successive mission undertaken by the X-37B “advances our nation’s space capabilities.”The latest outing, named Orbital Test Vehicle-5 (OTV-5), began aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket that launched in September 2017The Boeing-built X-37B resembles the now-decommissioned Space Shuttle but at 8.8 meters (29 feet) is about a quarter the length.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk braved the wind to give the faithful an update on the progress of the Starship and Super Heavy program from the company's Boca Chica facility in Texas.Standing in front of the recently assembled Starship Mk 1, on the 11th anniversary of the first time the company managed to reach orbit, Musk reflected on the importance of that launch ("if that fourth launch had not succeeded that would have been curtains"), the challenges of booster recovery (a regular crowd pleaser for the Falcon 9) and, of course, his dreams of heading beyond Earth orbit.11 years ago today, we launched our first successful mission.To date, we’ve completed 78 launches and have developed the world’s only operational reusable orbital class rockets and spacecraft—capable of launching to space, returning to Earth, and flying again— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 29, 2019Having demonstrated a relatively low (in SpaceX terms) 150-metre hover using the Raptor engine with an earlier, stumpy-looking Starhopper prototype, the Mk1 is destined to initially fly to 20km.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk plans to launch a prototype of its planned Starship reusable rocket system into orbit in less than six months.Musk presented an update on the system at the company's launch facility in Cameron County, Texas on Saturday.SpaceX expects an existing prototype of the system to attempt a 65-foot flight within a month or two."This is going to sound totally nuts, but I think we want to try to reach orbit in less than six months," Musk said.SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk believes the company is on the cusp of achieving "the holy grail of space" travel with its planned reusable Starship rocket system.The presentation was delivered 11 years to the day after SpaceX's first rocket, the Falcon 1, first delivered a payload into space.
Starship is the new rocket system that SpaceX is developing to ferry dozens of people to Mars.Elon Musk, the company's founder and CEO, plans to unveil the latest design of the fully reusable launch system on Saturday.The backdrop for his presentation will be a newly finished, 164-foot-tall steel prototype called Starship Mk 1.Musk's talk is expected to last about an hour and is being livestreamed by SpaceX from the rocket company's YouTube channel starting at 9:15 p.m.Elon Musk wants to send you to Mars — cheaply— and tonight plans to unveil the latest design of SpaceX's forthcoming rocket system designed to do just that."Starship will allow us to inhabit other worlds," Musk tweeted on Friday, later adding: "To make life as we know it multiplanetary."
SpaceX is building and launching prototypes of Starship— a reusable launch system designed to send people to the moon and Mars — from Boca Chica, a site at the southern tip of Texas.When it got approval in July 2014, the rocket company said it'd build a commercial spaceport to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.New FAA documents sent to Business Insider provide a glimpse into SpaceX's plan to develop a disruptive new rocket system over the next two to three years.Elon Musk, the company's founder and CEO, envisions the vehicle as a shiny steel two-stage launch system that may stand nearly 400 feet tall and reduce the cost of access to space by 100- to 1,000-fold by having fully reusable hardware.Business Insider was sent PDFs of the files (below) via email from an FAA spokesperson.
A lot of people dream of making space travel a more regular thing but, until recently, most have taken for granted how expensive those can be simply because every rocket is almost completely destroyed after use.Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have helped ignite a new trend that focuses on reusable rockets and now almost every space company and space agency is eying reusable rockets.Young company Rocket Lab is no different but it is different in how it wants to recover rockets by catching them with helicopters.That definitely defies what most will imagine about reusable rockets, especially after the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin have filled our minds with vertically landing rockets.That is, indeed, the more “normal” way to make sure that a rocket’s first stage, the part that first ignites the fuel and gets dropped back to earth, survives a landing.Rocket Lab’s Electron, however, is not like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 or Blue Origin’s New Shepard.
China says it has successfully tested new fins on its Long March rockets to help guide spent boosters away from populated areas, possibly paving the way for the development of reusable technology like SpaceX’s Falcon 9.China successfully launched a Long March 2C rocket on Friday using grid-fin technology to guide its spent booster to a landing spot in Guizhou province in the country’s southwest, state-run Science and Technology Daily reported on Sunday, citing China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), a key contractor for the Chinese space program.Grid fins are aerodynamic control surfaces that are folded during the launch but deployed in flight.In the more sophisticated applications such as the Falcon 9, the fins manipulate the direction of the rocket during re-entry.Shanghai-based online news outlet The Paper reported that the 2C’s grid fins were developed by a team of about a dozen engineers, all under the age of 35.The team also designed a new companion electrical control system to control the fins, taking about six months to complete the task.
Before he became infamous for his Tweets, Elon Musk was famous for being the closest we could get to a real-world crazy genius.On more than one occasion, however, he has proven naysayers wrong and has introduced the world to things like fully electric cars, reusable rockets, and boring companies.The visionary just took the stage to formally introduce his latest company that wants to put wires inside brains to connect them to computers.Brain-Machine Interfaces have been a long dream among technologists and futurists.This is particularly true for those who have been paralyzed or amputated or even psychological conditions that affect motor skills.Brain implants are nothing new but current technology is limited to the point that the risks are just as life-threatening as the condition in the first place.
SpaceX managed another first for its reusable rocketry efforts during its most recent launch when it caught part of the fairing in a giant net mounted on a boat named ‘Ms.Tree.’ The nosecone component, used to protect the Falcon Heavy’s cargo during its June 25 launch, typically is either lost or falls into the ocean where it can sometimes be recovered, albeit at great cost.Now, we have video of the fairing returning back through the atmosphere, and of the actual moment the fairing touches down on the barge, captured by onboard cameras set-up by SpaceX .The fairing return video, below, gives you a good sense of what it’s like when one of these components returns to Earth in terms of the stresses that are on the hardware from the extreme heat generated by friction from the Earth’s atmosphere.View from the fairing during the STP-2 mission; when the fairing returns to Earth, friction heats up particles in the atmosphere, which appear bright blue in the video— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 3, 2019
No one country can claim monopoly or sovereignty of the vastness of outer space.For the past years, space tech news has mostly revolved around SpaceX and, to a lesser extent, Blue Origin, both US companies.Other countries like China and even Russia aren’t sitting still and now the European Commission is making a move as well.It has just greenlit a three-year project to develop its own reusable rockets.This is an almost complete U-turn from the sentiments and opinions in Europe back when SpaceX was still at its infancy.Then again, the entire rocket industry seemed to think Musk was bonkers and that landing rockets vertically would never be viable.
This month, the European Commission revealed a new, three-year project to develop technologies needed for two proposed reusable launch vehicles.The commission provided €3 million to the German space agency, DLR, and five companies to, in the words of a news release about the project, "tackle the shortcoming of know-how in reusable rockets in Europe."This new RETALT project's goals are pretty explicit about copying the retro-propulsive engine firing technique used by SpaceX to land its Falcon 9 rocket first stages back on land and on autonomous drone ships.The Falcon 9 rocket's ability to land and fly again is "currently dominating the global market," the European project states."We are convinced that it is absolutely necessary to investigate Retro Propulsion Assisted Landing Technologies to make re-usability state-of-the-art in Europe."As the SpaceX steamroller surges, European rocket industry vows to resist
This week, we have some news on failures both recent and not-so-recent—this week's Crew Dragon spacecraft from SpaceX, as well as two Taurus XL launches from eight and 10 years ago.Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.For 300 seconds, the rocket's Lightning-1 engine fired, blowing white and yellow flames out of its exhaust nozzle.The reusable rocket-capsule combo aced its 11th test mission on Thursday: the uncrewed flight set a new record for the number of experiments carried by New Shepard, reports.The Air Force payload consists of three satellites (SPARC-1, Falcon ODE, and Harbinger) that will be deployed in a precise sequence.It reflects the Air Force's Space Test Program base in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Its massive Falcon Heavy rocket recently completed its first commercial mission without a hitch, and Space is now on the cusp of taking US astronauts up to the International Space Station (ISS).Founded in 2002, SpaceX is the creation of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, now its CEO and chief designer.It has a factory and a launch site in South Texas, and launch facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (where it launches its reusable rockets) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (where it lands its reusable rockets) in Florida.It also has a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.By vastly reducing space transportation costs, that's how.Since then, SpaceX has been trying to make more components recoverable and reusable, and much more often.
Even small gestures can add up, whether you're choosing recycled goods or finding ways to ditch single-use plastic products.This Earth Day-inspired shopping list of cool products we spotted online will help you forego plastic baggies, skip the beef and harness the sun to light up your life.Green Toys: $6 and up at AmazonIt's reported that 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean from land in a year, and by the year 2050, it's estimated that plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish.Green Toys takes that sort of plastic (mainly milk containers), collected from coastlines and waterways, and recycles them into a range of plastic playthings for kids.The war on plastic straws is heating up.
Companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin dream of making space travel and shipments more economical.While they have mostly focused on reusable rockets, their vehicles are still limited by the same factors as any other rocket has: launching pads.To his two avians with one rock, Stratolaunch Systems Corp. devised a platform that takes of like a plane and, for the first time, gigantic aircraft not only took off but also landed safely, just like a plane.Reusable rockets are definitely a huge money saver but the traditional way they launch and land means they can only do some from an extremely few launching facilities.If space travel and tourism are to become like what Musk and Bezos envision them to be, they need to be able to take off more frequently.The Stratolaunch, in contrast, can take off from any regular runway, at least those that can accommodate its 385-foot wingspan.
While Earth Day on April 22 is a great reminder of our role as stewards of the planet, the principles and ideals can radiate out long after the day's celebrations are over.Even small gestures can add up, whether you're choosing recycled goods or finding ways to ditch single-use plastic products.This Earth Day-inspired shopping list of cool products we spotted online will help you forego plastic baggies, skip the beef and harness the sun to light up your life.Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.The war on plastic straws is heating up.Rothy's recycled shoes: $55 to $165
Reducing the cost of space missions is one of the core aims of outfits such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, with both companies having developed reusable rocket systems capable of landing first-stage boosters back on Earth.Germany’s DLR space agency is also looking to create a reusable launcher for European space missions, but one markedly different from those currently being used.Instead of using rocket thrust to control descent in the way SpaceX and Blue Origin do, DLR wants to build what it describes as a “rocket catcher.”The ambitious-sounding system would feature a first-stage booster with wings that would be caught by an aircraft during its descent and then towed toward a landing strip.On final approach, the aircraft would release the booster for a glider-like landing.No, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin has officially started construction on a Huntsville, Alabama facility that will produce engines for its New Glenn two-stage, partially reusable launch system, as well as the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur, Engadget reported.According to, the $200 million, 46-acre facility in Huntsville - sometimes called “Rocket City” for its long history with spaceflight projects - will employ some 300-400 workers to build both BE-3 and BE-4 engines, and is planned to be “highly automated.” Parts of the manufacturing process will be additive, i.e.“The engine has a lot of additive parts,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith told“It has some very unique cladding and different ways we produce that engine.One of the things that’s not always obvious is that we at Blue Origin are a ‘make’ house.We don’t have a lot of ‘build to spec.’”
SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, is laying off about 10% of its workforce.Business Insider compiled that layoff data into two charts that summarize the roles and duties of those being let go.Technicians, engineers, and machinists together make up a majority of SpaceX's terminated positions, while managers and supervisors represent about 7% of the layoffs.Musk previously said SpaceX is moving resources into developing a reusable launch system called Starship/Super Heavy (or Big Falcon Rocket), and deploying a global satellite internet network called Starlink.The workforce reduction will terminate hundreds of employees at SpaceX facilities across at least seven states by March 12.Engineers come next with 97 jobs let go, or nearly 17% of the locally terminated workforce.