caption Elon Musk and SpaceX are developing a stainless-steel rocket ship called Starship. source © Kimi Talvitie; NASA; Mark Brake/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider SpaceX is developing a giant, fully reusable launch system called Starship to ferry people to and from Mars. Elon Musk, the aerospace company’s founder, said he recently made “radical” changes to the spacecraft’s design. One change gives Starship a stainless-steel body. The other is a heat shield that will “bleed” liquid during landing to cool off the spaceship and prevent it from burning up. But aerospace experts anticipate huge challenges for Starship, including clogs in heat-shield pores that could destroy the spacecraft. A chief engineer at NASA said landing Starship full of people on Mars may be about 100 times as difficult as the hardest thing the agency has ever done at the red planet. SpaceX, the aerospace company … [Read more...] about Elon Musk says SpaceX is developing a ‘bleeding’ heavy-metal rocket ship. Making it work may be 100 times as hard as NASA’s most difficult Mars mission, one expert says.
caption The first firing of SpaceX’s full-scale Raptor rocket engine, which is designed to help send passengers around the moon. source SpaceX via Elon Musk/Twitter Elon Musk posted videos of SpaceX test-firing its new Raptor rocket engine for the first time. The engine is a crucial part of the Starship launch system, which SpaceX hopes will rocket humans to the moon, Mars, and beyond. A space industry analyst said the viability of the Starship program relies on continued and successful tests of the engine, since Raptors will power the spacecraft and are designed to be reusable. Starship test vehicles are being built in Texas to prove the system can safely take cargo and people into space in the early 2020s. SpaceX plans to replace all of its other rocket systems with Raptor-equipped Starships, so the company’s future may also hinge on the engine’s performance. Elon Musk debuted a huge new rocket engine on Sunday that he said can … [Read more...] about SpaceX just fired a giant rocket engine that Elon Musk says has ‘insane power.’ The future of the company may ride on its performance.
caption An illustration of a Terran-1 rocket from Relativity Space launching from the US Air Force’s Launch Complex 16 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. source Relativity Space Relativity Space is a startup focused on 3D-printed rockets that was founded by former SpaceX and Blue Origin engineers The company has secured a launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Called Launch Complex 16, it’s a historic location where missiles and Space Race hardware were once tested. The US Air Force awarded Relativity Space a contract for the site, saying they “were impressed” by the company’s team and technologies. Relativity Space seeks to prove that its first rocket, Terran 1, and overall approach is viable in an increasingly competitive market for launches. Relativity Space, an aerospace startup based in Los Angeles, has secured a historic home in Florida from which to launch its 3D-printed rockets. The site is right in … [Read more...] about A scrappy competitor to SpaceX and Blue Origin just secured a crucial and historic launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida
caption A photo-illustration of Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, and Gwynne Shotwell, the rocket company’s president and chief operating officer. source Dia Dipasupil/Getty; Official SpaceX Photos/Flickr; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, is laying off about 10% of its workforce. In a notice required by California law, the company said it’s eliminating 577 positions at its headquarters in Los Angeles. 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. Elon … [Read more...] about These are the 577 positions SpaceX is cutting at its headquarters in a major round of layoffs
caption Elon Musk watches a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch. source National Geographic/YouTube Elon Musk said in May that SpaceX would launch more orbital missions in 2018 than any nation on Earth. Musk’s rocket company didn’t achieve that goal, as China successfully launched at least 35 rockets. But SpaceX broke the world record for most commercial rocket launches in a year, with 20. The company still has one more launch remaining on its 2018 manifest. Here’s a look at every SpaceX mission of 2018, including Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. This has been SpaceX’s most incredible year yet for launching rockets. In 2018, Elon Musk’s aerospace company achieved 20 successful launches. Those missions sent dozens of payloads into orbit, debuted two experimental Starlink internet satellites, and even shot a car past the orbit of Mars. The company still has one more launch planned for December. Musk … [Read more...] about Elon Musk beat a world record for rocket launches in 2018. Here’s every history-making SpaceX mission of the year.