Morgan Stanley says SpaceX’s Starship may ‘transform investor expectations’ about space – CNBC

Starship prototype 20 is stacked on top of Super Heavy Booster 4 on August 6, 2021.

SpaceX

Elon Musk's SpaceX has become one of the world's most valuable private companies, and Morgan Stanley believes the Starship rockets the venture is developing will have wide-reaching implications.

Starship is the massive, next-generation rocketSpaceX is developing to be fully reusable, to launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. The company is testing prototypes at a facility in southern Texas and has flown multiple short test flights.

"This technological development has the potential to transform investor expectations around the space industry," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a note to investors on Monday.

"As one client put it: 'talking about space before Starship is like talking about the internet before Google,'" Jonas added.

Morgan Stanley noted that its latest views on SpaceX come in response to CNBC reporting that the company's valuation has hit $100 billion.

"What SpaceX is doing on the shores of South Texas is challenging any preconceived notion of what was possible and the time frame possible, in terms of rockets, launch vehicles and supporting infrastructure," Jonas said.

In Morgan Stanley's view, Musk's company has created a "double flywheel" of technology development with its reusable rockets and Starlink satellites. The firm bases the majority of SpaceX's valuation on the earning potential of the Starlink satellite internet network, which Musk has previously said could bring in as much as $30 billion in revenue a year.

"We view SpaceX's launch capabilities and Starlink as inextricably linked whereby improvements in launch capacity/bandwidth (both in frequency and payload per flight) and cost of launch improve the economics and path to scale of Starlink's LEO constellation," Jonas said. "At the same time, development of Starlink's commercial opportunity provides a thriving 'captive customer' for the launch business, enabling a symbiotic development."

Notably, Morgan Stanley expects Starlink to burn about $33 billion this decade and turn cash flow positive in 2031.

Morgan Stanley last year forecast that SpaceX would become a $100 billion company at a time when SpaceX's valuation was nearing $44 billion.

"More than one client has told us if Elon Musk were to become the first Trillionaire... it won't be because of Tesla. Others have said SpaceX may eventually be the most highly valued company in the world in any industry," Jonas said.

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Morgan Stanley says SpaceX's Starship may 'transform investor expectations' about space - CNBC

Cathie Wood Piled Up Another $994K In This Company Linked With Elon Musk’s SpaceX On Friday – Benzinga – Benzinga

Cathie Wood-led Ark Investment Management on Friday bought 126,360 shares estimated to be worth about $994,453 in Velo3D Inc (NYSE:VLD), on the dip.

Shares of the 3D company, which went public last month via a merger with special purpose acquisition company Jaws Spitfire Acquisition Corp, closed 1.75% lower at $7.87 on Friday.

The Ark Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (BATS:ARKQ) bought the shares in Velo3D, a 3D printer supplier for SpaceX. Besides ARKQ, the Ark Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (BATS:ARKX) also owns shares in Velo3D.

Together the two ETFs held 4.41 million shares, worth $35.39 million, in Velo3D ahead of Friday's trade.

SpaceX is a space exploration company led byTesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk.

See Also: Cathie Wood Just Bought Another $402K In This Supplier Of Elon Musk-Led SpaceX

Here are a few of the other key trades for Ark on Friday:

Bought 48,448 shares estimated to be worth $6.55 million in Teladoc Health Inc (NYSE:TDOC). Shares of the telemedicine healthcare company closed 1.08% lower at $135.40 a share on Friday.

Sold 153,997 shares estimated to be worth $6.75 million in NanoString Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:NSTG). Shares of the biotech company closed 1.42% lower at $43.82 a share on Friday.

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Cathie Wood Piled Up Another $994K In This Company Linked With Elon Musk's SpaceX On Friday - Benzinga - Benzinga

Supporters and opponents of SpaceX launch site air their concerns – Ars Technica

Enlarge / Rendering of SpaceX's Boca Chica launch site with FAA annotations.

FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration convened the first of two virtual public hearings on Monday evening to solicit public comments on SpaceX's plan to launch its Starship rocket from South Texas.

The hearing, which lasted nearly four hours, drew passionate support for SpaceX's plans to expand its Starbase facility as well as heated opposition. Limited to comments of threeminutes or less, nearly five dozen people spoke during the hearing over Zoom.

By my informal counting, the comments tallied 39 in favor of the project and 18 against. The comments in favor of SpaceX were more likely to come from out of state, from people generally appreciative of the company's efforts to make humanity a "multiplanetary species." However, there were plenty of local supporters as well.

Most of those who spoke against the project said they lived near Brownsville, or in the state of Texas. They cited a mix of environmental concerns, including wildlife habitat destruction, and impacts on the South Texas community, such as gentrification.

Several proponents of SpaceX said they had grown up near Cape Canaveral, in Florida, or other launch sites around the planet and had not seen environmental degradation in the vicinity. Rohan Joseph, who identified himself as an aerospace engineer, "lifelong environmentalist," and birder, cited the protection of sea turtles at launch sites in India as an example of the positive effects of a launch site on an area.

He also wondered why SpaceX appeared to be receiving so much scrutiny for its launch site when there was a former oil drilling site in the vicinity, or, if the environment was so pristine, why nearby South Padre Island had been allowed to be built up. "If SpaceX were an oil exploration company, there would be no questions asked," Joseph said.

A number of supporters also cited the project's ability to inspire a new generation of Texans. Gail Afar, a registered nurse in Texas, works with children in schools, and she said their eyes light up when the topic of SpaceX is raised.

Austin Barnard, who said he has lived in Brownsville his entire life, recalled growing up in South Texas without any sense of hope for the future. "The community is now embracing the idea that there is a new dawn for humanity," Barnard said. "I find it awe-inspiring and beautiful."

A city commissioner from Brownsville, Jessica Tetreau-Kalifa, noted that before SpaceX's decision to move to South Texas in 2013, the area was "the poorest community in the United States." By coming to the region, she said, SpaceX has changed everything, from the perception of the region to its economic outlook. The company now employs more than 2,000 people locally, she said.

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Supporters and opponents of SpaceX launch site air their concerns - Ars Technica

Its not the heat, its the humidity that grounded Boeings Starliner – Ars Technica

Enlarge / The Boeing Starliner spacecraft to be flown on Orbital Flight Test-2 is seen at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 2, 2021.

NASA

NASA and Boeing officials said Tuesday that they have successfully removed two valves from the Starliner spacecraft and have shipped them to Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama for further analysis.

The forensic examinationthe two valves will be inspected with a variety of techniques, including a CT scanis part of Boeing's ongoing effort to diagnose the "stuck" valve issue that caused an abort of Starliner's uncrewed test flight on August 3. With less than five hours remaining in the countdown to launch, during a routine procedure, 13 of the 24 valves that control the flow of dinitrogen tetroxide oxidizer through the service module of the spacecraft would not cycle between closed and open.

An initial diagnostic effort at the launch pad yielded no results, so the Atlas V rocket and spacecraft were rolled back to an integration facility. After more inspection and testing there, engineers decided to "de-stack" the spacecraft and return it to Boeing's spacecraft processing building at Kennedy Space Center. This eventually led to further dissection of the vehicle and removal of several valves.

Boeing's chief engineer for space and launch, Michelle Parker, said during a news conference with reporters Tuesday that the company has a pretty solid hypothesis for what went wrong. At some point during the 46-day period when the vehicle was fueledand when the valves were found to be stuckhumidity must have gotten into the spacecraft. This moisture combined with the oxidizer and created nitric acid, beginning the process of corrosion.

Parker said dew points at the launch site were high in August, and while the vehicle was designed to operate in Florida's humidity, there is physical evidence that humidity is nonetheless the culprit. Boeing and NASA engineers now want to try to recreate the corrosive reaction in similar test conditions so that they can be confident of the root cause and any countermeasures they implement.

The company and NASA will press ahead with work in Florida, Alabama, and at Boeing's test site in White Sands, New Mexico. All of this will take time, acknowledged Boeing's program manager for commercial crew, John Vollmer. He said Boeing is now targeting the "first half" of 2022 for the uncrewed test flight of Starliner. (One source told Ars the "no earlier than" date is May 2022).

This mission is formally named Orbital Flight Test-2, or OFT-2. The company is flying OFT-2at its own expense, $410 million, following an uncrewed Starliner mission in December 2019 that went awry due to software issues. The company's technicians and engineers worked long and hard after the OFT-1 flight to fix the software, only to have these new hardware problems crop up during launch-day checks on the pad in early August.

NASA is hoping that Boeing can get Starliner up and flying so that it can have a second launch system, alongside SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle, to get its astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Assuming that Boeing safely completes OFT-2, Vollmer said the company and NASA would like to have about six months to review data and prepare for a crewed test flight. That would put the earliest possible launch date for Starliner's first mission carrying astronauts toward the end of 2022. More realistically, the mission may not fly until early 2023.

After this flight, NASA will certify that Starliner is ready for regular, operational astronaut flights.

As part of its commercial crew program, NASA ordered six "post-certification" missions from SpaceX and Boeing. SpaceX successfully completed its demonstration crewed mission in 2020 and is set to launch its third certified crew mission, Crew-3, to the International Space Station on October 31. A fourth and fifth mission are scheduled to follow in 2022.

During Tuesday's news conference, NASA's commercial crew program manager, Steve Stich, said the agency is negotiating additional flights for SpaceXand possibly Boeing. He said details about those contract extensions could be announced within the next few months. Given the issues discussed Tuesday, It now seems possible that SpaceX could complete its initial six-mission contract before Boeing flies its first certified mission. But Stich is confident that Boeing will get there.

"I have no reason to believe that Boeing wont be successful in getting Starliner operational," Stich said. "We'll get this problem solved, and then we'll have two space transportation systems like we want."

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Its not the heat, its the humidity that grounded Boeings Starliner - Ars Technica

Elon Musk Has a Full Resume With Tesla and SpaceX. 1 More Thing He Can Add. – Barron’s

Elon Musk has built two industrial behemothsTesla and SpaceXrevolutionizing two industries along the way. But thats not all he has done to change global industry.

Musk has also given manufacturing companies a new word: gigafactory.

The practical definition of a gigafactory is a larger, modern manufacturing facility for products that are...

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Elon Musk Has a Full Resume With Tesla and SpaceX. 1 More Thing He Can Add. - Barron's

Ex-SpaceX engineers are working on portable nuclear reactors that can power over 1,000 homes – Business Insider India

The startup Radiant was founded by ex-SpaceX engineers who recently secured funding of $1.2 million to develop these portable nuclear reactors. Radiants nuclear reactors can deliver over 1 MegaWatt of electricity and they can operate for up to eight years. This makes it possible for one reactor to power over 1,000 homes.

Whats different with these nuclear reactorsThe nuclear reactors developed by Radiant use helium instead of water for cooling. This method, according to the company greatly reduces corrosion, boiling and contamination risks. The particle fuel used in these reactors does not melt according to Radiant and is also said to be capable of handling higher temperatures than traditional nuclear fuels. The company is also working around ways to refuel the reactors and also efficiently transport heat out of the reactor core.

Small nuclear reactorsSmall nuclear reactors are being developed by several countries including NASA who is making one the size of a garbage can. According to the World Nuclear Association, small nuclear reactors are convenient as they can be efficiently built in a controlled factory. Their small size and safety features also make it possible for them to be lent to countries with smaller grids. It can also help with easier financing as compared to larger nuclear plants.

SEE ALSO:

Apple MacBook Pro and AirPods 3 launched Indian pricing, features and everything you need to know

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Ex-SpaceX engineers are working on portable nuclear reactors that can power over 1,000 homes - Business Insider India

Relativity Space raises $650 million for 3D-printed SpaceX …

An artist's rendition of a Terran R rocket launching to orbit.

Relativity Space

3D-printing specialist Relativity Space raised $650 million to step up work on a fully reusable rocket that will attempt to challenge Elon Musk's SpaceX in less than three years, the company announced on Tuesday.

The money will be used "to accelerate some of the production ramp rate and get to a higher launch cadence as quickly as we can, because the demand is certainly there for it," Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis told CNBC.

Relativity's new capital will be focused on its Terran R rocket, a launch vehicle that would be similar in size and power to SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.

Terran R will carry 20 times more to orbit than Relativity's Terran 1 rocket, the latter of which the company is on track to launch for the first time by the end of this year. Additionally, Ellis said Terran 1's backlog of customer orders makes it "the most pre-sold rocket in history before launch."

The raise, which Ellis described as "war chest doubled," was led by Fidelity and comes eight months after Relativity brought in $500 million in a round led by Tiger Global. The $650 million in equity added BlackRock, Centricus, Coatue and Soroban Capital as new Relativity investors, with a host of existing investors including Fidelity, Tiger, Baillie Gifford, K5 Global, Tribe Capital, XN, Brad Buss, Mark Cuban, Jared Leto and Spencer Rascoff building on prior stakes.

Relativity has now raised $1.34 billion in capital since its founding in 2015, with its valuation climbing to $4.2 billion from $2.3 billion in November. Its headcount has grown to 400 people, with Ellis saying the company plans to "add several more hundred this year."

"We've signed up to create a lot of value, certainly remaining the second most highly valued space company in the world," Ellis said, as SpaceX commands an industry-leading $74 billion valuation.

A timelapse from inside of a 3D-printing bay shows the manufacturing process for a Terran 1 second stage flight tank:

Relativity Space

Relativity is building the first iteration of its Terran 1 rocket and has manufactured 85% of the vehicle for the inaugural launch. It uses multiple 3D-printers, all developed in-house, to build Terran 1 and will do the same for Terran R.

The rockets are designed to be almost entirely 3D-printed, an approach which Relativity says makes it less complex, and faster to build or modify, than traditional rockets. Additionally, Relativity says its simpler process will eventually be capable of turning raw material into a rocket on the launchpad in under 60 days.

"We're just seeing in the market that there needs to be another quickly-moving, disruptive launch company that's actually skating to where the puck is going," Ellis said.

He added that Relativity "never seriously considered the SPAC path," believing his company doesn't yet need to go public and can tap "almost limitless capital" in the private markets. A SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, is a blank-check company that raises funding from investors to finance a merger with a private company to take it public.

Ellis noted that Relativity received higher fundraising offers than the one it accepted from Fidelity, but went with the firm as the lead due to its prestige and reputation.

Relativity Spaceranked No. 23on this year'sCNBC Disruptor 50list.

The row of two-story tall 3D printer bays at the company's headquarters.

Relativity Space

Relativity's Terran 1 rocket is designed to carry 1,250 kilograms to low Earth orbit. That puts Terran 1 in the middle of the U.S. launch market, in the "medium-lift" section betweenRocket Lab's ElectronandSpaceX's Falcon 9in capability.

But Terran R would go head-to-head with Falcon 9: Targeting a capability of more than 20,000 kilograms to low Earth orbit, almost as tall at 216 feet in length, slightly wider with a 16-foot diameter, and a similarly sized nosecone to carry satellites to space.

SpaceX's rocket features nine Merlin engines in the booster, each capable of about 190,000 pounds of thrust, while Relativity's Terran R booster will feature seven Aeon R engines that it says will be capable of 302,000 pounds of thrust each. Earlier this year Relativity completed a full duration test firing of a pathfinder engine, using liquid oxygen and liquid methane as its fuel.

Musk's company ships its Falcon 9 boosters via highways from its headquarters in California, and Ellis said Relativity will similarly send its Terran R boosters over land to the coast of Texas, before putting them on a barge to its engine testing facility in Mississippi and then on another barge to Florida.

Relativity is aiming to launch the first Terran R mission in 2024 from Cape Canaveral's LC-16 launchpad, where its first Terran 1 missions will also launch. While Relativity is "nearly out of physical space" in the headquarters it moved into last summer, Ellis said the company has the core infrastructure in place needed to manufacturing Terran R. It has five large scale 3D-printers and five smaller "development" printers, and plans to add two more development bays in the near future. But Ellis noted that the company completed work on a new 3D-printer head, which more than doubles its print speed.

"It's not just adding more printer hardware. We're also continuously using the data and learning of printing to actually speed up the process and also make changes to the printer design themselves," Ellis said.

Ellis emphasized that Terran R has been a part of the plan since Relativity's early days, as the company has seen strong "market interest and demand for creating this vehicle." Although he declined to disclose the name of the customer, Relativity has a "prominent" initial buyer for Terran R launches.

"We've actually been developing [Terran R] this the whole time, so in many ways I feel like this is a weight off my shoulders, a big reveal," Ellis said. "We just needed to get enough traction and resources to be in the spot where now we're going big."

An illustration of a Terran 1 rocket, left, next to a Terran R rocket and a silhouette of a person.

Relativity Space

Ellis said he is a "huge fan" of SpaceX's next-generation Starship rocket, which Musk's company is developing to be fully reusable hoping to make space travel more akin to air travel.

"We need a vehicle that's going to take people to Mars," Ellis said. "[Starship] is huge and I think that capability is necessary."

As Terran R aims to be fully reusable, Ellis described it as "more a miniature Starship than a Falcon 9 rocket." While SpaceX reuses the boosters of its Falcon 9 rockets, it has not been able to reuse the upper stages that carry satellites on to orbit. Relativity wants Terran R to be a "fresh look at what is the best possible" rocket by designing it to be fully reusable from the beginning.

Terran R's booster, or first stage, will use its engines to land standing upright and has features "that would be nearly impossible to produce without 3D-printing." Ellis said Relativity's long-term goal is to "get to hundreds to thousands of reuses" per rocket. Reusing the second stage will be the next challenge, with Relativity building it "out of a more exotic 3D-printed metal" to make it lighter and able to endure the intense temperatures of reentering the Earth's atmosphere.

"First stage reuse or even second stage may not work perfectly on the very first try, but every single launch attempt that we're bringing in revenue we're able to continue to develop reusability further," Ellis said.

A fully reusable rocket would also be able to deliver cargo quickly from one point on the Earth to another, a use the U.S. military has shown great interest in already with SpaceX's Starship.

"I think point-to-point space transportation is an interesting market that we're looking at" with Terran R, Ellis said.

More broadly, Ellis remains focused on helping to "build an industrial base on Mars" and believes both 3D-printing and fully reusable rockets are key to making that happen.

"No one else is doing full reusability and I think that that's a bit depressing there needs to be more companies actually trying to make the future happen in a big way," Ellis said. "What we're doing is extremely hard ,but we also have the best and most experienced team in the industry."

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SpaceX Converts Oil Rig Into a Launch Pad for Starship in …

SpaceX is building an offshore launch pad for its Starship rocket in Mississippi, The Sun Herald first reported on Thursday.

Elon Musk's space company bought two oil rigs off the coast of Texas earlier this year with the intention of converting them into ocean spaceports. One of the rigs, Phobos, is now located in Pascagoula, a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, according to The Sun Herald.

It's unclear where the other launch pad, Deimos, will be situated. The ocean platforms, where Starship will blast off from, have been named after Mars' moons.

Shipbuilding and repair company ST Engineering Halter Marine & Offshore Inc. is working on a six-month project to remove drilling equipment from the Phobus oil rig.

"SpaceX is here in Pascagoula," Jeffrey Gehrmann, ST Engineering's senior vice president of operations, told The Sun Herald.

Gehrmann said the oil rig was towed in from Galveston, Texas, after SpaceX called ST Engineering to ask how much the company would charge to remove the drilling equipment from the oil rig.

"Apparently, our number was better than our competitors', and they brought it to us," he said.

Gehrmann couldn't go into further details about the project due to a nondisclosure agreement with SpaceX, The Sun Herald reported.

"This has the potential of being huge," Gehrmann said.

Musk said on May 30 that that Deimos is under construction and could begin launch operations next year.

Both Deimos and Phobus will serve as alaunch and landing platform for SpaceX's Starship, a spacecraft that Musk wants to send to Mars. This will be the first time that Starship takes off from an ocean launch pad.

These Starship offshore spaceports follow the success of SpaceX's ocean droneships, including "Just Read the Instructions" and "Of Course I Still Love You," which allow the recovery of Falcon 9 first stages in the Atlantic Ocean.

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SpaceX Tests Experimental Starlink Terminal That Uses 2 …

(Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is testing a new version of Starlink that operates via two satellite dishes instead of one.

The company revealed the experimental dish in an FCC filing last week, which was spotted by Wccftech. The document indicates the dish separates the transmitting and receiving antennas into two squares thatll communicate with SpaceXs satellite internet network. Each square measures 12.2 inches by 12.2 inches.

The design is notably different from the circular satellite dish design on a standard Starlink terminal, which the company has been distributing to thousands of eager customers. That dish, which measures 23 inches in diameter, contains both the transmitting and receiving antennas.

SpaceXs application to the FCC doesnt reveal much about the experimental dish or its purpose. The document merely says the company is seeking a six-month license to test the dish starting on July 10 in five states: California, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Washington.

The tests requested here are designed to demonstrate the ability to transmit to and receive information from a fixed location on the ground, the application adds. SpaceX will test antenna equipment functionality and analyze data link performance of the user terminal.

The application was filed as SpaceX is rolling out Starlink across the globe to potentially millions of users in need of high-speed internet. To reach the goal, the company is trying to reduce the $499 upfront cost of each Starlink terminal, which includes the dish and a Wi-Fi modem.

The experimental dish could also represent SpaceXs attempt to upgrade speeds on the Starlink network. At the same time, the company is working to offer Starlink on moving vehicles, including boats and cars.

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SpaceX Dragon docks at space station to deliver new solar …

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station today (June 5) to deliver new solar arrays along with tons of fresh research experiments and NASA supplies as part of the company's 22nd cargo resupply mission.

The uncrewed Dragon autonomously linked up with the orbiting laboratory at 5:09 a.m. EDT (0909 GMT), parking at the zenith, or space-facing, side of the station's Harmony module. Docking occurred approximately 40 hours after the Dragon's launch on a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday (June 3) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At the time of docking, both spacecraft were sailing about 258 miles (415 kilometers) over the South Pacific Ocean.

"It was a great approach and was awesome watching it come on in, and we're glad it's here," NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough told flight controllers after docking. "Looking forward to all the science and other goodies that it brought up along with our EVA solar arrays. It's going to be a great few weeks as we get into Dragon and get things out."

Video: See SpaceX's 1st automated uncrewed docking at space stationRelated: SpaceX launches upgraded Cargo Dragon to space station for NASA

SpaceX's Dragon CRS-22 mission is the second upgraded supply ship to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) without the help of astronauts, who typically use the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to grapple incoming cargo vessels and manually attach them to the station. However, two Expedition 65 crewmembers Kimbrough and fellow NASA astronaut Megan McArthur did monitor the docking from inside the station's Cupola observatory.

The arrival of this upgraded Dragon CRS-22 cargo spacecraft will bring the total number of SpaceX vehicles to two. A different Crew Dragon spacecraft, which brought four astronauts to the space station in April on the Crew-2 mission, is also currently docked at the Harmony module.

"Hard capture is complete and it's a great day seeing another Dragon on ISS [International Space Station]," spacecraft communicator Leslie Ringo radioed the station crew after docking from NASA's Mission Control in Houston.

Related: SpaceX's Crew Dragon space capsule explained (infographic)

This Cargo Dragon is SpaceX's second supply-toting vehicle to autonomously dock itself with the space station. That is a new feature thanks to some redesigns that SpaceX has made to its workhorse Dragon cargo spacecraft. The upgrades allow the vehicle to not only dock with the station (its predecessor was grappled by the station's robotic arm and berthed to the station with the help of astronauts on board) but also increased the craft's cargo capacity by about 20%, enabling more science.

This Dragon will be the second to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean following a month-long stay attached to the ISS. This change allows researchers to receive their precious cargo shipments much faster than before.

On board the Dragon CRS-22 spacecraft is 7,300 lbs. (3,311 kilograms) of supplies and science investigations, including two brand new roll-out solar arrays that will help boost the space station's power supply. Built by RedWire and Boeing, the arrays are the first two in a set of six that will be installed on the station in the coming months.

Dubbed iROSA (ISS Roll-Out Solar Array), the first set of flexible solar panels will be installed this month as part of a series of spacewalks performed by Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet, on June 16 and 20. The design was first tested as part of a technology demonstration on a previous resupply mission.

In addition to the ISS, the solar arrays will be used on future missions, such as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (or DART), which is set to launch on a SpaceX rocket later this year. It will also be used on NASA's planned Lunar Gateway, a part of the agency's Artemis moon program.

Also on board the Dragon CRS-21 spacecraft is more than 2,000-lbs. (907 kilograms) of scientific experiments, including some interesting organisms like tardigrades (also known as "water bears") and Bobtail squid.

The Dragon CRS-22 mission marks the second cargo mission the company has flown under its second Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA, called CRS-2.

SpaceX signed its first such contract with NASA in 2008, originally agreeing to launch 12 cargo missions to the space station between 2012 and 2016. NASA extended that contract to include a total of 20 Dragon cargo flights, for a total cost of about $700 million in 2015. (Northrop Grumman, formerly known as Orbital ATK, also received a contract to fly NASA cargo on its Cygnus cargo spacecraft.)

According to Montalbano, the cargo Dragon will remain docked with the space station until July. Once Cargo Dragon departs, the Crew Dragon currently docked with the station will switch parking spots, opening up a port on the ISS for an uncrewed Boeing Starliner spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch on its OFT-2 test flight to the station on July 30.

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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SpaceXs Starlink is in talks with several airlines for in-flight Wi-Fi – The Verge

The team behind SpaceXs growing satellite internet network Starlink is in talks with several airlines to beam internet to their airplanes, the projects vice president said during a conference panel on Wednesday. Expanding Starlink from rural homes and onto airlines is an expected move for Elon Musks space company as it races to open the broadband network commercially later this year.

Were in talks with several of the airlines, Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceXs VP of Starlink and commercial sales, told a panel at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit on Wednesday. We have our own aviation product in development weve already done some demonstrations to date, and looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future.

Since 2018, SpaceX has launched nearly 1,800 Starlink satellites out of the roughly 4,400 it needs to provide global coverage of broadband internet, primarily for rural homes where fiber connections arent available. The company is in the midst of a Starlink beta phase that promises up to 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload speeds, with tens of thousands of users so far. Most are paying $99 per month for internet under that beta, using a $499 bundle of a self-aligning Starlink dish and Wi-Fi router.

Last year, SpaceX filed plans to test Starlink on five Gulfstream jets. And in March, SpaceX sought FCC approval to use Starlink with so-called Earth Stations in Motion industry jargon to refer to basically any vehicle that would receive a signal, including cars, trucks, maritime vessels, and aircraft. Musk clarified on Twitter at the time: Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs. Another FCC filing from last Friday requested approval for testing across five US states of an updated receiver with a square-shaped antenna, a basic design commonly associated with aircraft antennae.

Hofeller said the design for SpaceXs airline antennas will be very similar to the technology inside its consumer terminals, but with obvious enhancements for aviation connectivity. Like those consumer antennas, the aviation hardware will be designed and built by SpaceX, he said. The airborne antennas could link with ground stations to communicate with Starlink satellites.

For Starlink to provide connectivity to airplanes flying over remote parts of the ocean, far from ground stations, will require inter-satellite links a capability in which satellites talk to each other using laser links without first bouncing signals off ground stations. The next generation of our constellation, which is in work, will have this inter-satellite connectivity, Hofeller said.

Competition is fierce between Musks Starlink network and the growing industry of low-orbit satellite internet providers. New competitors include so-called mega-constellations from Jeff Bezos Amazon, which has yet to launch any of its planned 3,000 satellites, and the UKs OneWeb, which has launched 182 satellites of roughly 640 planned. All of those satellites will be in low-Earth orbit, a domain below the more distant geostationary orbits of larger internet satellites that currently provide internet services to commercial aircraft.

Established US competitors for in-flight internet are Intelsat and ViaSat, which operate networks of satellites in geostationary orbit. ViaSat recently announced plans to use its next-generation satellite network on Deltas mainline fleet. The California-based company is planning a 300-satellite low-orbit network of its own as well as a new geostationary trio that will start launching early next year. It is already a diehard competitor to SpaceX. ViaSat has threatened to sue the Federal Communications Commission for not doing an environmental review on a recent Starlink modification.

SpaceX appears confident that it can outlast the more established competition. All in all, passengers and customers want a great experience that [geostationary] systems simply cannot provide, Hofeller said on the panel. So its going to be up to the individual airline whether they want to be responsive to that, or if theyre okay with having a system that is not as responsive to their customers demand.

OneWeb, which was pulled out of bankruptcy last year by the UK government and Indian telecom giant Bharti Global, is also targeting in-flight internet services with its constellation and has been far more public with its plans than SpaceX. Asked by the panel moderator when customers can expect to use in-flight internet with any of the competing satellite networks currently expanding in low-Earth orbit, OneWebs VP of mobility services Ben Griffin estimated the middle part of next year maybe sooner. Airlines want to see developed hardware and services that work first, he added.

We have been talking to airlines for quite some time, so theres no lack of interest, Griffin said during the same panel. SpaceXs Hofeller was cagey when the question turned to him What Ben said is correct. People want to see the hardware, they wanna see the constellation, and so were driving that hard as fast as we can. When the announcement will be? To be determined. Dont know. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

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SpaceXs Starlink is in talks with several airlines for in-flight Wi-Fi - The Verge

SpaceX sends cargo to the space station, with the company on a record launch pace for 2021 – CNBC

[The livestream has ended. A replay is available above.]

SpaceX sent the latest cargo mission for NASA to the space station on Thursday, with Elon Musk's company completing its 17th launch this year.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket took off at 1:29 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission, called CRS-22, has SpaceX's Cargo Dragon spacecraft carrying more than 7,300 pounds of research and supplies to the International Space Station.

A few minutes after the launch, SpaceX landed the Falcon 9 booster the largest, bottom portion of the rocket on an autonomous ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The Cargo Dragon capsule separated from the rocket about 12 minutes after liftoff, with the spacecraft expected to dock with the ISS on Saturday.

During a pre-launch press conference, SpaceX director of Dragon mission management Sarah Walker noted that CRS-22 is the fifth Dragon capsule the company has sent to the International Space Station in the past 12 months. The company has launched multiple crew and cargo missions in the past year, with a full slate in the year ahead as well.

Additionally, CRS-22 is SpaceX's 17th mission of 2021. The company is on a blistering launch pace, as missions are going up an average of every nine days since 2021 began.

SpaceX's current pace puts it on track to conduct about 40 launches this year, which would easily top its annual record of 26 launches set last year. It has launched 119 of its Falcon 9 rockets to date, landed 79 of the Falcon 9's boosters, and reused boosters for 61 missions.

The company's Cargo Dragon spacecraft rolls out to the launchpad in Florida atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX

Walker also pointed out that CRS-22 is the first mission of this year to launch on a new Falcon 9 rocket booster, as the company has been reusing boosters for all its recent missions.

"We're actually surprised when we get to a mission [in which we're] flying a new booster," Walker said.

CRS-22 carries dozens of research investigations for the astronauts on the ISS, including experiments about the survival of tardigrades in space, a portable ultrasound device, robotic operations demonstrations and more. Cargo Dragon is also bringing the first two of six new solar arrays called iROSA, built through Boeing and space infrastructure conglomerate Redwire Space. The new solar arrays are expected to improve the ISS' power generation by 20% to 30%.

This Cargo Dragon spacecraft is expected to return to Earth in July, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida with 5,300 pounds of experiments and cargo.

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SpaceX sends cargo to the space station, with the company on a record launch pace for 2021 - CNBC

Marc Benioff reveals investment in SpaceX, but says he’d need ‘a couple of Ativans’ to leave Earth – CNBC

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon 2 spacecraft carrying supplies to the International Space Station lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. This is the 22nd resupply mission for NASA by SpaceX.

Paul Hennessy | LightRocket | Getty Images

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said Monday that he's bullish on space, noting that he's an investor in Elon Musk's SpaceX along with start-ups Astra, Swarm Technologies and Planet Labs.

But don't expect Benioff to join Jeff Bezos on a space trip anytime soon. Bezos, who is stepping aside as Amazon CEO in July, said Monday that he'll fly on the first passenger flight of his space company Blue Origin, which is expected to launch on July 20.

In an interview that aired on CNBC's "Closing Bell," Benioff commended Bezos on the announcement.

"I think it's very exciting that he's willing to basically say, 'If you want to use my product, I will use it first,'" Benioff said. "And I think that that's 100% the right move."

But he's not sure he's personally interested in taking a similar trip.

"I think I might have to take a couple of Ativans before I climb in there," Benioff said. (Ativan is an anti-anxiety medication.)

One of Benioff's space investments, Astra, came out of stealth early last year. Astra said in February that it's going public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that values the business at $2.1 billion. On Monday, the company announced the acquisition of electric propulsion maker Apollo Fusion.

While Benioff's investment in Astra has been reported, his involvements in the other three companies he named have not been disclosed, and none are included among his 122 deals listed by PitchBook.

Most notable is SpaceX, the private space company that was valued by investors earlier this year at $74 billion. Benioff has commended SpaceX in the past, including a retweet of Musk in May 2020, in which Benioff said "visionary leadership." That was just as SpaceX was preparing to launch astronauts into space.

Benioff also said he's an investor Planet Labs, whose satellite technology takes images from space, and Swarm, which aims to provide internet connectivity from satellites.

"I actually think that space is a huge category that we should invest in," Benioff said, noting that it's an area where Time Ventures, his VC arm, is active. "I think those companies are amazing in the work they're doing. and the entrepreneurs."

CNBC's Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.

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Marc Benioff reveals investment in SpaceX, but says he'd need 'a couple of Ativans' to leave Earth - CNBC

Relativity Space raises $650 million from Fidelity and others to build 3D-printed SpaceX competitor – CNBC

An artist's rendition of a Terran R rocket launching to orbit.

Relativity Space

3D-printing specialist Relativity Space raised $650 million to step up work on a fully reusable rocket that will attempt to challenge Elon Musk's SpaceX in less than three years, the company announced on Tuesday.

The money will be used "to accelerate some of the production ramp rate and get to a higher launch cadence as quickly as we can, because the demand is certainly there for it," Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis told CNBC.

Relativity's new capital will be focused on its Terran R rocket, a launch vehicle that would be similar in size and power to SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.

Terran R will carry 20 times more to orbit than Relativity's Terran 1 rocket, the latter of which the company is on track to launch for the first time by the end of this year. Additionally, Ellis said Terran 1's backlog of customer orders makes it "the most pre-sold rocket in history before launch."

The raise, which Ellis described as "war chest doubled," was led by Fidelity and comes eight months after Relativity brought in $500 million in a round led by Tiger Global. The $650 million in equity added BlackRock, Centricus, Coatue and Soroban Capital as new Relativity investors, with a host of existing investors including Fidelity, Tiger, Baillie Gifford, K5 Global, Tribe Capital, XN, Brad Buss, Mark Cuban, Jared Leto and Spencer Rascoff building on prior stakes.

Relativity has now raised $1.34 billion in capital since its founding in 2015, with its valuation climbing to $4.2 billion from $2.3 billion in November. Its headcount has grown to 400 people, with Ellis saying the company plans to "add several more hundred this year."

"We've signed up to create a lot of value, certainly remaining the second most highly valued space company in the world," Ellis said, as SpaceX commands an industry-leading $74 billion valuation.

A timelapse from inside of a 3D-printing bay shows the manufacturing process for a Terran 1 second stage flight tank:

Relativity Space

Relativity is building the first iteration of its Terran 1 rocket and has manufactured 85% of the vehicle for the inaugural launch. It uses multiple 3D-printers, all developed in-house, to build Terran 1 and will do the same for Terran R.

The rockets are designed to be almost entirely 3D-printed, an approach which Relativity says makes it less complex, and faster to build or modify, than traditional rockets. Additionally, Relativity says its simpler process will eventually be capable of turning raw material into a rocket on the launchpad in under 60 days.

"We're just seeing in the market that there needs to be another quickly-moving, disruptive launch company that's actually skating to where the puck is going," Ellis said.

He added that Relativity "never seriously considered the SPAC path," believing his company doesn't yet need to go public and can tap "almost limitless capital" in the private markets. A SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, is a blank-check company that raises funding from investors to finance a merger with a private company to take it public.

Ellis noted that Relativity received higher fundraising offers than the one it accepted from Fidelity, but went with the firm as the lead due to its prestige and reputation.

Relativity Spaceranked No. 23on this year'sCNBC Disruptor 50list.

The row of two-story tall 3D printer bays at the company's headquarters.

Relativity Space

Relativity's Terran 1 rocket is designed to carry 1,250 kilograms to low Earth orbit. That puts Terran 1 in the middle of the U.S. launch market, in the "medium-lift" section betweenRocket Lab's ElectronandSpaceX's Falcon 9in capability.

But Terran R would go head-to-head with Falcon 9: Targeting a capability of more than 20,000 kilograms to low Earth orbit, almost as tall at 216 feet in length, slightly wider with a 16-foot diameter, and a similarly sized nosecone to carry satellites to space.

SpaceX's rocket features nine Merlin engines in the booster, each capable of about 190,000 pounds of thrust, while Relativity's Terran R booster will feature seven Aeon R engines that it says will be capable of 302,000 pounds of thrust each. Earlier this year Relativity completed a full duration test firing of a pathfinder engine, using liquid oxygen and liquid methane as its fuel.

Musk's company ships its Falcon 9 boosters via highways from its headquarters in California, and Ellis said Relativity will similarly send its Terran R boosters over land to the coast of Texas, before putting them on a barge to its engine testing facility in Mississippi and then on another barge to Florida.

Relativity is aiming to launch the first Terran R mission in 2024 from Cape Canaveral's LC-16 launchpad, where its first Terran 1 missions will also launch. While Relativity is "nearly out of physical space" in the headquarters it moved into last summer, Ellis said the company has the core infrastructure in place needed to manufacturing Terran R. It has five large scale 3D-printers and five smaller "development" printers, and plans to add two more development bays in the near future. But Ellis noted that the company completed work on a new 3D-printer head, which more than doubles its print speed.

"It's not just adding more printer hardware. We're also continuously using the data and learning of printing to actually speed up the process and also make changes to the printer design themselves," Ellis said.

Ellis emphasized that Terran R has been a part of the plan since Relativity's early days, as the company has seen strong "market interest and demand for creating this vehicle." Although he declined to disclose the name of the customer, Relativity has a "prominent" initial buyer for Terran R launches.

"We've actually been developing [Terran R] this the whole time, so in many ways I feel like this is a weight off my shoulders, a big reveal," Ellis said. "We just needed to get enough traction and resources to be in the spot where now we're going big."

An illustration of a Terran 1 rocket, left, next to a Terran R rocket and a silhouette of a person.

Relativity Space

Ellis said he is a "huge fan" of SpaceX's next-generation Starship rocket, which Musk's company is developing to be fully reusable hoping to make space travel more akin to air travel.

"We need a vehicle that's going to take people to Mars," Ellis said. "[Starship] is huge and I think that capability is necessary."

As Terran R aims to be fully reusable, Ellis described it as "more a miniature Starship than a Falcon 9 rocket." While SpaceX reuses the boosters of its Falcon 9 rockets, it has not been able to reuse the upper stages that carry satellites on to orbit. Relativity wants Terran R to be a "fresh look at what is the best possible" rocket by designing it to be fully reusable from the beginning.

Terran R's booster, or first stage, will use its engines to land standing upright and has features "that would be nearly impossible to produce without 3D-printing." Ellis said Relativity's long-term goal is to "get to hundreds to thousands of reuses" per rocket. Reusing the second stage will be the next challenge, with Relativity building it "out of a more exotic 3D-printed metal" to make it lighter and able to endure the intense temperatures of reentering the Earth's atmosphere.

"First stage reuse or even second stage may not work perfectly on the very first try, but every single launch attempt that we're bringing in revenue we're able to continue to develop reusability further," Ellis said.

A fully reusable rocket would also be able to deliver cargo quickly from one point on the Earth to another, a use the U.S. military has shown great interest in already with SpaceX's Starship.

"I think point-to-point space transportation is an interesting market that we're looking at" with Terran R, Ellis said.

More broadly, Ellis remains focused on helping to "build an industrial base on Mars" and believes both 3D-printing and fully reusable rockets are key to making that happen.

"No one else is doing full reusability and I think that that's a bit depressing there needs to be more companies actually trying to make the future happen in a big way," Ellis said. "What we're doing is extremely hard ,but we also have the best and most experienced team in the industry."

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Relativity Space raises $650 million from Fidelity and others to build 3D-printed SpaceX competitor - CNBC

The Pentagon wants to use private rockets like SpaceX’s Starship to deliver cargo around the world – CNBC

Starship prototype SN10 fires its three Raptor engines as it comes in for the landing.

SpaceX

The U.S. Air Force said Friday is expanding a small development program that wants to leverage reusable rockets, like those SpaceX is building, to deliver cargo quickly to anywhere in the world.

Called Rocket Cargo, the experimental military program will be led by the U.S. Space Force, the Pentagon said. The program will research and help develop capabilities such as landing "a rocket on a wide range of non-traditional materials and surfaces," engineering "a rocket cargo bay and logistics for rapid loading and unloading" and air-dropping "cargo from the rocket after re-entry in order to service locations where a rocket or aircraft cannot possibly land."

The Air Force's 2022 budget proposal requested almost $50 million for Rocket Cargo to continue the study concept work it began last year with small contracts to SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc).

Rocket Cargo effectively describes the Starship rockets that SpaceX is developing, as the military program will look at fully reusable private rockets that can launch between 30 and 100 tons. Currently, Starship is the only rocket in development that plans to both be reused and can both launch that much mass.

Point-to-point space travel is a form of transportation, in which a rocket would launch into space and then return at another location, making it hypothetically capable of bringing supplies or possibly people from one side of the Earth to the other in under an hour.

SpaceX has been testing prototypes of Starship at its facility in Texas, most recently landing and recovering prototype SN15 after a high-altitude flight test. While SpaceX is aiming to accomplish a feat no previous rocket has achieved reusing rockets quickly to make spaceflight more akin to air travel, instead of the traditional approach of discarding the rocket after launch the last high-altitude flight test was the first that ended without the prototype exploding. The company has yet to reach orbit with the rocket.

Dr. Greg Spanjers, the Air Force Research Laboratory's leader on the Rocket Cargo program, gave NASA's Human Landing Systems program competition as an example of companies working on "viable" options of the Rocket Cargo capability. That NASA program, which is focused on building lunar landers that carry crew to the moon's surface, featured three teams led by Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Leidos' subsidiary Dynetics. But Spanjers said the Air Force has "talked to many more companies than that" about the Rocket Cargo program.

"We talked to a number of providers that we see potentially coming to the table to compete for these contracts," Spanjers said Friday. "SpaceX is certainly the most visible, no question about it [but] what you're trying to do is go into an orbital or a suborbital trajectory, bring the payload back down, and land it on the planet Earth. There are multiple companies that have that technological capability today, not just SpaceX."

The Air Force declined to specify which companies it has talked to about the Rocket Cargo program, with Spanjers saying it is not "appropriate" before the Pentagon begins the contracting process. The contract solicitation is planned to begin very soon, although the Air Force declined to provide a date.

Additionally, the Air Force is willing to consider companies for Rocket Cargo which are not yet developing a point-to-point fully reusable capability.

"Today we are going to build the interfaces and the inroads to encourage more and more companies to enter into that realm. Hopefully they perceive a return on investment, in a business case that's approved by the [Department of Defense] expressing interest in buying the service down the road," Spanjers said.

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The Pentagon wants to use private rockets like SpaceX's Starship to deliver cargo around the world - CNBC

See the citizen astronauts of Inspiration4 learn how to fly a SpaceX Dragon (photos) – Space.com

The citizen astronauts flying to space with Inspiration4 this September are hard at work training for their mission at SpaceX HQ.

This September, four private astronauts will zoom around Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on the three-day Inspiration4 mission, which was booked by tech billionaire (and crew commander) Jared Isaacman.

The crew also includes childhood bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, a physician's assistant at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital; data engineer Chris Sembroski; and geoscientist, science communicator and artist Sian Proctor. All four folks have been hard at work training for the flight. Most recently, Isaacman and Proctor have been "learning to fly a Dragon."

Related: Meet the contest-winning crew of Inspiration4

Isaacman and Proctor, who will serve as pilot for the mission, have been training at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The pair have been getting acquainted with the Crew Dragon because, while it does fly autonomously, they have to know the craft inside and out and be prepared for any possible scenario.

"Crew training continues for #Inspiration4 commander @rookisaacman and pilot @DrSianProctor, with more time spent in @SpaceX simulators to familiarize the team with various aspects of flying Dragon!" team members said via Inspiration4's Twitter account about the training progress that they are making with Crew Dragon.

The post included photos of Isaacman and Proctor in SpaceX spacesuits and training in simulations to prepare to fly a Crew Dragon capsule. The pair look focused on the task at hand as they work hard for their flight.

Inspiration4 is set to be the first-ever crewed space mission that will launch without any "professional astronauts" on board, so the foursome will have to be extra prepared for their orbital journey. Additionally, the mission is designed to raise money and support for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Each crew member represents a different "pillar" leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity.

Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@space.com or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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See the citizen astronauts of Inspiration4 learn how to fly a SpaceX Dragon (photos) - Space.com

Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of SpaceX – Analytics Insight

SpaceX that is trending on Twitter and Youtube, is an innovative and ambitious private aerospace manufacturer. Founded by Elon Musk, the aerospace manufacturer came into existence in 2002. SpaceX aerospace rose to fame and prominence in 2017 when it became amongst the first aerospace startup to have accomplished 18 successful launches.

Elon Musk, besides his wealth possessions, is also known and praised for his eccentric and innovative ideas. According to Musk, space travel is unnecessarily expensive whereas it can be cut down. Curtailing the space travel costs stands as the primary objective of SpaceX. Musks idea of curtailing costs involves the concept of sustainability. He highlights and emphasizes the sustainability cycle of reusing parts of rockets instead of investing in new ones. This will help in reducing the costs.

SpaceX holds the record of delivering 48 satellites into orbit and around 202,700 supplies to the international space station. In the present times, the aerospace manufacturer holds over 60% of global share contracts.

SpaceX is amongst the first aerospace manufacturers to preach and practice the reuse of rocket parts for future use. A pertinent example is the Falcon 9 rocket, which can be used over 100 times without the need for replacement. In the year 2019, the rocket was launched and landed on Mars for the fourth time. This encouraged the team to recycle the rocket parts more that can reduce costs to great degrees.

Speculatively, Elon Musk is making rapid and significant progress in his mission to colonize Mars and save humanity from the possible chances of extinction. Elon Musk decided the trajectory of his intergalactic inhabitation after enhancing his knowledge and wealth through Tesla and PayPal.

SpaceX is aiming for a swift timeframe within which there will be a human footstep on Mars. SpaceX aims to start human habitation on Mars by ten launches. To accomplish this mission, the company is also building a factory at the Port of Los Angeles where engineers are working on a nearly 20,000 square foot tent to establish a prototype spaceship. This prototype is built with carbon fiber materials. Additionally, SpaceX is also affiliating with NASA to conduct Mars mission workshops.

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Is the Space Force about to acquire SpaceX Starships? | TheHill – The Hill

Eric Berger over at Ars Technica has noticed something in the Department of the Air Force section of President BidenJoe BidenHouse Judiciary Democrats call on DOJ to reverse decision on Trump defense Democratic super PAC targets Youngkin over voting rights Harris dubs first foreign trip a success amid criticism over border MOREs fiscal 2022 budget proposal. The Air Force is proposing to spend money to study how the Starship rocket being developed by SpaceX could be used to deliver 100 tons of cargo anywhere in the world within one hour. The Starship as a point-to-point cargo hauler may be just the first task that the SpaceX rocket shipis asked to perform.

Certainly, the military would appreciate having the ability to send supplies to any place in the world within an hour. The practical problems of making the Starship work as a cargo hauler would be formidable. A single insurgent with a ground-to-air missile might turn a landing into a fireball.

The Motley Fool, a private investment advice company, is quite bullish on the military potential of the Starship. The company envisions the SpaceX rocket ship performing a variety of military missions from low Earth orbit to the vicinity of the moon. Starship could be used as a mobile, versatile reconnaissance platform, using its store of fuel and six vacuum-optimized Raptor engines to maneuver where it needs to go.

The SpaceX Starship could perform a number of other military missions, such as striking at the space assets of enemy nations in times of war and defending American satellites and other space-based installations. The rocket ship could refuel American satellites, extending their operational lifespans. It could even be used to help clean up space debris. The Space Force would thus grow from a handful of personnel manning consoles and conducting planning meetings to a true war fighting branch of the military.

The Starship, currently under development at the SpaceX testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas, is the instrument of company CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskOn The Money: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Capito, pivots to bipartisan group | Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report | IRS to investigate leak Feds looking into release of wealthy Americans' tax info Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report MOREs dream to build a settlement on Mars. Musk envisions the rocket ship taking settlers and the supplies they need to survive to the red planet, making a new branch of human civilization.

NASA is already so impressed by the Starship that it has contracted SpaceX to build a lunar-landing version of it to return astronauts to the moon as early as 2024. The selection has enraged Musks rivals such as Blue Origins Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosSenate passes long-delayed China bill On The Money: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Capito, pivots to bipartisan group | Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report | IRS to investigate leak Feds looking into release of wealthy Americans' tax info MORE and has perturbed some members of Congress. Both have only themselves to blame Blue Origin for offering an inferior design and Congress for underfunding the Human Landing System project.

Military technology development has often been defined by the advent of new ways to transport people and cargo. The racing galleon of the 16th century became the frigates and ships of the line that defined naval warfare in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The steam engine and iron and steel armor led to the dreadnoughts of the early 20th century. Modern warships incorporate nuclear power. Air travel has caused the same sort of evolution, from the motorized kites of World War I to modern jets that can deliver destruction and death from thousands of miles away.

Now, space transportation technology is poised to cause a similar revolution in the militarys ability to defend the United States and its allies and to inflict mayhem and death on any enemy that would propose to make war on America. The great irony is that the Starship will be used by a branch of the military that Musk once compared to Starfleet, the fictional service depicted in the "Star Trek" television shows and movies. The thought would likely bring a smile to the face of the franchises creator, Gene Roddenberry, in whatever afterlife one envisions him inhabiting.

No doubt entire libraries will be written about how life has started to imitate art in this way. As a practical matter, the United States, by being the first to develop a true war fighting capability beyond the Earths atmosphere, will have ensured its survival as a free society and the dominant superpower. Friends of America should take comfort in this fact. American power has, by and large, been a force for good.

Americas enemies, though, should take caution. Their ability to make trouble is about to be further circumscribed. No other countryhasthe capabilities that the SpaceX Starship will provideor is likely to for quite some time to come.

Mark Whittington, who writes frequently about space and politics, has published a political study of space explorationtitled"Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon?" as well as "The Moon, Mars and Beyond" and, most recently, Why is America going back to the Moon. He blogs at Curmudgeons Corner. He is published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, among other venues.

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Is the Space Force about to acquire SpaceX Starships? | TheHill - The Hill

It’s Launch Day! Here’s what you need to know for today’s SpaceX launch – Florida Today

FLORIDA TODAY's Rob Landers brings you some of today's top stories with this afternoon update of the News in 90 Seconds. Florida Today

Note: Watch Thursday's launch live here.

Support local journalism. Unlock digital access to floridatoday.com for just $1 for six months. Click here.

It'slaunch day!

SpaceX is on track to launch its Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A

Here's what you need to know for today's launch:

Liftoff is scheduled for 1:29p.m.

The 230-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket will ferry a Cargo Dragon capsule to the International Space Station on a resupply mission.

The launch window is instantaneous. Meaning, the rocket goes at 1:29 p.m. or it doesnt.

Weather forecast is 60% "go" at the launch pad.

Approximately eight minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9 rocket's first-stage booster will target an automatic landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

In the event of a scrub, teams have a backup opportunity at 1:03 p.m. Friday.

If SpaceX sticks the landing, the private space company will refurbish the booster and use it for the Crew-3 flight of astronautsRaja Chari,Thomas Marshburn,Matthias Maurer, and Kayla Barron currently planned for late October.

The mission marks the 22nd ISS resupply for SpaceX, which has been delivering cargo and science experiments to low-Earth orbit since 2012.

Full coverage of the launch kicks off at 12p.m. Thursday atfloridatoday.com/spaceand will feature in-depth coverage. Ask our space teamreporterEmre Kellyquestions and strike up a conversation. We will also be hosting SpaceX's live webcast of the launch.

Rob Landers is a USA TODAY Network of Florida multimedia journalist. You can reach him at rlanders@floridatoday.com

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It's Launch Day! Here's what you need to know for today's SpaceX launch - Florida Today

SpaceX Dragon delivers solar arrays to the International Space Station – Electrek.co

An uncrewed SpaceX Dragon CRS-22cargo ship launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASAs Kennedy Space Center on June 3 and arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) two days later. It was carrying, among many other things, two new solar arrays that will power the ISS.

Jacksonville-headquartered Redwire Space is an aerospace manufacturer and space infrastructure technology company. Redwire is under contract with Boeing, NASAs prime contractor for space station operations, to provide six International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA).

The Dragon delivered two out of six iROSA on this trip. They were rolled up and stored in a compact cylinder (pictured above). The other four solar arrays will arrive at the International Space Station by 2023.

Redwireis responsible for the design, analysis, manufacture, test, and delivery of iROSA. EachiROSAuses upgraded solar cells from BoeingsSpectrolab and provides28 kilowatts of power. The six arrays will together produce more than 120 kilowatts that will boost the stations power generation by 20-30%. ROSA technology was successfullydemonstrated onthe ISSin June 2017. Heres a good look at Redwires ISS solar array technology in this video:

Redwire explains how it works:

ROSAs patented design uses composite booms to serve as both the primary structural elements and the deployment actuator together with a modular photovoltaic blanket assembly that can be configured into various solar array architectures. Instead of using complex mechanisms and motors for deployment, ROSA uses stored energy from carbon fiber booms that are cut and rolled back against their natural shape for storage. At a designated point during the mission, the stored strain energy of the booms enforces the unrolling deployment actuation. When fully deployed, the now rigid booms provide the solar arrays structural stiffness and strength.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough said [via Space.com]:

Looking forward to all the science and other goodies that it brought up along with our EVA solar arrays. Its going to be a great few weeks as we get into Dragon and get things out.

Astronauts will install the two iROSA on spacewalks on June 16 and 20.

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SpaceX Dragon delivers solar arrays to the International Space Station - Electrek.co