БЛОГ

Archive for the ‘SpaceX’ tag

Jun 2, 2020

Elon Musk’s Starlink growing bigger and bigger

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space

SpaceX launching again this week, if all goes as planned.

Starlink deployment in orbit.

SpaceX is at it again. Love it or hate it, Starlink is growing again. The company is getting ready to launch the next batch of 60 satellites into orbit in just a few days. The original launch was postponed until after the successful launch of the crew dragon Demo-2 mission for NASA.

Now that the astronauts successfully docked with the International Space Station, SpaceX turns its focus back on Starlink. This launch, originally planned to launch before the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission, now looks promising for a launch this week.


The constellation consists of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit adds up quickly. Each Falcon 9 launch gets packed full of sixty Starlink satellites. 60 satellites neatly fit in both size and mass limitations of the Falcon 9’s reusable configuration. Elon’s company delivered more than 420 satellites into orbit to date.
SpaceX now plans to loft the next batch into space Wednesday around 9:25 p.m. EDT. Visitors at the Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad should be able to witness the launch so long as the weather holds out… and the weather is looking promising.


A one-hour launch window for the Starlink mission opening at 8:55 p.m. EDT (0055 GMT). If the launch gets scrubbed, SpaceX will cycle again for another attempt. The prior attempt at launch got scrubbed because of Tropical Storm Arthur and the associated high winds. As an additional complication for SpaceX launches, the rough seas in the recovery area where SpaceX’s drone ship waits made a landing of the Falcon 9 risky.

Continue reading “Elon Musk's Starlink growing bigger and bigger” »

May 16, 2020

Is Elon Musk going to Move Tesla and SpaceX to Texas?

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space
Tesla sporting NASA Worm Logo and Meatball in advance of human rocket launch.

According to a report from a CBS affiliate in Wichita Falls, Tex., Texas Governor Greg Abbott told a local television reporter he had the opportunity to talk to Elon Musk and he’s genuinely interested in Texas and genuinely frustrated with California.

Tesla stopped making cars at its Fremont plant on March 23. Elon Musk shared frequently his views that the state and local restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of the coronavirus were actually not in the best interest of California, the people of California, and not Tesla either.

Why is Tesla Fremont important?


Looking back in history, the GM automotive assembly plant in South Fremont used to be the town’s largest employer. In the 1980s, the plant became a joint venture automotive assembly plant of Toyota and GM, and renamed NUMMI becoming one of the most effective small car factories for GM. In early 2010, NUMMI came to an end and closed. Enter TESLA to rescue Fremont. Tesla acquired part of the plant and in June 2010 by Elon Musk earmarked it as Tesla’s primary production plant. By 2017, Tesla was the largest employer in Fremont with roughly 10,000 employees.

Ten years after Tesla swooped in and brought 10,000 jobs to Fremont, Elon Musk is not so happy.

May 4, 2020

Star Wars and Space — May the 4th be with you

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space
It’s a real moon of Saturn. Credit NASA

You may have heard of the expression, May the 4th be with you. If you don’t already know, May the 4th is unofficially Star Wars Day. The date was chosen for the play on words on the classic catchphrase from the movies. “May the Force be with you” and “May the Fourth be with you”.

The pop culture fan base for Star Wars embraced the May 4th date and popularized it. Lucasfilm and later Disney could not have a better day to advertise Star Wars stuff. This is a testament to the many Star Wars fans across the world who have chosen to celebrate the holiday. Lucasfilm and parent company Disney now also wisely have embraced the date as an annual celebration of Star Wars.

So you might be a die-hard Star Wars fan, or maybe you enjoy the movie. If you don’t like Star Wars, well, not sure why you are reading. Maybe you have a loved one and you are trying to figure out what to do with them on this very important day to them. So we are going to go on the assumption that you know at least a little something about Star Wars.

Alright, to the Coruscant of the article. (Hey, it is a Star Wars article after all!)

Continue reading “Star Wars and Space — May the 4th be with you” »

May 1, 2020

NASA picks who will land people on the Moon… sort of…

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space, space travel
Dynetics Human Lander system

One of the three companies NASA announced today will land the next NASA astronauts on the Moon. NASA awarded three firm-fixed-price, milestone-based contracts for the human landing system awards under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2. The total combined value for all awarded contracts is $967 million for the 10-month base period.

NASA downselected from the five companies in the running to only three.

The contenders for the Moon mission contract.

NASA released the Human Landing System (HLS) solicitation on October 25, 2019. Five companies submitted proposals by the required due date of November 5, 2019. Listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Blue Origin Federation, LLC (Blue Origin)
  • The Boeing Corporation (Boeing)
  • Dynetics, Inc. (Dynetics)
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)
  • Vivace Corp. (Vivace)

Some more details about the offers.

You likely recognize the more high profile companies like Boeing, SpaceX, and Blue Origin. Vivace and Dynetics profile in the general media tends to be less pronounced.

Vivace, founded in 2006, provides engineering services, ground support equipment, engineering development hardware, and flight har…

Apr 29, 2020

Elon Musk setting new records with Starlink.

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, disruptive technology, Elon Musk, space

Love it or hate it, Starlink might be the biggest space undertaking ever once completed. The combined mass of the Starlink satellite constellation exceeds any prior space endeavor. The SpaceX network provides global satellite Internet access will weigh in more than any other prior space program. The constellation consisting of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit adds up quickly. Each Falcon 9 launch gets packed full of sixty Starlink satellites. The satellites neatly fit in both size and mass limitations of the Falcon 9.

November 11 at 9:56 a.m. EST, 14:56 UTC, SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Credit SpaceX

In 2018, The Federal Communications Commission granted SpaceX approval to launch up to 4,425 low-Earth-orbit satellites at several different altitudes between 1,110km to 1,325km. The following year, the FCC approved a license modification to cut the orbital altitude in half for 1,584 of those satellites. The lower altitude for the Starlink satellites reduces the latency of the Starlink. Yeah initial Starlink will be nearly the mass of the ISS.

NameKgQtyTotal Kg
Starlink2601 260
Starlink launch26060 15,600
Initial Starlink2601,584 411,840
ISS419,7251 419,725
Partial Starlink2601,614 419,725
Starlink full thrust2604,425 1,150,500
Big freak’n Starlink26012,000 3,120,000
Some Back of the napkin calculations about Starlink… give or take a little.

Apr 16, 2020

The Electron goes reusable.

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, innovation, space
Electron test article during a March 2020 parachute test. Credit Rocket Lab

No, it’s not a high budget Mission Impossible action movie, but it could have been. Tom Cruise wasn’t piloting a helicopter that grabbed a rocket falling back to the Earth. Instead, a crew wearing black Rocket Lab t-shirts with the words “recovery team” written on the back took the skies in helicopters to grab a falling rocket. Since it wasn’t Tom Cruise, the video of the team grabbing a rocket midflight ranked higher on the awesome scale.

Daring capture of Booster

A few weeks ago, Rocket Lab took a major step forward to recover boosters. In a recent release to media, Rocket Lab shared videos successfully grabbing a parachute & test booster out of the sky using a helicopter. On the first try, the helicopter grabbed the first stage test article with a grappling hook.

There are intrinsic risks with helicopters. Recently SpaceX lost a test article when it became necessary to prematurely drop a Crew Dragon test article. However, Rocket Lab did better in the Electron parachute tests. The success marks another step closer for the company in recovering the boosters it uses to launch small payloads into low earth orbit.

Apr 6, 2020

Small Satellites are Expanding

Posted by in categories: satellites, space

Satellites come in all sizes and shapes. A small satellite or SmallSat is commonly considered to be a satellite that weighs less than 500 kg.

As a basic application of various satellite sizes by mass, the common distinction:

Lower LimitUpper Limit(kg)ClassificationExamples
1000Large satellitesHubble Space Telescope / Inmarsat-4A F4
5001000Medium satellitesO3b
0500Small satellitesSpaceX StarLink
Short Summary of Satellite sizes

CubeSats are smaller yet.

CubeSats need to conform to specific criteria including shape, size, and mass. At this point, most people have become aware or are at least heard of CubeSats. (Cube Satellites). CubeSats (cube satellite, cube satellite) are a type of nanosatellites defined by the CubeSat Design Specification (CSD) or otherwise commonly known by the unofficial term “CubeSat standard”. Cubesats are small, and start off at the 1U size of 10xm x 10 cm x 11.35 cm ( yes not exactly a cube, but very close) Here are some standard CubeSat dimensions:

Continue reading “Small Satellites are Expanding” »

Apr 3, 2020

NASA Worm on Falcon 9 but do you know the story behind it?

Posted by in categories: government, space
NASA Worm logo on a Falcon 9

Yes, that’s right. The classic NASA “worm” logo is back! An image of the revived NASA worm logo was released on Twitter by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as well as press release on the NASA.gov website.

NASA explained that original NASA insignia is an iconic symbol widely recognized in the world. The NASA “meatball” logo as many know it by represented patriotic American colors. A red chevron wing piercing a blue sphere(Planet) with white stars, and an spacecraft orbiting. This “meatball” logo was not easy to reproduce with 1970’s technology so the Federal Design Improvement Program introduced in 1975 a new logo, the “worm.”

Some History about the logo

By the beginning of World War I, the United States lagged behind Europe in airplane technology. On March 3, 1915, Congress founded NACA as an independent government agency in response to the perception that the United States was falling behind in aeronautical technology. NACA would report directly to the President with the purpose to catch up. But technology had evolved, and once again the US was falling behind in technology. Russia launched Sputnik. The space race was being lost.

Continue reading “NASA Worm on Falcon 9 but do you know the story behind it?” »

Mar 28, 2020

SpaceX going to the Moon with NASA

Posted by in categories: astronomy, complex systems, disruptive technology, Elon Musk, satellites, space, space travel
Orion and Dragon XL near the Lunar Gateway Credit: NASA

By Bill D’Zio, Originally posted on www.westeastspace.com March 28, 2020

NASA may have sidelined the Lunar Gateway for a return mission to the Moon, but it is not stopping the momentum. NASA has awarded several contracts for the Lunar Gateway including the most recent one to SpaceX. This demonstrates the growing capabilities of New Space companies to capture contracts and complete missions.

This contract award is another critical piece of our plan to return to the Moon sustainably. The Gateway is the cornerstone of the long-term Artemis architecture and this deep space commercial cargo capability integrates yet another American industry partner into our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for a future mission to Mars.NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a press release statement about the award to SpaceX.

NASA Awarded SpaceX the first Artemis Gateway Logistics Services (GLS) contract. The award for resupply services to the Gateway will require delivery of goods to a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). Not sure what a NRHO orbit is? A NRHO is a highly elliptical orbit that takes about 7 days for each orbit. Want some more details, just click here: Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). There are a few options for NRHO orbits, but NASA is leaning towards the L2 9:2 lunar synodic resonant southerly Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) which would be the likely location of the lunar Gateway. A simplification of the orbit is shown below.

Continue reading “SpaceX going to the Moon with NASA” »

Mar 25, 2020

COVID19 Impact Part II – SpaceX , SLS and NASA

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, health, space, space travel

By Bill D’Zio March 25, 2020

SpaceX Dragon
SpaceX Crew Dragon on approach Credit NASA

Part 2 of the Life in Space with COVID19 we will delve into Crew demo-2 where NASA and SpaceX are planning a launch within two months. There are a lot of pre-launch milestones and activities to cover to ensure a safe flight for the Astronauts. If anything goes wrong, there are lives at stake. Now NASA and SpaceX have to contend with another potential setback, COVID19 pandemic. (Click here for part I)

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for Demo-2 arrived at the launch site on Feb. 13, 2020. Photo credit: SpaceX

In Part I of why COVID19 pandemic is bad timing for the Space industry, we covered that issues happen because the relationship between complexity, risk, schedule and cost for space missions was not balanced.

Continue reading “COVID19 Impact Part II – SpaceX , SLS and NASA” »

Page 1 of 3123