0

San Antonio company working with military, SpaceX to move cargo anywhere in world in an hour or less

Posted on

A San Antonio company is partnering with the military and SpaceX to move cargo anywhere in the world in an hour using commercial spacecraft — including vertical-landing rockets built in Texas.

U.S. Transportation Command, which is responsible for moving military personnel and equipment around the world, said it’s working with Exploration Architecture, or XArc, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop “rapid transportation through space” capabilities.

XArc, with six employees, is responsible for determining what’s needed on the ground to launch and land commercial spacecraft around the world.

The collaboration is the latest development in Texas’ still-expanding role in space travel and could help the U.S. military more quickly respond to threats and humanitarian crises around the world.

The aim is to use commercial space vehicles, including SpaceX’s Starship, to deliver payloads anywhere in the world. Starship can carry loads of 220,000 pounds.

“Our role is to understand the ground support infrastructure required to make it happen,” XArc CEO Sam Ximenes said. “What are the ground facilities and cargo standardizations so that it is seamlessly integrated into the (military’s) current logistics system.”

Sam Ximenes is chief executive of XArc. His company is teaming with Houston engineering firm KBR to evaluate three types of rockets.

His company is teaming with Houston engineering firm KBR to evaluate three types of rocket landing areas: rugged sites with no infrastructure, remote sites with limited support and mature sites that have established capabilities.

Related: NASA contractors stake out San Antonio’s place in space

The nine-person team is considering the logistics, including fuel and cargo requirements, needed to support spacecraft around the world, Ximenes said.

“Think about moving the equivalent of a C-17 payload (170,900 pounds) anywhere on the globe in less than an hour,” Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, head of U.S. Transportation Command, said in a statement. “Think about that speed associated with the movement of transportation of cargo and people.”

The companies could begin

0

Elon Musk’s Tesla, Starman fly past Mars 2 years after SpaceX launch

Posted on

  • In February 2018, SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster owned by the company’s founder, Elon Musk, into deep space.
  • The electric vehicle, which has a spacesuit-clad “Starman” dummy in the driver’s seat, just made its first flyby of Mars.
  • To Starman, Mars would have appeared to be about one-tenth the size of the moon as seen from Earth, the astronomer Jonathan McDowell said.
  • The vehicle and its unlikely passenger, launched on the upper stage of a Falcon Heavy rocket, may travel for millions of years before crashing, most likely back into Earth.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

An electric car that Elon Musk rocketed into space more than two years ago just flew past Mars for the first time.

SpaceX, the rocket company Musk founded, launched his old Tesla Roadster aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018 with a spacesuit-wearing dummy named “Starman” at the wheel.

The car also carried a Hot Wheels model of itself with a miniature Starman inside. In storage, it holds a copy of the sci-fi novels “Foundation” by Isaac Asimov and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, along with a towel and a sign that says “Don’t Panic.” The car’s speakers even blasted the song “Space Oddity” by David Bowie after launch.

Since then, the rocket’s second stage has glided through space with no fuel to propel it, with Musk’s old red car perched on top of it.

“It’s a rocket stage with a hood ornament,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who independently calculated the Tesla’s close Mars pass, told Business Insider.

spacex falcon heavy launch

An illustration of Musk’s Tesla atop the upper stage of a Falcon Heavy rocket.


SpaceX/YouTube



The Tesla was supposed to slip into a circular orbit between Mars and the sun. But the mission

0

SpaceX may have Dragon spaceships in orbit without a break for a year

Posted on

SpaceX is preparing to launch four NASA astronauts on its Crew Dragon spaceship this Halloween — the first of six regular crewed missions the space agency has contracted from the rocket company founded by Elon Musk. (The one that concluded in August was considered a demonstration.)

That’s on top of the cargo resupply missions that SpaceX will regularly launch to the International Space Station for NASA. The company has been sending a spaceship designed to carry supplies, called Cargo Dragon, to the orbiting laboratory since 2012. That vehicle has made more than 20 trips to the station and back.

Combined, the two types of Dragon spacecraft are scheduled to launch into space seven times over the next 14 months, leading to an unprecedented situation for SpaceX.

Spacex crew dragon launch

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with a “Starman” dummy aboard on March 2, 2019.

NASA TV


“Every time there’s a Dragon launch, there’ll be two Dragons in space,” Benji Reed, director of crew mission management at SpaceX, said at a press conference earlier this month. 

That’s because each of the crewed SpaceX missions should overlap for a little while. The company’s next astronaut mission, called Crew 1, launches at the end of the month, then the next one, Crew-2, is scheduled to launch in late March 2021. But the Crew-1 astronauts don’t plan to leave the space station until April. The same thing should happen with the following mission, Crew-3: It’s expected to launch in September 2021, so should tag up with Crew-2 in orbit.

The Crew-1 crew includes NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins, and Victor Glover, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Hopkins is to be the mission commander, Glover the pilot, and Walker and Noguchi mission specialists.

soichi noguchi victor glover shannon walker nasa jaxa astronauts spacex spacesuits portrait crew 1 dragon spaceship mission KSC 20200924 PH SPX01_0009_orig

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts participate

0

SpaceX launches Starlink satellites after string of scrubs

Posted on

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 6 (UPI) — After repeated delays due to weather and other problems, SpaceX on Tuesday successfully launched a shipment of 60 Starlink communications satellites from Florida.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off about 7:30 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Multiple previous launches had been postponed since Sept. 17.

The flight’s reusable booster landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean following the launch.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk had tweeted that he would travel to Florida to review the launch following a scrub Friday night he said was due to an “unexpected pressure rise” in a gas generator. The launch was postponed again Monday morning due to rainstorms in the area.

“We will need to make a lot of improvements to have a chance of completing 48 launches next year!” Musk tweeted. “We’re doing a broad review of launch site, propulsion, structures, avionics, range & regulatory constraints this weekend.”

The delays were mirrored by a string of similar scrubs in recent weeks for its main rival, United Launch Alliance, which is trying to send a spy satellite into orbit for the Defense Department.

ULA also has cited weather and mechanical issues with ground systems for the delays that have kept its powerful Delta IV Heavy rocket, carrying the spy satellite, on the launch pad.

“There’s a thousand ways that a launch can go wrong, and only one way it can go right,” Siva Baradvaj, SpaceX space operations engineer, said during a live broadcast for a launch attempt last week.

That attempt was scrubbed due to a sensor reading on ground systems, but Baradvaj noted that the rocket and spacecraft were in good shape.

Tuesday’s launch will ultimately grow the number of Starlink satellites in orbit to well over 700. More have

0

SpaceX aborts launch of GPS Space Force satellite with 2 seconds to go

Posted on

SpaceX aborted a scheduled launch of a US military GPS satellite on Friday night with just about two seconds left in the countdown. The launch was scheduled for a 15-minute window that opened at 6:43 p.m. PT. All appeared to be proceeding smoothly, until two seconds before launch. SpaceX was just starting the engine ignition sequence when it stopped the clock.  



a crane next to a body of water: SpaceX shared this scenic view of the Falcon 9 that'll carry Space Force's GPS satellite into orbit. SpaceX


© Provided by CNET
SpaceX shared this scenic view of the Falcon 9 that’ll carry Space Force’s GPS satellite into orbit. SpaceX

“Standing down from tonight’s launch attempt of GPS III-4,” SpaceX tweeted a few minutes before 7 p.m. PT, though it didn’t say whether a ground or flight vehicle issue was to blame. The next launch window opens at 6:39 p.m. PT Saturday, SpaceX said. 

SpaceX and the US Space Force are getting along famously. Friday’s attempted launch in Florida follows a Space Force Falcon 9 launch in June

Once Elon Musk’s company does launch the GPS satellite, it’ll attempt to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft is scheduled to deploy about 90 minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX hosted a livestream of Friday’s launch, which you can watch below to see how events unfolded. 

Video: NASA makes 2nd attempt to launch equipment to International Space Station (CBS News)

NASA makes 2nd attempt to launch equipment to International Space Station

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

The GPS III Space Vehicle (SV) 04 is the fourth in a series of GPS satellites operated by the US Space Force, the newest branch of the military. It’ll join a larger satellite constellation already in orbit.

It’s been a busy week for rocket launches that haven’t actually launched. SpaceX was scheduled to send a new batch of Starlink communications satellites into orbit on

1 2 3