Posts Tagged ‘Elon Musk’

'This Week In Space' – June 6, 2010

June 7, 2010

Falcon 9 Launch. June 4, 2010

Hello and Welcome to a special edition of “This Week In Space.”  I am talking about what might very well be the beginning of a new era in space – the door might have opened with the successful inaugural test flight of the Falcon 9 rocket – built by SpaceX.   It happened on Friday at Cape Canaveral.  The nine Merlin engines fired as designed – produced more than a million pounds of thrust – sending Falcon 9 on its way to space. The first stage separated as it was supposed to – and the second stage rocket fired on schedule as well. The only apparent fly in the ointment – second stage – along with mockup up of the Dragon Capsule – began a slow roll. No word on why just yet. SpaceX is leading the charge to open up low earth orbit to private ventures seeking to create a new industry in space. It is a lynch pin of the Obama space vision – and it remains the subject of a lot of controversy – even after this successful first flight. I caught up with SpaceX founder Elon Musk about 24 hours after the launch.

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Getting Ready to Light that Candle

February 13, 2010
Courtesy:  SpaceX

Courtesy: SpaceX

You might want to put March 8th in your blackberry calendar – because that is the day SpaceX has reserved the range at Cape Caneveral to launch its Falon 9 rocket for the first time. The company – founded by internet millionaire Elon Musk – now reports all the hardware is at the Cape – and they just need to bolt it all together stack it up and light the fuse – Easy peasy – right? Well not really. The first launch – whenever it finally goes – will test the rocket – by lofting a mock dragon spacecraft – the real thing is designed to haul cargo to the space station under contract to NASA. Musk says he has built it to be human being ready from the outset.

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Musk Fires Back

January 24, 2010
DragonLab In Orbit.  Courtesy:  SpaceX

DragonLab In Orbit. Courtesy: SpaceX

Even though the Augustine Commission did not pick a vehicle or a destination  when it issued its report on the future of human Spaceflight to Obama –  it was clear from reading the tea leaves in their report that the Augies liked the idea of entrepreneurs building rockets for trips to low earth orbit.

But another group of gray beards that noses around NASA – the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel – this week lowered the boom on this notion – ASAP said anything other than the plan of record – specifically the the Ares 1 rocket – would be no faster, no cheaper – and less safe than, say the Falcon 9 rocket, being built by SpaceX. I caught up with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk this week via Skype – he was fuming over that report.

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Falcon 9 Test Fire

January 15, 2010

Source:  SpaceX

Source: SpaceX

Deep in the heart of Texas – a big step on the road to sending privately built spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, ran a full duration test of the second stage motor for its Falcon 9 rocket.  Looks good to me – lots of noise, fire and smoke – and the company confirms the motor did pass the test.

Now they can start packing it up and shipping it off to Cape Canaveral.  SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the test launch will happen there one to two months after the motor is delivered.  The company has a 1.5 billion dollar NASA contract to build a spacecraft that can deliver cargo to the station.  Takes the Fed out of Fed-ex I suppose…


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The Commercial Space Race Heats Up

December 21, 2009
DragonLab In Orbit.  Courtesy:  SpaceX

DragonLab In Orbit. Courtesy: SpaceX

Although the Augustine Commission did not offer up “recommendations” – it is clear they want NASA to focus on moving beyond low earth orbit – creating some space – if you will – for entrepreneurs to boldly go where only the government has gone before.

The man in the vanguard of this push is one Elon Musk – the PayPal multimillionaire – who now heads SpaceX. The California company won the NASA contract to build rockets that will deliver cargo to the International Space Station – but Musk hopes to do more than that – one day offering a ride to orbit for human beings.

SpaceX plans to test its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule in early in 2010.

Former NASA astronaut Ken Bowersox is working on safety issues for SpaceX.  Watch below, or read the transcript of my interview with him.

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