Elon Musk, the billionaire Internet, clean energy and rocket entrepreneur who made his initial fortunes in the internet business, most noticeably via his interest in the sale of the Paypal business, has just added to his wealth via the public sale of the solar generation leasing firm, Solar City, in which he had a shareholding.
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Opinion: Super-competitive SpaceX might soon have to turn business away if it does not get its flight rate up
There were yet more launch contract “wins” for SpaceX as it secured two launch orders for the US Air Force, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) in 2014 and the Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) in 2015, under a US Air Force Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 (OSP-3) contract. The contracts are the first steps in breaking the ULA (United Launch Alliance) strangle hold on US government launch contracts.
While the Falcon 9 launch vehicle of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is repidly becoming the commercial launch vehicle of choice due to its low price (though Arianespace remains market leader), satellite operators are still wary of Falcon 9 launch schedule delays. As such, some operators are now booking back up launches with other launch providers lest SpaceX cannot get their “birds” up on time.
ESA really had three choices with respect to its launch vehicle development: it could built the Ariane 5 ME which might buy a little more time for Arianespace; or It could develop the module expendable (and cheaper) Ariane 6 rocket; or it could go for a full scale reusable or partially reusable rocket design. Each option had downsides.
While speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London in November, the billionaire former Paypal Internet executive, Tesla electric car entrepreneur, and current Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) CEO and self-taught lead rocket engineer, Elon Musk, described his plan to enable a self-sustaining human colony on the planet Mars. This plan is to use reusable rockets and along with Mars landing and ascent craft to take mankind to Mars within 15 years. And to do it Musk announced that liquid oxygen (Lox) and Methane would be SpaceX’s principal propellants of choice.
Slow motion film footage appears to show the Merlin 1c engine “letting go” emitting hot gases and eventualy causing debris to fall away. SpaceX notes that the engine stayed intact and that the debris was part of the rocket structure.
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and SES announced an agreement to launch three additional SES satellites, on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy rockets.
This launch agreement – concluded through SES’ affiliate company SES-SL – adds to the luanch agreement siged in March 2011 for the launch by SpaceX of SES-8 in 2013. All four Falcon missions will support the enhancement of SES’ global fleet of satellites. The first of the new batch of SES/Space X launches is scheduled for 2015.
The Minister of State for Universities and Science, the Rt Hon David Willetts MP used the Farnborough International Air Show to announce the new ‘Civil Space Strategy’ setting out the direction for the UK space sector over the next four years. With the UK space sector growing at 7.5% growth remains the aim for the UK Space Agency. Other space agencies were taking note. The Director General of the European Space Agency, Jean-Jacques Dordain, said that he was learning from the United Kingdom with respect to “taking competitive lessons” adding that it was the “right time for ESA to go for competitiveness and growth”.
On the successful firing of its Merlin 1D engine, Space Exploration Technologies, with more than a note of self congratulation, states that the “enhanced design makes the Merlin 1D the most efficient booster engine ever built” further noting that it has “a vacuum thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 150″,
Flushed with success from its Falcon 9/Dragon launch to the International Space Station, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) launch firm has announced that it now has a commercial launch contract with Intelsat to launch commercial communications satellites via its Falcon 9 Heavy rocket.
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