Science 

SpaceX launch: Will Virgin Galactic take on Elon Musk in space race?

The rivalry between two of the world’s richest businessmen is shaping up to be an intergalactic battle of the billionaires. Virgin boss Richard Branson, 67, has admitted he wants to “upstage” space rival Elon Musk, 46, after the SpaceX founder and CEO sent his cherry red Tesla Roadster hurtling into the solar orbit from the Kennedy Space Center last week to great acclaim. The successful expedition was watched by millions worldwide – and Mr Musk is already getting ready for his next venture tomorrow, sending internet satellites into space as…

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Space 

NASA certifies Falcon 9 for science missions

WASHINGTON — NASA has certified the current version of the SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch some categories of science missions, a milestone needed for the upcoming, but delayed, launch of an astronomy spacecraft. NASA disclosed the certification in its full fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, released Feb. 14, in a section about NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP). “In January 2018, SpaceX successfully completed ‘Category 2’ certification of the SpaceX Falcon 9 ‘Full Thrust’ with LSP which supports the launch of the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission in March…

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Space 

Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne renegotiating AR1 agreement

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne are working to revise an agreement to support development of the company’s AR1 rocket engine, as questions continue about the engine’s long-term future. In a Feb. 14 response to questions submitted by SpaceNews, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) confirmed that Aerojet Rocketdyne is seeking to revise the Rocket Propulsion System (RPS) award the company received in 2016 to reduce the fraction of development costs the company has to pay. That award, known as an other transaction authority…

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Space 

FCC chairman urges approval for SpaceX’s satellite internet constellation

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants his agency approve SpaceX’s 15-month-old application to serve the U.S. with its proposed megaconstellation. In a statement released just days before SpaceX launches its first two prototype satellites, Pai urged support of the company’s application within the FCC, saying Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX can help reach rural and isolated parts of the country with high-speed Internet. “To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S.…

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Science 

New SPACE RACE on cards as SpaceX founder Elon Musk challenges rivals to BEAT him

Mr Musk’s SpaceX is leading the charge in commercial space travel, but other companies such as Blue Origin, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, are also in the fray. Yesterday, SpaceX made history after successfully launching a payload in to space on the world’s most powerful and heaviest rocket to date. In light of that, billionaire Mr Musk says SpaceX’s ambition will act as motivation to other companies to create a new age space race, much like the one between the USA and the Soviet Union which eventually…

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Space 

SpaceX wins accolades for Falcon Heavy success

ORLANDO, Florida — A rare combination of politicians, space advocates and even competitors lauded SpaceX for its successful inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy Feb. 6. Among those congratulating the company for the test flight of the heavy-lift rocket was President Donald Trump. In a tweet late Feb. 6, he congratulated SpaceX and its chief executive, Elon Musk. “This achievement, along with @NASA’s commercial and international partners, continues to show American ingenuity at its best!” he stated. Congratulations @ElonMusk and @SpaceX on the successful #FalconHeavy launch. This achievement, along with…

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Science 

Space X launch LIVE updates: Elon Musk Falcon Heavy rocket launch TODAY – latest news

Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch the Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a launch window of between 6.30pm GMT (1.30pm local time EST) and 9pm GMT (4pm EST). The rocket that SpaceX is set to launch has a thrust power of 2500 tons – the equivalent of 18 Boeing 747 aircraft at full throttle. The rocket is twice as powerful as any other rocket that has ever been created before and can carry up to 140,000 pounds of cargo. Rather than carrying a customers’ payload, the…

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Science 

SpaceX successfully launches the world's most powerful rocket

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — Earth has one less sports car. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off at 3:45 p.m., inaugurating itself as the most powerful launch vehicle in service and sending founder Elon Musk’s Tesla (TSLA) Roadster towards a one-way ride out of Earth orbit. The 230-foot-tall rocket launched at Launch Complex 39A here after a series of delays caused by high winds aloft. As the countdown neared zero and its 27 first-stage engines lit in sequence, clouds of smoke shot out from one side of the pad as the…

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Science 

SpaceX bucks launch tradition in 1st flight of new rocket

SpaceX is bucking decades of launch tradition for the first test flight of its new megarocket. The Falcon Heavy is set to become the world’s most powerful rocket in use today when it blasts off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. None of the usual, no-big-deal-if-it’s-destroyed launch ballast — like steel or concrete slabs, or mundane experiments — for this curtain raiser. Instead, the rocket will be hauling a red sports convertible with a space-suited dummy at the wheel and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on the soundtrack. It’s the inspiration of…

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Space 

Foust Forward | Third time’s the charm to return man to the moon?

“Foust Forward” appears in every issue of SpaceNews magazine. This column ran in the Dec. 18, 2017 issue of SpaceNews magazine. The timing of the announcement was a surprise. Its content, however, was not. The fact that President Trump would be signing what the White House called Space Policy Directive 1 was announced just the day before the Dec. 11 ceremony. That date made sense in one aspect: it was the 45th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 17 lunar module, the last human mission to the moon to date. The president made clear…

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