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      A bitter pill: Amazon calls on rival SpaceX to launch Internet satellites

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 1 December - 22:59

    A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a reused booster stage and payload fairing  is seen rolling out to its launch pad in Florida before a mission last month.

    Enlarge / A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a reused booster stage and payload fairing is seen rolling out to its launch pad in Florida before a mission last month. (credit: SpaceX )

    Amazon announced Friday that it has purchased three Falcon 9 rocket launches from SpaceX beginning in mid-2025 to help deploy the retail giant's network of Kuiper Internet satellites.

    In a statement, Amazon said the SpaceX launches will provide "additional capacity" to "supplement existing launch contracts to support Project Kuiper’s satellite deployment schedule." SpaceX has its own broadband satellite fleet, with more than 5,100 Starlink spacecraft currently in orbit, making it a competitor with Amazon.

    Last year, Amazon bought up most of the Western world's excess launch capacity from everyone but SpaceX, securing 68 rocket flights from United Launch Alliance, Arianespace, and Blue Origin to deploy thousands of satellites for the Kuiper broadband network. Amazon previously contracted with ULA for nine Atlas V launches to support the initial series of Kuiper launches, the first of which lifted off in October with Amazon's first two Kuiper prototype satellites. More Atlas Vs will start launching operational Kuiper satellites next year.

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      Rocket Report: Japan launches Moon mission; Ariane 6 fires up in Kourou

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 11:00 · 1 minute

    A Japanese H-IIA rocket lifts off from the Tanegashima Space Center with an X-ray astronomy satellite and a robotic Moon lander.

    Enlarge / A Japanese H-IIA rocket lifts off from the Tanegashima Space Center with an X-ray astronomy satellite and a robotic Moon lander. (credit: Photo by STR/JIJI Press/AFP via Getty Images )

    Welcome to Edition 6.10 of the Rocket Report! A Japanese spacecraft has joined the international flock of missions traveling to the Moon this year, but you'll need to practice patience on this one. It will take about four months for Japan's small lander to get into lunar orbit, then more weeks to align with the mission's target landing site. We're crossing our fingers this lander will see the same success as India's Chandrayaan 3 mission.

    As always, we welcome reader submissions , and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets, as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

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    India launches its first solar research satellite . Less than two weeks after landing its first mission on the Moon, India launched a solar observatory on September 2 toward an orbit nearly a million miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth around the L1 Lagrange point. This mission, named Aditya-L1, lifted off on India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and entered orbit around the Earth, where the spacecraft is expected to perform five maneuvers to escape Earth's gravity and head to its distant observation post.

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      SpaceX is stretching the lifetime of its reusable Falcon 9 boosters

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 10 July, 2023 - 16:59

    A Falcon 9 rocket streaks into the sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission Sunday night to deploy 22 more Starlink internet satellites.

    Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket streaks into the sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission Sunday night to deploy 22 more Starlink internet satellites. (credit: SpaceX )

    The late-night liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket with another batch of Starlink Internet satellites on Sunday set a new record for the most flights by a SpaceX launch vehicle, with a first-stage booster flying for a 16th time. SpaceX now aims to fly its reusable Falcon 9 boosters as many as 20 times, double the company’s original goal.

    The flight followed several months of inspections and refurbishment of SpaceX’s most-flown rocket, a process that included a “recertification” of the booster to prove, at least on paper, that it could fly as many as five more times after completing its 15th launch and landing last December.

    Sunday night’s mission got the booster’s extended life off to a good start.

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      SpaceX launches tenth crewed mission, third fully commercial flight

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 22 May, 2023 - 12:14

    A Falcon 9 rocket launches the Axiom-2 mission on May 21, 2023.

    Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches the Axiom-2 mission on May 21, 2023. (credit: SpaceX)

    SpaceX on Sunday evening launched a commercial mission to the International Space Station carrying four people, including former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson.

    This "Axiom-2" mission was commanded by Whitson and carried a paying customer named John Shoffner, who served as pilot, as well as two Saudi Arabian mission specialists, Ali al-Qarni and Rayyanah Barnawi. Shoffner and the government of Saudi Arabia procured the seats on Crew Dragon from Axiom, a Houston-based spaceflight company that brokered the mission to the space station. Whitson is an employee of Axiom.

    The crew of four is flying the second fully private mission to the International Space Station and will spend about a week on board the orbiting laboratory before departing for Earth—weather permitting—on May 30.

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      The SpaceX steamroller has shifted into a higher gear this year

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 20 March, 2023 - 13:40

    A Starlink mission launches on a Falcon 9 rocket Friday from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

    Enlarge / A Starlink mission launches on a Falcon 9 rocket Friday from Vandenberg Space Force Base. (credit: SpaceX)

    Is it possible that SpaceX has succeeded in making orbital launches boring? Increasingly, the answer to this question appears to be yes .

    On Friday the California-based company launched two Falcon 9 rockets within the span of just a little more than four hours. At 12:26 pm local time, a Falcon 9 rocket carried 52 of SpaceX's own Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit from a launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. A mere 4 hours and 12 minutes later, another Falcon 9 rocket delivered two large communications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit for the Luxembourg-based satellite company SES from Kennedy Space Center.

    This broke SpaceX's own record for the shortest time duration between two launches. However, the overall record for the lowest time between two launches of the same rocket still belongs to the Russian-built Soyuz vehicle. In June 2013, Roscosmos launched a Soyuz booster from Kazakhstan, and Arianespace launched a Soyuz from French Guiana within two hours. Those launches were conducted by two separate space agencies, on separate continents, however.

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      SpaceX misses its first Falcon 9 landing in two dozen attempts

      Eric Berger · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 16 February, 2021 - 15:31

    At left, a glow can be seen on the horizon just as a Falcon 9 rocket was due to land.

    Enlarge / At left, a glow can be seen on the horizon just as a Falcon 9 rocket was due to land. (credit: SpaceX webcast)

    A Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Monday night carrying its payload of 60 Starlink satellites. After dropping off the second stage in a parking orbit, the first stage reentered Earth's atmosphere for a rendezvous with a drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

    Alas, the rocket never made it to the boat. The company's launch webcast included a video from the drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You , and a distant glow could be seen on the horizon when the rocket was due to land.

    "We did get a little bright glow... no longer see a flame there... it does look like we did not land our booster," said launch commentator Jessica Anderson, a manufacturing engineer at SpaceX. "It is unfortunate that we did not recover this booster, but our second stage is still on a nominal trajectory."

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      SpaceX to set record for most satellites launched on a single mission

      Eric Berger · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 21:08

    As early as Saturday morning, SpaceX will launch the first dedicated mission of a rideshare program it announced in late 2019. As part of this plan, the company sought to bundle dozens of small satellites together for regular launches on its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.

    There seems to have been a fair amount of interest in the program, which offered a very low price of $15,000 per kilogram delivered to a Sun-synchronous orbit. For its first "Transporter-1 mission," SpaceX said it will launch 133 commercial and government spacecraft as well as 10 of its own Starlink satellites. SpaceX had to obtain permission to deploy these Starlink satellites into a polar orbit.

    With this launch of 143 total satellites, SpaceX will surpass the previous recordholder for most satellites launched in a single mission, set by an Indian launch vehicle in 2017. In February of that year, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully delivered 104 satellites into a handful of different Sun-synchronous orbits.

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      SpaceX to begin its 2021 launch campaign Thursday evening

      Eric Berger · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 January, 2021 - 21:56

    A space rocket is pointed toward a cloud-filled sky.

    Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready to launch the Turksat 5A mission. (credit: SpaceX )

    SpaceX will seek to kick off what promises to be a busy year of launches on Thursday evening, when a Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the Turksat 5A communications satellite. The 3.4-ton satellite will be deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit.

    The launch will take place from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The mission has a four-hour launch window that opens at 8:28pm EsT (01:28 UTC Friday), with a backup opportunity a day later. The weather forecast is generally favorable, with a 70 percent chance of "go" conditions on Thursday.

    The mission will use previously flown hardware for both the rocket's first stage, as well as the payload fairing. This will be the fourth flight of this booster core, which previously launched a GPS III satellite for the US Space Force in June 2020 as well as two Starlink missions for SpaceX, most recently on October 24. Each half of this mission's payload fairings has also flown one earlier mission.

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      SpaceX will attempt to launch same Falcon 9 for the sixth time

      Eric Berger · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 18 August, 2020 - 13:09

    Let's spare a moment of thought for B1049, a Falcon 9 first-stage booster that made its debut in September 2018 by launching the Telstar 18V commercial mission. Then, in January 2019, the core launched another commercial mission, sending a passel of Iridium satellites into space.

    Both were successes. Since then the first stage has lofted three different Starlink missions into low-Earth orbit as SpaceX seeks to build out a constellation of satellites to provide broadband Internet from space.

    The Starlink platform may eventually turn into a very profitable business for SpaceX, although there remains a lot of work to do in regard to ground stations to receive signals, compliances with regulations, and more. But what is unquestionable is that launching Starlink missions has allowed SpaceX to push the boundaries of reuse with its Falcon 9 rocket.

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