SpaceX has revolutionised rockets since Elon Musk’s company launched in 2002. Musk has disrupted the space industry by creating reusable rockets that could eventually be used on manned missions to Mars. Together, commercial agents such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic Blue Origin have rejuvenated a stagnating space exploration industry.
SpaceX is about to blast 10 communications satellites into the atmosphere and attempt an audacious rocket landing this afternoon (January 11), and you can catch the action. live.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is launching 10 satellites for the Iridium telecommunications company.
This launch will take off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base 3.31pm GMT (10.31am EST / 7.31am PST).
A launch webcast is available directly from the SpaceX site here.(https://www.spacex.com/webcast) and there will also be activity in the opposite direction.
Only seven minutes after take off, the first stage Falcon 9’s will attempt an ambitious vertical descent onto the SpaceX “Just Read the Instructions” droneship somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
This will not be this Falcon 9’s first landing, as the booster was used to launch the Telstar 18V communications satellite in September 2018.
This reuse is key for SpaceX’s genius CEO Elon Musk, as this will dramatically slash the inordinate cost of extraterrestrial exploration.
SpaceX has now accomplished scores of rocket landings and reflown numerous Falcon 9 first stages.
And the same can be said for Dragon cargo capsules, which unmanned runs to resupply International Space Station, in collaboration with Space space agency NASA.
The 10 spacecraft launched today are the final batch that will replace Iridium’s obsolete generation of telecom satellites.
The new Iridium NEXT fleet will feature 66 operational satellites and nine on-orbit spares.
The most recent SpaceX Iridium mission occurred in July 2018, so this afternoon’s event is called Iridium-8.
Today’s SpaceX liftoff has been postponed several times, in part to give SpaceX to make minor repairs to the Falcon 9.
The SpaceX Starship Hopper:
SpaceX has unveiled the test version of its eagerly-awaited Starship Hopper.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the milestone via Twitter today, clearing the way for the first “hop tests” that will prove the rocket’s viability.
“This is for suborbital VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) tests,” Musk tweeted.
“Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.”
Unlike its predecessors the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, which uses rocket propellant and liquid oxygen as fuel, the Starship uses Raptor engines powered by liquid oxygen and methane.
This allows astronauts to build refuelling stations on Mars or other planets and makes returnable missions to Mars mission returnable.
Alternatively astronauts could continue exploration and building further stations to set up a “planet-hopping” network.
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