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Draggendrop

Yes...Yes.....Yes...(jumps in air)....They had to start recon eventually...why not in a few years......even bring a few probes....AND A PROPER weather station....:woot:

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Draggendrop
Draggendrop

Hiring time...big time.....

Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity – three companies influenced by Elon Musk – are currently on a massive hiring spree around the US. They already have a combined headcount of over 32,000 employees and the total is set to increase significantly in the coming months. We learned that Musk’s companies are holding joined private recruiting events, the latest of which held last weekend at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Recruiters from each company select students recommended through university programs and invite them to the relatively secretive events to interview with SolarCity, SpaceX or Tesla.

These events are the latest examples of synergy between Musk’s companies. SpaceX previously shared some technology and equipment with Tesla and bought solar bonds from SolarCity, while Tesla supplies energy storage systems to the solar installer, which in turn installed charging stations for Tesla’s electric vehicles and solar for many Tesla customers.

 

In addition to these events, Musk’s companies are going on hiring sprees across the country. Tesla recently hired several hundred new employees for the Gigafactory in Nevada in just one day according to sources and SolarCity recently announced its intention to attempt a similar feat by hiring 500 new sales workers though simultaneous recruiting events on Wednesday.

Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity are not new to rapid growth, but 2015 as been a particularly exceptional year so far in term of new hires with both Tesla and SolarCity adding more than 4,000 employees to their respective headcount and the recent events point to a push to expand their workforce ahead of several upcoming projects.

With the election coming up, clean tech subsidies and job creation are likely to become prominent topics again. During the 2012 election, presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized the Obama administration for picking “losers” when investing in clean technologies, while especially mentioning Tesla Motors. Musk took the statement personally and even tried to contact the Romney clan.

Three years later, Musk’s companies are in a much stronger position, yet the CEO came under fire earlier this year after an article from the LA Times claimed his companies were receiving $4.9 billion in subsidies. These subsidies are awarded to competitors,  issued over a 20 year period and they are often linked to job creation requirements, but little attention was paid to the companies’ growing workforce.

 

Most of Tesla’s hires in the coming months and years should be to staff the company’s battery factory which they plan to bring online as soon as spring 2016. At full capacity, which is expected around 2020, Tesla could create as many as 6,500 new jobs through the initial Gigafactory…and considering the factory is referred to as “Gigafactory 1”, we could imagine them announcing another.

In addition to the Gigafactory’s workforce, Tesla is expected to significantly increase the number of employees working at the Fremont factory as the company aims at increasing its annual vehicle output at the location from 50,000 to 500,000 vehicles within the next 5 years.

Of course, the automaker will also need to expand its worldwide sales and service workforce if it plans to handle its new production output.

The company is also planning to expand its internship programs which, like for most tech companies, are already an important part of the hiring process.

Tesla CTO JB Straubel recently announced a new internship program for the summer 2016 at the Gigafactory.  Tesla hires about one-third of their interns as full-time employees according to Straubel.

 

 

SolarCity has a Gigafactory of its own where the company plans to produce 1 gigawatt of high-efficiency solar panels annually. The plant is scheduled to start production in early 2016 and could create as much as 5,000 new jobs. Although the company already started hiring for the factory, the 500 positions they will try to fill Wednesday have nothing to do with their solar panel manufacturing effort. Instead, the company is trying to expand in salesforce in ten key states.

According to CEO Lyndon Rive, SolarCity is adding 500 new employees a month on average in 2015. With the expansion of its sales team and the factory coming online next year, the company doesn’t seem to be planing to slowdown its growth in the short-term, but recently proposed legislation in California could pull the brakes on the company’s plans.

As for SpaceX, unlike its two “sister companies”, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation is not publicly traded and therefore we have limited information about its headcount, but the company has disclosed having over 4,000 employees.

After a failure during a cargo mission for NASA in June, the company is looking at a return-to-flight launch in December.

Like Tesla and SolarCity, SpaceX is also expected to significantly expand its workforce, especially if they plan to deliver on the 60+ missions they have on manifest.

The company also plans to get into satellite manufacturing and to operate a constellation of ~4,000 communication satellites, which could explain the company’s growing hiring effort.

Musk often describes a company simply as a group of people getting together to build a product. Well Musk’s groups of people are growing bigger by the day through these new recruiting efforts.

 http://electrek.co/2015/10/18/elon-musks-quest-to-hire-america-tesla-motors-spacex-and-solarcity-are-on-a-massive-hiring-spree/

-----------------------------------

Elon Musk has the perfect argument for raising NASA's budget


Billionaire Elon Musk has a really compelling reason to ramp up NASA's budget: We need to become a multi-planet species to ensure the survival of the human race, and we need NASA's help to do it.

 

 

Blogger Tim Urban sat down with Musk for an in-depth article on SpaceX and Mars called "How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars," and asked him about NASA's budget:

By "life insurance," Musk means establishing a thriving human colony on another planet before a catastrophic disaster hits the Earth and wipes out the human race, like the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs. Earth has already experienced five mass extinction events, so some argue it's only a matter of time before another disaster strikes.

That means we need a back up copy of the human race, and according to Musk, that's a plenty compelling reason to double NASA's budget.

It doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon, though. The problem is that Congress keeps failing to approve President Obama's budget requests, as NASA administrator Charles Bolden explains in an August op-ed for Wired.

"Since 2010, the President has received approximately $1 billion less than he requested for NASA’s Commercial Crew initiative," Bolden writes. "During this time we’ve sent $1 billion to Russia."

If history had gone differently and NASA was allowed to ride the momentum it built up during the incredible Apollo moon missions in the 60s and 70s, some experts argue that humans would have set foot on Mars long ago. We'd have a colony there already, or at least we'd be regularly sending manned missions to explore it.

Instead, NASA suffered its first monster round of budget cuts in the 70s; The budget peaked in the 60s at about 4.4% of the federal budget, but by the end of the 70s it was well below 1%. And in the decade after we landed on the moon, NASA cut its in-house staff by a third.

Such a dramatic budget cut forced NASA to scale back its grandiose plans for space exploration, including its Mars missions, and instead it put a more modest space shuttle program in place.

The budget cuts weren't over though. NASA was forced to shut the doors on its space shuttle program in 2011. Right now the budget is hovering just under 0.5% of the federal budget.

Maybe we'll see how much interest Musk and SpaceX can drum up if they pull off a Mars landing. If that happens, maybe we'll get Congress on board to give NASA a serious shot at Mars.

We're expecting Musk to unveil his plans for a giant Mars spacecraft that can seat 100 people sometime this year.

http://www.techinsider.io/elon-musk-says-we-need-to-raise-nasas-budget-2015-9

:) 

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Draggendrop

Misc bits again.....

 

 

 

 

Elon Musk and SpaceX are really all about getting to Mars, says investor


While the company and its CEO pay lip service to reaching the Red Planet, how high a priority can it be, really? Pretty high, according to what CNET contributor Eric Mack heard from one investor.

 

 

For more than a decade now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk's SpaceXcompany has seemingly been focused on creating commercial rockets that will one day be reusable, making it much cheaper to shoot stuff up to orbit, the International Space Station or beyond. But it's all just a prelude to the main mission to Mars, one SpaceX investor recently revealed onstage at a conference on working toward human settlements in space, which this writer attended.

This may come as little surprise to those who follow Musk and SpaceX closely. The billionaire industrialist for the 21st century loves to talk about going to Mars (and even nuking it) when he's not busy trying to make those recyclable rockets land just rightor worrying about artificial intelligence while slowly making hiselectric cars more autonomous.

There's always been reason to wonder how high Mars really is on Musk's list of priorities. While he's talked about sending people there in the next decade, he's been known to be a little overly optimistic with his timelines (getting his rockets off the ground took several years longer than initially hoped), and clearly the guy has other problems to solve and companies to run.

 

 

But video game legend, citizen astronaut and SpaceX investor Richard Garriott told a small audience of space enthusiasts at the New Worlds conference in Austin, Texas, on Friday that the company only exists to colonize Mars.

Garriott said that Musk likes to joke with investors, saying things like, "By the way, none of this money is coming back until we are on Mars. "

On SpaceX's own website "About" page, the company is described this way:

"SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets."

Garriott's anecdote also jives with what Musk told Tesla shareholders earlier this year on the topic of a possible future SpaceX initial public offering (Tesla is a public company, SpaceX is not): "It will go public once we have regular flights to Mars," Musk said, according to USA Today.

If that's the plan, perhaps Musk will have the motivation to hit his tight timeline for getting to the Red Planet after all, which will no doubt please investors, and probably a few more-traditional gamblers who are betting on him to beat NASA to Mars, too.

http://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musk-and-spacex-are-really-all-about-getting-to-mars-says-investor/

:) 

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DocM

From the SpaceX careers page - says it all

ROAD TO THE RED PLANET

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.

WE ARE SPACEX

SpaceX is like Special Forces… we do the missions that others think are impossible. We have goals that are absurdly ambitious by any reasonable standard, but we’re going to make them happen. We have the potential here at SpaceX to have an incredible effect on the future of humanity and life itself. — Elon Musk

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Draggendrop

Nailed that one...and once in space, and on our way...X-nauts.......:D.

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Unobscured Vision

*sniff* I smell what Elon's cooking. :D

Can't wait to see the hardware they plan to use. Obviously it'll be a bit before we see everything, but seeing this large of a ramp-up in hiring as well as the various Musk companies pulling together like this, they're starting the push for Luna and Mars.

Yeah .... let's get back into "Hardware Mode", people! :)

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Draggendrop

*sniff* I smell what Elon's cooking. :D

Can't wait to see the hardware they plan to use. Obviously it'll be a bit before we see everything, but seeing this large of a ramp-up in hiring as well as the various Musk companies pulling together like this, they're starting the push for Luna and Mars.

Yeah .... let's get back into "Hardware Mode", people! :)

Elon and his investors still have a business to run, along with returns on those investments...very long term. They know the field they are in, and to ramp up hiring...going in for the "kill"...and there is no looking back......the vision will continue with/ without government contracts, but you can bet that NASA is now tied to the hip partially, they know SpaceX will make things happen for them...as well as raise the excitement level for many, to the point of gaining a better budget, because of it. This ramping up...in hindsight, has to happen know...we have a few year lag to major introductions....things have to start...yesterday, now. This is going to all work out fine...They are first and foremost, businessmen, with a very risky flair and driven "to make it happen"...true "pioneering spirit".

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malenfant

I wonder about a SpaceX lunar mission. Sure they could bung a refurbished Dragon on a FH and do a lunar fly-by, but would they? It's really nothing but a stunt. Nasa's locked in with SLS and Orion. Seems like an excellent way of undercutting them and they need Nasa onside.

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Draggendrop

I wonder about a SpaceX lunar mission. Sure they could bung a refurbished Dragon on a FH and do a lunar fly-by, but would they? It's really nothing but a stunt. Nasa's locked in with SLS and Orion. Seems like an excellent way of undercutting them and they need Nasa onside.

A while back, I was rooting for them to do this on a demo.....but now....massive backlog for F9 launches and 1 FH demo and 4 more booked FH flights for 2016 and more bookings coming all the time. The new launch cadence will be much quicker.....leaving me to believe, that "time", is not on our side for a cool lunar flyby launch...at least not near future.......just my opinion though....:D

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DocM

Demo flight and 6 more FH flights. They're already booking Boca Chica in addition to LC-39A, and LC-40 will also get FH upgrades. FH will loom large in their Mars survey plans, and a lunar practice run to test deep space comms, tracking and the radiation environment makes sense.

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Draggendrop

Quite true...could see this in 2017 on......SpaceX has a real mess of launches which they "must' get up...and stay on schedule...this is going to be a "trying" time for multiple launch and integration crews......:)

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Draggendrop

WhiteHouseAstronomyNight2015.thumb.jpg.1
 

White House Astronomy Night (NHQ201510190027)

 

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley, left and Robert Behnken, right, look at a SpaceX display during the second White House Astronomy Night on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Hurley and Behnken, along with fellow NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Eric Boe were selected as the first four astronauts to train to fly to space aboard a commercial carrier as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The second White House Astronomy Night brought together students, teachers, scientists, and NASA astronauts for a night of stargazing and space-related educational activities to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)


----------------------------------------------

OG2-sat.thumb.jpg.40e6f0dde06c7fd61fa548
An ORBCOMM OG-2 satellite undergoes testing prior to launch. Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp

 

Above picture of one of the satellites on the RTF upcoming launch...from generic article on the payload switch, for SpaceX...

SpaceX Sets Ambitious Falcon 9 ‘Return to Flight’ Agenda with Dual December Blastoffs
http://www.universetoday.com/120085/spacex-sets-ambitious-falcon-9-return-to-flight-agenda-with-dual-december-blastoffs/

The double barreled salvo of Falcon 9 blastoffs both involve launches of commercial communications satellites – first for Orbcomm followed by SES – and are specifically devised to allow a gradually ramp up in complexity, as SpaceX introduces fixes for the launch failure and multiple improvements to the boosters overall design.

The order of launches for the inaugural Return to Flight slot has been switched from SES to Orbcomm by mutual agreement since it involves using a simpler launch profile, according to announcements by both Orbcomm and SpaceX.


Later.....:) 

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Draggendrop

SpaceX DragonFly arrives at McGregor for testing

 

Z32FF-350x139.thumb.jpg.cc241ac0c1265c35

SpaceX’s DragonFly test vehicle has arrived at the company’s test facility in McGregor, Texas. DragonFly will be attached to a large crane, ahead of a series of test firings of its SuperDraco thrusters to set the stage towards the eventual goal of propulsive landings. The first test is set to take place in the next few weeks to kick start around two years of incremental testing.

How To Train Your Dragon 2:

SpaceX’s aspiration towards fully reusable rocket systems is an ongoing process currently focused on the recovery and reuse of the first stage of its Falcon 9.

Although plans to reuse the second stage are currently on the back burner, several attempts to land the core stage on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean have resulted in incremental refinements and improvements – although SpaceX is yet to nail a landing.

 

 2015-10-20-150534-350x248.thumb.jpg.cb22

Testing towards that goal began withthe Grasshopper program, based at the McGregor test center. NowDragonFly will attempt to follow in its footsteps, as the spacecraft sets up for a series of tests aimed at the ultimate goal of landing under its own propulsive power.

Arriving at the McGregor site on the back of a flatbed truck this month, the DragonFly enjoyed a brief meeting with the Grasshopper test vehicle for a photo opportunity.

Initially, DragonFly won’t be reaching the heights of the Grasshopper or the since-deceased F-9R Dev-1 test rocket.

That is in part due to the initial test sequence that will be incremental in its approach, but mainly due to the guidance provided in the current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permit.

“SpaceX may operate the Dragonfly vehicle to an altitude that does not exceed 80 feet AGL, in accordance with its application.”

Although the permit also calls for numerous additional constraints, such as a 3,000-foot safety clear zone, the test will be monitored close up by numerous engineering cameras, likely – per SpaceX’s tradition – to result in a specular video of the testing to be released to the public.

 

 2015-10-20-164709-350x254.thumb.jpg.82a1

What such a video will show will be the DragonFly “dancing” under the power of her SuperDraco thrusters while tethered to a large crane.

That crane has also been spotted at McGregor by locals, separate from the cranes associated with the regular testing of stages at the test site.

Such a technique of tethering a rocket-powered vehicle to a crane has been seen many times before, not least the initial testing ofNASA’s Morpheus lander that was utilized to test green propellant propulsion systems and autonomous landing and hazard detection technology.

The Morpheus project ran from its conception in the summer of 2010, through to its final test flight in December of 2014.

It was first tested at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) via a number of powered tests while attached via tethers to a crane.

It later flew unaided at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at KSC, prior to suffering a failure.

Its successor followed a similar path before successfully completing the test objectives at the SLF.

 

 2015-05-05-235729-350x227.thumb.jpg.1887

The DragonFly will follow a similar path to Morpheus. Sporting four steel landing legs and weighing in at 14000 lbs unfueled, the initial tests will shake out the SuperDraco thrusters and prepare the vehicle for an ambitious test regime.

DragonFly testing will be housed at a 40-foot square pad near the SuperDraco facility.

Pending permit requirements, four kinds of test flights are envisioned after the crane-based testing has been completed.

These include the “Propulsive assist landing” test – which will see DragonFly dropped from helicopter (an Erickson E‐model or equivalent) aided by three parachutes. This will be followed by the “Fully propulsive landing” test – again utilizing a helicopter and parachutes, concluding with a five-second firing of the SuperDracos for a smooth landing.

 

 2015-01-26-18_44_31-L2-Level_-SpaceX-F9_

Next would be the “Propulsive assist hop” test. This would call for the DragonFly to be self-launched via a 12.5 second firing of the SuperDracos, removing the helicopter from testing. It would include parachute deployment assist, but with only two chutes, prior to a propulsive landing.

Finally, the test series calls for a “Fully propulsive hop” test, not unlike the Grasshopper tests. During this test, the DragonFly will rise to approximately 7,000 ft AGL, firing its engines for approximately 12.5 seconds to achieve this height.

 

 Z9.thumb.jpg.5b19ef03b8c2aed41c1156680eb

The engines would then throttle down in order to descend, with the engines firing for an additional approximate 12. 5 seconds, allowing the DragonFly to make a powered landing on the launch pad.

The SuperDracos – burning a combination of monomethylhydrazine (MMH) and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) – that will be at the heart of the testing have already enjoyed a successful test as a group, firing together during the successful Pad Abort test at SpaceX’s SLC-40 Pad at Cape Canaveral.

The liquid SuperDraco engines, built into the side walls of the Dragon spacecraft, have a major role during an abort, producing up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to drive the Dragon and crew safely away from a failing launch vehicle. 

They can reach full thrust within approximately 100 milliseconds of the ignition command.

The utilization of the same engines for a propulsive landing capability ensures they will always find a role during Dragon 2’s future role.

Dragon 2 – which is set to launch to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Crew contract – will initially land under parachutes, prior to progressing towards propulsive landing attempts. Parachutes will remain installed on the spacecraft, in order to provide redundancy.

The initial DragonFly testing is expected to take place in a matter of weeks, following on from the full-duration static fire test for the first upgraded “Full Thrust” Falcon 9 first stage.

The stage, which is set to provide the initial push uphill for the ORBCOMM-2 mission – is back on the test stand at McGregor and is currently undergoing engine re-installation in preparation for its final test ahead of shipping to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX’s Return To Flight mission in December.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/10/spacex-dragonfly-arrives-mcgregor-testing/
October 21, 2015 by Chris Bergin

Good article bt Chris Bergin.......

This is an image created by ZLSI on reddit spacex...

af572ke.png

 

Later....:)

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Draggendrop

Soil headed to Boca Chica for SpaceX


557f897a1f4c4.image.thumb.jpg.2b97477d04
MGN Online

 BOCA CHICA -- Arrangements are in full gear to start preparing land, which will house the world’s first commercial and vertical rocket launch site here.

   Truckload after truckload after truckload of soil soon will be spotted traveling to the site.

   “This fall, in order to stabilize the ground at the site, SpaceX will begin a process known as soil surcharging,” John Taylor, spokesman for Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, told the Star.

  “Between now and January 2016, the company will be transporting 310,000 cubic yards of new soil to the locations where all the major facilities will be built at the complex,” Taylor said.

  That’s a lot of soil.

  “That’s enough to cover a football field in 13 stories worth of dirt,” Taylor said.

  The source of the soil could not be immediately ascertained, but it is Rio Grande Valley soil, the Star learned.

 The  site of the $100 million launch complex in the makings  is 17 miles east-northeast of the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport and about 5 miles south of South Padre Island.

  SpaceX plans to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical rockets, which also could carry the Dragon capsule, and a variety of smaller, reusable suborbital launch vehicles from Boca Chica.

   “The new soil will be more suitable for supporting the foundations of the launch complex structures than the native clay and sand,” Taylor said. “

  “In addition, SpaceX will ensure that no non-native species will be inadvertently introduced to the area,” he said.

   The number of trucks required to haul the soil to the site was not immediately known, but it is said that a cubic yard of soil weighs in the vicinity of one ton.

  SpaceX now owns about 140 acres of land. The purchases mostly have been made through SpaceX’s Dogleg Park LLC.

  Nearby neighbor, the Brownsville Navigation District pitched in an additional 50 acres for SpaceX’s wetland mitigation plan, public records show.

  SpaceX, in turn, transferred, or will transfer, the acreage to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to mitigate impacts to wetlands.

   SpaceX’s 2013 mitigation plan has gone through 10 revisions through April 2015, public records show.

 http://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/article_394ec4e2-785d-11e5-b676-1baf3e1b66c1.html

editor problems again.......:)

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DocM

We should see a 180+ second static fire of F9 FT on the new stand at McGregor in the next week or so. With DragonFly also looking at a tethered test in the same time frame we should be getting some cool new videos to ooh and ahh over.

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bguy_1986

Awesome  :D.  Seems like it's been a while!

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FloatingFatMan

We should see a 180+ second static fire of F9 FT on the new stand at McGregor in the next week or so. With DragonFly also looking at a tethered test in the same time frame we should be getting some cool new videos to ooh and ahh over.

I have a serious hankering for seeing Dragon 2 taking a ride, even tethered. I soooo wanna see that beauty fly!

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DocM

NSF is getting more exciting by the day....

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38677.msg1437710#msg1437710

#5 by Peter NASA on 20 Oct, 2015 08:21

Quote from: Dalhousie on 19 Oct, 2015 16:51

I think this report is rather misleading.  Not being on L2 I can't read what it's based on but NASA as an organisation not selected Jezero Crater for a crewed landing site, at most it is the opinion of one team. October 27-29 there is a workshop at the LPI that will consider a whole range of landing sites, Jezero is just one of them.  The program can be found at http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/explorationzone2015/pdf/program.pdf

The report is accurate. Your interpretation is not. It's the current SITE A option. More options will be evaluated. Nothing has been selected as the official landing site, not least because that's too far away and SpaceX will likely have a base on Mars by then anyway.

Yes, I just said that.

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DocM

http://www.kxxv.com/story/30348563/spacex-starting-louder-than-normal-tests-this-week

Posted: Oct 26, 2015 9:18 AM EDT

By Anthony J. GarciaCONNECT

SpaceX has announced that they will be running tests on their rocket development facility in McGregor.

The company says people can expect significantly more noticeable notice noise than they typically hear when SpaceX runs tests.

Tests are expected to start Monday, Oct. 26 at the earliest.

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DocM

There was a 3 minute very loud noise at McGregor this evening, which could be the F9 FT core for ORBCOMM-2. Waiting for official word/video.

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anthdci

honeymoon booked, ill be in orlando from april 21st until may 5th. Please please please have the falcon heavy demo during that time :jump:

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DocM

New satellite images of the recent McGregor test site additions. They're rampin' up to some major noisemaking.

Overview
ec385a11b8d0f97d8590c9684170ea06.jpg

Falcon Booster Test Stand (Falcon 9 Full Thrust and Falcon Heavy)
f9eda30c9077047d94dcf3e80d4c4094.jpg

Triple Horizontal Test Stand. Raptor parts & MCT thrusters?
bf39d2bbd7e76d6a4147c83445de262d.jpg

Triple Stand support
334ee09fda89e0ff9e1f3a855ddce44c.jpg

New Vertical (engine?) Test Stand (Raptor?) There probably have been structures erected since these were taken.
aa02e28b91b6da4c76ff07073a001fb8.jpg

Zoomed in on the flame trench with a same scale pickup truck from elsewhere in the frame overlaid. If it's an F-250 class pickup it would be 228 - 263" (5.8 - 6.7 meters) long and 80" (2.03 meters) wide.
ac94050cc77d4683ceba7f8ff6cabb8f.jpg

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Draggendrop

Misc bits....

 

Pad 39A FH erector assembly.......(from L2)
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36100.msg1442312#msg1442312

1.thumb.jpg.bb551bf8eac11dca3c5ff9a2e932

2.thumb.jpg.050b026939e3abfd7daaa10f1392

3.thumb.jpg.5c4841b9442ff103d160e008ea9b

and.......

Musk's SpaceX Faces Competition for $3.5 Billion NASA Cargo Flights

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-04/musk-s-spacex-finds-crowd-for-3-5-billion-nasa-cargo-flights?cmpid=yhoo.headline

Less than a decade after its first rocket launch, Elon Musk’s SpaceX finds itself in an unfamiliar position.

The upstart venture is the incumbent vying to win the bulk of a $3.5 billion U.S. contract renewal while facing rivals that include Boeing Co., whose spaceflight roots date to the 1950s. At stake: a seven-year agreement to haul supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.


more data at the link, stuff we already knew, but is floating in the business community.....:)

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      Background image via SpaceX There are a handful of fairly routine rocket launches this week but it’s worth mentioning that the remains of the Long March-5B Y2 carrier rocket, which launched the Chinese Space Station recently, landed in the Indian Ocean luckily missing populated areas. In response to the rocket’s remains falling back to Earth in the uncontrolled manner that they did, the United States government called for “responsible space behaviors.”

      Friday, May 14
      It’s going to be quiet for most of next week in terms of rocket launches but from Friday we could see up to four launches. On Friday, there is one mission marked with ‘no earlier than’ which means Friday is the earliest time the mission will launch but it could come later. The mission in question will see Virgin Galactic launch its VSS Unity rocketplane carrying several revenue-generating payloads as part of the NASA flight opportunities program.

      The possible launch of VSS Unity was mentioned in last week’s edition of TWIRL with a no earlier than launch penned in for May 5. The launch did not go ahead last week and is now due on Friday or later.

      Saturday, May 15
      On Saturday, there are two missions marked with no earlier than and one more definite launch. The two marked as NET are Northrup Grumman’s TacRL-2 mission, which was mentioned in TWIRL 10, and Rocket Lab’s ‘Running Out of Toes’ mission that will carry two BlackSky satellites into orbit. SpaceX has its Starlink 26 mission marked for Saturday too.

      The BlackSky satellites that Rocket Lab aims to launch will be part of a constellation that can capture 1000 images per day in four bands and panchromatic mode at 1-metre resolution. The two satellites going up are newer Block 2.1 satellites which come with increased solar arrays that will deliver more power to the satellite. In all, BlackSky will operate 60 satellites that it will renew every three years.

      The SpaceX Starlink 26 mission will carry 60 Starlink satellites into orbit which will join the existing Starlink satellites in beaming internet connectivity to subscribers back on Earth. As a secondary payload, there will be two Capella Space satellites aboard too.

      SpaceX Starlink 25
      Originally scheduled for a launch last Tuesday, SpaceX finally managed to launch its Starlink 25 mission earlier today. The recorded stream is now available to watch below:

    • By zikalify
      SpaceX's Starship performs successful soft landing for the first time [Update]
      by Paul Hill



      SpaceX has successfully landed its Starship craft that it plans to use to fly astronauts to the Moon later in the decade. The Starship SN15 which flew on this test is the first Starship craft to make a successful soft landing after descending from an altitude of 10 km. Previous tests all saw the various Starship iterations blow up at landing and had varying degrees of success.

      The launch today took off around 5:24 p.m. CDT (10:24 p.m. UTC) from Boca Chica in Texas. The main goal of the mission was to perform a successful soft landing which SpaceX did manage to pull off. With all that said, a fire did break out near the base of the ship and it was promptly doused with water before it eventually went out. SpaceX will definitely need to get this sorted out in future missions as fires can cause an explosion, as happened with Starship SN10 back in March.

      Following the landing of Starship, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to what is presumably his favourite social media site, Twitter, to report that Starship’s landing was nominal – in other words, everything went to plan.

      At the end of April, Reuters reported that the Federal Aviation Administration had authorised three launches of Starship – the one that just occurred, SN15; SN16; and SN17. It’s not clear yet when the next two launches are going to take off but we should see them in a relatively short time. We’ll be watching to see whether SpaceX truly has perfected the landing and whether it can stop fires from breaking out on the landing pad.

      Update: Elon Musk has said that SpaceX may try to re-fly Starship SN15, following its successful landing.



    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 11: SpaceX to launch 60 Starlink satellites and maybe Starship SN15
      by Paul Hill

      Background image via SpaceX We’ve got a pretty quiet week in terms of rocket launches this week. SpaceX will try to launch its Starlink 25 mission, we may see Virgin Galactic launch its VSS Unity rocketplane, and a Long March rocket will put three satellites into orbit to carry out possible SIGINT work. We may also see SpaceX launch its Starship SN15 this week as a launch was scrubbed on Friday.

      Tuesday, May 4
      On Tuesday, we’ve got just one launch from SpaceX who will be launching its Starlink 25 mission. This mission will send 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit where they’ll beam internet connectivity back down to the planet. The satellites will be taken into space atop SpaceX’s trusty Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket which has reliably sent hundreds of Starlink satellites to space. If you’d like to watch the launch, head over to SpaceX’s website at 7:01 p.m. UTC on Tuesday.



      Wednesday, May 5
      May 5 will be the first date that we could see the launch of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo-class VSS Unity. It’s really important to point out that this launch is marked as no earlier than which means the launch could take place after Wednesday. If the flight does go ahead, VSS Unity will launch from a VMS EVE carrier aircraft and fly to the edge of space. It will carry payloads as part of the NASA flight opportunities program that will generate revenue for Virgin Galactic.

      Friday, May 7
      The final flight of the week will launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China. A Long March CZ-2C rocket will launch three satellites that have been designated as Yaogan 30 Group 08. The satellites will perform electromagnetic detection and perform other technical tests but to what ends is unknown. It’s speculated that the satellites could be being used for signals intelligence work. No live stream will show this launch but post-launch videos could appear on YouTube afterwards.

      Starship SN15
      We could see SpaceX launch its Starship SN15 from Monday onwards following its flight last Friday that was scrubbed due to bad weather. SpaceX has still not performed a smooth landing of a Starship vehicle to date but NASA recently selected SpaceX’s Starship to land the next Americans on the Moon; this should motivate the firm to nail the landing process.

    • By zikalify
      NASA Crew-1 Dragon set to return to Earth with Saturday splashdown
      by Paul Hill



      The American space agency NASA has announced that it will be live streaming the return to Earth for the NASA SpaceX Crew-1 mission from the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi are set to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico at 11:36 a.m. EDT on Saturday, May 1.

      The Crew Dragon spacecraft which will be returning the astronauts is dubbed Resilience and will undock from the ISS at 5:55 p.m. following the hatch closure at 3:50 p.m. NASA TV will stream the hatch closure from 3:30 p.m. and the undocking from 5:30 p.m. It will then provide continuous coverage until the following morning when the craft finally lands back in the gulf. Following the return, NASA will hold a news conference from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston at 1:30 p.m. You can find the NASA TV stream on the agency’s website.

      According to NASA, the undocking and splashdown were originally slated for Wednesday, April 28, but due to weather conditions expected in the splashdown zones, the return has been delayed. The agency and its commercial partner SpaceX will continue to monitor the weather forecasts to ensure that the return can still go ahead on Friday night.

      There are currently 11 people on the space station which is several more than we usually see up there at any one time. This is because the SpaceX vehicles take four astronauts up at a time rather than the three that Soyuz vehicles are able to carry and the arrival of two crews in quick succession. The latest crew arrived at the ISS on April 21 aboard the Crew-2 Dragon.

    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 10: Chinese Space Station module Tianhe set for launch
      by Paul Hill



      It’s set to be a jam-packed week of rocket launches with launches scheduled every day except on Friday and Sunday. One of the most important launches this week will be of the Tianhe (Harmony of the heavens) module of the Chinese Space Station which will sit in a low Earth orbit (LEO). It’s expected that the first three taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) will arrive at the station as soon as June 2021.

      Monday, April 26
      The first launch of the week will be conducted by United Launch Alliance (Lockheed, Boeing) which will launch classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office atop a huge Delta IV Heavy rocket, the mission is called NROL-82. The payload is allegedly an electro-optical digital imaging Keyhole satellite (KH-11) dubbed Crystal 18 and has a ground resolution of up to 15 cm.

      The launch will be shown on the United Launch Alliance website at 8:46 p.m. UTC.

      To learn more about the flight itself, check out this ULA video about NROL-82:

      Tuesday, April 27
      On Tuesday, a Chinese Long March CZ-6 is expected to take off from Launch Complex 16 at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center at around 3:20 a.m. UTC carrying several Earth observation satellites including Qilu 1 and Qilu 4. We spoke about these satellites in This Week in Rocket Launches #7 explaining that they’re used for remote sensing radar and can produce detailed radar images of the Earth’s surface even if it's cloudy or dark.

      Wednesday, April 28
      The first mission is expected to launch at 1:50 a.m. UTC from Carbet Toukan, French Guiana. The mission is called VV18 and will see an Arianespace Vega rocket take the Pleiades Neo 3 and NORSAT 3 satellites into orbit. Pleiades Neo 3 is the first, not the third, Pleiades satellite to be orbited and will be joined by three more satellites later on. The very high-resolution Earth observation satellites will be able to capture images with 30 cm ground resolution. According to Arianespace, Pleiades Neo 4 will be orbited in the following Vega flight. You should be able to find a live stream of the launch on Arianespace’s YouTube channel closer to the time of launch.

      The second launch of the day comes from SpaceX which is launching another batch of 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit. The mission is called Starlink 24 and is set to launch at 4:05 a.m. UTC. There are already lots of Starlink satellites beaming internet connectivity back down to Earth but SpaceX is looking to eventually build the constellation to the point where there will be 30,000 satellites in orbit. You can watch the live stream on SpaceX’s website at the time of launch.

      Thursday, April 29
      There is only one launch scheduled for Thursday but it’s definitely the most exciting of the lot. The Chinese National Space Agency will be launching a Long March CZ-5B rocket carrying the first module of the Chinese Space Station (CSS) called Tianhe into a low Earth orbit at 3:18 a.m. UTC from Pad 101 at the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.

      The Tianhe module will be joined at a later date by the Mengtian and Wentian modules as well as a robotic arm and a free-flying, dockable space telescope called Xuntian. The first three taikonauts to arrive at the CSS are expected to arrive by as soon as June and will push up the total number of people in space at any one time.

      With the launch coming from China, it probably won’t be streamed live but there should be some clips from the launch posted online shortly after a successful launch.

      Image via China Manned Space Saturday, May 1
      Saturday’s flights are all marked as no earlier than which means none of them may take off. Some of the interesting flights listed include the Starlink 25 mission which will see 60 more Starlink satellites orbited, a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket could deploy the TacRL-2 mission as part of Space Force’s Tactically Responsive Launch program, and Virgin Galactic could carry out a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo rocket-plane carrying several commercial payloads. If previous weeks are anything to go by, we will likely look at these missions in a bit more depth in future TWIRL instalments.

      Last week
      We got some interesting news on the space front last week. For the first time, NASA flew a helicopter on the surface of another celestial body and NASA and SpaceX carried out the second successful Crew Dragon mission carrying astronauts to the space station. There are currently 11 people residing on the ISS for the next couple of days which is most likely a record for the number of people on the ISS at any one time.