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Draggendrop

The location was curious, due to the distance off shore and placement. I have sent in a few NOTAM's in the past, due to my work environment. The process is very specific, and what caught my attention is the fact that it is not an aerodrome, a water aerodrome, a non military op and not search and rescue, to name a few. This is a special commercial case, with a flyback booster, of which SpaceX has demonstrated their accuracy, several times before. A barge traveling at 10 to 12 knot's could cover a large area in a day. In this scenario, for approval, I am quite sure a low impact area was required, particularly since it is able to be a mobile choice.

This area in question, is north of the major shipping lanes, link below is a generic representation of local lanes for the area.
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/shipstrike/route_jacksonville.pdf

Flight corridors are shown locally..generalization, at the attached link...some what real time...
http://flightaware.com/live/airport/KJAX

Generic major traffic lanes, at the link attached....
http://maps.unomaha.edu/animatedflightatlas/FlightTrafficAnimation.html

This area is ideal, north of shipping lanes, east of major carrier routes with available full ceiling. SpaceX would have submitted this knowing the routes for minimal obstruction to others, and ensure a safe area, of which, would have then been authorized due to good placement. The above links are generic but indicative of many available online. This location was chosen to carry out their manoeuvre and with the least amount of infringement on others...good choice.:) 

 

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Draggendrop

This may be a bit off topic, but I believe it involves SpaceX directly. I have noticed many articles lately concerning NASA's Mar's venture. This is fine on itself, but what bothers me is the total non recognition of SpaceX and the reason for the establishment of SpaceX. Here is an example article, where they talk about round table meetings and decisions where "they" will place the first human on Mars...

Where Will the 1st Astronauts on Mars Land?
http://www.space.com/31143-manned-mars-landing-sites-workshop.html

I have an answer to the question and I would easily put a bet on it...

The first human on Mars will be where ever SpaceX decides.

:)

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DocM

Looking closer, it also seems ideal as practice for a Falcon Heavy center core landing next spring. 

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Draggendrop

Looking closer, it also seems ideal as practice for a Falcon Heavy center core landing next spring. 

Wow...had no idea that they would try that so soon...very cool.....:D

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DocM

The Falcon Heavy #1 cores are on the Hawthorne factory floor. ISTM to make their stated ~April-May 2016 flight date they would have to leave McGregor for KSC around New Years, which would give them time for fit and flow tests. Why not try to land it? It's basically a free test.

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Unobscured Vision

This may be a bit off topic, but I believe it involves SpaceX directly. I have noticed many articles lately concerning NASA's Mar's venture. This is fine on itself, but what bothers me is the total non recognition of SpaceX and the reason for the establishment of SpaceX. Here is an example article, where they talk about round table meetings and decisions where "they" will place the first human on Mars...

Where Will the 1st Astronauts on Mars Land?
http://www.space.com/31143-manned-mars-landing-sites-workshop.html

I have an answer to the question and I would easily put a bet on it...

The first human on Mars will be where ever SpaceX decides.

:)

Darn tootin'. :yes: SpaceX and probably Bigelow along with a couple of other lesser-known NewSpace companies in a cooperative partnership will be the ones that do it. Sure as Hades won't be NASA -- not before SpaceX and the "Grand Partnership" pull it off.

There's money to be made from Mars -- lots of it. We all contributed to the Mars thread where we discussed the possibilities of Mining Operations and using the natural resources there to our advantage in economical and creative ways. I'm more than certain that we got few "extra readers" who were keen on some of our ideas and conclusions, and in a position to pass it along to their Exploratory & Feasibility people. If at least one of our ideas or conclusions help them out, no matter the scale, then our ThinkTank was a success and we are all to be congratulated. :)

The Falcon Heavy #1 cores are on the Hawthorne factory floor. ISTM to make their stated ~April-May 2016 flight date they would have to leave McGregor for KSC around New Years, which would give them time for fit and flow tests. Why not try to land it? It's basically a free test.

Can't wait!

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flyingskippy

 A barge traveling at 10 to 12 knot's could cover a large area in a day. In this scenario, for approval, I am quite sure a low impact area was required, particularly since it is able to be a mobile choice.

 

The Coast Guard will put out a SMIB (safety Marine Information Broadcast) over on the International Hailing and Distress Frequency, Channel 16. I heard them all the time when I was stationed in Brunswick, GA during SpaceX launches and recovery attempts. Basically they give an area with lat and long and to be on the lookout and proceed with extreme caution.  

As for the the airspace,  it is out of US airspace. There are a lot of warning areas off the edge of US airspace. Warning areas are typically used by DOD for hight speed maneuvering and even super sonic flight. I wouldn't be surprised if the they activated the warning area for the barge location.  And like Doc said the FAA would then put out a International NOTAM. 

I also think the location has to do with the inclination of the launch. The less inclination change means more fuel saved. 

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Draggendrop

Being in or out of someones airspace would not change locations of flight paths or marine shipping lanes...they are designated and extremely busy. It would be utterly silly to travel through one and quite selfish, with possible legal implications. This area makes perfect sense for low impact on other forms of travel, in fact, it is the corner of the only large one in the immediate area. The inclination of launch would put it north, but with lots of room to manouvre through the entire region with it's guide fins from high altitude. The FAA would only put out a NOTAM if they are in agreement with this particular situation, and they would have had lead time on SpaceX's submission, to investigate and allow approval for a "location with mobility". I have dealt with Canadian generation of NOTAM's and they do not play games, even more so for non military . I assume the US is just as strict, if not more so. This location afford's a good balance for safety and mission accomplishment for a commercial entity.

You are right about the marine broadcasts, as I have a marine operators RF licence and most of us monitor channel 16 with our DSC units. :)

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flyingskippy

Being in or out of someones airspace would not change locations of flight paths or marine shipping lanes...they are designated and extremely busy. It would be utterly silly to travel through one and quite selfish, with possible legal implications. This area makes perfect sense for low impact on other forms of travel, in fact, it is the corner of the only large one in the immediate area.

 I was simply just saying it is outside US airspace.

 After 12 NM offshore, there is not a such thing as designated "shipping lanes".  Mariners choose their routes based upon shortest distance, current and weather. Traffic is more dense in some areas cause  there is a lot of traffic leaving one busy port and going to another.

Traffic density map:

density.thumb.jpg.497545ac9e0ab47942f615

The shipping lanes that you are actually seeing are recommended wright whale avoidance routes. 

 Jacksonville.thumb.jpg.efba170176b1f06e0

Note.thumb.jpg.0c60a563509e715f03849da5e

Here you will see no designated shipping lanes offshore

shippinglanes.thumb.jpg.b3902de9deb0f434

It is the mariners responsibility for collision avoidance and the Coast Guard will put out a SMIB identifying the position of the barge. In addiction they will tell them to exercise extreme caution when transiting the area.There are hazard areas coming off of Cape Canaveral for both High and low inclination launches

hazard_areas.thumb.jpg.3fb8dad0ace77268c

The inclination of launch would put it north, but with lots of room to manouvre through the entire region with it's guide fins from high altitude.

 

The inclination is roughly 40º which if you follow it up from Cape puts it very close to the area of the barge. F9 has a negative glide ratio...not a whole lot of maneuverability from the grid fins.

The FAA would only put out a NOTAM if they are in agreement with this particular situation, and they would have had lead time on SpaceX's submission, to investigate and allow approval for a "location with mobility".

Warning areas are under DOD authority. Once DOD says when an area is active, the FAA issues the NOTAM

Here are online chart viewers:

http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11480.shtml

http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11009.shtml

 

Jacksonville.jpg

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Draggendrop

Nice research and thanks for taking the time to do it, interesting and appreciated.......but we are still missing a real point, safety....avoidance of shipping lanes..lesser of evils...and the air corridors...a big deal. First, we can cover the re entry of the Falcon 1st stage. From various other forums, Doc can verify...MECO will be around 50 to 60 miles up...this is the Karman line (100 km)...space, and velocity can be anywhere from mach 6 to mach 10, depending on flight profile where the stage sometimes has to be oriented to prevent "belly flops" with the atmosphere (all depends on mission trajectory). At that altitude, the fins can steer towards a large general area. Point of note...In several forums, mention has been made that the Falcon Heavy would be capable of launching from Texas and landing in Florida, if they wanted to. The Falcon 9 has limitations, and has flown quite a few different profiles, mission dependent and also dependent on if a core landing has been chosen.

Shipping lanes...in national waters, there are shipping lanes for entry/exit from ports. Outside these area's, it is like you stated..direct routes for fuel savings and hazard avoidance....which generates "shipping lanes of preference"..LRIT data confirms this...see attached video for US or worldwide shipping routes. It is extremely busy...which is why LRIT is a big deal and is being expanded...traffic control and monitoring for shipping. Those routes correspond and obviously match up to in shore hazards. These lanes are well established for the "big guy's, the ones to worry about....stragglers will have to be on watch. The location of the barge is placed in the corner of an area of least use....not likely a coincidence. So whether these lanes are on a chart or not, does not change the fact that "shipping lanes of preference" are used.

Air traffic...a big deal and varies with the time of day for local and international flights. Hazard area's and no fly zones can be totally restricted or limitations on time of use or ceilings available. The Nevada "range", I believe, is off limits at all times for DOD, as an example. Flight corridors of use, for the southern part of Florida to the upper eastern seaboard, do create a busy laneway...the area chosen for the barge, is to the east of this corridor...you can either check the charts or check out the attached video of a days flight lanes in the US. The barge area is placed in the area of least amount of traffic.   again, I hazard to guess, not likely another co-incidence.

The FAA is one of the world finest organizations when it comes to traffic management and safety..... I highly doubt they would stake there reputation on allowing a ridiculous placement for a re-entry on a barge, when both are mobile and within their operating constraints, by not only placing the barge on a shipping lane, but also under a busy air corridor. This, in my opinion, is why this area has been "chosen". It offers the best safety for SpaceX, marine shipping, air traffic, and most importantly, removes a lot of liability for "granting agencies".

We can choose to differ in opinion...But I will stick to the safety management aspect of this choice. If I had to make the "call", it would be to the side of "safety", and I would have chosen this general location as well.

This situation is only the tip of the iceburg..we are talking one landing attempt in one area. This is why the FAA has been given a nod to hopefully be the agency to control all future space traffic...in the next 10 years, we are going to see a mess of re-entries...stages and powered/glide back units, at various spaceports and factory pads. Each one of these will be regulated ...and not chosen by dart board, to let everyone else look out one unit at a time.

From the two of us bringing up points of interest...there is a lot involved in choosing a landing site. Launch trajectories for various missions will also have to consider re-entry options for best location and fuel use...multiple choices of spaceports or commercial pads. I believe the Falcon Heavy will have an easier time due to its range, The Falcon 9, some what limited, still has a variable area for Florida...and a nice barge spot. SpaceX's other facilities will probably have well thought out barge area's and commercial pads. The commercial pads, in my opinion, will be able to be used once SpaceX has proven the ability to pin point land, with reliability...because these landings may be coming down through a lane and proper timing will be involved for the least amount of impact, which creates a scenario of a "launch window" and a possibility of a "landing window" of opportunity....I assume the FAA will have the last say and choose for safety.. 

The video's below are generic but represent generic routes for example .....saves downloading and running an LRIT type program. The air charts...I know you know how to use them, from your background.

A Day in the Life of Air Traffic Over the United States, video is 2:57 min

 

 

 

JRC reveals global traffic routes using LRIT ship tracking data, video is 1:35 min

 

 

Global ship traffic seen from space - FleetMon Satellite AIS and FleetMon Explorer, video is 1:40 min

 

 

:)

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Draggendrop

misc bits.....

 

 

F9-021 (OG2) core down from McGregor test stand...one day ago...

Ahdmpgz.jpg

 

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flyingskippy

Crossing my fingers for a video of the full duration static fire. 

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DocM

SpaceX has said once RTF has happened they'll be setting a blistering pace, which would be fun for us :)

AIUI, it's up to marine and air ttraffic to avoid the NOTM/NOTAM areas, not for the area to avoid sea/air lanes.

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Draggendrop

AIUI, it's up to marine and air ttraffic to avoid the NOTM/NOTAM areas, not for the area to avoid sea/air lanes.

This is true...we were discussing the process of issuing. I got a "blast" once for not thinking a submission through.....due to safety and was instructed to submit it in a better way. In cases of "variability if present"...they will go for the safe plan...such as this. Overall, once NOTM/NOTAM published, "when done properly to their standards" for submission.....then everyone steers clear as you mentioned.:)

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Draggendrop

bits and pieces.....

 

Falcon 9 first stage spotted on truck heading east....source ?....from a reddit posting.....

csT9t4L.jpg

Could this be Orbcomm booster...?      :)

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Beittil

Multiple reports by now over at NSF say that the booster has arrived at the Cape this morning.

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bguy_1986

Heading down to Florida in the middle of February.  Hoping to see some kind of launch when I'm down there!  :)

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DocM

Marc Eisenberg (ORBCOMM)
‏@Marc944Marc
Stage 1 arrives at the cape.

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Draggendrop

Bits and bytes......comfirmations

http://imgur.com/omlqOGK

omlqOGK.thumb.jpg.537041419a9ec5fb0a7765

more wheels...
https://twitter.com/Marc944Marc/status/667708558235066368

CUQtZVZWcAAEgwo.thumb.jpg.ceaaaef01772f5

 

Falcon 9 first stage trucks into the Cape ahead of OG-2 mission

 

SpaceX’s Return To Flight (RTF) milestone remains on track for December, as the Falcon 9 first stage – tasked with the launch of the ORBCOMM-2 mission – arrived at its Cape Canaveral launch site early on Friday. The launch of the OG-2 mission will also be the debut of the Full Thrust version of the SpaceX workhorse.


SpaceX Falcon 9 Mission:

SpaceX has been out of action since June when its Falcon 9 v1.1 failed during first stage ascent with the CRS-7/SpX-7 Dragon spacecraft.

Evaluations into the failure have resulted in changes to the upcoming Falcon 9 fleet, which – bar the Jason-3 mission – will involve the Full Thrust Falcon 9.

No launch date has been set, with a preliminary target of mid-December currently the most-likely estimate based on what is now a confirmed shipping of the first stage to SpaceX’s launch site at Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40.

The stage had been at SpaceX’s test center in McGregor, Texas – where it underwent testing, including at least one “Full Duration” static fire on the test stand. SpaceX has not confirmed the McGregor milestones, although the subsequent road trip for the stage is a positive milestone.

The stage will enjoy another engine firing via the usual Static Fire test on the SLC-40 pad, usually around a week ahead of launch.

This test involves a full propellant loading sequence, launch countdown operations, engine ignition operations and testing of the pad’s high-volume water deluge system. In effect, it provides a full dress rehearsal for the actual launch.

Providing the Static Fire proceeds as planned, engineers will take the flow into a Launch Readiness Review (LRR), which will then confirm the launch date for the OG-2 mission with eleven new satellites for the company.

SpaceX’s first Orbcomm launch consisted of a single satellite deployed as a secondary payload to the CRS-1 Dragon mission to the ISS in October 2012.

More at the link...
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/11/falcon-9-first-stage-cape-og-2-mission/

buggy editor......

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Draggendrop

Thought this was funny......

Elon Musk On The Big Bang Theory, video is 2:22 min

 

 

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

 

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

 

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Unobscured Vision

My reaction and conversation with Mr. Musk would be much like that.
 

"Please adopt me."

:D

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Draggendrop

Photo's from this morning, McGregor, ....possible stage 2 test....??????....from imgur...

LXEovbw.thumb.jpg.8b5eb6015ca327cbdf24f7

 

ryuLN8D.thumb.jpg.65c420d01ad2608a7a4d4c

Or Family Day picnic on the test stand...."thruster burgers"

:)

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DocM

Test fire video posed to FB by user Keith Wallace

Damming....won't embed. Follow "view on Facebook" link.

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Draggendrop

Bits and bytes....

Neat shot of strongback at LC-39A...imgur....

o64Whbk.jpg

 

Cover Shoot at a Rocket Factory | Karlie Kloss, video is 3:53 min....for what it's worth...?


 

 

 

 

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Draggendrop

Bits and bytes......with buggy editor....see above mess at end....:(

 

Boca Chica main gate image, from yesterday...reddit....

xoXCize.jpg

 

someone forgot about this landing....

 

 

Tesla is not elon musks only company developing high tech battery packs

buggy editor for above....

Between established automakers accelerating their electric vehicle programs and the newcomers in the EV industry – like Apple, Faraday Future or Atieva – engineers with battery experience are not short on employment opportunities. Earlier this year, Apple poached several battery tech experts from A123 Systems and we also reported that about 1 in 8 of Faraday Future’s ~400 employees is formerly from Tesla Motors.

From an executive’s standpoint, retaining talent in a specific field can be challenging on its own, but for Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, it can be even more complex when both companies he’s managing require talent in the same field…

While Tesla is developing an expertise in battery packs for electric vehicles and stationary energy storage units, SpaceX is developing its own high-tech battery packs to power the avionics on its lineup of rockets and spacecrafts.

 

Tesla is known for having popularized the use of thousands of small li-ion battery cells in series to create larger battery packs – an idea the company borrowed from its early partner AC Propulsion. Several former AC Propulsion engineers now work at both Tesla and SpaceX.

Even though most, if not all electric cars since the introduction of the Tesla Roadster are now powered by li-ion battery cells, the technology only recently started being used in aerospace.

 

Battery packs on SpaceX’s rockets or spacecrafts need to be able to operate in harsh conditions while remaining reliable, especially for the crew version of the Dragon where the batteries are powering critical equipment for life support and avionics. The aerospace industry long preferred to keep using older and more reliable technologies like Nickel–cadmium batteries, which the International Space Station is still using. Although NASA plans to replace them with li-ion batteries in 2016.

Boeing’s 787 battery fire incidents didn’t help the reputation of li-ion cells in the aerospace industry either. At the time, Musk even offered the help of Tesla’s and SpaceX’s battery engineers to fix the problem. He talked with Boeing’s chief 787 engineer Mike Sinnett and confirmed that SpaceX never had an issue with  lithium-ion batteries in its spacecrafts  – regardless of altitude.

Some of the credit for SpaceX’s battery packs performing so well goes to Porter Harris; the company’s former lead engineer responsible for the batteries of the Falcon 9, Cargo Dragon and the upcoming Crew Dragon.

Late last year, Harris left SpaceX to join dozens of Tesla engineers at Faraday Future as a Senior Manager for Battery Hardware Engineering.

Nonetheless, Harris’ LinkedIn job description gives us one of the best look into SpaceX’s battery pack engineering challenges:

 

 

 IM71Xbp.thumb.png.5cb39b7c2bd3b4d34753f2

Based on our LinkedIn research, even without Harris, SpaceX’s battery team is still going strong with dozens of experienced engineers. Around the same time Harris left for Faraday, SpaceX hired a senior battery engineer from Atieva, an electric car startup founded by former Tesla Motors Vice-President and board member Bernard Tse. Atieva is being funded by the same company as Faraday Future: China’s LeTV.

Looking at the movement of employees between Tesla and SpaceX, it doesn’t look like there’s been much transfer of talent in the battery department, but a few structure engineers left Tesla for SpaceX – including the company’s current Lead Structures Engineer.

While on the other hand, two former flight software engineers from SpaceX are known to have helped Tesla finally release the Autopilot last month.

It wouldn’t be the first instance of collaboration between the two companies. SpaceX transferred some welding technology and equipment to Tesla and there could have been some shared expertise to make the automaker’s Ludicrous battery upgrade possible.

 http://electrek.co/2015/11/23/tesla-is-not-elon-musks-only-company-developing-high-tech-battery-packs/

Edited by Draggendrop
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      Option 3 - Create a recovery drive

      If the PC you want to recover is still fully functional, you can create a recovery drive through existing methods in Windows 10. Some manufacturers, such as Dell and (naturally) Microsoft, actually recommend this as the method to create a recovery drive for their PCs. This will create a drive containing not only the operating system but programs bundled with the original installation, so if you have a brand-new PC, you can use this as a failsafe in case the computer fails later.

      The easiest way to access this is by opening the Start menu or Windows search and typing "create a recovery drive". Otherwise, you can open the legacy Control Panel, choose System and Security, then Security and Maintenance, Recovery, and finally, Create a recovery drive. Click Next in the first window and you'll be able to choose a drive to store the backup.



      As usual, this process will delete all the content in the drive. Choose the flash drive you want to use as a recovery drive, which will need to be at least 16GB in size, though the requirements vary depending on your laptop brand. Dell, for example, recommends a minimum of 32GB. If you meet the requirements, start the process and wait for it to finish.

      OEM-specific solutions
      Many PC manufacturers offer tools that let you create recovery images for your specific device. If you'd rather go that route, here are some options for the biggest PC manufacturers out there.

      For Microsoft's Surface devices, you can download a recovery image from here. You need to select your Surface model and provide your serial number to be able to download it, then you can unzip the file to a flash drive. This requires a flash drive with at least 16GB of storage, or 8GB if you're using a Surface RT or Surface 2.

      HP offers the Cloud Recovery Tool, which can be used to create a recovery image for your specific PC. You can download the app from the Microsoft Store and follow the instructions in the app. HP also provides instructions on how to use the tool here. Bear in mind you'll need a flash drive with at least 32GB of storage, since these recovery images include more than just a Windows installation, but also all the drivers and software that would come in an HP PC out of the box.

      Lenovo has a similar tool, called Digital Download Recovery Service. First, you need to go to Lenovo's recovery website to request a digital download for your PC. You'll need your serial number and Machine Type Model (MTM). Then, you'll need Lenovo's USB Recovery Creator tool, which you can download here for Windows 7 and here for Windows 8 or later (including Windows 10). Download the appropriate version and follow the instructions in the app to download the image and create recovery media for it.

      Finally, Dell also has a similar tool, the Dell OS Recovery Tool. You can download it here, and then follow the instructions to create the recovery media. You'll have to provide the service tag for the device you want to recover, and you need a flash drive with at least 16GB of data.

      That should cover every option you could want for creating recovery media for your PC. These are the things you need in order to have an operational computer after the recovery process. We'll have a separate guide focused on the actual process of restoring a PC later, but you'll want to follow these steps first.

      Did you try any of the methods listed above? Did you find them helpful? Is there another method you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

    • By Ather Fawaz
      "Mars, here we come!!" exclaims Elon Musk despite explosive ending to Starship's test flight
      by Ather Fawaz

      Image via Trevor Mahlmann (YouTube) The Starship initiative by SpaceX is meant to make spaceflights to Mars a reality. After a scrubbed launch yesterday courtesy of an auto-abort procedure in the Starship's Raptor engines, once again, SpaceX geared up for a re-run of the test a few hours back. This time, Starship SN8 successfully took flight from its test site in Boca Chica, Texas. A trimmed version of the complete event is embedded below from Trevor Mahlmann's YouTube channel.

      Compared to the scrubbed launch, things went better on this one, but not entirely. The gargantuan 160-feet tall rocket, propelled by three Raptor engines, took flight, and intended to rise to a height of 41,000 ft (12,500 m). SpaceX founder Elon Musk called the ascent a success, but it's not clear whether the rocket reached its intended altitude. Nevertheless, after reaching its highest point, the rocket began its journey back to its earthly test site.

      Image via Trevor Mahlmann (YouTube) The SN8 prototype performed a spectacular mid-air flipping maneuver to set itself on course to land vertically back to the earth—a feat we've all grown accustomed to seeing with SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. The SN8 executed the landing flip successfully, and SpaceX tweeted a closer look at the event as it happened. Impressively, SpaceX claimed that by doing so, the SN8 became the largest spacecraft to perform a landing maneuver of this sort.

      But as the rocket prepared to touch down and its boosters tried to slow down its descent to cushion the landing, the rocket's fuel header tank pressure got low. This caused the "touchdown velocity to be high & RUD," during the landing burn, Musk tweeted. Unfortunately, this meant that upon touchdown, the Starship SN8 prototype exploded into flames.

      Image via SpaceX Livestream Notwithstanding the fiery, unfortunate event right at the final few moments, SpaceX and Musk hailed the test as a success. For the company, "SN8 did great! Even reaching apogee would’ve been great, so controlling all way to putting the crater in the right spot was epic!!" Musk tweeted, "We got all the data we needed. Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!", he continued; before following up with another tweet exclaiming "Mars, here we come!!"

    • By Ather Fawaz
      NASA approves SpaceX and the Crew Dragon for regular crewed missions to the ISS
      by Ather Fawaz

      Image via NASA/SpaceX It has been a big year so far for SpaceX. Back in May, its Crew Dragon spacecraft completed its first manned voyage to the International Space Station (ISS). With Elon Musk accrediting Starship as the top priority for the company, the famed project has also picked up pace. So has the Starlink initiative, with its recent expansion to include more beta customers. The firm is also gearing up for Dragon's second manned mission, Crew-1, to the ISS in a few days as well. Amidst all this, it has now finally gained NASA's approval that it has been striving towards with the Commercial Crew program.

      The approval came after NASA signed the Human Rating Certification Plan for SpaceX’s crew transportation system yesterday. The signing was completed after conducting a thorough flight readiness review ahead of the agency’s Crew-1 mission, with astronauts onboard, to the space station. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine commended the success of the Commercial Crew Program and the achievements of both companies, stating:

      The founder and CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk marked it as an honor and a motivating force in the company's vision to make flights to the Moon and Mars a reality:

      This is a milestone for both companies. For SpaceX, this system of the Crew Dragon plus the Falcon 9 rocket along with the associated ground systems is the first to be NASA-certified for regular manned flights since the space shuttle nearly 40 years ago. This obviously means that SpaceX's hefty investment in the Commercial Crew program has paid off. For NASA, this is the first time that the agency has certified a commercial spacecraft system in history that is capable of transporting humans to and from the ISS. This directly means that astronauts can regularly make trips to the ISS to and from American soil, which could be a vital step towards commercializing space flights.

    • By indospot
      SpaceX's Starlink internet beta expands to more customers, and it's expensive
      by João Carrasqueira



      SpaceX, the space exploration company owned by Elon Musk, has been working on its satellite-based internet service, Starlink, for a few years now, but it's taken some time for it to come to fruition. Today, the company is inviting customers to test the service in what it calls the "Better Than Nothing Beta", as reported by CNBC.

      The name of the test program doesn't lie, and SpaceX is fairly upfront about what users are signing up for, telling users that it's "trying to lower" their initial expectations. The company says users can expect to see speeds varying from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s, and latency ranging from 20ms to 40ms over the next few months, as it continues to improve the system. At times, it's possible that service won't be available at all.

      On top of the spotty internet service, the initial Starlink price is not for the faint of heart. Customers need to buy the Starlink kit to get set up, which includes a terminal to connect to the satellite network, a Wi-Fi router, and a mounting tripod. That costs $499, and on top of that, the service itself costs $99 per month. To help users get set up, a Starlink app is now available for Android and iOS, meant to help users find the best place to install the terminal, check for obstructions, and more.

      Naturally, this isn't something that's meant for everyone to subscribe to just yet, and it remains to be seen how things will look when the service is fully available. On that note, the description for the app mentioned above says that this beta program will enable service in the United States and Canada this year, with near global coverage being attainable in 2021. Of course, that too is yet to be seen.