SpaceX Launched Another Falcon9, But Failed to Recover Its Nose Cone

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As SpaceX blazes trails of commercial spaceflight and makes rockets reusable, there are gonna be some errors along the way. Today’s error happens to cost $ 6 million.

Today, SpaceX launched another rocket, sending 10 communication satellites into orbit. The launch itself went well, but the component that was meant to be rescued after the launch plunged in the ocean “at high speed.”

Today’s mission, called Iridium-5, was the fifth of eight launches meant to deploy 66 working satellites (plus nine spares) into orbit within the span of a few months.

On March 6, the Falcon9 successfully sent a satellite into orbit. Instead of trying to collect the components, Musk and his crew just let them fall into the Atlantic. That made today’s mission an important attempt — if Elon Musk is to make history with the first reusable rocket, he needed to show that at least some of its components can be salvaged and put to work again.

That’s what the team at SpaceX intended to do with this Falcon9 launch, with the help of a ship named Mr. Steven (Musk says the name was “just random”). They deployed the ship to catch half of the rocket’s fairing — aka its nose cone, the component at the top of the rocket that protects the satellites during the launch — before it fell into the ocean.

For pretty much every rocket launch up until now, the fairing was a disposable part of a spacecraft, and after splitting into two it would be left to fall back into the ocean, CNN explains. “Once it gets into the water, it’s quite damaging to the electronics and components inside the fairing,” Glenn Lightsey, a professor of aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech told the broadcaster. “Most likely if it gets into the water, it’s not usable.”

The problem? This unsexy bit of rocket is very expensive, costing around $ 6 million.

And Musk is a practical guy, as CNN reminded us: “[If] you had $ 6 million in cash on a palette flying through the air,” he reportedly said, “and it’s going to smash into the ocean, would you try to recover it? Yes. Yes, you would.”

However, catching a piece of rocket as it falls back from the sky is, like, literally rocket science. And although Elon got us used to unlikely successes, this time Mr. Steven failed him.

Musk’s a little frustrated:

Another $ 6 million may be lost as the cone nose drowned, but the experiment isn’t over — you can bet Musk will try again.

SpaceX, Musk said in a tweet, will perform new tests to figure out what went wrong, so they can do better the next time around.

The post SpaceX Launched Another Falcon9, But Failed to Recover Its Nose Cone appeared first on Futurism.

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The Morning After: SpaceX satellite internet and ‘No Man’s Sky’ on Xbox

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Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. It's Friday, and we're celebrating the FCC's approval of SpaceX's satellite internet plan. Also, we've got all the new Apple updates and a new Westworld trailer from HBO.
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FCC approves SpaceX plan for satellite-provided internet

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The SpaceX plan for a global wireless internet network provided by 4,425 satellites has been approved by the FCC. The $ 10 billion Starlink proposal calls for the satellites to launch in two phases between 2019 and 2024, then fly between 714 and 823 m…
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SpaceX and Boeing inch closer toward manned space missions

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NASA's Commercial Crew Program is making "significant progress" according to the space agency, which has outlined upcoming missions for both Boeing and SpaceX. The race between the two companies to be the first to provide commercial transportation se…
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SpaceX rocket carved giant hole in the ionosphere

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Rockets can leave a mark on the atmosphere well after they've left, and SpaceX may have learned that first-hand. Researchers have determined that a Falcon 9 launch in August 2017 (the Formosat-5 mission above) not only created circular shockwaves, b…
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Elon Musk pulls Tesla and SpaceX pages after #DeleteFacebook challenge

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Elon Musk isn't known for kidding around, and he just made that clear in his response to Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal… more or less, at least. The entrepreneur has hidden the official Facebook accounts for Tesla and SpaceX in response to…
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Elon Musk, Customer Service Rep Extraordinaire, Just Deleted the Facebook Pages for SpaceX and Tesla, on Request (Seriously)

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Updated 3/23 at 1:38 PM

Elon Musk just took a stand—a substantial one that’s a giant shot across the bow of Facebook, and a statement Musk’s rabid base of acolytes may or may not take a cue from: In light of the data-gathering scandal that has rocked Facebook over the past week, Musk just dropped the hammer, and deleted the official pages for Tesla and SpaceX from the Book of Face.

It started when Musk played around on Twitter, randomly responding to Signal founder Brian Acton’s Tweet about deleting Facebook:

Someone called Musk out for making light of the situation.

And Musk, as he’s wont to do, (A) trolled Facebook, (B) called this random Twitter user’s bluff, and (C) wiped Space X and Tesla from Facebook:

Indeed, Musk seems to have lived up to his promise. Searching for Tesla on Facebook now reveals just lame stuff about the scientist:

And a search for SpaceX reveals a number of pages, though none seems to be official:

Contrition from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to be enough to regain Musk’s trust (to say nothing of a previous beef they once had in which Zuck once blamed Musk for ruining some of his property).

As usual, Musk wins:

If you’re fearing where you’ll get your next Elon fix, check his Twitter and Instagram.

Clearly, Musk won’t be wiping himself from the web any time soon. Those accounts are never not going.

The post Elon Musk, Customer Service Rep Extraordinaire, Just Deleted the Facebook Pages for SpaceX and Tesla, on Request (Seriously) appeared first on Futurism.

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SpaceX aims to test its Mars rocket system in first half of 2019

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You might not have to wait long to see SpaceX's BFR rocket system in action… maybe. In a talk at SXSW, Elon Musk said he expected the spacecraft's first "short up-and-down flights" by the first half of 2019. He was quick to hedge his claim, noting…
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SpaceX and ‘Westworld’ creators made a Falcon Heavy short film

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Elon Musk promised a short film about the inaugural Falcon Heavy launch from the team behind Westworld, and he delivered. The entrepreneur has posted the video (he calls it Falcon Heavy and Starman) in two parts on Instagram. It's not exactly a magnu…
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Tonight’s SpaceX Launch is Breaking Records. Here’s What You Need to Know.

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If you have late plans tonight, you may want to cancel them. Elon Musk just confirmed via Twitter that the Falcon 9 rocket will be flying from Florida this evening. You might want to brew up some coffee, while you’re at it (at least if you’re on the east coast of the US) — the two-hour launch window opens at 12:33 AM EST.

The Falcon 9 will be carrying the Hispasat 30W-6, the largest geostationary satellite SpaceX has ever flown. Coming in at more than 6,092 kilograms (13,400 pounds), this beast of a satellite is almost the size of a city bus, and it has a life expectancy of some fifteen years, according to Musk and a SpaceX press release.

For Spanish telecommunications company Hispasat, the launch is thrilling because it means the company can expand its broadband service coverage in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Musk and his collaborators reach what is arguably an even more exciting milestone — SpaceX’s 50th launch. That’s especially remarkable because it happened in just seven years (Falcon 9’s first launch was in June 2010). For comparison, the Atlas V rocket, born out of a collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, took more than nine years to reach this milestone, and NASA’s space shuttle took more than 11 years, Ars Technica reports.

It’s not just notable that SpaceX is launching rockets so quickly — it’s doing them well. Out of SpaceX’s 50 missions, 48 have been successful. That’s a 96 percent success rate — a track record that would make any company proud.

Here’s a quick breakdown of SpaceX’s (few) missteps:

Of course, it’s possible that tonight’s launch will be added to the above list. But regardless of whether or not the launch is a success, SpaceX has already achieved its larger goal: revolutionizing spaceflight, ushering in the era of reusable rocketry, and  spearheading the rise of a viable private space industry.

You can watch a livestream of tonight’s launch here.

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