SpaceX: Upcoming Missions, Announcements And Everything You Need To Know

Posted: Oct 22 2016, 6:33am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

SpaceX: Upcoming Missions, Announcements and Everything You Need to Know
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  • SpaceX: Upcoming Missions, Announcements and Everything you Needed to Know But Were Afraid to Ask
 

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A Brief Introduction of SpaceX

SpaceX is a one of a kind space exploration and tourism agency headed by Elon Musk. This is the same man who is the boss of Tesla Motors. SpaceX makes and sends advanced rockets and spacecraft into outer space.

The foundation stone of SpaceX was laid down approximately 14 years ago. The ultimate aim of this agency is to allow human beings to colonize other planets of the solar system and the rest of the cosmos. 

This agency has covered quite some ground in recent times. It accomplished a low earth orbit journey for one of its spacecrafts in December 2010. Also in May 2013, the Dragon spacecraft attached to the ISS made its historic journey and returned home safe and sound to planet earth.

Such a feat had previously been undertaken only by the government. Cargo shipments to and back from the ISS are a common feature of existence now thanks to SpaceX under the able leadership of Elon Musk. The future looks bright for this agency. It has also gotten several contracts from NASA in the process of upgrading its spacecrafts and rockets. 

 

Missions Completed By SpaceX

SpaceX has completed a number of missions and most of them have taken place without any accidents or glitches. Yet there have been a few mishaps without the loss of any life or limb of course. The missions which have been a success include: 

  • The August 14th, 2016 Mission of a Falcon 9
  • The July 18th, 2016 Mission of a Dragon & Falcon 9
  • The June 15th, 2016 Mission of a Falcon 9
  • The May 27th, 2016 Mission of a Falcon 9
  • The May 6th, 2016 Mission of a Falcon 9

These and countless other missions of their kind have taken place thanks to the efforts of the dedicated staff and able administration of SpaceX.  

 

First Three Missions of 2016

JCSAT-16 Mission (14th August):

On August 14th, 2016, Falcon 9 successfully delivered the JCSAT-16 mission to the GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit). The photos of the mission show that it was quite a liftoff and ultimately a resounding success. 

NASA Resupply to ISS Mission (18th July):

It was loaded with 3410 pounds of paraphernalia. The entire equipment was transported to the ISS. It later on descended to earth via a smooth splash in the Pacific Ocean. Congratulations were sent to the entire team on the success of this mission. 

EUTELSAT/ABS Mission (June 15th):

Falcon 9 delivered twin missions known as EUTELSAT and ABS. The goal was as usual the GTO. These two satellites are meant to provide communication facilities to whole swathes of humanity. The pictures show a sensational takeoff and ultimate victory in accomplishment of the goal of a successful mission.  

Full list of all the Completed Missions by SpaceX is given below:

LAUNCH DATE CUSTOMER LAUNCH SITE VEHICLE
8/14/2016 SKY PERFECT JSAT CORPORATION (JAPAN) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
7/18/2016 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 9) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
6/15/2016 EUTELSAT AND ABS CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
5/27/2016 THAICOM 8 CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
5/6/2016 SKY PERFECT JSAT CORPORATION (JAPAN) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
4/8/2016 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 8) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
3/4/2016 SES (SES-9) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
1/17/2016 NASA (JASON-3) VANDENBERG FALCON 9 
12/22/2015 ORBCOMM CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
4/27/2015 THALES ALENIA SPACE CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
4/14/2015 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 6) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
3/2/2015 ASIA BROADCAST SATELLITE/EUTELSAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
2/11/2015 US AIR FORCE (DSCOVR) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
1/10/2015 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 5) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
9/21/2014 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 4) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
9/7/2014 ASIASAT-6 CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
8/5/2014 ASIASAT-8 CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
7/14/2014 ORBCOMM CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
4/18/2014 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 3) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
1/6/2014 THAICOM (THAILAND) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
12/3/2013 SES (SES-8) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
9/29/2013 MDA CORP. (CANADA) VANDENBERG FALCON 9 
3/1/2013 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 2) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
10/8/2012 NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 1) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
5/22/2012 NASA COTS (DEMO 2/3) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
12/8/2010 NASA COTS (DEMO 1) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON  & FALCON 9 
6/4/2010 FALCON 9 INAUGURAL TEST FLIGHT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9 
7/13/2009 ATSB (MALAYSIA) KWAJALEIN FALCON 1 
9/28/2008 FALCON 1 FLIGHT 4 KWAJALEIN FALCON 1 
8/2/2008 US GOVERNMENT, ATSB AND NASA KWAJALEIN FALCON 1 
3/20/2007 DEMO FLIGHT 2 KWAJALEIN FALCON 1 
3/24/2006 DEMO FLIGHT 1 KWAJALEIN FALCON 1 

 

Some Future Missions Still In The Pipeline

There lie many more milestones for SpaceX. The CEO Elon Musk has giant plans for his agency. Not to seek solutions to problems but to seek problems in the solutions is the high ideal of this agency. So the future missions include the following which are listed below for your perusal:

  • ARABSAT via a Falcon Heavy
  • BIGELOW AIRSPACE via a Falcon 9
  • BULGARIA SAT via a Falcon 9
  • CONAE (Argentina) via Falcon 9
  • DRAGONLAB Missions 1 & 2 via Dragon and Falcon 9

Complete list of Future SpaceX Missions is given below:

CUSTOMER LAUNCH SITE VEHICLE
ARABSAT (ARABSAT 6A) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON HEAVY
BIGELOW AEROSPACE CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
BULGARIA SAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
CONAE (ARGENTINA) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
CONAE (ARGENTINA) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
DRAGONLAB MISSION 1 CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
DRAGONLAB MISSION 2 CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
ES'HAILSAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
FALCON HEAVY DEMO CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON HEAVY
HISPASAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
INMARSAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON HEAVY
INMARSAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
INTELSAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON HEAVY
IRIDIUM (FLIGHT 1) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
IRIDIUM (FLIGHT 2) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
IRIDIUM (FLIGHT 3) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
IRIDIUM (FLIGHT 4) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
IRIDIUM (FLIGHT 5) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
IRIDIUM (FLIGHT 6) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
IRIDIUM (FLIGHT 7) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
KOREASAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
NASA (TESS) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
NASA CREW (DEMO 1) FLORIDA (LAUNCH SITE) DRAGON & FALCON 9
NASA CREW (DEMO 2) FLORIDA (LAUNCH SITE) DRAGON & FALCON 9
NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 10) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 11) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 12) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 13) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 14) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
NASA RESUPPLY TO ISS (FLIGHT 15) CAPE CANAVERAL DRAGON & FALCON 9
NORTHROP GRUMMAN CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
NSPO (TAIWAN) VANDENBERG FALCON 9
OHB SYSTEM AG VANDENBERG FALCON 9
RADARSAT VANDENBERG FALCON 9
SES (SES-10) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
SES (SES-11) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
SES (SES-14) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
SES (SES-16) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
SPACECOM CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON 9
US AIR FORCE (STP-2) CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON HEAVY
VIASAT CAPE CANAVERAL FALCON HEAVY

 

Recent SpaceX Explosion at Cape Canaveral in Florida

An explosion took place at Cape Canaveral in Florida at the SpaceX launch pad. Huge spumes of thick black smoke were seen to arise from the region. It spread alarm among those close to the site.

A supposed anomaly was said to have taken place during the launch. It was a miracle that there were no injuries. To identify the real cause behind the explosion, several members of the investigative team have already begun their painstakingly detailed work.

At 9 AM as the Falcon 9 rocket took off, the explosion was said to have occurred suddenly out of nowhere. The public safety was maintained though and it was a good thing that such was the case. 

The smoke made for a frightening scenario. However, there were no threats to the people present at the site. The chemicals in the smoke were not as toxic as they were supposed to have been.

The material damage caused by the explosion remained unknown until now that is. Apparently, besides a SpaceX rocket, an Israeli satellite was destroyed in the process as well.

The booster was blown to smithereens and $200 million went down the drain as the satellite was incinerated to a pile of burnt rubble.  This obviously raises important questions about SpaceX and its capabilities as a viabel space agency.

Nobody would want such a scenario to occur in the future when astronauts will be sent into space. The smoke and conflagration that was provoked by the mishap were such as to cause a state of panic in the surroundings. 

 

SpaceX Falcon 9 Explosion Occurred due to Helium System Breach

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 explosion was most likely caused by a breach in its cryogenic helium system. This occurred aboard the space vehicle’s upper oxygen tank. SpaceX is doing an inventory of the possible causes. The helium system breach may be the most prime cause of this explosion. While this explosion is in no way connected to the explosion which took place in 2015, both show similarities in their mode of operation. The issues began with the upper liquid oxygen tanks of both vehicles. Also the helium system was involved in both cases. This is rather an intriguing find.

 

SpaceX Rocket Explosion was Sabotage?

New report hints at sabotage in the SpaceX rocket explosion. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and United Launch Alliance were daggers drawn towards each other since quite some time. A surprisng new chapter has opened up in this story of rivalry. A SpaceX employee visited the site and requested access to one of the tenements of ULA.

The rooftop was the goal of this employee. Hitherto SpaceX’s rocket exploded into flames on its launch pad while awaiting a routine test. SpaceX personnel wanted to check out what went wrong with the launch effort. The fiasco deserved more investigation.

The problem was that the video clip of the explosion showed a strange shadow emerging from the rooftop of a ULA building that was existent nearby. This was cause for suspicion.

paceX representatives tried to reason with ULA officials regarding the suspicion. They gave complete assurance to the folks at ULA that they were not jumping to conclusions regarding this hunch.

It was an actual event and required further delving into. It was too premature to say exactly what had happened with reference to the explosion. Many reasons may exist for the mishap. One could not say for sure what had happened at that fateful moment in time.

The building under investigation has been termed SMARF. It had been used to refurbish rocket motors on a daily basis. It lay a mile away from the site of the launch. The line of vision was very clear from the building to the launch pad.

 

SpaceX Explosion Investigation Preliminary Results Point to Fueling Issue

It turned out to be operational procedures that had gone wrong rather than manufacturing errors. The fueling process was responsible for the SpaceX rocket bursting into flames last month.

This is what has turned up from the eyewitness reports of people on the scene. Now tests are being carried out to piece together the events that transpired on the rocket. The mixture of variables such as pressure, heat, and filling rate were the crucial factors in the long run. 

The bursting of a helium tank inside the Falcon 9 booster upper stage did the job in the end. A sudden explosion destroyed the rocket along with the satellite that was placed in a piggyback manner on top of it.

Although the conclusions that have been reached are taken on an adhoc basis, they nevertheless have the power of the truth behind them. As for SpaceX, it hasn’t yet produced any report. Tests are said to take place in the following weeks. Elon Musk is overseeing the matter with laser-like focus. 

If fueling processes were the main flaw rather than any hardware issues, then SpaceX will forget about any redesign efforts. After a fortnight had passed after September 1st, SpaceX officials announced that a breach in the second stage helium tank was where the chink in the system lay in the first place.

The exact reasons and mechanics of the fiasco were not gone into in detail. Thus the operational fault-lines were the ultimate culprits in the failure of the mission.

SpaceX officials say that the company will begin sending rockets into space by the end of the year. However, others are not so optimistic regarding these plans. 

 

SpaceX Plans on Returning to Mission-Sending Duties by November

SpaceX and its boss are not the sort to give up hope just yet. New rockets will be launched from November onwards. This is thus merely 3 months after the explosion which was discussed a few paragraphs ago.

The president of SpaceX announced this bold plan some time back. It looks like the agency and its people are the most optimistic bunch of explorers on earth.

The next flight could be from the Vandenberg Air Force Base or from Cape Canaveral. However, SpaceX’s launch pad will not be used this time around. It is too precarious a deal to even think about taking into consideration.  

A lot of repairwork needs to be done at the site. A new launch pad will need to be constructed from scratch. Until that is accomplished, it is back to the drawing board for SpaceX.

The site has been leased to SpaceX by NASA. Both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches will take place from this new launch pad, according to The Verge. The September 1st explosion seems to have set up roadblocks in the way of SpaceX’s ambitious plans.

Yet it is not an agency to give up without a fight for its rights. Although at first it was declared that the fresh flights would start from September or October, now it has been decided that November is a more realistic target date.

CEO Elon Musk is overseeing it in an eagle-eyed manner. The company cannot falter as long as it is under his command. Nevertheless, one thing is certain. This failure has been the most dismal and tragic one of all the fiascos that the company has ever faced in its history. 

 

Recent Announcements made by the SpaceX Administration

Interplanetary Spaceship revealed at IAC:

SpaceX will be revealing its interplanetary spaceship at the IAC which will take place in Mexico. A video clip from the LEGO Movie was shown as a humorous aside for the huge plans that SpaceX holds close to its heart.

The ITS or interplanetary transport system has a lot going for it. Elon Musk wants to transport astronauts not only to Mars but beyond the Red Planet as well. 

Elon Musk’s Mars Colonization Strategy:

The colonization of Mars within a few decades is what Elon Musk of SpaceX wants so badly. He is a major champion of this cause and has been reiterating his stance on the matter for quite some time now.

To settle human colonies on Mars is a worthy yet difficult goal. Yet Elon Musk will make heaven and earth meet in his efforts to make it a real life possibility. Such a move has already been the stuff of science fiction. Yet it has been long overdue in reality. However, Elon Musk is not one to back down from such a long shot effort.

The making of man as a multiplanetary species is the ultimate goal of SpaceX and its Napoleonic head. This was quite an accouncement and it shook the receptive audience when it made headlines all around the world. 

 

5 Problems SpaceX Faces in its Drive to Colonize Mars

The following five hurdles are extant regarding the colonization of Mars:

1. Radiation: Cosmic radiation is a pretty huge obstacle in the way of a trip to Mars. While it is not the kind to cause instant damage to the biological systems of human beings, the chances of those in the spaceship developing cancer later on are high indeed.

Musk dismissed this issue with a wave of his hand. It is rather like the video game in the 80s named Oregon Trail. The hindrances along the way were such that death stalked the pioneers who travelled the path of migration at every step.

2. Cash: The funding of the whole project will not be a walk in the park. It requires a virtual begging bowl approach and total budgetary cuts not to mention seeking the favors of wealthy billionaires.

While current costs are $10 billion per passenger on the Mars Express, Musk promises to bring this astronomical sum down to $200,000, according to Inverse. This in itself will be a miracle if it occurs. Yet to go below this sum of money is a little tricky.

3. Water & Energy: By using the natural resources found on Mars, Musk plans to save up on the carrying of any extra cargo or equipment for sustenance purposes. The only problem with this is that the production of propellant on the surface of Mars will require tons of energy.

Solar panels may well be the answer, but they are extremely costly. Also the collection of water for drinking and domestic purposes from the poles of Mars will take a tremendous amount of effort. Will this be forthcoming when the decisive moment arrives? Your guess is as good as mine!

4. Communication in Deep Space: The contact that is to be maintained throughout the journey as well as the indefinite period of human settlement requires complex infrastructure that doesn’t exist at present. Musk has not given a solution to the issue of the communication gap between earthlings and human inhabitants on Mars. The distance is too much for the sort of simple contact we humans take for granted with other via a smartphone or Face Time.

5. Laws that Get in the Way: Planetary protection says that to sow the seeds of a settlement on Mars amounting to a million inhabitants will break the agreed-upon laws here on earth.  The very decision to make mankind an interplanetary species is flawed since it is like spreading the disease instead of curing it.

A Few More for the Road:

SpaceX’s Red Dragon to Employ Best Technology for Mars Landing:

SpaceX has the highest of goals. Its Red Dragon mission may land on Mars one fine day in the future. That will be the day. The whole project has an aura of surreality about it.

Such a mission has hardly ever been attempted before. It involves supersonic retropropulsion which is an advanced high technology method. A large mass will be sent to the surface of Mars via this technique.

The slowing down before touchdown is the only thing which will protect the load from crashing and becoming a pile of smoking rubbish. For this subsonic retropropulsion will be employed, according to Inverse.

Supersonic retropropulsion is a different thing.  There are several kinks which need to be ironed out before this method can be truly employed without any hitches or glitches. 

NASA not to Interfere in SpaceX’s Future Mars Plans:

While the expert advice will be forthcoming from NASA for SpaceX’s future Mars landings, it will not be lending any other interventionist help, according to Spaceflightnow. That is the way it should be too since SpaceX wants some freedom to explore on its own.

SpaceX will succeed given the free hand that it is allowed to have by NASA. It has all the resources it needs and its forces are plentiful in supply.

SpaceX also likes to rely on its own capacity to go where no man has gone before. NASA’s limited role will remain limited for as long as Elon Musk keeps the agency on its toes.

 

SpaceX Test-Fires Raptor Rocket That Will Take Us to Mars

SpaceX has test-fired its Raptor rocket. This is supposed to take human beings to the Red Planet by 2024. Elon Musk, the CEO and founder of SpaceX, announced this in a series of tweets. The rocket engine was fired at the McGregor, Texas spot where a stand was installed that could take the high thrust force.

Musk said that the “Mach Diamonds” from the test were exactly what was needed.He spoke of how the production goal was an impulse of 382 seconds and a thrust of 3 MN was generated. That was more than 3 times that of the Falcon 9 rocket. With nine methane-fueled motors, the Red Dragon will be more powerful than any other rocket. It will be responsible for lifting the Mars Colonial Transporter that is filled with 100 tons of cargo.

Let’s wish Elon and his company all the best for the future! 

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.

 

 

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