Musk developed the Falcon rocket for $0.4 billion with the Apple money we (Musk) could have done that almost 50 times over. He recons it will cost $10billion to get to get the first colonisation ships to Mars. With the Apple money we could have our own planet!
In reality if we ever get the Apple money it will be given as a grant to 1st time buyers or the unemployed so that the Gov can buy more votes and we can sell more houses to each other and make a few developers rich.
That or we could have our own fecking space program!!!
SpaceX quietly filed an application to the FCC for a license to launch a satellite constellation comprising 4,425 satellites. The aim is to provide, fast, cheap, low latency broadband to the entire planet. Link: licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe … ign=buffer
To put that number in context the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs which records objects launched into space records that there are only 4,277 named objects launched into space that are still there. See link unoosa.org/oosa/osoindex/sea … 22:null%7D
So with this one constellation, SpaceX plans to more than double the number of satellites.
The aim of this is that SpaceX becomes an internet utility provider for the whole planet. The revenue from this is to be used to pay for the Mars colonisation program.
With Tesla taking over the energy generation and storage business and SpaceX also becoming a major utility provider Musk is shaping up to be the best Bond villain ever! if he ever turns bad.
Hasn’t that been tried before, by Motorola, Microsoft, and Google among others? I see Motorola’s original Iridium constellation is being replaced by Iridium NEXT which does phone and data, and ironically has contracted SpaceX to do the launches. Just as the originally Iridium phone network lost out to the rapidly expanding GSM, WIRED thinks that SpaceX’s internet will be overtaken by fibre:
SpaceX hope to return to flight on Sunday, Jan 8th. 4 ish months is quite remarkably fast.
The reason for the last one to blow up is quite technical but here goes.
Inside the Oxygen tank are three Helium tanks used to pressurise the Oxygen tank during flight to push the Oxygen out faster. The Helium tanks are made from lightweight metal wrapped in Carbon fibre. The Carbon fibre was not perfectly wrapped and O2 got in between the Carbon and the light weight metal. As the very cold Helium tank was being filled it cooled the O2 sufficiently that it became solidified. That probably lead to some of the Carbon fibres breaking and this provided enough energy to ignite the carbon overwrap and then … Bang!
SpaceX think that they can eliminate the overwrap defects and fill the Helium slightly warmer so that the O2 doesn’t become solid. Therefore they think they have solved the problem the FAA agree and have issued a launch license for Sunday.
They collect live telemetry from the rocket once its on the launch pad, in theory it should be easy enough to figure out what went wrong, but the failure before this was blamed on a weak strut holding the Helium bottle inside the LOX tank, the latest failure also involves the Helium bottle but seems to have a different cause, so I have to wonder if the first failure was actually caused by a failing strut and not the same thing that caused Septembers failure
While it is a big explosion not everything gets atomised so they do recover a lot.
They recovered the other two Helium bottles and found that they had wrinkles and then they inspected the other unused stages He bottles which had similar wrinkles.
SpaceX have a rocket development site in McGreggor Texas where they do experiments and also test every engine and stage prior to launch. In McGreggor they were able to recreate the conditions that lead to the explosion and recreate the explosion itself so they have a fairly good handle on the issue now.
Why has this never come up before in rocketry?
It’s because SpaceX are the first to use super cooled O2 and He, so no one else encountered this problem before. They super cool it to make it denser so the get more O2 into the rocket to improve performance.
As an aside, for the next rocket, the Mars Transporter they have designed out the need for Helium tanks entirely and will gasify the liquid oxygen itself to pressurise the O2 tank using heat from the engine.
It will be nice to iron out all these issues prior to putting people on top!