SpaceX (general discussion)

Flyaway

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https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1092268892339273730

First firing of Starship Raptor flight engine! So proud of great work by @SpaceX team!!
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1092270756715737088

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1092272377889738753

The green in the exhaust at one point has been debated on NSF.

Elon comments on it here.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1092280273599979520
 

Flyaway

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What made you decide to not use TEA-TEB for ignition? Is the idea that during engie chill, CH4/O2 are released to ignite for liftoff? I don't think I've ever heard of spark plugs being used for rockets.
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1092320321229643776

Spark plugs ignite dual blow torches that ignite preburners & main chamber
 

Silencer1

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fredymac said:
This fairing catching business is tricky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPeFbEbxPKQ
Looks very impressive.

I wonder, why SpaceX didn't use their dronshisp for the fairing' "landings"?
Or add breaking rockets in the addition to parachute system in order to set fairing vertical speed to minimum at the landing point?
Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2g19J_RdgU
 

TomS

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Right now, the issue with the fairings isn't speed, it's accuracy. They've got it slow enough, just can't get it to go exactly where they need it to. Adding rockets probably doesn't help and definitely adds parasitic mass that cuts into payload.

The drone ship are barges and relatively ungainly. They can hold position, but they are not fast enough to maneuver to catch a falling fairing.
 

Silencer1

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TomS said:
Right now, the issue with the fairings isn't speed, it's accuracy. They've got it slow enough, just can't get it to go exactly where they need it to. Adding rockets probably doesn't help and definitely adds parasitic mass that cuts into payload.

The drone ship are barges and relatively ungainly. They can hold position, but they are not fast enough to maneuver to catch a falling fairing.
As far as I understand, combination of moving ship and moving parachute-fairing system has been chosen by SpaceX as more effective, then anchored ship and maneuvering parachute. I wonder, if they just try to use the former combination? Most (if not all) re-entry crew/cargo capsules use the vertical descent under parachute system. moreover, Soyuz-type used the decelleration rockets for final seconds of landing.
Of course, the weight and complexity of rocket' breaking system have issues: additional weights, volumes, complexity.

Looks like SpaceX intentionally decided, that using of gliding parachute for fairing' recovery in combination with fast, maneuvering ship is the better way to "catch" the fairing and provide more chanses to reuse it?

In my humble opinion using two moving system: ship and parachute is too complex.
I would like, however, to see if SpaceX would prove their ideas is good.
 

Flyaway

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I wonder how much longer they will put resources into fairing recovery being as F9 is a dead end technologically speaking for the company.
 

Moose

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Flyaway said:
I wonder how much longer they will put resources into fairing recovery being as F9 is a dead end technologically speaking for the company.
I think they'll continue to futz with it until they retire F9. Dead end it may be, it's still the meat of their business right now. The tinkering with code/ops they're doing to make recovery happen isn't draining much if anything from the SuperHeavy/Starship program right now.
 

Flyaway

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There’s some more details about the first firing of the flight Raptor in this article.

https://spacenews.com/spacex-tests-flight-version-of-raptor-engine/

I didn’t realise there was such a big gap in power between it and the BE-4.
 

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Flyaway said:
There’s some more details about the first firing of the flight Raptor in this article.

https://spacenews.com/spacex-tests-flight-version-of-raptor-engine/

I didn’t realise there was such a big gap in power between it and the BE-4.
Supposedly the fully developed sea-level motor will be more powerful than BE-4, which is a great deal bigger than Raptor, but they're going forward with this version to get the program going. Merlin went through some serious upgrades as it went along too.
 

Michel Van

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There are allot difference between the BE-4 and Raptor

While BE-4 is a traditional a staged-combustion Engine
is the Raptor a full-flow staged combustion design

Was tested in Engines like RD-270 or the Aerojet Rocketdyne Integrated powerhead demonstration, but never flow into space.
i guess that SpaceX went for full-flow staged combustion for option to increase performance later on.

Scott Manley on topic
https://youtu.be/Sdwy9fzQzl4

SpaceX test ignition of Flight Raptor
https://youtu.be/MAAzbjG_Duc

according this news site
Is Starship/Superheavy undergoing again design changes so in vage statement by Musk on Twitter
who announce a presentation about that in March/April 2019 after the TestFlight in Texas are done

Flight manifesto
19 February Falcon9 with private Moon lander
7 March Second flight of Falcon Heavy
during March the much delayed Dragon 2 test flight ( thanks for that Trump :mad: )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQkjuUwon8
 

Flyaway

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March 2nd official (for now!):

https://twitter.com/commercial_crew/status/1093178143685439489

PR:

NASA, Partners Update Commercial Crew Launch Dates

NASA and its Commercial Crew Program providers Boeing and SpaceX have agreed to move the target launch dates for the upcoming inaugural test flights of their next generation American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station.

The agency now is targeting March 2 for launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on its uncrewed Demo-1 test flight. Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test is targeted for launch no earlier than April.

These adjustments allow for completion of necessary hardware testing, data verification, remaining NASA and provider reviews, as well as training of flight controllers and mission managers.

The uncrewed test flights will be the first time commercially-built and operated American spacecraft designed for humans will dock to the space station. The first flights are dress rehearsals for missions with astronauts aboard the vehicles. Commercial crew has continued working toward these historic missions throughout the month of January.

“The uncrewed flight tests are a great dry run for not only our hardware, but for our team to get ready for our crewed flight tests,” said Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager. “NASA has been working together with SpaceX and Boeing to make sure we are ready to conduct these test flights and get ready to learn critical information that will further help us to fly our crews safely. We always learn from tests.”

In January, SpaceX successfully completed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon atop the rocket at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida, in preparation for Demo-1.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner continues to undergo testing in preparation for its Orbital Flight Test, and United Launch Alliance is conducting final processing of the Atlas V rocket that will launch Starliner from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“There still are many critical steps to complete before launch and while we eagerly are anticipating these launches, we will step through our test flight preparations and readiness reviews,” said Lueders. “We are excited about seeing the hardware we have followed through development, integration, and ground testing move into flight.”

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit and the space station on systems that meet safety and performance requirements.

To meet NASA’s requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station. After the uncrewed flight tests, Boeing and SpaceX will complete a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions. The following planning dates reflect inputs by the Commercial Crew Program and the two companies and are current as of Feb. 4, 2019.

Test Flight Planning Dates:

SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): March 2, 2019
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): NET April 2019
Boeing Pad Abort Test: NET May 2019
SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test: June 2019
SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): July 2019
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): NET August 2019

SpaceX also completed a pad abort test in 2015. Following the test flights, NASA will review performance data and resolve any necessary issues to certify the systems for operational missions. Boeing, SpaceX and the Commercial Crew Program are actively working to be ready for the operational missions. As with all human spaceflight vehicle development, learning from each test and adjusting as necessary to reduce risk to the crew may override planning dates.

Author Anna HeineyPosted on February 6, 2019Categories Boeing, CCtCap, Commercial Spaceflight, International Space Station, Kennedy Space Center, NASA Astronauts, SpaceX
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX’s Starship engine hits twice the thrust of Merlin just days after test debut

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that the company’s Raptor engine – static-fired for the first time at full scale barely four days ago – has been successfully fired at roughly 90% max thrust, briefly producing more than twice the force of one of Falcon 9’s Merlin 1D engines.

Relying on SpaceX’s McGregor, Texas test facilities for its testing, Raptor was being fed with propellant significantly warmer than the supercool liquid methane and oxygen it was nominally designed to use. Even still, the 172 tons (380,000 lbf) of thrust it produced is apparently already enough to satisfy the design requirements of Starship and Super Heavy, and Musk believes that with properly cooled propellant, the same Raptor engine could produce more than 200 tons of thrust at full throttle.
 

sferrin

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Flyaway said:
Lawmakers: Air Force launch procurement strategy undermines SpaceX

In a Feb. 4 letter addressed to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Ken Calvert argue that the Air Force launch procurement plan creates an unfair playing field
I could see why they'd give money to Blue Origin over SpaceX (SpaceX is already rolling) but I'd like to see their rational for giving money to ULA over SpaceX. Maybe they really want that upper stage? So stick it on a Falcon.
 

Moose

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sferrin said:
Flyaway said:
Lawmakers: Air Force launch procurement strategy undermines SpaceX

In a Feb. 4 letter addressed to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Ken Calvert argue that the Air Force launch procurement plan creates an unfair playing field
I could see why they'd give money to Blue Origin over SpaceX (SpaceX is already rolling) but I'd like to see their rational for giving money to ULA over SpaceX. Maybe they really want that upper stage? So stick it on a Falcon.
That's the easy one: there's a ton of fomer DoD at ULA, and Senators for ULA include the very powerful Mike Lee and Dick Shelby. They were always getting money, and will continue to do so whatever the outcome of this criticism from the House.
 

Flyaway

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Follow this new Twitter thread by Mr Musk.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1093916850931539968

Everyday Astronaut said:
Since you talked about maybe incorporating the fins / landing legs like the Starship has on the booster, can we expect the booster to belly flop and bleed off velocity through atmosphere more effectively like Starship? Or will it come back engines first like F9?
Elon Musk said:
Booster center of mass is much lower & more consistent (no payload mass to consider), so still biases towards engine first entry
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX Texas Launch Site Risks Being Split in Two by Border Wall

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a big stake in the battle over border security being waged in Congress: a launchpad on the U.S.-Mexico border that it plans to use for rockets carrying humans around the world and eventually to Mars.

Democratic lawmakers have taken up the cause of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and are trying to thwart the Trump administration’s efforts to build a border barrier that could cut across the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico coast near Brownsville.

Lawmakers said they’re concerned about the impact on the company’s 50-acre facility after seeing a Department of Homeland Security map showing a barrier running through what they describe as a launchpad.
 

sferrin

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Flyaway said:
SpaceX Texas Launch Site Risks Being Split in Two by Border Wall

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a big stake in the battle over border security being waged in Congress: a launchpad on the U.S.-Mexico border that it plans to use for rockets carrying humans around the world and eventually to Mars.

Democratic lawmakers have taken up the cause of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and are trying to thwart the Trump administration’s efforts to build a border barrier that could cut across the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico coast near Brownsville.

Lawmakers said they’re concerned about the impact on the company’s 50-acre facility after seeing a Department of Homeland Security map showing a barrier running through what they describe as a launchpad.
Can we just not? I'm sure it would take all of 2.37 seconds to change the proposed path once it was pointed out SpaceX needed the land.
 

Moose

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sferrin said:
Flyaway said:
SpaceX Texas Launch Site Risks Being Split in Two by Border Wall

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a big stake in the battle over border security being waged in Congress: a launchpad on the U.S.-Mexico border that it plans to use for rockets carrying humans around the world and eventually to Mars.

Democratic lawmakers have taken up the cause of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and are trying to thwart the Trump administration’s efforts to build a border barrier that could cut across the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico coast near Brownsville.

Lawmakers said they’re concerned about the impact on the company’s 50-acre facility after seeing a Department of Homeland Security map showing a barrier running through what they describe as a launchpad.
Can we just not? I'm sure it would take all of 2.37 seconds to change the proposed path once it was pointed out SpaceX needed the land.
You're sure? DHS has not been super willing to change the path for other businesses and private private owners along the border. Bending for SpaceX without an exceptional reason would open them up to numerous legal challenges, on top those they're already dealing with. If this were a case of "oh, sure, we'll move it sorry to bother you" I doubt we'd be seeing a second round of these articles after the first in December.
 

sferrin

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Moose said:
sferrin said:
Flyaway said:
SpaceX Texas Launch Site Risks Being Split in Two by Border Wall

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a big stake in the battle over border security being waged in Congress: a launchpad on the U.S.-Mexico border that it plans to use for rockets carrying humans around the world and eventually to Mars.

Democratic lawmakers have taken up the cause of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and are trying to thwart the Trump administration’s efforts to build a border barrier that could cut across the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico coast near Brownsville.

Lawmakers said they’re concerned about the impact on the company’s 50-acre facility after seeing a Department of Homeland Security map showing a barrier running through what they describe as a launchpad.
Can we just not? I'm sure it would take all of 2.37 seconds to change the proposed path once it was pointed out SpaceX needed the land.
You're sure? DHS has not been super willing to change the path for other businesses and private private owners along the border. Bending for SpaceX without an exceptional reason would open them up to numerous legal challenges, on top those they're already dealing with. If this were a case of "oh, sure, we'll move it sorry to bother you" I doubt we'd be seeing a second round of these articles after the first in December.
SpaceX is a bit more vital to the country than Joe's Burger Shack, etc.
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX’s Starship engine breaks Russian rocketry record held for two decades

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the company’s Raptor engine, meant to power Starship and Super Heavy, has surpassed a rocketry record held by Russian scientists and engineers for more than two decades.

Known as combustion chamber pressure, Raptor has reportedly surpassed a modern Russian engine known as the RD-180, reaching forces equivalent to one Tesla Model 3 balanced on every square inch of Raptor’s combustion chamber, the hardware directly adjacent to a rocket engine’s bell-shaped nozzle.
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX Launch Certification to Face Review by Pentagon Watchdog

The Pentagon’s inspector general said it will begin an evaluation of the Air Force’s certification of SpaceX’s primary launch vehicles, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, years after a legal fight led to a victory for the company founded by Elon Musk.

“Our objective is to determine whether the U.S. Air Force complied with the Launch Services New Entrant Certification Guide when certifying the launch system design for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles,” the inspector general said in a memo to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson sent on Monday.
 

sferrin

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I wonder if they'll harass everybody else as well.
 

Flyaway

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Via NSF.


Roscosmos: Lyovochkin replied to Musk (Russian) https://www.roscosmos.ru/25999/
Google translation:
«Pyotr Lyovochkin, chief designer of NPO Energomash, developer and manufacturer of the famous RD-180 family of engines, commented on the PR statement of Elon Musk about the “superiority” of the Raptor engine created by SpaceX:
“The SpaceX company creates the Raptor engine on oxygen and methane components or, as is customary in the Russian classification, the gas-gas scheme. In such schemes, such a pressure level in the combustion chamber is not something extraordinary - in our designs for these schemes we lay down the pressure level in the chamber over 300 atmospheres. And the parameter pressure in the chamber is not the output characteristic of the engine, such as thrust and specific impulse.
However, Mr. Musk, not being a technical specialist, does not take into account that the RD-180 engine for the Atlas launch vehicle uses a completely different fuel circuit - “oxygen-kerosene”, and these are other parameters of the engine operation. It is like comparing a diesel and a gasoline internal combustion engine. And if we take into account the fact that Energomash certified the engine with a 10% reserve, then the pressure in the RD-180 combustion chamber is above 280 atmospheres.
Despite the fact that our companies are competitors, we as engineers welcome the first successes of colleagues from SpaceX in the field of rocket engine building. Indeed, during the development of the Raptor engine, American engineers reached a record pressure level in the chamber. This indicates a fairly high level of development and production processes at SpaceX. ”»
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX to submit Moon lander proposal for latest NASA spaceflight competition

Eric Ralph
ByEric RalphPosted on February 13, 2019
SpaceX reportedly plans to submit its own human-rated Moon lander design for NASA’s latest major request for proposal (RFP), part of the agency’s rough plan to return humans to the Moon no earlier than 2028.

Meant to begin delivering NASA astronauts to the surface of the Moon as early as 2028, the agency hopes to base those lander operations on a thus far unbuilt space station orbiting the Moon with the support of its SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft.
 

Flyaway

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More hardball playing by Space X when it comes to government contracts.

https://spacenews.com/spacex-protests-nasa-launch-contract-award/
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX job posts confirm Starship’s Super Heavy booster will be built in Texas

A duo of SpaceX job postings at the company’s South Texas facilities have confirmed that both Starship and Super Heavy “flight article” vehicles will initially be fabricated and assembled on-site in Boca Chica, also implying that the rocket’s first orbital launch attempts will occur in the same vicinity.

Construction of the first massive Super Heavy booster could begin in Boca Chica within the next several months, presumably progressing in a similar fashion to Starship’s full-scale hopper prototype. According to CEO Elon Musk, Starhopper hop tests and Super Heavy construction could begin – respectively – as early as March and April 2019, perhaps just one or two months from now.
 

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Elon Musk says SpaceX is developing a 'bleeding' heavy-metal rocket ship. Making it work may be 100 times as hard as NASA's most difficult Mars mission, one expert says.

But whether SpaceX can pull off a launch system of this unprecedented size and design remains to be seen, says Walt Engelund, an aerospace engineer and the director of the Space Technology and Exploration Directorate at NASA Langley.

"Large-scale entry, descent, and landing is something that NASA has been challenged by for decades. We've spent a lot of time and given a lot of thought to how we might do it at Mars," Engelund told Business Insider. "We've landed the metric-ton Curiosity rover — that's the biggest thing we've ever put down on the surface of Mars."
 

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i'm curious on how Space-X thought on space radiation and crew protection. What kind of shielding it might have, particularly against sun flare
 

Moose

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stealthflanker said:
i'm curious on how Space-X thought on space radiation and crew protection. What kind of shielding it might have, particularly against sun flare
On Twitter he's been saying their plan is basically to put the fuel tank between the crew and the sun.
 

NUSNA_Moebius

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The center of the space ship is meant to act as a shelter of sorts if interior design since BFR hasn't changed too mcuh. Depending on how the inside is partitioned out, that could mean the hull + 1 or 2 interior walls.

 

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Air Force awards $739 million in launch contracts to ULA and SpaceX

The U.S. Air Force has divided $739 million in launch contracts between United Launch Alliance and SpaceX for six national security missions slated for 2021-2022.

The contracts, awarded under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, were announced Tuesday evening by Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

ULA will receive $441.76 million under a fixed-price contract to launch SBIRS GEO-5, SBIRS GEO-6 and Silent Barker, a classified space situational awareness mission.
 

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SpaceX set for Indonesian satellite launch and Israeli moon mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Thursday, carrying a payload of three very different spacecraft: an Indonesian telecommunications satellite, an experimental spacecraft for the US military and the first commercial mission to attempt a landing on the Moon. Falcon is due to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) during a 32-minute window that opens at 20:45 Eastern Time (01:45 UTC on Friday).

The primary payload for Thursday’s launch is Nusantara Satu, a high-throughput communications satellite that will be operated by Indonesia’s PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), however much attention in the build up to launch has been paid to the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft that is piggy-backing on the Falcon 9 launch.

Beresheet will attempt to become the first Israeli spacecraft, and the first privately-operated mission, to land on the Moon. The third satellite aboard Thursday’s launch is S5, a space situational awareness demonstrator for the US Air Force Research Laboratory which will be deployed by Nusantara Satu at a later date.
 

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Flyaway said:
fredymac said:
Another fairing catch attempt for tonight's launch. This will also be the 2nd third flight of a Block V booster.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/02/21/falcon-9-nusantara-satu-mission-status-center/
An attempted to recover the fairing has been aborted because of the weather seemingly.
Pity the weather caused the fairing recovery to be aborted, would have been interesting to watch how they could catch them. Oh well, always another launch.
 

Flyaway

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February 22, 2019
RELEASE 19-012

NASA Administrator Statement on Israeli Moon Mission
The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Thursday’s launch of Israel’s first mission beyond Earth’s orbit. SpaceIL’s lander blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and now is on its way to becoming the first commercial lander to reach the Moon’s surface.

“Congratulations to SpaceIL and the Israel Space Agency. This is a historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon.

“In July, I was in Israel and was very impressed with their commitment to expanding their role in the world’s space community. As we better understand Israel’s capabilities and the innovative work of their private industry, we know they’ll be an even stronger international partner in the future, one vital to the success of extending commercial space to the Moon and eventually on to Mars and beyond. There are terrific opportunities awaiting Israel and all of us in advancing the space frontier.”

Learn more about this mission, and NASA’s role in it, at:

https://go.nasa.gov/2GWotTY

-end-


Press Contacts

Bettina Inclan
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600
bettina.inclan@nasa.gov
 

Flyaway

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Per Elon this booster’s next flight will be its last as it is being used in the Dragon abort test.
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX gains FRR green light for DM-1 mission to the ISS

Dragon 2 remains on track for her maiden flight to the International Space Station (ISS) in March following a green light from the key Flight Readiness Review (FRR) on Friday. The Agency Level FRR meeting was the final review stage from all relevant elements involving SpaceX, NASA Commercial Crew and the ISS program, with the milestones now progressing towards a SpaceX Launch Readiness Review (LRR) a few days prior to the March 2 target.
 
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