Elon Musk Status Update

It's been a busy time in Elon Musk land. This last weekend, SpaceX launched and landed two rockets in 48 hours - one of them new, one reused. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled for launch this summer. Hyperloop and the Boring company make some news. And Musk reveals more of his vision for Mars colonization.

Twofer Weekend

SpaceX launched ten Iridium satellites into orbit on a new first stage, and a Bulgarian geostationary commsat with a pre-owned core. Both first stages were recovered successfully - one in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific. This brings SpaceX's landing streak to nine - they've not lost one since last summer. Thirteen successful landings overall, and eight at sea.

credit: spacex

Also Reusable

Earlier this month, SpaceX also reused a Dragon capsule. The refurbished ship carried three tons of supplies to the ISS. The next Dragon mission to ISS is scheduled for August, and the company hopes to have a crew-capable version as early as next year.

credit: spacex

Falcon Heavy

Looks like SpaceX intends to launch the Falcon Heavy sometime later this summer.

The launch will utilize two boosters from previous flights, allowing for the cheapest launch of comparable class. The Falcon Heavy will have a lift capacity twice that of its nearest competiror, and will do so at one-third the cost.

SpaceX and the gumint

The US Air Force has picked SpaceX to launch the next mission of the secret(ish) robotic spaceplane. A Falcon 9 rocket will boost one of the Air Force's two Boeing-built spaceplanes to orbit sometime this August. The two spaceplanes have spent over 2000 days orbiting the earth over four previous missions.

credit: USAF

Ars Technica found Air Force budget reports that show that SpaceX is charging the the government a lot less than the ULA for a launch. Sub-$100 million per, compared to somwhere in the neighborhood of $400 million for ULA. Musk tweeted:

 

Mars Colonization

Musk outlines his ideas on Mars Colonization. From Engadget:

The article is adapted from Musk's presentation at the International Astronautical Congress and begins with an argument for why we should focus on Mars for our move towards interplanetary life. Musk then notes that with current technologies, a ticket to Mars would cost around $10 billion, which he correctly deduces is a prohibitive amount if we want to actually colonize another planet. Getting that cost down to the median price of a house -- around $200,000 -- is key to making the Mars plan viable, says Musk. And he outlines four essential steps that will need to be taken if there's any hope of doing that. First, the transportation would have to be fully reusable because any amount of waste would significantly increase the cost. And ships would need to be refilled while in orbit. Additionally, we would need to be able to produce propellant on Mars and it would have to be optimized for cost, reusability, and easy production -- Musk proposes methane.

The Yawfle stares and stares and stares... at tech news, without the SJW shenanigans