Tag Archives: Elon Musk


Elon Musk in SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, seems to become enamored by a new grandiose idea every week or so. And this week was no exception. This time he and his well-heeled colleagues are trying to find a way to serve the 3 billion earthlings hunkering down at scattered locations around the globe lacking service by modern cellphones or conventional telephones.

The solution? Launch a giant swarm of broadband communication satellites into low-altitude circular orbits flying in a tight formation with one another as they circle around the globe. It is called OneWeb.

300-pound satellites are to be launched into 18 orbit planes with 40 satellites following one another in single file around each plane. Ku-band transmitters will provide satellite-based cellphone services to remote and underserved users everywhere in the world. Mass production techniques and the economies of scale should help keep the cost of each individual satellite in the $500,000 range. Recently the OneWeb satellites passed their preliminary design review at the famous satellite design center in Toulouse, France. OneWeb’s total network cost, including a widely dispersed network of gateway Earth stations, is expected to come in at about $3.5 billion, provided the cost-conscious satellite-makers in Exploration Park, Florida, can come in within their target budget. Company spokesmen ha ve indicated that, so far, their team members are on schedule and within 5% of their estimated costs.

About 15-percent of the $3.5 billion has been raised and has been funding about 300 full-time experts. Present schedules call for initial money-raising services to being in 2019. Some industry experts have been calling the concept the O3b “other three billion”, for the three billion widely distributed individuals unserved by mobile or hard-wired telephones.

Elon Musk is famous for turning wild ideas into practical reality and squeezed out impressive profits along the way. Many of his ideas have been floating around for some time when he decides to take a shot at turning them into reality. An earlier version of OneWeb was touted by Edward Tucks in the 1970’s. It was called Teledesic.

The Teledesic concept sprang to life because Tucks read that “40 million people (were) on the waiting list for telephone services around the world.” He quietly sketched up the plans for an 840-satellite constellation of communication satellites flitting through space in 435-mile orbits.

Launch costs were a big barrier then. But Elon Musk can now put a big dent in that problem with his surprisingly inexpensive Falcon boosters.

Tom Logsdon, the author of this blog teaches short courses for the Applied Technology Institute in Riva, Maryland. He will be discussing, in detail, the rapidly evolving OneWeb plans as they are springing from the drawing boards in the following short courses:

The author of this article, Tom Logsdon, teaches short courses, on a regular basis, for the Applied Technology Institute in Riva, Maryland. Here is his upcoming schedule of courses:

GPS and International Competitors Dec 5-8, 2016 Colorado Springs, CO
GPS and International Competitors Apr 17-20, 2017 Columbia,MD
Orbital & Launch Mechanics – Fundamentals Jan 23-26, 2017 Albuquerque, NM
Orbital & Launch Mechanics – Fundamentals Feb 28-Mar 3, 2017 Columbia, MD

Click here for further information: ATIcourses, Tom Logsdon

Elon Musk- Mars transport system, spacesuit design, by the end of the year

At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40, liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been postponed. A thrust vector control actuator for the Falcon 9’s second stage failed to perform as expected, resulting in a launch abort. SpaceX is evaluating the issue and will determine the next opportunity to launch the company's fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The next available opportunity to launch to the station would be Friday, Jan. 9 at 5:09 a.m. EST.

While talking with participants in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) chat Elon Musk said that by the end of this year, his company will unveil a detailed transport system designed to take humans to Mars.


He made the statement on the day the scheduled launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9, which will attempt a daring landing of its 14-story first stage rocket on a floating launch pad after delivering supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), was scrapped due to technical problems.

The Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral has been rescheduled for this Friday, January 9.

Musk admitted during the talk that he does not know the chances of the Falcon 9 successfully executing the landing. He noted a spacecraft carrying people to Mars would require “100 metric tons of useful payload” and acknowledged having learned a lot from his company’s Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon vehicle, which brings supplies to the ISS.

Such a large payload will require a large spacecraft and booster system, he added.

His talk covered a variety of topics, including the design of spacesuits for astronauts to wear on the Martian surface.

SpaceX plans to release a spacesuit design for Mars astronauts by the end of this year, noting work is already in progress toward this goal.

“We are putting a lot of effort into design aesthetics, not just utility,” said Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla Motors. “It needs to both look like a 21st century spacesuit and work well.”

Achieving both the practical and aesthetic objectives is a difficult task, he acknowledged. When asked whether SpaceX has plans to construct space elevators and/or “air-breathing rockets” that could enable super-fast travel, Musk said he prefers to stick with “pure rockets.”

The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to develop “air-breathing rockets.”

The SpaceX CEO also said he enjoys the Kerbal Space Program (KSP) video game, which allows players to simulate a space program, a move that prompted KSP to add his endorsement to its website.

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SpaceX To Make First Commercial Cargo Run To Space Station April 30

The first commercial cargo to the International Space Station will be shipped by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, starting April 30.  If the company is

successful, it will be the first time a private spacecraft docks with the space station.

“NASA’s International Space Station program, along with our international partners, will take a look at the readiness of both station and SpaceX for the mission. If all is go, then SpaceX will be given a green light for an April 30 launch,”NASA officials said.

The Dragon capsule will be completely unmanned like the Russian, European and Japanese capsules that currently run supply missions to the space station.

SpaceX engineers designed the Dragon capsule to be used multiple times, unlike conventional supply ships which burn up while reentering the atmosphere. Using the Dragon capsule costs NASA per $133 million per delivery, far less than the $300 million it costs just to build a conventional capsule.

The Dragon capsule is part of the 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) directive designed to coordinate supply and passenger delivery by private companies to the International Space Station. NASA signed agreements with three companies, but SpaceX is the closest to reaching the space station.

Orbital Sciences, another company that is a part of the COTS program, will launch its unmanned spacecraft for the first time later in 2012.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, said he hopes to bring astronauts aboard the Dragon capsule within the next few years, according to Forbes. SpaceX completed its first crew trial on Friday, demonstrating that the capsule could carry either seven crew members or 13,000 pounds (5,900 kilograms) of cargo safely.

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How would you like to go to Mars?

US space transport company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced Thursday that it plans to develop a fully reusable orbital launch system, with the goal of one day helping humans settle on Mars.

The vehicle would be a reusable version of the Falcon 9 rocket which SpaceX used to propel its Dragon space capsule to low-Earth orbit during a test mission last year. Its first cargo trip to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for January.

A trip to Mars would cost about $500,000 per person, which could be affordable for at least one person in a million. If Earth’s population is 8 billion by the time a Mars mission is available, that would imply at least 8,000 people could afford the trip.

Wouldn’t you like to go?

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