When Musk went to price the mission with US launch companies, he was told transport would cost $60-80 million. Reeling, he tried to buy a refurbished Russian intercontinental ballistic missile to do the job, but his dealer kept raising the price on him. Finally, he’d had enough. Instead of hunting around for a cheaper supplier, Musk founded his own rocket company. His friends thought he was crazy, and tried to intervene, but he would not be talked down. Musk identifies strongly as an engineer. That’s why he usually takes a title like chief technical officer at the companies he runs, in addition to chief executive officer. He had been reading stacks of books about rockets. He wanted to try building his own. The Elon Musk Mars Interview.
Tonight at 7pm PDT, after years in development, SpaceX will reveal a new manned version of the Dragon spacecraft. Elon Musk said that Dragon 2 will look like "a real alien spaceship", leading to speculation what it will looks like, including this artists interpretation at ExtremeTech. According to Musk, Dragon 2 will have larger windows for astronauts to see outside, and "landing legs that pop out of the bottom" and "side-mounted thruster pods" to allow for propulsive landings on land.
SpaceX's Falcon9 rocket carrying Dragon capsule to dock with the ISS, has launched successfully. [more inside]
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon cargo capsule is scheduled to launch at 8:55 am UTC on Saturday, May 19, 2012 - a little less than 12 hours from now. [more inside]
$1,000 per pound to orbit is the holy grail for rocket pricing. Elon Musk claims that his SpaceX corporation's new Falcon Heavy will be able to lift 117,000 lbs. to low earth orbit for 1/3rd the cost of the next most capable launchers, the space shuttle and the Delta IV Heavy. [more inside]
SpaceX's fourth flight was successful. Scaled Composites' X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne made the first privately funded hop into space. SpaceX just took the next big step and inserted a dummy payload into orbit. Next, they will launch the much larger Falcon 9 and later test out the human-carrying Dragon. CEO Elon Musk also enjoys dabbling in banking and exotic electric cars.
Lost with yesterday's third failure of Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 1 rocket were the ashes of actor James "Scotty" Doohan, who, along with astronaut Gordon Cooper and over two hundred other cremains, attempted to reach orbit not once, but twice.