Gallery: SpaceXs Starship Mk1 spacecraft prototype in pictures

SpaceX is set to show off its Starship Mk1, an orbital-scale prototype of the spacecraft it eventually plans to use to attain its goal of fully reusable commercial spaceflight. Starship is the key ingredient not only to fully reusable launch and cargo vehicles for serving commercial clients; it’s also the next most important step in SpaceX and Elon Musk’s audacious plan to get humans to Mars and sow the seeds that will help us become an interplanetary species. Starship Mk1 is the evolution of the first flight vehicle that SpaceX used to test technologies for Starship – the Starhopper, a stub-top cylinder that basically just provided a way to test one of the Raptor engines in two, low-altitude ‘hop’ flights. …

Elon Musk unveils Starship designed to take crew on round-trips to Mars

SpaceX spacecraft would carry passengers anywhere in solar system and land back on Earth perpendicularly Elon Musk has unveiled a SpaceX spacecraft designed to carry crew and cargo to the moon, Mars or anywhere else in the solar system and land back on Earth perpendicularly. In a live-streamed speech from SpaceXs launch facility near the southern tip of Texas, Musk said on Saturday that the space ventures Starship is expected to take off for the first time in about one or two months and reach 19,800 meters (65,000ft) before returning to Earth and landing. He said it was essential for the viability of space travel to be able to reuse spacecraft, adding it was important to take steps to extend …

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 prepares to go sailing on sunlight

Among the many spacecraft and satellites ascending to space on Monday’s Falcon Heavy launch, the Planetary Society’s LightSail 2 may be the most interesting. If all goes well, a week from launch it will be moving through space — slowly, but surely — on nothing more than the force exerted on it by sunlight. LightSail 2 doesn’t have solar-powered engines, or use solar energy or heat for some secondary purpose; it will literally be propelled by the physical force of photons hitting its immense shiny sail. Not solar wind, mind you — that’s a different thing altogether. It’s an idea, explained Planetary Society CEO and acknowledged Science Guy Bill Nye said in a press call ahead of the launch, that …

SpaceX reveals more Starlink info after launch of first 60 satellites

Last night’s successful Starlink launch was a big one for SpaceX — its heaviest payload ever, weighed down by 60 communications satellites that will eventually be part of a single constellation providing internet to the globe. That’s the plan, anyway — and the company pulled the curtain back a bit more after launch, revealing a few more details about the birds it just put in the air. SpaceX and CEO Elon Musk have been extremely tight-lipped about the Starlink satellites, only dropping a few hints here and there before the launch. We know, for instance, that each satellite weighs about 500 pounds, and are a flat-panel design that maximized the amount that can fit in each payload. The launch media …

The Obsessive, Tumultuous Lives of SpaceX Rocket Chasers

A few hours before dawn in January 2015, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket departed from a launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a mission to the International Space Station. It was the company’s fifth cargo resupply mission and the first time it attempted to land a booster on an autonomous drone ship. Rocket launches always inspire awe, but for Ryan Chylinski, this one was life changing. A part-time photographer, Chylinski had signed up for NASA Social, a program that grants media credentials to unaffiliated writers and photographers. It was his first time photographing a launch up close. “It was addictive,” Chylinski says. “I just kept thinking about it.” He returned to his IT job and spent …