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Elon Musk Plans To Use Satellites To Create Global Internet Access, Here’s How

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elon muskBillionaire PayPal founder Elon Musk is an ambitious sort. You don’t generally get “billionaire” in front of your name without a fair amount of drive. He has his own electric car company, Tesla; he’s working to develop a Hyperloop system between Los Angeles and San Francisco, announcing a test track in Texas; and his SpaceX is a key player in the race to privatize space travel. In fact, in Seattle recently, he even said, “One day I will visit Mars.”

The man thinks big, and in that spirit, at the same private event in the Pacific Northwest, Musk, in town to launch SpaceX Seattle, laid out an ambitious plan to use 4000 satellites to create a network that will deliver high-speed Internet anywhere across the globe. This is actually something he initially talked about at back in November.

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SpaceX Plans To Use These Drones For Reusable Rocket Landings

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landing pad droneIf you’ve been following Elon Musk and SpaceX, you know that one of the ways the company drastically decreases the cost of transporting cargo (and eventually humans) into space is by the implementation of reusable rockets, such as the Grasshopper and the Falcon 9, the rocket that will eventually launch the Dragon capsule. EMusk recently announced a new addition to this plan: autonomous landing pads that serve as movable launch and recovery platforms for those rockets.

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You’re Going To Hear Phantom Of The Opera Belted Out From Space Before Long

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space_adventuresBy now you’ve all probably heard that both Boeing and SpaceX received bids from NASA to continue developing its manned shuttle, the CST-100. Reports indicate that Boeing received a higher bid, though largely because their craft is more expensive than SpaceX’s Dragon. This means that at some point in the hopefully not so distant future NASA can stop buying American astronauts seats on Russian soyuz capsules for more than $70 million a pop. While a seat on the new space taxis will cost a bit more than a ride to the airport, they’ll be cheaper than that, and the money won’t be going to the folks who want to divest from the ISS. Part of Boeing’s 5-year, $4.2 billion contract (SpaceX’s is $2.6 billion) will enable the ferrying not only astronauts, but also giving rides to space tourists who are clients of Space Adventures.

Turns out, Space Adventures has been around for over 15 years and offers a range of space experiences. The company has sent 7 tourists into space so far, starting with Dennis Tito, who, back in 2001, was the first private citizen to explore space. Guy Laiberte, CEO of Cirque du Soleil and the first private Canadian citizen in space, is another. I haven’t heard of any of the other clients (Lance Bass trained, but didn’t actually go) before, but Sarah Brightman will change all that.

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SpaceX F9R Test Rocket Self-Detonates In Mid Flight

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spacexexplodeIt’s hard to watch anything in the sky explode and not think: holy shit, what a disaster! But when a SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) test rocket exploded over Texas yesterday, it wasn’t really a disaster. For starters, no one was inside, and secondly, self-detonation is what such crafts do when they realize there’s been some kind of technical glitch or error. So on the one hand, the safety measure worked; on the other, it’s never really an awesome thing for a test rocket to have an error that prompts it to self-detonate.

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SpaceX Wants To Put People On Mars Before NASA Does

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manned_mission_to_MarsThe race to Mars is on. And by race I mean “painfully slow planning and plodding.” Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Putting people on Mars is no small feat — the journey itself is 7-8 months long (please tell me the astronauts will have Netflix!) and the astronauts will be subject to radiation the whole way. And then there’s everything that has to happen once we land, although I think a smart mission would involve sending robots ahead of time to set up some infrastructure. But more than anything, there’s the funding. It’s true that the House recently passed a reauthorization bill that supports manned Mars missions, but it’s unclear how much that will help, and to say that the price tag of such a mission is prohibitive would be an understatement. Still, despite all these obstacles, we humans are committed to spreading our species to another planet. The question is, who will be the first to do it? Will it be Mars One, the Dutch non-profit that’s currently whittling down a field of over 200,000 candidates for a Mars landing in 2025? Will it be NASA, with or without the help of other countries? Or will it be SpaceX, the renegades of the private space technology sector? Elon Musk is betting on the latter.

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SpaceX Will Unveil The Dragon V2 Spacecraft Tonight

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unveilWhat are you doing tonight at 10:00 PM EST? For most of us science and tech geeks, that’s a rhetorical question. We’ll be gathered around our computers, watching SpaceX unveil the Dragon V2—the next generation of the Dragon Spacecraft. This iteration isn’t for shuttling cargo to the ISS, it’s for taking astronauts there, and beyond.

Dragon has been proving its worth for years, becoming the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS and serving as regular cargo service to the station. But SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has always had grander plans. Since the U.S. currently relies on Russian Soyuz capsules to get astronauts into space—a method of transportation that won’t be available to us for much longer—now is the perfect time to reveal the spacecraft that may take its place and restore the U.S.’s ability to launch its own astronauts into space by 2017. The V2, which Musk will unveil himself tonight via the webcast, is also known as the “Space Taxi.”

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