NASA loves teenager's idea on where to land next Mars rover

Washington: Looking for a landing site for the next Mars rover mission in 2020, the US space agency, among several recommendations, has approved a suggestion from a teenager who is yet to finish high school.

Alex Longo from Raleigh, North Carolina state, suggested that NASA should land the next rover at the same place where they landed rover Spirit in 2004 — a place called Gusev Crater, npr.org reported on Monday.

After his first experience with space exploration in 2005 — when he was just five years old — Longo decided he not only wanted to go into space himself someday, he also wanted to be the first person to walk on Mars.

Longo started following NASA missions on the agency’s website and in 2014 came across an announcement about the next rover mission to Mars.

“I saw that they were looking for abstracts from scientists to suggest landing sites. I decided, well, I’ll write something up,” he was quoted as saying. 

Longo wrote multi-page scientific document in which he proposed to land the next rover at the same place — called Gusev Crater — where NASA’s rover Spirit had landed in 2004. 

NASA apparently agreed. They sent Longo an email inviting him to attend the first landing site planning meeting.

“I thought it was a dream or something. So I just got up, walked away and a while later I came back and that email was still there. And I was like, ‘Wow, I actually just got invited to go to a NASA conference!’ How cool is that?” Longo added.

Longo attended the conference at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, in October 2015 and gave a presentation.

He is now teamed up with some more experienced Mars scientists who also favour going back to Gusev Crater. 



from Department of Space Colonization

SpaceX-Amos-Facebook disaster will be costly

By Chris Forrester

September 5, 2016

On September 1, a Falcon 9 rocket owned by SpaceX blew up when a static engine test was about to be held at Cape Canaveral. The rocket was being tested in a ‘dress rehearsal’ for a planned September 3 launch of its satellite passenger, the Amos-6 craft, built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on behalf of satellite operator Spacecom. The Amos-6 satellite was destroyed in the conflagration – described as a “fast fire” by SpaceX. Amos-6 had Facebook as a key client.

The disaster leaves almost every one of the key players in a mess. First problem, the satellite was not insured. The insurance was due to kick in upon lift-off – normally the most dangerous time for a launch. SpaceX carried its own insurance coverage, so the satellite’s owners will be compensated for the loss. SpaceX will get back its $39 million (€34.9m) insurance premium.

However, it has now emerged that some more experienced satellite operators do not permit their satellites to be in position atop a rocket when engine such pre-launch tests are carried out. Vanessa O’Connor, spokeswoman for Eutelsat told CNN on September 2 that it does not allow its satellites to be in place during pre-launch engine tests.

Spacecom is also in a mess because it was about to be bought by a Chinese billionaire for $285 million, but the proposed sale was contingent on the launch taking place, and thus the whole sale process to Beijing Xinwei Technology Group is now in jeopardy. Spacecom’s owners (Bezeq Israel Telecom) wanted Amos-6 to provide capacity for its ‘YES’ DTH operation, and stated September 4 that its DTH operation could be impacted by the loss of Amos-6. Currently ‘YES’ uses Amos-2 and Amos-3 for its transmission bandwidth.

Spacecom and the satellite’s builder are reportedly seeking a full insurance pay-out from SpaceX’s insurers – and according to Israeli news sources on Sunday September 4 – are also seeking a ‘free’ launch from SpaceX worth some $50-$60 million or $50 million in cash compensation. No doubt this will lead to the lawyers coming in and examining the small print of the contract and everyone losing!

Spacecom says that it is financially sound, and is still in discussions with the Chinese potential buyers. It was also looking to speedily replace Amos-6 and IAI’s director-general Yossi Weiss told Israeli journalists that it could build a new satellite within two years.

Clients who had booked space on Amos-6 could use the older Amos-3 craft. Spacecom’s share price crashed 9 per cent on Thursday, and – despite the Tel Aviv market being closed on Friday – there was an implied fall of a further 49 per cent, and a net fall of 32.7 per cent since Thursday evening confirmed on Monday morning.

Spacecom is reportedly seeking a $205 million insurance compensation from IAI, which built the satellite. But Spacecom is also in debt to the tune of $232 million to bond-holders with Amos-6 as collateral, and these bondholders were entitled to an immediate redemption in the event of the total loss of the satellite.

SpaceX is in a mess because its reputation has been damaged, and because it will now have to conduct exhaustive – and delaying – examinations into the ‘anomaly’ and no further launches will take place until those results are in, and any potential problems remedied. Its Accident Investigation Team will be supervised by the Federal Aviation Administration. They have some 3,000 channels of telemetry to investigate compressed into 35-55 milliseconds of data, according to SpaceX.

SpaceX will also have to fully refurbish the damaged primary launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, and prepare at least one other in order (probably Pad 39A) to re-commence launches once the accident investigation is wrapped. It also means that contracted NASA cargo launches to the International Space Station will be delayed. Pad 39A is unlikely to be ready much before November, forcing delays for the eight expected commercial launches planned for the rest of this year. This will also delay to planned re-use of a returned rocket for client SES and its SES-10 satellite.

Eutelsat is NOT in a mess despite losing a valuable contract with Facebook worth around €5 million this year, €15 million in 2017, and €25-30 million in 2018. Investors think there is now a fair chance that Facebook will take capacity on a Eutelsat satellite to supply bandwidth over Africa. Eutelsat’s shares rose almost €1 on Friday September 2.

Facebook is also not seriously impacted. There are any number of potential suppliers of bandwidth over Africa. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, who is visiting Africa, said in a statement: “As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent.”



from Department of Private Space Inc.

Spacecom Demanding $50M From Space X For Failed Falcon 9 Launch

Space Communication Ltd. is demanding nothing less than $50M or a free trip from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The demands are coming from the damage of a Falcon 9 failed launch.

Space Communication Ltd. is demanding nothing less than $50M or a free trip from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The demands are coming from the damage of a Falcon 9 failed launch.
(Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images)

SpaceX has had some very high successes and some very brutal failures. The most recent failed launch of its Falcon 9 rocket, for example, damaged a satellite owned by Israel’s Space Communication Ltd. Consequently, SpaceCom is demanding at least $50 million in damages from SpaceX, or a free trip.

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Proper Compensation

According to Reuters, SpaceCom revealed in a conference call with several reporters that the company would indeed seek a minimum compensation of $50 million, or one free flight from Elon Musk’s SpaceX for damages made to one of its satellites.

The AMOS-6 satellite was meant to expand the reach of SpaceCom’s communication services and cost the company about $195 million. As such, the company could also collect more than $205 million from Israel Aircraft Industries, who manufactured the rocket.

What This Means For SpaceCom

Although the payables are on SpaceX’s side, SpaceCom joins them on the losing side. The loss of the satellite is expected to decrease the company’s equity by $30 million, as The Verge reports. Furthermore, the company’s stocks declined by 9 percent on Thursday. While the explosion happened late on the last trading day, stocks declined another 34 percent afterwards.

Insurance Costs

SpaceX, as a private company, was not required to publicly disclose what kind of insurance it has in place. As such, the launch agency has kept quiet about how it will answer the damages that SpaceCom is demanding. Moreover, the public cannot readily check whether or not the company has insurance in place that is above and beyond the requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial launches from the US. The catch is, the requirement from the same covers only liability and damages to government property.

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What This Means For SpaceX

Currently, SpaceX has more than 70 commercial and government-issued missions in line, which together total more than $10 billion. Despite this, the launch company, along with Musk’s other ventures (Tesla Motors, Inc. and SolarCity Corp.), is currently losing money.

© 2016 iTech Post All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.



from Department of Private Space Inc.

SpaceX Rocket Explodes – Asked to pay $50 million

SpaceX Rocket Explodes – Asked to pay $50 million

Elon musk just had a really bad day. First his SpaceX rocket explodes in the launchpad with payload, facing Facebook CEO’s disappointment then losing more than $700 million for some filling issue of the Tesla and Solar City merger. But the domino started with the SpaceX rocket exploding from Spacecom and now they want a refund.

The AMOS-6 satellite which was owned by Spacecom and was part of Facebook’s free internet plans was destroyed along with the rocket. Spacecom now wants SpaceX for a free flight or $50 million. As you might imagine this loss will have a big impact on Spacecom’s financials. The Israeli firm might lose between $30 million to $123 million in equity.

Customer’s Trust

SpaceX has yet to respond to Spacecom’s request. There are about 70 missions on its manifest with a total value of $10 billion so the loss of the rocket and launchpad is far greater and it will have a large financial impact. However, the biggest loss could be the customer’s trust. Customers may well be worried that their payloads might also blow up and withdrew their flight order from SpaceX. So SpaceX needs to act fast to make sure this was a onetime occurrence and this might never happen again and their payloads will be safe.



from Department of Private Space Inc.

UFO fans are convinced aliens 'blew up' the Space X rocket – here's why

UFO fans are convinced aliens ‘blew up’ the Space X rocket - here’s why

Woah (Picture YouTube)

Don’t panic, but aliens seem to be destroying human spaceships on the launchpad – or at least that’s what UFO fans believe.

A video showing the recent explosion of the Space X rocket seems to show a strange object flying across – which UFO fans (of course) think is a flying saucer.

Spotter Steve Svensson says, ‘It appears that SpaceX may have been shot by a very fast moving drone, or possibly an explosive in the satellite was triggered? We all know people love to hate Elon Musk.’

But tireless alien hunter Scott C Waring of UFO Sightings Daily thinks the rabbit-hole goes a bit deeper than that.

MORE: Vladimir Putin is building bunkers ‘to get ready for nuclear war’, insider claims

Waring says, ‘This makes me wonder if Elon Musk has betrayed the publics trust by allowing the US gov to load a spy satellite or weapons satellite on board this rocket.

‘You know, when you see aliens involved in an explosion of a rocket, that the rocket could have had massively bad implications on humanity’s future.

‘It looks like Space X is becoming an arms dealer of weapons of mass destruction. Just lucky the aliens destroyed it, before it started WWIII.’



from Department of Private Space Inc.

SpaceX loses Falcon 9 rocket to explosion during test

Key Points

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded during a 1 September engine firing
  • The company is scheduled to launch a USAF GPS 3 satellite with a Falcon 9 in 2018

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded during an engine firing test at Cape Canaveral, Florida on 1 September. The explosion resulted in the destruction of its payload, an Israeli Earth communications satellite built by Israel Aerospace Industries.

According to SpaceX, “At approximately 9:07 am EST, during a standard pre-launch static fire test for the AMOS-6 mission, there was an anomaly at SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 resulting in loss of the vehicle.” The company added in a press statement that the “anomaly” originated “around the upper stage oxygen tank and occurred during propellant loading of the vehicle.” All personnel were cleared off the launch pad, and the explosion resulted in no injuries, the company said.

SpaceX is investigating the incident. Its president and COO Gwynne Shotwell said in a 2 September press statement, “We deeply regret the loss of Amos-6. Our number one priority is to safely and reliably return to flight for our customers, and we will carefully investigate and address this issue. We are grateful for the continued support that our customers have expressed to us.”

The US Air Force (USAF) earlier this year awarded SpaceX a contract to launch a GPS 3 satellite with the Falcon 9 rocket in 2018. USAF Space and Missile Command (SMC) issued a statement late on 1 September stating that it is “poised and prepared to support SpaceX recovery and return to flight efforts.”

“While this was not a National Security Space launch mission, the US Air Force will continue working with SpaceX to ensure confidence in the safe and reliable launch of critical national security space satellites,” SMC said.

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from Department of Private Space Inc.

Space Com Plummets to 10-Year Low After SpaceX Blow Up: Chart

Space Communication Ltd. shares plunged as much as 49 percent, the most on record, before trimming the drop to 33 percent after its communication satellite Amos-6 was destroyed in the SpaceX launcher fire in Florida. Facebook Inc. and Eutelsat Communications canceled service agreements after the accident, and a planned takeover by a Chinese investor is in jeopardy. Israeli government officials and industry heads held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the loss of the satellite.

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from Department of Private Space Inc.