Jan 092018

After a secretive launch on Sunday, SpaceX reportedly lost its spacecraft “Zuma” which apparently did not make it to the intended destination.

falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket lift-off (public domain)

Zuma was lifted up from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket but it failed to reach a stable orbit.

It seems that the spacecraft did not separate as it was supposed to from the upper stage of the rocket and did not reach a orbit, according to a U.S. administration official and two sources who were briefed on the matter. The sources said the payload was classified.

The mission itself was engulfed in secrecy even before the failure news emerged. The government agency that ordered the spacecraft has not been revealed.

Northrop Grumman (NOC), the aerospace and defense company that built the Zuma spacecraft, would only say: “This is a classified program. We cannot comment on classified programs.” SpaceX has also refused to provide details about the spacecraft.

Video: Zuma mission doomed after disappearance of spacecraft and secret payload

Apr 092016

In just 7 days, Tesla Motors received more than 325,000 preorders for the most affordable car of its lineup – Model 3. The figure generated a preliminary profit of €14 billion for the US car-maker.

Tesla model 3

Tesla Model 3 (capture: youtube/Tesla)

The prototype of the electric car Tesla Model 3 was presented on 1 April, during a special event and that same day the company started processing orders of its customers who had to pay in advance the amount of $ 1,000.

After the first 24 hours, the company’s CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla’s cheapest model was pre-ordered by more than 180,000 people. Representatives of the company said that this is a record among the sales of a new product.

The prices for Tesla Model 3 will start from $35,000, with an average cost of $42,000. The series production is due to commence in late 2017.

Detailed information on the propulsion unit were not disclosed. However, it has been revealed that the car will be able to accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h in less than 6.0 seconds and its battery pack will power the vehicle for about 350 kilometers. The autonomous driving system is expected to be among the standard features.

In a video published below, you can see some details that were not shown during the official presentation.

Dec 222015

Elon Musk and his famous company SpaceX have managed an outstanding achievement that will change the history of the spaceflight after Falcon 9 rocket placed 11 satellites into the target orbit and came back on Earth in a controlled vertical landing at Cape Canaveral base.

This is the first clear evidence that the space rockets can be reused, thus lowering significantly the costs of the spaceflight. The landing was hailed as a success by NASA and the agency is ready to use increasingly more the SpaceX services.

In June, a SpaceX rocket exploded about two minutes after it was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, on a mission to provide supplies to the International Space Station. It was a painful failure, but things have changed a lot.

Video: SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts-off and later performs historic vertical landing

Now, SpaceX is celebrating a great victory. “I still can not believe it. It’s a revolutionary moment,” said Elon Musk, referring to rocket Falcon 9 which reached an altitude of nearly 200 km, left its satellite payload in the outer space and returned back on land.

Video: Falcon 9 first stage vertical landing filmed from helicopter

Basically, the rocket was launched with two sections, of which one returned to Earth and can be reused, while the second one deployed 11 telecommunications satellites into low-Earth orbit for ORBCOMM, a leading global provider of Machine-to-Machine communication and Internet of Things solutions. The flight lasted 20 minutes and the rocket landed about 9 km from the launching spot, the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida.

Video: ORBCOMM satellite launch mission carried out by Falcon 9 – full broadcast

Falcon 9 rocket has a length of 68 meters and a weight of 500 tonnes.

The event is indeed historical because it proves that rockets can be recovered and reused, thereby decreasing strongly the costs of the space programs. Until now, the costs were huge because each launch had to be planned from scratch.

SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, known also as the founder of the electric car maker Tesla Motors.

Sep 162015

American billionaire Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors, said during a television broadcast that the detonation of nuclear bombs on Mars is a simple and effective method to make the planet become habitable.

“The Late Show” program and its newer presenter, Stephen Colbert, who replaced famed David Letterman, have made recently the screen debut with a number of guests, some of whom making a couple of surprising statements. During the edition aired Thursday night, the invited guest was Elon Musk who opened one of his favorite topics: setting up a human colony on Mars.

Nuclear detonation would make Mars habitable, Elon Musk says (pic: NASA)

Nuclear detonation would make Mars habitable, Elon Musk says (pic: NASA)

In his opinion, “the fastest way” to make Mars habitable, would be to set off a nuclear bomb on each of the two poles of the planets. Host Stephen Colbert reacted immediately and said that Musk is a “super villain”.

Some science publications write that the launch a nuclear bomb on Mars would produce a huge wave of heat that would melt the ice covering its poles and would thus lead to the emergence of water necessary for life. On paper, everything seems easy but in practice, this initiative would be extremely risky.

According to the opinion of some scientists, including geophysicist Michael Mann, trigering an atomic bomb explosion could cause a nuclear winter that would prevent the development of any form of life on Mars. This phenomenon occurs when a bomb (or a volcanic event) produces so much dust and ashes that sunlight can not penetrate the atmosphere. This is one of the hypotheses that could explain the disappearance of dinosaurs on Earth.

Another idea presented by Elon Musk is based on a ‘slower approach’ and would be to release a greenhouse gas at the surface of Mars in order to make planet’s atmosphere breathable – a hypothesis supported for many years by numerous researchers.

Passionate about this subject, Elon Musk revealed his plan of sending humans to Mars in the upcoming two or three years. He proposed, therefore, that future astronauts to reach Mars aboard the Falcon 9 rockets produced by his company, SpaceX. However, the unfortunate explosion of one of them in last June, made presenter Stephen Colbert be reluctand about the US billionaire idea.