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SpaceX Drops Plan To Make its Falcon 9 Even More Reusable

Following stage separation, the first stage successfully returned to Earth for a second time, landing on a drone ship stationed in the Atlantic ocean

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The Falcon 9's first stage separates from the second stage moments after about two minutes from liftoff.
SpaceX scraps plan to upgrade Falcon 9 for more 'reusability'. Wikimedia Commons

SpaceX has dropped plans to make its Falcon 9 rockets even more reusable than they are now, company CEO Elon Musk has said.

“SpaceX is no longer planning to upgrade Falcon 9 second stage for reusability,” Musk tweeted on Saturday.

In response to a question by a Twitter user, Musk said that the company would carry out “minor tweaks to improve reliability only, provided NASA and USAF (US Air Force) are supportive”.

Instead of upgrading Falcon 9 for more reusability, SpaceX was now focusing on “accelerating BFR (Big Falcon Rocket)” which is being designed to take humans and supply to Mars and also to dramatically cut travel time within Earth.

“New design is very exciting! Delightfully counter-intuitive,” he said.

According to SpaceX, BFR is a fully reusable vehicle designed to service all Earth orbit needs as well as the Moon and Mars.

Elon Musk, tesla
“SpaceX is no longer planning to upgrade Falcon 9 second stage for reusability,” Musk tweeted on Saturday. IANS

This two-stage vehicle — composed of a Booster and a Ship ? is designed to eventually replace Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and the Dragon spacecraft.

On September 17, SpaceX announced announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the company’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard the company’s BFR rocket in 2023.

In March 2017, SpaceX achieved the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket when the Falcon 9 launched a geosynchronous communications satellite on March 30 of that year.

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The first stage for the mission previously supported a space station cargo resupply launch for NASA in April 2016.

Following stage separation, the first stage successfully returned to Earth for a second time, landing on a drone ship stationed in the Atlantic ocean. (IANS)

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SpaceX Launches 60 Mini Satellites for Cheaper Global Internet

The Falcon rocket blasted into the morning sky, marking the unprecedented fourth flight of a booster for SpaceX

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SpaceX, Satellites, Global
FILE - A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket, with a payload of 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 23, 2019. VOA

SpaceX launched 60 mini satellites Monday, the second batch of an orbiting network meant to provide global internet coverage.

The Falcon rocket blasted into the morning sky, marking the unprecedented fourth flight of a booster for SpaceX. The compact flat-panel satellites – just 575 pounds (260 kilograms) each – will join 60 launched in May.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk wants to put thousands of these Starlink satellites in orbit, to offer high-speed internet service everywhere. He plans to start service next year in the northern U.S. and Canada, with global coverage for populated areas after 24 launches.

Last month, Musk used an orbiting Starlink satellite to send a tweet: “Whoa, it worked!!”

SpaceX, Satellites, Global
SpaceX employees work on the Crew Dragon spacecraft that will astronauts to and from the International Space Station, from American soil, as part of the agency’s commercial crew Program, in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. VOA

Employees gathered at company bases on both coasts cheered when the first-stage booster landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic.

“These boosters are designed to be used 10 times. Let’s turn it around for a fifth, guys,” company’s launch commentator said.

This also marked the first time SpaceX used a previously flown nose cone. The California-based company reuses rocket parts to cut costs.

Stacked flat inside the top of the rocket, the newest satellites were going to maneuver even higher following liftoff, using krypton-powered thrusters. SpaceX said there was a potential problem with one of the 60 that could prevent it from moving beyond its initial 174 mile-high (280 kilometer-high) orbit. In that case, the faulty satellite will be commanded to re-enter and burn up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

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Each satellite has an autonomous system for dodging space junk. In September, however, the European Space Agency had to move one of its satellites out of the way of a Starlink satellite. SpaceX later said it corrected the problem.

SpaceX is among several companies interested in providing broadband internet coverage worldwide, especially in areas where it costs too much or is unreliable. Others include OneWeb and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.

According to Musk, Starlink revenue can help SpaceX develop rockets and spacecraft for traveling to Mars, his overriding ambition. (VOA)