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SpaceX gets certification to launch NASA science missions

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falcon-9
Image Courtesy: SpaceX

By NewsGram Staff Writer

NASA has formally certified US-based Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket to launch the most ambitious science missions.

The Falcon 9 is now certified by NASA as a “Category 2” launch vehicle. SpaceX has successfully launched six re-supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) as a part of the NASA contract.

The certification process of Falcon 9 began in 2012 by NASA and SpaceX. SpaceX won an $82 million contract to launch the Jason 3 mission — a project jointly funded by the US and France to measure sea roughness.

The scheduled mission by NASA named Jason 3 is ready to lift-off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in July. The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket will deploy the 1,124 pound spacecraft into orbit 830 miles above the Earth.

The core objective of the mission is to deploy a satellite in earth’s orbit. The satellite will then activate a radar altimeter to bounce signals off the world’s oceans to measure wave height, sea level rise and other data that are important for weather forecasting, oceanography and climate change research.

NASA spokesperson George Diller in a statement said, “The certification now clears the Falcon 9 to launch what NASA calls ‘medium-risk’ science missions, a classification that includes most of the agency’s Earth observation satellites and many of its interplanetary probes.”

Next Story

Elon Musk Shares Pictures of SpaceX’s New Starship Prototypes

Musk is expected to announce the company’s latest update to the Starship on September 28

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Wikimedia Commons

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has posted two new pictures on Twitter showing the latest construction updates for the Starship rocket prototype that is being built at SpaceXs Boca Chica, Texas facility.

One of the images shows the vehicle, Starship Mk1, which is being assembled at SpaceX’s South Texas facility near the village of Boca Chica, in the background, standing behind a building that contains a variety of parts and other equipment, news portal space.com reported on Wednesday.

Musk captioned the picture: “Droid Junkyard, Tatooine.”

FILE – SpaceX founder Elon Musk tells the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, that he envisions 1,000 passenger ships flying en masse to Mars and says it could become reality within a century, Sept. 27, 2016. VOA

The second photo he posted is of a large metal disc being lowered onto Mk1’s body. This he captioned as “Area 51 of Area 51”.

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SpaceX hopes for Starship to be used as a commercial spacecraft that will be able to take off and land like an airplane. It is expected to be ready by 2021.

Musk is expected to announce the company’s latest update to the Starship on September 28. (IANS)