Tuesday January 22, 2019
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SpaceX to build Mars rockets in Los Angeles

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Representational image
Representational image. Pixabay

The Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, which will be used to explore Mars — a goal that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes to accomplish by 2022 — will be built in the Port of Los Angeles, media reports said.

According to a report in CNET on Saturday, the LA Board of Harbor Commissioners gave its unanimous approval to permit SpaceX to build the BFR Mars rocket at a new facility on Terminal Island at the Port of Los Angeles.

The rockets will be made in Los Angeles. VOA

The report said the new rocket manufacturing facility would be built on a 19-acre parcel on the mostly artificial island that’s part of the port. The facility would provide employment to as many as 700 people, as per SpaceX.

The reason of building the rocket at the port and not at the company’s inland headquarters in Hawthorne, California, is due to the size of BFR.

Also Read: SpaceX launches Falcon 9 with first broadband internet satellites

BFR would be so large that it would have to be transported on an ocean-going barge to Cape Canaveral, Florida, via the Panama Canal. As per the information provided by Musk, SpaceX’s huge new rocket would be nearly 350 feet tall and span 30 feet in diameter. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter: “This is a vehicle that holds the promise of taking humanity deeper into the cosmos than ever before.”

The project is ambitious. VOA

“And this isn’t just about reaching into the heavens. It’s about creating jobs right here on Earth,” the Mayor added. SpaceX would pay the Port of Los Angeles $1.38 million per year under its lease agreement for the Berth 240 location, Spaceflight Now website reported. IANS

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China on Consecutive Missions To Moon and Mars

The 2011 Wolf Amendment, motivated by security concerns, bans NASA scientists from working with Chinese citizens affiliated to a Chinese state enterprise or entity

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NASA, Moon
China plans another Moon mission in 2019, targets Mars in 2020: Report

Riding on its success of landing a rover on the far side of the Moon earlier in January, China’s space agency is planning to launch another mission to the Moon by the end of 2019 and a mission to Mars as early as 2020, the media reported.

The plans underscore China’s ambitions in space at a time when the US is curtailing NASA’s budget and increasingly handing over space exploration to commercial adventurers, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

The China National Space Administration is working to send a probe to the Red Planet, said Wu Yanhua, deputy chief of the agency.

“China will carry out its first-ever exploration mission to Mars around 2020,” he said.

On January 3, China’s robotic spacecraft Chang’e-4 landed on the far side of the moon, a first in the human history of space exploration.

The 1.3-tonne lander, which made a soft landing on the Moon, put potato seeds and silkworm eggs housed in a chamber, and fed natural light and nutrition, on the Moon.

The space agency plans to launch a Chang’e-5 mission at the end of 2019 with the goal of collecting samples from the near side of the moon, Wu said. They would be the first samples retrieved since 1976.

China is also building its own space station, called Tiangong or Heavenly Palace, which is expected to be operational in 2022. But the agency is still deciding whether to send astronauts to the Moon, Wu said.

NASA mars, UAE, Hubble
China plans to land Mars in 2020 VOA

It also deployed a small rover called Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, to explore the surrounding lunar terrain, which is believed to be older than that on the near side.

“All these are first-time breakthroughs for humankind,” Wu said, adding “they are bound to make significant impacts on both China and the world.”

Meanwhile, China also said it has shared data with NASA about the Chang’e-4 lunar mission.

That claim could not be immediately substantiated, but it could raise eyebrows on Capitol Hill because NASA and the Chinese agency are prohibited from cooperating without congressional approval, the report said.

Also Read: China Exchanged Data With NASA On Its Recent Mission To Moon

The 2011 Wolf Amendment, motivated by security concerns, bans NASA scientists from working with Chinese citizens affiliated to a Chinese state enterprise or entity.

“Expanded international cooperation is the wish of all scientists,” Wu said. “It takes joining of forces among the world’s big space powers to really make a difference in human space exploration.” (IANS)