Monday January 21, 2019
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SpaceX to Lay off 10% of Workers Due to ‘Difficult Challenges’

But SpaceX's new products are expected to cost billions of dollars to develop

SpaceX, falcon
SpaceX to lay off 10% of workers due to 'difficult challenges'. VOA

As SpaceX attempts to get two expensive projects off the ground, the US-based private spaceflight company said it would lay off 10 per cent of its roughly 6,000-person workforce.
“To continue delivering for our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company,” the Elon Musk-led company was quoted as saying in a statement on Friday by CNN.

“This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary,” the statement added.

SpaceX has a booming business but its plans are very ambitious. While it has a contract with NASA to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), the company is now planning to start flying astronauts to the ISS for NASA sometime this year.

In September, Musk estimated SpaceX would spend between $2 billion and $10 billion developing an ultra-powerful spaceship and rocket system, recently renamed Starship and Super Heavy.

SpaceX also plans to use the technology to fly tourists to space and, potentially, one day send humans to Mars, CNN said.

Elon Musk, spacex
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. IANS

Musk on Thursday offered a glimpse of the company’s Starship test flight rocket, dubbed the “Hopper”.

SpaceX will conduct a “hopper test” of its Mars spaceship prototype as early as next month, acording to Musk, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The company is also developing a constellation of satellites that could one day beam high-speed Internet down to the Earth.

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SpaceX was recently valued at $30.5 billion after initiating a $500 million equity sale in December. The company also took on about $250 million in debt last year in its first loan sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But SpaceX’s new products are expected to cost billions of dollars to develop. (IANS)

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SpaceX’s Dragon Spacecraft Expected To Land on Earth on Monday

The next Dragon mission to the space station will be its first uncrewed demonstration mission designated SpaceX DM-1

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to reach Earth on Monday.

After spending over a month in the orbit, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft left the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday and is expected to land on Earth on Monday night, NASA said.

“The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was released from the ISS today at 6.33 p.m.,” NASA said in a statement on Sunday.

“Dragon will parachute to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean Monday at 12:15 a.m. then will be towed to port in southern California by a SpaceX personnel,” it added.

This will be the first night–time splashdown and recovery for the Dragon with plenty of moonlight to track its entry, NASA said.

Astronaut Anne McClain onboard the ISS monitored the activities from the cupola and watched Dragon perform a series of departure burns as it separated itself to a safe distance from the orbital lab. Integrated operations between mission controllers in Houston and SpaceX controllers in California stop when Dragon reaches a point about 1 km away from the station.

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. VOA

The commercial cargo vessel will bring home a variety of critical space research, including ISS hardware to extracted for analysis, refurbishment or discarding, NASA said.

Dragon was launched on ISS on December 8 with more than 5,600 pounds of science and supplies. The spacecraft completed a 36-day mission attached to the station’s Harmony module.

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The next Dragon mission to the space station will be its first uncrewed demonstration mission designated SpaceX DM-1.

The Commercial Crew Program’s first launch is currently targeted for February and will demonstrate ground systems, orbit to docking activities and landing operations. (IANS)