Eight former SpaceX employees file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging they were let go for being part of a group that had drafted and circulated a letter to SpaceX executives in June. The letter asked SpaceX executives for three things: to curb “Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior,” to define and enforce the company’s sexual harassment policies, and ensure that all leadership is held accountable for violating such policies.
SpaceX’s current systems and culture do not live up to its stated values, as many employees continue to experience unequal enforcement of our oft-repeated ‘No Asshole’ and ‘Zero Tolerance’ policies.
US labor law prohibits employers from firing workers who band together to advocate for better working conditions. At the time, Musk called the letter a “distraction and embarrassment” to the company.
Musk confirms SpaceX purchased a $250,000 ad campaign on Twitter to promote Starlink services in Australia and Spain, which will place SpaceX’s ad on top of the main Twitter timeline for a full day. Users will see the ad the first three times they open Twitter when the ad campaign is scheduled. The ad buy is the first for any of Musk’s companies, including Tesla, which does not engage in traditional advertising.
The two side boosters from Falcon Heavy USSF-44 mission return to Earth safely, marking the 150th and 151st succesful orbital-class booster recovery. The middle booster was expended. The mission is to deploy two payloads for the US Space Force into geosynchronous orbit, one of which is the TETRA 1 microsatellite.
Despite earlier tweeting that SpaceX could not fund Starlink ‘indefinitely’, Musk says he will continue to pay for Starlink to cover Ukraine. SpaceX has told the US government that Ukraine’s use of Starlink has already cost $80 million and could cost close to $400 million over the next 12 months.
The hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free
When a Twitter user told Musk “No good deed goes unpunished”, he replied:
Even so, we should still do good deeds.
After 170 days in space, Crew-4 astronauts return to Earth, in a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. Teams aboard SpaceX recovery vessels retrieve the spacecraft and astronauts. After returning to shore, all astronauts will fly to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Cristoforetti then will board a plane to Europe.
The mission launched at 3:52 a.m. EDT April 27 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Throughout their mission, the Crew-4 astronauts contributed to a host of science and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations. Cristoforetti completed two spacewalks with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev to perform station maintenance and upgrades.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson:
Welcome home Crew-4! This international crew has spent nearly six months on the International Space Station conducting science for the benefit of all. Their work aboard the orbiting laboratory will help prepare future explorers for future space missions. Working and living on the space station is the opportunity of a lifetime, but it also requires these explorers to make sacrifices, especially time away from loved ones. Kjell, Bob, Jessica and Samantha, thank you for your contributions over the past six months to science, innovation, and discovery!
Following a report that SpaceX told the US government that Ukraine’s use of Starlink has already cost $80 million and could cost close to $400 million over the next 12 months, Musk says SpaceX cannot fund the existing system “indefinitely and send several thousand more terminals” that have high data usage. SpaceX’s donated Starlink internet terminals have been crucial in keeping Ukraine’s military online during the war against Russia.
Musk also said he was following the recommendation of Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, who told Musk to ‘F off’ after he posted his Twitter peace plan.
SpaceX announces Starlink’s debut in Japan, the first Asian country to get the satellite internet service. Starlink’s service map shows the satellite internet service is available in parts of Japan’s main island including the Tōhoku and Kantō regions, and parts of the Chūbu region. The monthly service fee is 12,300 yen ($84) on top of hardware costs of 73,000 yen. The company signed an agreement with Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI to act as Starlink integrator for rural and remote areas. KDDI:
Starlink’s unmatched performance is a great fit for our persistent endeavor to bring the urban mobile experience to rural customers, With Japan having more than 16,000 mountains and 6,000 islands, Starlink’s industry-leading satellite constellation is uniquely suited to provide Japanese enterprises with reliable, sustainable internet connectivity, even in times of natural disaster
Musk posts a night image of the newly-stacked Starship, on its launchpad at Boca Chica, Texas, with the caption:
This is real
For the first time in more than six months, SpaceX stacks both stages of Starship, creating the largest and most powerful launch vehicle ever fully assembled. SpaceX has conducted three other full-stack Starship demonstrations: in August 2021 and February and March 2022. This stack includes Super Heavy Booster 7 (B7) and Starship 24 (S24). The stacking is taking place at Starship’s orbital launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas.
After an aborted predawn attempt on October 11th, the Starship was lifted at sunset about 80 meters (250 ft) off the ground, translated over to Booster 7, and lowered on top of the 69-meter-tall (225 ft) first stage. After about two more hours of robotically tweaking their positions, the two Starship stages were secured together.
According to Musk, Booster 7 and Ship 24 will attempt Starship’s first full-stack wet dress rehearsal (WDR) once all is in order, which is a fully loaded countdown up to the point of launch.
SpaceX loses a cybersquatting challenge against StarGroup, a 60-year-old Mexican telecommunications and entertainment services company in Mexico that registered the domain name starlinkmx.com. StarGroup’s brands include Star TV, Star Go, Star Line and Star Group.
The company applied for trademarks in Mexico for Starlink for communications starting in 2015. In November 2017, SpaceX legal representatives contacted StarGroup, initially not naming its client, to see if StarGroup would sell its Star Line and Starlink marks.
In finding for StarGroup, the WIPO panel noted that the company’s brand name starts with star, and it has a history of naming products that start with star. The panel also pointed out that StarGroup applied for trademarks in 2015, which predates SpaceX’s intentions to use the mark. The panel found that SpaceX did not show that StarGroup lacked rights or legitimate interests in the domain and did not show that StarGroup registered the domain in bad faith.
Elon Musk shares a video of the SpaceX Dragon capsule docking with the International Space Station. The docking took place 29 hours after the Falcon 9 spacecraft took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX Crew-5 is the fifth crewed NASA flight, carrying two NASA astronauts, one Japanese astronaut and one Russian cosmonaut. During their time on the orbiting laboratory, the crew will conduct over 200 science experiments.
SpaceX and NASA officials confirm they are moving forward with plans to modify the LC-40 launch pad to support Crew and Cargo Dragon missions. SpaceX began studying the possibility of modifying the pad earlier this year, after NASA raised concerns about the risks posed by plans to operate its next-generation Starship rocket out of LC-39, which is currently used for Dragon missions. Likely modifications include building a new crew access tower, crew access arm, escape system (39A uses baskets and ziplines), and an on-site bunker for astronauts.
After its recent launch of 52 Starlink satellites, Musk announces that SpaceX has manufactured one million Starlink terminals. The one-million milestone has been achieved less than two years after Starlink began taking pre-orders for the satellite broadband service in February 2021.
Starlink now over 1M user terminals manufactured
The government of Iran blocks SpaceX’s Starlink website following Elon Musk activating Starlink for Iranians.
SpaceX launches 52 Starlink satellites to orbit, on a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch was SpaceX’s 43rd orbital mission this year. Viewers close by the launchpad witnessed Falcon 9’s first stage falling back to Earth for a soft landing atop the SpaceX droneship, A Shortfall of Gravitas, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The company has already sent nearly 3,400 Starlinks into space and has a plan to bring thousands more aloft.
SpaceX lands the first stage of its Falcon 9 booster on a pad at Cape Canaveral, eleven minutes after the rocket launched. The control room fills with cheers and chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A”. The space-bound section of the rocket successfully delivers 11 satellites. CEO Musk says he is optimistic that Falcon re-flights will become “pretty straightforward,” and will make sense because of the roughly $60 million cost to build a Falcon 9, only about $200,000 is propellant that can’t be recovered. The bulk of the cost is embedded in the first stage and its nine Merlin engines.
I imagine that we’re going to have a whole fleet of booster rockets accumulating quite rapidly. Then we’ll figure out how to make the reuse as easy as possible, so that really no work is required between reuses, apart from refilling the propellant tanks.
The company releases interior photos of the Dragon Crew spacecraft, as well as a video showing closeups of its control panels and crew seats. The capsule seats seven and is fitted out with carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth. Video displays in front of the seats will provide information to the astronauts about the vehicle’s position in space and the environment on board.
Musk says a support strut holding one of the helium tanks likely fractured near a bolt attach point, and wanted to move to the top of the Falcon 9’s second stage. Several helium tanks, each pressurized to about 5,500 pounds per square inch, are mounted inside the rocket’s second stage liquid oxygen tank. The helium is routed through the second stage’s Merlin engine, where the helium warms up and injected into the rocket’s propellant tanks to pressurize the stage as the launcher burns fuel, keeping the tanks structurally sound. Musk:
It may seem sort of counterintuitive that, as the rocket’s accelerating, that something immersed in the tank would actually want to go up more, but that’s basically what happened. The buoyancy increases proportionate to the G-loading. At approximately 3.2 Gs, this strut holding down one of the helium bottles appears to have snapped, and as a result, releasing a lot of helium into the upper stage oxygen tank and causing an over-pressure event quite quickly…Within the course of a second, this caused enough helium to be released, we believe, to over-pressurize the liquid oxygen tank in the upper stage. You don’t really need to release a lot of helium because there’s only about 2 percent gaseous volume in the stage because the upper stage propellant is not being consumed.
A SpaceX rocket on a mission to resupply the International Space Station explodes two minutes and thirty seconds into its flight from Cape Canaveral Florida. The Falcon 9 is carrying about 5,000 pounds of cargo for the space station’s astronauts, including a docking port that would allow future crew missions to dock with the station more easily. The launch was planned to be been the third attempt to land the first-stage booster safely on a barge in the Atlantic ocean. Initial reports said the vehicle had an “anomaly on ascent”, with Musk reporting that the craft experienced a problem shortly before first-stage shutdown related to an “over-pressure event in the upper-stage liquid oxygen tank”. NASA:
SpaceX has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first six cargo resupply missions to the station, and we know they can replicate that success. We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward. This is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but we learn from each success and each setback.
The company tests the Dragon abort system at Cape Canaveral. The abort system is designed to save the crew in the event of a launchpad emergency. The capsule is powered by Draco engines for five seconds. After reaching apogee at 90 seconds, falls by parachute into the Altantic ocean
Shotwell says the Company will attempt to land the Falcon 9 on land, although no time and place are stated. The hope is that the added stability of landing on ground would allow a safe landing.
Just purely the boat moving, even in a low sea state, it’s hard to imagine that vehicle is going to stay vertical. That vehicle is big and tall, compared to the itty-bity-greater-than-a-football-field-size ship.
On risks of ground return:
The risk of damage to the public of ascent is far greater than return. There’s a lot of propellant going up, and there’s very little propellant coming back.
She also notes that there is a flight termination system in place:
It’s a lot harder to think about blowing up that rocket when you’re going up and it has a payload on board. But when it’s coming back, if things look wonky, blow it up.
Musk releases a video of the landing.
An unmanned Dragon capsule from SpaceX lifts off from Cape Canaveral, FL, and rockets to the International Space Station, carrying the first 3D printers for astronauts in orbit. In addition, the ship had batteries for spacesuits, clothes, food and a device which measures the speed of the winds in the ocean. The launch went smoothly. NASA:
What a beautiful morning it was.
Wyler leaves Google to work with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. In his departure, he takes rights to certain radio spectrum that could be used to provide Internet access. This could hurt Google’s aspirations in this area in the short term, but there are many alternatives to spreading Internet connectivity globally.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, after being delayed for close to two months as a result of technical difficulties. The rocket is tasked with putting commercial communication devices into orbit, in satellites.
Falcon 9 met 100 percent of mission objectives.
At SpaceX headquarters, Musk unveils Dragon V2, a cone-shaped reusable capsule designed to carry cargo and up to seven astronauts at a time to and from the International Space Station. The first manned test flight for Dragon V2 is expected before the end of 2016. According to a SpaceX, Dragon V2 will touch down on land with the accuracy of a helicopter.