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SpaceX

Helmed by billionaire CEO Elon Musk, SpaceX has made a name for itself as a leading rocket launch provider. We bring you complete coverage of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket launches and landings, as well as SpaceX’s more ambitious exploration goals. That includes flying people around the Moon in the company’s Dragon capsule and starting a human colony on Mars.

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SpaceX will dispose of 100 orbiting Starlink satellites because of an undisclosed glitch.

[T]he Starlink team identified a common issue in this small population of satellites that could increase the probability of failure in the future. The satellites will follow a safe, circular, and controlled lowering operation that should take approximately six months for most of the vehicles. 

It’s a small fraction of the 5,828 Starlink sats in orbit, and SpaceX says it’s deorbited 406 sats previously. Unusual to decommission so many at once, though.


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SpaceX is being investigated for discrimination and sexual harassment.

The California Civil Rights Department is investigating complaints by seven workers that SpaceX execs “discriminated against women, joked about sexual harassment and fired workers for raising concerns,” reports Bloomberg and Reuters.

The same agency is also suing Tesla over charges of operating a “racially segregated workplace.”

In the SpaceX complaints, employees cite a pattern of discrimination, as well as inappropriate tweets by Musk that they said they couldn’t easily avoid because he uses the platform for important company announcements.


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How independent are the boards of Musk’s companies?

Not very, according to The Wall Street Journal’s examination, published last night.

It’s not just that some members have earned, for example, “hundreds of millions of dollars” — far more than typical board member compensation, the Journal says.

It’s that reportedly, some members are heavily invested in Musk’s and each other’s companies, and regularly do drugs with him “because they think refraining could upset the billionaire, who has made them a lot of money.”


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Trader Joe’s: run by Elon Musk stans?

That’s right, Trader Joe’s also thinks the National Labor Relations Board is unconstitutional, just like Musk’s SpaceX. I’m sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with the case the NLRB is bringing against the grocer, and is just a fun coincidence.


Starlink’s community gateways promise “fiber-like speeds from space.”

The satellite internet company has announced a new program that lets internet service providers deliver symmetrical download and upload speeds of up to 10Gbps to remote areas.

One remote town in Alaska is already using the gateway to provide connectivity across the community — the only catch is that it costs ISPs $1.25 million upfront on top of a $75,000 / Gbps per month fee.


Starlink’s community gateway in Unalaska, Alaska.
Starlink’s community gateway in Unalaska, Alaska.
Image: Starlink
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Starlink is coming to John Deere.

It makes sense that a new deal will see the company outfitting new and existing hardware with Starlink. That should allow people who live in the middle of nowhere to better take advantage of the high-tech tools John Deere has been packing inside recently. Because right now the rural internet situation is hellish.

As for cost, John Deere hasn’t settled on a price for the new connectivity option, but it does plan to generate 10-percent of its annual revenue from software service fees by 2030.


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First Starlink satellites launched to connect mobile phone users anywhere on the planet.

Six of the 21 new Starlink satellites launched last night support the company’s new Direct to Cell service announced in 2022. SpaceX will now test the service with ordinary 4G LTE-compatible phones on T-Mobile in the US before the text messaging service goes live in multiple countries this year. Voice and data (and IoT devices) will be added in 2025 as more D2C satellites come online.


HughesNet’s satellite internet service gets a big boost.

HughesNet announced its rural internet service now has up to 100Mbps downloads and 5Mbps uploads. Plans range from $74.99 to $109.99 and throttle once you hit 100GB or 200GB, depending on the plan. As PCMag noted, the best HughesNet offered before was an unthinkable 50Mbps down on a $149.99 plan.

That makes it more competitive with Starlink, which starts at $120 per month for a “Standard” plan with up to 100Mbps down and 5-10Mbps up — and have no specific limit before throttling.


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The FCC is going to let SpaceX test its upcoming Starlink satellite cellular service.

The FCC issued SpaceX a “Special Temporary Authorization” so the company can test “direct-to-cellular communications payloads” to unmodified cell phones, as reported by PCMag.

SpaceX and T-Mobile are planning to launch texting through the “Starlink Direct to Cell” service in 2024, with more functionality coming in 2025.


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The trouble with Hubble.

It’s down to just three of the six gyroscopes NASA upgraded it with in 2009 — and one of those is flaking out. According to Ars Technica, the agency’s engineers figured out a way to keep the Hubble going on a single gyro.

In this one-gyro mode, Hubble’s control system would receive inputs from the single gyroscope in combination with magnetometers, Sun sensors, and star trackers.

Unfortunately, it’s also got issues with one of its guidance sensors, and its orbit is decaying, putting it a little over a decade from falling out of the sky. NASA and SpaceX have studied whether they can push it farther out again.


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SpaceX’s Starship exploded.

From the SpaceX livestream, the team there said about 15 minutes into the 8AM ET launch that Starship’s signal had disappeared, and it appears the craft’s flight termination system ended its journey soon after the planned engine shutdown.

The ship made it much farther along than the previous attempt earlier this year.


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SpaceX Starship has launched.

SpaceX’s rocket launched just after 8AM CT. The rocket is currently heading towards space. The booster exploded seconds after the stage separation, but Starship itself continued.


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SpaceX hypes up its next Starship flight test while ignoring a report about workplace injuries.

The FAA still hasn’t cleared SpaceX to attempt another Starship orbital launch from its Boca Chica, TX, site after the first one caused significant damage to the pad and surrounding environment. SpaceX’s website and this teaser trailer indicate it’s ready to try again as soon as November 17th.

Those are also popping up on the same day as a report from Reuters documenting 600 injuries to SpaceX workers since 2014.

The records included reports of more than 100 workers suffering cuts or lacerations, 29 with broken bones or dislocations, 17 whose hands or fingers were “crushed,” and nine with head injuries, including one skull fracture, four concussions and one traumatic brain injury.

Musk himself at times appeared cavalier about safety on visits to SpaceX sites: Four employees said he sometimes played with a novelty flamethrower and discouraged workers from wearing safety yellow because he dislikes bright colors.


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Starlink space internet is no longer losing money.

This time last year Musk said that Starlink was losing about $20 million a month. Now he says it’s breakeven, which is good news for a service that keeps people connected in remote locations, in times of disaster and war, or while tooling around in a van or boat. Unimpeded growth could be bad for astronomers trying to see past those roughly 5,000 satellites currently operating in low-Earth orbit, with plans for up to 37,000 more.


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SpaceX reportedly signed a satellite-launching deal with the European Space Agency.

The Elon Musk-owned company could launch up to four of the ESA’s Galileo navigation satellites into space next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The deal reportedly involves two US-based launches, each with two Galileo satellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets.

This comes as Europe’s Ariane rocket program faces its own setbacks. The European Commission and EU member states will still need to approve the deal with SpaceX, the WSJ notes, which could happen by the end of this year.


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SpaceX keeps picking up the launch pace.

The company reportedly told ArsTechnica it’s shooting for 144 launches next year. That’s 12 launches a month, or about every two-and-a-half days.

The goal, writes Ars, is to put many more Starlink satellites aloft to support its satellite-based cell phone service, which is due to launch next year as a texting-only service, with voice and data coming later. That’s not necessarily great news to everyone.


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NASA just launched its next mission to an asteroid.

Yes, NASA just revealed preliminary results from the OSIRIS-REx mission that snagged material from the asteroid Bennu, but this morning, it successfully launched Psyche, an orbiter that will attempt to visit an asteroid of that name, which was the 16th one discovered, on March 17th, 1852.


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SpaceX is trying to get the DOJ’s suit over its hiring policies tossed.

Elon Musk’s company is arguing in a Texas federal court that the Justice Department’s lawsuit alleging that the company is illegally disqualifying asylees and refugees from employment is unconstitutional.

Bloomberg noted in a report last week that the company is engaged in “a handful of lawsuits by former employees” over discrimination.

The company’s Texas filing may be to ensure the case funnels through the Fifth Circuit appellate court on appeal since that court tends to push back on federal regulatory action lately, writes Space News.


More than Sally Ride: Loren Grush explains how NASA’s first women astronauts changed space

In the 1980s, NASA wanted space to become a booming business — and the first six women astronauts were meant to help get it off the ground.

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Elon Musk borrowed $1 billion from SpaceX last year around the time he acquired Twitter.

Musk drew on the money last October and paid it back, with interest, in November, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s not clear why he borrowed the money. It’s an awful lot! SpaceX had $4.7 billion in cash and securities on hand at the end of last year, WSJ reports.


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If you’ve never watched video of a spaceship docking with the International Space Station, here’s your chance.

The Crew-7 mission successfully docked with the ISS this morning at 9:16AM PT, bringing four new crew members to the station.

Video from the docking procedure shows the capsule approaching the station while in Earth orbit, then footage from the capsule as it made its final approach. It’s perfect Sunday viewing.