In February 2022, Jared Isaacman and SpaceX announced the Polaris Program, an effort designed to rapidly advance human spaceflight capabilities, while also supporting important causes here on Earth.

Polaris Dawn, the first of the program’s three human spaceflight missions, is targeted to launch to orbit no earlier than summer 2024. During the five-day mission, the crew will perform SpaceX’s first-ever Extravehicular Activity (more commonly known as an EVA or spacewalk) from Dragon, which will also be the first-ever commercial astronaut spacewalk. This historic milestone will also be the first time four astronauts will be exposed to the vacuum of space at the same time.

Supporting the crew throughout the spacewalk will be SpaceX’s newly-developed EVA suit, an evolution of the Intravehicular Activity (IVA) suit crews currently wear aboard Dragon human spaceflight missions. Developed with mobility in mind, SpaceX teams incorporated new materials, fabrication processes, and novel joint designs to provide greater flexibility to astronauts in pressurized scenarios while retaining comfort for unpressurized scenarios. The 3D-printed helmet incorporates a new visor to reduce glare during the EVA in addition to the new Heads-Up Display (HUD) and camera that provide information on the suit’s pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. The suit also incorporates enhancements for reliability and redundancy during a spacewalk, adding seals and pressure valves to help ensure the suit remains pressurized and the crew remains safe.

All of these enhancements to the EVA suit are part of a scalable design, allowing teams to produce and scale to different body types as SpaceX seeks to create greater accessibility to space for all of humanity.

While Polaris Dawn will be the first time the SpaceX EVA suit is used in low-Earth orbit, the suit’s ultimate destiny lies much farther from our home planet. Building a base on the Moon and a city on Mars will require the development of a scalable design for the millions of spacesuits required to help make life multiplanetary.

Source: SpaceX

Fleet Space Technologies, the leading Australian space exploration company, announced the successful deployment of its next-generation Centauri-6 satellite on SpaceX’s Bandwagon-1 mission, launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The addition of Centauri-6 to Fleet Space’s satellite constellation will play a vital role in servicing the global demand for its end-to-end mineral exploration solution, ExoSphere, while also building capacity to deliver advanced SATCOM capabilities with microsatellite architectures.

The successful launch of Centauri-6 is the latest development from Fleet Space after a period of exponential growth and innovative breakthroughs unlocking new capabilities in the global space sector. Recently, Fleet Space’s Centauri-4 became the world’s smallest voice-enabled satellite after a demonstration of Push-To-Talk (PTT) capabilities to the Australian Defence Force Joint Capabilities Division as part of their ASCEND2LEO program. Fleet Space’s SPIDER seismic technology will also head to the Moon to search for water ice and deliver new insights about the lunar regolith on Firefly Aerospace’s second lunar mission in 2026 as part of a NASA CLPS initiative.

Rapid global adoption of Fleet Space’s satellite-enabled mineral exploration solution, ExoSphere, has been the catalyst behind the company’s sustained innovation in space technologies and growth over the past year. Over 40 industry leading exploration companies - including Rio Tinto, Core Lithium, and Barrick Gold - have used the technology to complete 300+ surveys for a variety of critical minerals across five continents. In 2023, Fleet Space completed a heavily oversubscribed A$50 million Series C funding round, doubled its valuation to A350$ million, and was named Australia’s fastest growing company.

“Humanity’s expanding satellite infrastructure is rapidly unlocking new capabilities that can help to address some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet. At current rates of mineral discoveries and production, our net-zero goals and clean energy future are unattainable in the coming decades,” said Flavia Tata Nardini, Co-Founder and CEO of Fleet Space. “Leveraging the latest advances in space technology, AI, and geophysics - Fleet Space is demonstrating a path to accelerate mineral exploration in a more data-driven, scalable, and sustainable way. Centauri-6 is a portal into a future of efficient, mass-scale satellite manufacturing that can unlock previously unimaginable satellite-enabled solutions to hard problems on Earth.”

Centauri-6 has been designed with multiple upgrades to optimise the resilience and durability of the satellite while also enhancing the overall capacity of Fleet Space’s low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to support the growing demand for its end-to-end mineral exploration technology, ExoSphere. Centauri-6 has greater uplink capacity and redundancy, enabling more resilient data transfer from Fleet Space’s satellite-enabled seismic sensors on the ground. The satellite has also been designed with an ion electric propulsion system powered by solar panels to provide thrust in the vacuum of space. Centauri-6’s design also leverages 3D-printed components - including the 3D-printed metal patch antenna Fleet Space pioneered on earlier Centauri satellites.

“Innovation in microsatellite architectures is advancing at an unprecedented rate, unlocking new capabilities across sectors at scale. The reprogrammability of our Centauri satellites enables in-orbit software updates that can deliver all-new capabilities, as we recently demonstrated with Centauri-4 - making it the world’s smallest known voice-enabled satellite,” added Matt Pearson, Co-Founder and Chief Exploration Officer at Fleet Space. “This marks a significant leap forward in the history of spacecraft - making a future with more energy-efficient, high-performing, flexible, and resilient microsatellite infrastructure within reach for the global space sector.”

ExoSphere, Fleet Space’s flagship mineral exploration technology, combines the latest advances in satellite connectivity, edge computing, AI, and geophysics to deliver 3D subsurface models of a survey area in days with near-zero environmental impact. To generate the 3D models, Fleet Space’s patented satellite-enabled seismic sensors - called Geodes - are distributed into an array across a survey area, then the data is transmitted and processed by Fleet Space’s satellite constellation in LEO, providing near real-time access to survey results for exploration customers around the world. Traditionally, seismic data acquisition and processing has taken months or years before it can be used as part of an exploration campaign. By delivering 3D subsurface models up to a depth of 2.5km in days, Fleet Space is radically reducing the time and resources needed to accelerate mineral discovery in support of the clean energy transition.

About Fleet Space Technologies

Fleet Space Technologies is Australia’s leading space exploration company revolutionising critical mineral discovery, space technologies, and defence with its satellite-enabled solutions and seismic array technology (Exosphere by Fleet®). Headquartered at the national centre of Australia’s space industry in Adelaide, Fleet has expanded its global footprint to the US, Canada, Chile, and Luxembourg with over 120+ employees, representing 37 nationalities, worldwide. In 2023, Fleet Space was named “Australia’s Fastest Growing Company” by the Australian Financial Review.

Source: Fleet Space Technologies ‍

Long Beach, Calif. (April 9, 2024) – Today, we are announcing that Vast’s Haven-1, scheduled to be the world’s first commercial space station, will be equipped with SpaceX’s Starlink laser terminal providing Gigabit/s speed, low latency connectivity to its crew users, internal payload racks, external cameras and instruments.

“If you need to provide high-speed, low-latency, continuous internet connectivity on a space station in orbit in 2025, SpaceX Starlink is the only option,” said Max Haot, Vast’s CEO. "We expect their network and technology leading position to continue and accelerate over time, which is why we are excited to have the chance to partner with SpaceX on deploying their first laser connectivity for a space station.”

The Haven-1 crew will be able to connect their personal devices via Wi-Fi to the Starlink network and have unprecedentedly better internet connectivity on orbit to host outreach video calls and perform experiments and science with full, high-speed internet access. Even during crew rest time, they will be able to use high-speed internet.

“High-speed, low-latency connectivity on orbit for crew and critical scientific research is critical to any space station experience,” said Stephanie Bednarek, SpaceX’s Senior Director of Commercial Sales. “We are excited for Vast’s Haven-1 to be the first commercial space station to stay connected with Starlink.”

Vast and SpaceX have reached an agreement for SpaceX to provide Starlink connectivity to future Vast platforms beyond Haven 1, including connectivity for Vast's next space station, which the company plans to bid for in NASA's upcoming commercial Low Earth Orbit destinations (CLDs) competition.

In May 2023, Vast announced that SpaceX will launch Haven-1, followed by two human spaceflight missions to the Haven-1 space station.

This new partnership between Vast and SpaceX will continue to create and accelerate greater accessibility to space and more opportunities for exploration on the road to making humanity multiplanetary.

About Vast

Vast is a pioneer in space habitation technologies focused on expanding humanity across the solar system. Founded in 2021, the company is assembling a world-class team to build the world’s first low-cost, artificial gravity crewed station so people can live and work in space for long periods of time without the adverse effects of zero-gravity.

Source: Vast

Starship returned to integrated flight testing with its third launch from Starbase in Texas. While it didn’t happen in a lab or on a test stand, it was absolutely a test. What we achieved on this flight will provide invaluable data to continue rapidly developing Starship.

On March 14, 2024, Starship successfully lifted off at 8:25 a.m. CT from Starbase in Texas and went on to accomplish several major milestones and firsts:

  • For the second time, all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy Booster started up successfully and completed a full-duration burn during ascent.
  • Starship executed its second successful hot-stage separation, powering down all but three of Super Heavy’s Raptor engines and successfully igniting the six second stage Raptor engines before separating the vehicles.
  • Following separation, the Super Heavy booster successfully completed its flip maneuver and completed a full boostback burn to send it towards its splashdown point in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Super Heavy successfully lit several engines for its first ever landing burn before the vehicle experienced a RUD (that’s SpaceX-speak for “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”) The booster’s flight concluded at approximately 462 meters in altitude and just under seven minutes into the mission.
  • Starship's six second stage Raptor engines all started successfully and powered the vehicle to its expected orbit, becoming the first Starship to complete its full-duration ascent burn.

While coasting, Starship accomplished several of the flight test’s additional objectives, including the opening and closing of its payload door (aka the pez dispenser,) and initiating a propellant transfer demonstration. Starship did not attempt its planned on-orbit relight of a single Raptor engine due to vehicle roll rates during coast. Results from these demonstrations will come after postflight data review is complete.

Starship went on to experience its first ever entry from space, providing valuable data on heating and vehicle control during hypersonic reentry. Live views of entry were made possible by Starlink terminals operating on Starship. The flight test’s conclusion came during entry, with the last telemetry signals received via Starlink from Starship at approximately 49 minutes into the mission.

While our team reviews the data collected from this flight, Starship and Super Heavy vehicles are preparing for upcoming flights as we seek to increase our launch cadence throughout the year.

This rapid iterative development approach has been the basis for all of SpaceX’s major innovative advancements, including Falcon, Dragon, and Starlink. Recursive improvement is essential as we work to build a fully reusable transportation system capable of carrying both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, help humanity return to the Moon, and ultimately travel to Mars and beyond.

Thank you to our customers, Cameron County, spaceflight fans, and the wider community for the continued support and encouragement. And congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting third flight test of Starship!

Source: SpaceX

During the upcoming third test flight of a fully assembled Starship rocket from SpaceX, the successful space company is going to push new boundaries. For example, during this third test flight, the American space company plans to open the doors of the Starship spacecraft's cargo bay for the first time. In addition, they are also going to attempt to crash the Starship spacecraft into the Indian Ocean instead of splashing down at the Pacific Ocean.

The main goal of this third test flight is to launch the Starship spacecraft into space. During the two previous test flights, it failed to do so. Now if SpaceX does succeed in putting Starship into orbit around our planet, they will attempt for the first time to open the doors of the unmanned spacecraft's cargo bay. This is an important test as the giant cargo hold of the Starship spacecraft is to carry numerous satellites, space telescopes and components for space stations into space in the future. For example, Starship can carry as much as 100 metric tons of cargo into low Earth orbit thanks to its large cargo bay. In addition, SpaceX also plans to reignite a Raptor rocket engine for the first time when Starship is in space. If successful, Starship can be returned to Earth's atmosphere in a controlled manner. Also during this third test flight, SpaceX plans to test the technology of transferring fuel in space. Transferring fuel from one spacecraft to another in space is very important to SpaceX as this technology will ensure that humans can travel back to the moon and even beyond. The return to Earth during this third test flight is also planned differently from the previous two test flights. For example, Starship is to crash in the Indian Ocean this time instead of the Pacific Ocean.

During the first test flight, in April 2023, the two stages of the Starship rocket failed to separate from each other as planned and the spacecraft was intentionally detonated about four minutes after launch. Starship performed much better during its second test flight, launched in November 2023. The unmanned spacecraft had a nominal burn of the Super Heavy lower rocket stage and the two stages subsequently separated as planned. The Starship spacecraft eventually exploded about eight minutes after launch during a liquid oxygen vent. That likely would not have happened during an operational flight, according to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. "Normally we wouldn't have that liquid oxygen if we had a payload," Musk said in an update SpaceX posted on X on Jan. 12. "So, ironically, if Starship had a payload, it would have reached orbit." The third test flight of a Starship is scheduled for Thursday, March 14, 2024, at the earliest.

Most powerful rocket

The new Starship spacecraft is as much as 50 meters long, has a diameter of about 9 meters, already weighs 120 tons without cargo or fuel and is powered by six powerful Raptor rocket engines. The Starship spacecraft consists of one component and will be launched into space using a Super Heavy rocket also developed by SpaceX. This design is called a "single-stage solution" and offers many possibilities. For example, a Starship spacecraft can carry heavy cargo into space in addition to spacewalkers and can even serve to provide additional fuel to other spacecraft in space making this design very interesting and efficient. After launch, a modified version of the Starship spacecraft (the HLS version) can also fly under its own power to the moon where it can land in its entirety in a vertical position on the lunar surface. After its mission on the moon, the Starship spacecraft must take off again in its entirety from the lunar surface after which Starship will return to Earth.

SpaceX believes that the Starship spacecraft is the future of space travel as this rocket and spacecraft is fully reusable and was developed to take humans to both the moon and the planet Mars. The fully assembled Starship is a whopping 120 meters tall and is the most powerful rocket ever built by man. If Starship proves to be successful, it could completely change space travel as this rocket can carry more than 100 tons of cargo into low Earth orbit during a single launch. By comparison, the most powerful rockets today can carry cargo of up to 95 tons into low Earth orbit. In addition, Starship should also be able to carry dozens of astronauts into space during a single mission instead of 3 or 4 astronauts on current space capsules. The 70-meter-long Super Heavy rocket stage will be equipped with as many as 33 Raptor rocket engines at launch and should return to Earth a few minutes after lift-off so it can be reused. SpaceX has gained a great deal of experience in reusable space technology in recent years as its Falcon 9 rockets have sometimes been used dozens of times to launch satellites.

Starship Flight Test 3

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