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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday May 09 2018, @12:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the compensating-for-something? dept.

All systems are go for SpaceX's BFR rocket facility at Port of Los Angeles after City Council OKs plan

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a plan allowing SpaceX to build and operate a facility at the Port of L.A., where the Hawthorne space company will produce its next-generation BFR rockets and spacecraft.

The vote gives formal approval to a plan that got the greenlight last month from the L.A. Board of Harbor Commissioners.

During a presentation to the council, L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino said the project could result in up to 700 new jobs.

Under the terms of the deal, SpaceX will have an initial 10-year lease with two additional 10-year extension options. The company's initial rent will be $1.38 million a year, with annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, but it can offset a total of $44.1 million in rent by making improvements to the Terminal Island site at Berth 240 in its first 20 years of tenancy.

Previously: SpaceX to Begin BFR Production at the Port of Los Angeles

Related: SpaceX to Launch Five Times in April, Test BFR by 2019
SpaceX Valued at $25 Billion... and More

Original Submission

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SpaceX to Launch Five Times in April, Test BFR by 2019 15 comments

SpaceX will attempt to launch five Falcon 9 rockets in April. This includes an International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission and a mission to launch Bangabandhu-1, Bangladesh's first satellite. The Bangabandhu-1 launch is planned to be the first to use SpaceX's Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which may be the final major iteration of Falcon 9 before replacement by BFR.

At a South by Southwest (SXSW) panel, Elon Musk said that SpaceX could test the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) "spaceship" as soon as the first half of 2019. The spaceship is the second stage of the complete BFR rocket, would be capable of reaching orbit without the first stage booster, and alone has over 50% more thrust than an entire Falcon 9.

The initial tests would likely be similar to the Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing tests.

Also at USA Today, MarketWatch, and SpaceNews.

Original Submission

SpaceX Valued at $25 Billion... and More 18 comments

SpaceX has raised $507 million, bringing the company's valuation to about $25 billion. That makes SpaceX the third most valuable venture-backed startup behind Uber and Airbnb, and also raises Elon Musk's worth by $1.4 billion to about $21.3 billion. SpaceX will launch NASA's TESS spacecraft on Monday, and plans to launch Bangabandhu-1 on May 5 using the Block 5 version of Falcon 9.

While SpaceX is planning to launch a record 30 missions in 2018, and possibly 50 missions in upcoming years, SpaceX expects the bulk of its future revenue to come from its upcoming Starlink satellite internet service. Internal documents show an estimate of $30 billion in revenue from Starlink and $5 billion from launches by 2025.

SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell has said that the company's BFR could be used for 100-person city-to-city flights within a decade:

A lot can (and probably will) change in a decade. But the idea is that a very large rocket, capable of carrying about 100 people, could fly like an aircraft and do point-to-point travel on Earth much faster than a plane — halfway across the globe in about 30 to 40 minutes, Shotwell said, landing on a pad five to 10 kilometers outside of a city center. Shotwell estimated the ticket cost would be somewhere between economy and business class on a plane — so, likely in the thousands of dollars for transoceanic travel. "But you do it in an hour."

"I'm personally invested in this one," she said, "because I travel a lot, and I do not love to travel. And I would love to get to see my customers in Riyadh, leave in the morning and be back in time to make dinner."

How could travel by rocket cost so little? Shotwell said the efficiency would come from being fast enough to be able to operate a route a dozen or so times a day, whereas a long-haul airplane often only does one flight per day.

She also said that the company could enable a manned mission to Mars within a decade. Boeing's CEO is also "hopeful" that humans will set foot on Mars within a decade.

Finally, Elon Musk has showed off an image of the main body tool/manufacturing mold for the BFR. BFR has a height of 106 meters and diameter of 9 meters, compared to a height of 70 meters and diameter of 3.7 meters for Falcon 9.

Original Submission

SpaceX to Begin BFR Production at the Port of Los Angeles 17 comments

The Mayor of Los Angeles has announced that SpaceX will begin production of the BFR at the port of Los Angeles:

SpaceX can start building its "Big Fucking Rocket," now that it has officially found a home in LA. Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced on Twitter that the private space giant "will start production development of the Big Falcon Rocket (the spacecraft's tamer name, apparently)" at the port of Los Angeles. SpaceX designed the 348-foot-long behemoth to fly humanity to the moon, Mars and beyond. It will be able to carry up to [150] tons in payload, whereas Falcon Heavy can only carry [63.8] tons. "This vehicle holds the promise of taking humanity deeper into the cosmos than ever before," he added, along with an illustration of the company's massive interplanetary spacecraft.

The massive cylindrical body of the BFR's fabrication mold has been photographed at a tent at the Port of San Pedro (compare to this earlier photo of the main body tool):

Finally, it's worth noting just how shockingly busy the BFR tent was on both April 13th and 14th, as well as the 8th (the first day Pauline visited the facility). With upwards of 40 cars parked at the tent, it's blindingly clear that SpaceX is not simply using the tent as a temporary storage location – alongside the arrival of composite fabrication materials (prepreg sheets, epoxy, etc) from Airtech International, SpaceX undeniably intends to begin initial fabrication of the first BFR prototypes in this tent, although they will likely eventually move the activities to the Berth 240 Mars rocket factory. That's certainly not a sentence I ever expected to write, but it is what it is.

The BFR's height may be elongated from its planned total of 106 meters.

Related: SpaceX to Launch Five Times in April, Test BFR by 2019
SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s
SpaceX Valued at $25 Billion... and More

Original Submission

SpaceX Organizes Secretive Mars Landing Conference at University of Colorado Boulder 65 comments

SpaceX organizes inaugural conference to plan landings on Mars

No one can deny that SpaceX founder Elon Musk has thought a lot about how to transport humans safely to Mars with his Big Falcon Rocket. But when it comes to Musk's highly ambitious plans to settle Mars in the coming decades, some critics say Musk hasn't paid enough attention to what people will do once they get there.

However, SpaceX may be getting more serious about preparing for human landings on Mars, both in terms of how to keep people alive as well as to provide them with something meaningful to do. According to private invitations seen by Ars, the company will host a "Mars Workshop" on Tuesday and Wednesday this week at the University of Colorado Boulder. Although the company would not comment directly, a SpaceX official confirmed the event and said the company regularly meets with a variety of experts concerning its missions to Mars.

This appears to be the first meeting of such magnitude, however, with nearly 60 key scientists and engineers from industry, academia, and government attending the workshop, including a handful of leaders from NASA's Mars exploration program. The invitation for the inaugural Mars meeting encourages participants to contribute to "active discussions regarding what will be needed to make such missions happen." Attendees are being asked to not publicize the workshop or their attendance.

The meeting is expected to include an overview of the spaceflight capabilities that SpaceX is developing with the Big Falcon rocket and spaceship, which Musk has previously outlined at length during international aerospace meetings in 2016 and 2017. Discussion topics will focus on how best to support hundreds of humans living on Mars, such as accessing natural resources there that will lead to a sustainable outpost.

Related: SpaceX to Begin BFR Production at the Port of Los Angeles
City Council Approves SpaceX's BFR Facility at the Port of Los Angeles
This Week in Space Pessimism: SLS, Mars, and Lunar Gateway

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday May 09 2018, @02:21PM (7 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday May 09 2018, @02:21PM (#677438)

    Seems rather small. It looks like Berth 240 is only about 650x350 feet, maybe twice that if the warehouse-looking structures at the south end are included. I would have thought they'd need more room to build something that size. Though I suppose they may only need to build the fuselage and fuel tanks there, along with final assembly. Everything else should be small enough to be transported overland without difficulties. And as I recall, both tanks and fuselage were going to be carbon-composites, so might well be built with the same equipment, in which case I could see there being enough room for construction, testing, and storage.

    Berth 240, Terminal Island, LA:,-118.2697217,356m/data=!3m1!1e3 [] []

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday May 09 2018, @03:06PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Wednesday May 09 2018, @03:06PM (#677460) Journal

      They were already building out of a tent: []

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Thursday May 10 2018, @02:57AM

        by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Thursday May 10 2018, @02:57AM (#677726) Homepage Journal

        It's very hard for a tent to be classy. Let me tell you, I offered $100 million of my own money to build a ballroom at the White House. So they wouldn't have to put up a tent. But they told me "no."

        And Colonel Qaddhafi's people came to me. Like they came to a lot of landlords. Trying to rent an estate for him to stay at. The other landlords said "no." I said "yes" but it was a mistake. Because he put up a HUGE TENT for parties. My neighbors came to me, they said it was seriously downgrading the area. And what could I tell them? They were right!!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09 2018, @03:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09 2018, @03:26PM (#677466)

      Unless the Boring Company provides a subway, they are going to have to turn some of the 19 acre site (from the link) into parking lots.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday May 09 2018, @06:48PM (2 children)

      by frojack (1554) on Wednesday May 09 2018, @06:48PM (#677561) Journal

      I would have thought this site was on the wrong coast, let alone too small.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday May 09 2018, @11:06PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 09 2018, @11:06PM (#677659) Journal

      Seems rather small.

      Energetic substances are the most spectacular when confined in small spaces.

  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday May 09 2018, @03:35PM (1 child)

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday May 09 2018, @03:35PM (#677470)

    Apparently, "BFR" does semi-officially mean "Big Fucking Rocket".

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09 2018, @04:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09 2018, @04:57PM (#677500)

      BFG to BFR. Thank I'd for the slice of pie and Musk for tribute.