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All Systems Were GO! SpaceX’s Big Falcon Heavy

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: No lives were on the line. It wasn’t lofting a billion dollar spy satellite. But the SpaceX Falcon Heavy test launch demonstrated today that the world’s largest rocket system worked largely as planned. And, as one observer noted, the entire system was built for commercial reasons alone; no government agency crafted a requirement saying… Keep reading →

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SpaceX’s Reusable Rockets Could Revolutionize Warfare

Posted by Bill Bruner on


  If SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s can adapt his reusable rockets for international passenger travel, his company could soon send people and cargo around the world much faster than can the U.S. Air Force. Musk has realized that the same reusable rockets he is building for missions beyond Earth orbit can also be used to do… Keep reading →

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SpaceX ‘Kicking Major Butt’ To Launch X-37B For First Time, Not ULA’s Atlas V

Posted by Colin Clark on


UPDATED: Adds Insights On Signficance ONRCO Mum So Far ON Switch GEOINT: In news sure to rock the launch industry, the mighty United Launch Alliance today failed to be named as the company launching the X-37B spaceplane. Instead, Elon Musk’s SpaceX will carry it for the first time, marking what is believed to be the… Keep reading →

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Artificial Stupidity: Fumbling The Handoff From AI To Human Control

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Science fiction taught us to fear smart machines we can’t control. But reality should teach us to fear smart machines that need us to take control when we’re not ready. From Patriot missiles to Tesla cars to Airbus jets, automated systems have killed human beings, not out of malice, but because the humans operating them… Keep reading →

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Trump Taps Former Rep. Heather Wilson As Likely Air Force Secretary;

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: The nation’s spy satellite agency, the NRO, is likely to get closer scrutiny under the presumptive Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson, a disciplined former National Security Council staffer and member of Congress. I interviewed Wilson a number of times while she was on the Hill and was always impressed with her command of the… Keep reading →

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SMC: ‘High Confidence’ In SpaceX, But Watching Closely

Posted by Colin Clark on


Although the world is awfully excited about Elon Musk’s announcement this week that he’ll be selling tickets to Mars, there are other pressing issues facing SpaceX, such as the cause of the Sept. 1 explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and much of its launch pad. The day that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 exploded on the… Keep reading →

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Falcon 9 Explodes At Cape Canaveral; Assured Access In Peril?

Posted by Colin Clark on


UPDATED: ADDS SMC Statement; 45th Space Wing Statement WASHINGTON: Elon Musk’s SpaceX faces a stark accounting after today’s explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket during engine testing at Cape Canaveral. Hopeful of greatly increased business with Air Force Space Command, who has already awarded one contract to Musk’s company for the second GPS III satellite… Keep reading →

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It’s ‘War’ Twixt Appropriators & Authorizers Over RD-180s: Sen. Durbin

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: The Senate battle over Russian rockets keeps rocking. Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Shelby sent most of this morning’s defense appropriations hearing defending the Pentagon’s plan to keep using the cheap and technologically reliable but politically toxic RD-180 until an American-made replacement is ready, sometime around 2020-2021. Durbin and Shelby denounced the effort… Keep reading →

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3D Printing Key To Hypersonic Weapons: Raytheon

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


UPDATED with independent analysis from ICFI ARLINGTON: The race is on to build hypersonic weapons, missiles that blow through a target’s defenses at more than five times the speed of sound. Or should that be “the race to grow hypersonic weapons”? It turns out an unrelated cutting-edge technology, 3D printing, may be the key to making hypersonics work.… Keep reading →

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It’s Preliminary: ULA Won’t Be Sanctioned

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: It’s not officially official, but the head of Pentagon acquisition, Frank Kendall, says the Treasury Department has not found any reason for sanctions to be applied against the United Launch Alliance. “The preliminary indications from Treasury (Department) are that they do not apply,” Kendall told reporters after a lunch address to the Washington Space… Keep reading →

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