Spaceflight

Video: SpaceX Unveils Japanese Entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa as 1st Moon Trip Passenger

SpaceX will launch Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa on the first private passenger flight around the moon aboard a Big Falcon Rocket for an undisclosed sum. Maezawa will take up to 8 artists with him on the flight. Original Image
Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX has signed its first private passenger for a trip around the moon  -Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of the bespoke clothing company ZOZO Global - on the company's new BFR rocket (Big Falcon Rocket) and will unveil details about the mission in a live webcast on Monday, Sept. 17. The webcast will begin at 9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. PDT/0100 Sept. 18 GMT).

You can the full webcast replay here, courtesy of SpaceX. 

Full Story: SpaceX's Giant BFR Rocket Will Launch a Passenger Around the Moon

SpaceX Has Apparently Tweaked Its Giant BFR Rocket Design. And It Looks Awesome!

This isn't the first time SpaceX has announced a passenger flight around the moon. 

In February 2017, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would fly two private passengers around the moon in 2018 using its crewed Dragon spacecraft and new Falcon Heavy rocket. SpaceX did launch its first Falcon Heavy rocket test flight this year, on Feb. 6, 2018, but Musk also said at the time that he no longer planned to use the heavy-lift rocket for crewed flights. 

Instead, Musk said SpaceX would focus on developing and building the BFR, a massive reusable rocket designed to launch payloads (and potentially hundreds of people) into space. The BFR forms to the core of SpaceX's Mars colony ambitions, and could also be used for point-to-point transportation around Earth, Musk has said. 

SpaceX Won't Launch Tourists Around the Moon This Year

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SpaceX to Phase Out Everything But Its Mars-Colonizing 'BFR' Rocket

The BFR: SpaceX's Mars-Colonization Architecture in Images

Tune in Monday for Space.com's complete coverage of SpaceX's BFR Lunar Mission announcement.

From SpaceX:

SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle - an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space. 

Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17 at 6pm PT.

Replay: NASA's ICESat-2 Launches on Last Delta II

NASA launched a space laser into orbit on the ICESat-2 satellite on Saturday, Sept. 15, to measure Earth's thinning ice sheets and you can watch the launch live here, courtesy of NASA TV. Liftoff is set for 8:46 a.m. EDT (1246 GMT). NASA's webcast will begin at 8:10 a.m. EDT (1210 GMT)

Full Coverage: 

Last Delta II Rocket Launches NASA Satellite to Map Earth's Ice with Space Laser

In Photos: Last Delta II Rocket Soars With NASA's ICESat-2

Final Delta II Launch to Mark End of First Pioneering Era of US Rockets

How NASA Will Use a Space Laser to Measure Earth's Thinning Ice Sheets

ICESat-2: Tracking Earth's Ice with Unparalleled Detail

From NASA: 

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), a mission to measure the changing height of Earth's ice, is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 15, with a 40-minute window opening at 8:46 a.m. EDT (5:46 a.m. PDT).

The spacecraft will lift off from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the final launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Coverage of prelaunch and launch activities begins Thursday, Sept. 13, on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

ICESat-2 will carry a single instrument, the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS), which will send 10,000 laser pulses a second to Earth’s surface and measure the height of ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and vegetation by calculating the time it takes the pulses to return to the spacecraft. The precise and complete coverage afforded by ICESat-2 will enable researchers to track changes in land and sea ice with unparalleled detail, which will inform our understanding of what drives these changes.

Launch coverage begins at 8:10 a.m. Sept. 15 with a weather update and live interviews leading up to the launch window opening at 8:46 a.m.

Live HD Views of Earth from Space

You can watch live, high-definition views of Earth from the International Space Station thanks to NASA's High Definition Earth Viewing experiment (HDEV). This live video provides alternating views from four of the station's external cameras nearly 24/7, with the exception of regular and temporary dropouts that occur when the station switches its connection between different communications satellites. Watch it live in the window above, courtesy of NASA TV. 

From NASA:

"Behold, the Earth! See live views of Earth from the International Space Station coming to you by NASA's High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment.

"While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence through the different cameras. If you are seeing a black image, the Space Station is on the night side of the Earth. If you are seeing an image with text displayed, the communications are switching between satellites and camera feeds are temporarily unavailable. Between camera switches, a black & gray slate will also briefly appear.

"The experiment was activated on April 30, 2014 and is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. This experiment includes several commercial HD video cameras aimed at the Earth which are enclosed in a pressurized and temperature controlled housing. To learn more about the HDEV experiment, visit: https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ESRS/HDEV/

"Please note: The HDEV cycling of the cameras will sometimes be halted, causing the video to only show select camera feeds. This is handled by the HDEV team, and is only scheduled on a temporary basis. Nominal video will resume once the team has finished their scheduled event."

'ISS Live!' Tune in to the International Space Station

Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the "ISS Live" broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.

From NASA:

"Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During 'loss of signal' periods, viewers will see a blue screen.

"Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below." 

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