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Thread: SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launches!

  1. #16
    Senior Contributor
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    05 Sep 06
    There's a hint in these two excerpts from Hisdesat's 2016 business report:

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    Those 53.4 million EUR were 58-60 million USD depending on the time of the year for currency exchange.
    • SpaceX is known to demand two-thirds outlay upfront. That would be about 42 million USD at full price.
    • Buying those exactEarth shares was at most 2-3 million USD; Hisdesat's entire stock in the company is worth 6 million USD.
    • For any other investment not detailed, I doubt this exceeded the remaining 13-16 million USD - as that would already be twice what they invested in this regard in 2015.

    In 2017 they then retrieved their previous outlay - 15 million EUR, 50% of launch cost at 2014 exchange rates - from Kosmotras, and probably used that as a reserve for the remainder for the SpaceX launch.

    I'd therefore assume they paid the full price or something rather close to it.
    Last edited by kato; 25 Feb 18, at 07:56.

  2. #17
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    02 Aug 03
    This is neat. A little Easter Egg for any aliens who stumble across our solar system in the next few tens of millions of years.

    Putting Civilization in a Box for Space Means Choosing Our Legacy

    When SpaceX's record-breaking Falcon Heavy rocket made its first test launch in early February, the craft didn't just hurl Elon Musk's shiny red roadster and spacesuit-clad mannequin to space. It had another, smaller payload, which at first glance seems much less impressive: a 1-inch-wide (2.5 centimeters) quartz disc with Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy encoded in laser-etched gratings.

    The famous science fiction series is only the beginning of the discs' planned contents. At a time when traditional hard drives are just breaking into the terabyte range, the quartz medium can hold up to 360 terabytes per disc. It also boasts a life span of 14 billion years. That's longer than the current age of the universe.

    This disc was symbolic; future devices will contain much more, and more useful, information. But the technology speaks to grander issues that humanity is now pondering: becoming a multiplanetary civilization, storing information for thousands or millions of years, and contacting and communicating with other intelligences (alien and Earthling).

    So how should we record our knowledge and experiences for posterity? How should we ensure that this information is understandable to civilizations that may be quite different from our own? And, most importantly, what should we say? [Success! SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket on Historic Maiden Voyage]

    Humans have faced challenges like these before. Ancient civilizations built monuments like the pyramids and left artifacts and writing, sometimes deliberately. Later researchers have used this material to try to piece together ancient worldviews. However, in the modern era, we've set our sights much further: from centuries to millennia, from one planet to interstellar space, and from one species to many.

    Set in stone

    Ancient civilizations, from the Maya to the Indus Valley civilization, used stone and ceramic to keep records. These materials may not be the most efficient medium, but they are certainly durable. Clay tablets from Mesopotamia have survived from the very dawn of civilization.

    Today, people store most of our records in delicate electronics, which degrade far more easily than the tablets of yore.

    "Our civilization is more ephemeral, and more at risk, than any civilization we've ever had," Nova Spivack told Spivack co-founded the nonprofit Arch Mission Foundation (pronounced ark, as in archive), which provided the quartz discs sent skyward on the Falcon Heavy rocket.

    Quartz, like glass, is chemically stable and physically durable, Spivack pointed out. Just think of all the glass instruments used in chemistry labs worldwide. And because quartz is transparent, scientists can use high-powered lasers to create patterns within the disc, similar to those 3D crystal engravings you can buy at gift shops. Physically etching data into a disc creates a far more enduring record than using electronic means of encoding data. For instance, the magnetic memory on a hard drive is susceptible to electromagnetic fields, and it naturally decays over time.

    Transcribing the data within the material, as opposed to on its surface, also provides advantages. It protects information from surface wear, which can kill devices like CDs, where data is stored on the surface. This method also allows for a higher information density, according to the paper describing the technique. Engineers can take advantage of five variables to encode data — each grating's three spatial dimensions as well as two optical properties, called the slow-axis orientation and the retardance. This lets them achieve that impressive 360-terabyte figure.

    The discs are also a convenient way to send and receive large data packages. Spivack said he envisions humans shooting these high-capacity discs toward distant space outposts to deliver updates from, say, the Earth internet to the Martian internet. The discs would almost certainly offer more bandwidth than radio transmissions do, said Spivack, and physically sending information from place to place is already a widely accepted practice. In fact, Google used this method to transfer 120 terabytes of data from the Hubble Space Telescope between different scientists.

    The 5D data storage used on the quartz discs is still prohibitively expensive. The first set of discs was created and gifted to Arch by the lab that invented the technique at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. Spivack predicted that millions of dollars and upwards of a decade of work are necessary to make the technology commercially viable. Storage efforts like Microsoft's Project Silica show that work to improve the technique is already underway.

  3. #18
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    02 Aug 03
    SpaceX launches its largest satellite ever which is nearly the size of a bus

    Elon Musk's SpaceX launched its largest satellite ever into space on Tuesday, which was nearly the size of a bus.

    It marked the 50th time the company has flown one of its signature Falcon 9 rockets.

    The payload was a 30W-6 satellite made by Spanish firm Hispasat and was launched from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

    Typically, once SpaceX has released a satellite into space, the rocket then lands back on earth so it can be reused. SpaceX said it did not attempt to do that this time due to "unfavorable weather conditions."

    Chief Executive Musk said that the Hispasat satellite is the "largest geostationary satellite we've ever flown."

  4. #19
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    05 Sep 06
    Well, technically it was a bog standard SSL-1300 bus with 65 transmitters and a 11.5 kW powerplant onboard weighing in at around 6.1 tons. Space Systems Loral has been building since the 80s, with around 90 launched.

    SpaceX has launched satellites based on the same bus before too, e.g. EchoStar 23 last year. The heavier versions (up to 6.9 tons) are mainstay customers for Ariane 5 and Proton, the medium-sized versions - which SpaceX is targeting - used to be a mainstay of SeaLaunch.

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