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Amazing SpaceX video reveals how Crew Dragon capsule will fire astronauts to the ISS – The Sun



SPACEX has revealed how it plans to launch astronauts into space for the first time next year.

A simulated video released by the US rocket company shows its Crew Dragon capsule on a trip to the International Space Station.


SpaceX has released a simulation showing how its Crew Dragon capsule will take astronauts into space. Pictured is a still from the video of the capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket ahead of launchCredit: SpaceX

A crew of two spacefarers strolls into the 13ft-wide capsule atop one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets before it’s blasted into orbit.

It separates from the rocket beyond Earth’s atmosphere before gliding to the International Space Station (ISS) 250 miles above our planet’s surface.

The Crew Dragon was due to begin taking astronauts to the orbiting space lab earlier this year but its first launch was pushed back after a safety test resulted in an unmanned capsule exploding in April.

No one was killed in the blast but the incident delayed the craft’s launch schedule by more than 12 months.

 Astronauts are shown boarding the capsule prior to launch


Astronauts are shown boarding the capsule prior to launchCredit: SpaceX
 The capsule will eventually take astronauts to the International Space Station


The capsule will eventually take astronauts to the International Space StationCredit: SpaceX
 SpaceX hopes to carry out its first manned flight in 2020


SpaceX hopes to carry out its first manned flight in 2020Credit: SpaceX
 A Falcon 9 rocket topped with a Crew Dragon capsule


A Falcon 9 rocket topped with a Crew Dragon capsuleCredit: SpaceX

Following the simulation’s release on Monday, SpaceX boss Elon Musk tweeted that the capsule should be “physically ready” to launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida in February, 2020.

However, completing all safety reviews would “probably take a few more months”, he added.

The two-minute clip also shows how Crew Dragon will return to Earth following missions to the ISS.

The capsule separates from the station before autonomously gliding towards our planet.

 The capsule soars into space before separating from the Falcon 9 rocket


The capsule soars into space before separating from the Falcon 9 rocketCredit: SpaceX
 An ISS crew member watches as the Crew Dragon capsule glides towards the orbiting space lab


An ISS crew member watches as the Crew Dragon capsule glides towards the orbiting space labCredit: SpaceX
 The capsule eventually docks with the ISS, allowing its crew to board the space station


The capsule eventually docks with the ISS, allowing its crew to board the space stationCredit: SpaceX
 The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory that houses between three and six astronauts at any one time


The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory that houses between three and six astronauts at any one timeCredit: SpaceX

It performs several orbits of Earth before burning through Earth’s atmosphere, slowing its descent to the surface using four parachutes.

SpaceX has designed the capsule so it can be re-used on several missions in a bid to cut costs.

Nasa currently sends astronauts into space by piggybacking on launches of Russian Soyuz rockets.

The US space agency last fired one of its own astronauts into space in 2011.

What is the ISS?

Here’s what you need to know about the International Space Station…

  • The International Space Station, often abbreviated to ISS, is a large space craft that orbits Earth and houses astronauts who go up there to complete scientific missions
  • Many countries worked together to build it and they work together to use it
  • It is made up of many pieces, which astronauts had to send up individually on rockets and put together from 1998 to 2000
  • Ever since the year 2000, people have lived on the ISS
  • Nasa uses the station to learn about living and working in space
  • It is approximately 250 miles above Earth and orbits around the planet just like a satellite
  • Living inside the ISS is said to be like living inside a big house with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gym, lots of science labs and a big bay window for viewing Earth

Nasa retired its astronaut-carrying space shuttles that year to make way for a new space exploration program aimed at sending man to asteroids and other deep space targets.

However, multiple delays to its development schedule has left the space agency without a way to fire astronauts to space for several years.

Nasa hopes to fill the gap with spacecraft launched by private companies like SpaceX, owned by Musk, and Blue Origin, run by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.

SpaceX has carried out dozens of successful safety tests but recent setbacks have caught the ire of Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine.

 SpaceX boss Elon Musk says the Crew Dragon will begin carrying astronauts into space next year


SpaceX boss Elon Musk says the Crew Dragon will begin carrying astronauts into space next yearCredit: Twitter
 SpaceX boss Elon Musk stands with a Crew Dragon capsule


SpaceX boss Elon Musk stands with a Crew Dragon capsuleCredit: Getty – Contributor
 An unmanned Crew Dragon capsule (left) suffered a catastrophic explosion (right) during a safety test in April. No one was harmed in the blast


An unmanned Crew Dragon capsule (left) suffered a catastrophic explosion (right) during a safety test in April. No one was harmed in the blast

Specifically, he lambasted SpaceX for setting unrealistic timelines for the development of its space technologies.

Bridenstine recently held a joint conference with Musk after maligning the company on Twitter.

“I have been focused on returning to realism when it comes to costs and schedules,” said the Nasa Administrator.

“So I was signalling – and I haven’t done it just to SpaceX but to all of our contractors – that we need more realism built into the development timelines.”

SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule ‘explodes in catastrophic safety test’

In other space news, Musk recently unveiled SpaceX’s new Starship rocket designed for private trips to the Moon and Mars.

SpaceX apparently wants the US Army to use the 18,000 mile-an-hour spacecraft to transport troops & supplies across the planet in “minutes”.

And, this stunning Earth ‘timelapse’ photo taken from space reveals huge field of thunderstorms, giant wildfires and bright city lights.

Do you think man will ever make it to Mars? Let us know in the comments!

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New Species of Carnivorous Dinosaur Unveiled: Allosaurus jimmadseni | Paleontology –



A new species of carnivorous theropod dinosaur has been identified from the fossilized remains discovered in the 1990s in northeastern Utah and Wyoming, the United States.

A group of Allosaurus jimmadseni attacks a juvenile sauropod dinosaur. Image credit: Todd Marshall.

The newly-discovered dinosaur belongs to Allosauridae, a group of small to large-bodied, two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs that lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

Dubbed Allosaurus jimmadseni, the species inhabited the flood plains of western North America during the Jurassic period.

The ancient creature was 8 to 9 m (26-29 feet) long and had a mass of around 1.8 metric tons. It had relatively long legs and tail, and long arms with three sharp claws.

At 155 million years old, Allosaurus jimmadseni is the geologically-oldest species of Allosaurus predating the more well-known Allosaurus fragilis.

The new species is distinguished by a number of unique features, including low crests running from above the eyes to the snout and a relatively narrow back of the skull with a flat surface to the bottom of the upper skull under the eyes.

Its skull was weaker with less of an overlapping field of vision than the younger Allosaurus fragilis.

“Previously, paleontologists thought there was only one species of Allosaurus in Jurassic North America, but this study shows there were two species — the newly-described Allosaurus jimmadseni evolved at least 5 million years earlier than its younger cousin, Allosaurus fragilis,” said Dr. Mark Loewen, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Utah and the University of Utah.

“The skull of Allosaurus jimmadseni is more lightly built than its later relative Allosaurus fragilis, suggesting a different feeding behavior between the two.”

A cast of the skeleton and skull of Allosaurus jimmadseni as it was discovered and now on exhibit at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Image credit: Dan Chure.

A cast of the skeleton and skull of Allosaurus jimmadseni as it was discovered and now on exhibit at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Image credit: Dan Chure.

Dr. Loewen and his colleague, Dr. Daniel Chure, a retired paleontologist at Dinosaur National Monument, described the new species from two well-preserved skeletons and skulls.

The first specimen was found by Dr. George Engelmann from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, on July 15, 1990 during a contracted paleontological inventory of the Morrison Formation of Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah.

The second specimen was found by the commercial fossil collecting company Siber+Siber, Ltd. at the Howe Quarry, the Morrison Formation, Wyoming, in 1991.

“Recognizing a new species of dinosaur in rocks that have been intensely investigated for over 150 years is an outstanding experience of discovery,” Dr. Chure said.

Allosaurus jimmadseni is a great example of just how much more we have to learn about the world of dinosaurs.”

“Many more exciting fossils await discovery in the Jurassic rocks of the American West.”

The team’s paper was published in the journal PeerJ.


D.J. Chure & M.A. Loewen. 2020. Cranial anatomy of Allosaurus jimmadseni, a new species from the lower part of the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Western North America. PeerJ 8: e7803; doi: 10.7717/peerj.7803

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SpaceX postpones launch of Starlink satellite fleet due to bad weather –



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has postponed the launch of its next batch of Starlink satellites due to bad weather at the mission’s launch site today (Jan. 27). The next attempt will be on Tuesday (Jan. 28), the company said. 

The California-based spaceflight company was scheduled to launch 60 of its internet-beaming satellites at 9:49 a.m. EST (1449 GMT) today from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. However, high winds at the launch site prompted the delay.

You’ll be able to watch SpaceX’s Starlink launch here on, courtesy of SpaceX, beginning about 15 minutes before liftoff, courtesy of a SpaceX webcast. You can also watch that webcast directly from SpaceX here

Video: See SpaceX’s 1st Starlink satellites in the night sky
In Photos:
SpaceX launches third batch of 60 Starlink satellites to orbit

Poor weather conditions have plagued both the launch site and the recovery zone for several days. SpaceX completed its prelaunch testing for this mission last week, but had to work around the weather in determining a launch day

SpaceX had a 50% chance of good launch weather today. Those odds improve tomorrow, which has an 80% chance of good weather, according to the 45th Weather Squadron of the U.S. Air Force.

This will be the third launch of the year for SpaceX. The star of this mission is a veteran flyer with two successful missions under its belt. The rocket, dubbed B1051.3 (an internal SpaceX identifier), previously hoisted a Crew Dragon capsule as part of the company’s uncrewed mission to the space station (Demo-1) in March 2019 as well as a trio of Earth-observing satellites for Canada in June 2019. 

Tucked in the rocket’s nose cone is SpaceX’s fourth round of Starlink satellites, which are designed to provide global internet access. 

The company launched its first group of 60 in May 2019, followed by an additional 60 in November and another 60 earlier this month. SpaceX plans for its burgeoning constellation to eventually number more than 40,000 satellites. And if all goes as planned on Tuesday, the launch will bring the current number of satellites to more than 200. 

Musk has said that SpaceX will need at least 400 Starlink satellites in orbit for “minor” broadband coverage and 800 for “moderate” coverage. The company claims it could begin offering broadband service in the United States sometime in 2020 with roughly half a dozen more launches. 

For tomorrow’s mission, SpaceX will also attempt its 49th recovery of a Falcon 9’s first-stage booster, as the private spaceflight company plans to land the equipment on its drone ship Of Course I Still Love You. 

The company will also attempt to catch both halves of the rocket’s payload fairing using a pair of recovery vessels — Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief — outfitted with giant nets and stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Visit Tuesday  for complete coverage of SpaceX’s Starlink launch.  

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

Need more space? Subscribe to our sister title “All About Space” Magazine for the latest amazing news from the final frontier! (Image credit: All About Space)

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Stalking Starlink's 'DarkSat' – Universe Today



By now, you’ve no doubt heard of (or seen) Starlink. SpaceX’s mega-satellite constellation has become a permanent fixture in our skies as of late, with several routine passes on any given week. But have you seen the supposed ‘black sheep’ of the flock, DarkSat?

Starlink is looking to provide global internet access with latency (lag time) of 25/35 milliseconds, with connectivity speeds comparable to existing cable and fiber optic with services starting in late 2020. SpaceX recently announced that Starlink users will connect with the service via a ‘UFO on a Stick‘ antenna. (no kidding!)

Thus far, SpaceX has launched 182 Starlink satellites in three batches (that’s three times sixty, plus two early test satellites), and by the end of 2020, SpaceX will add nearly 1600 more satellites. SpaceX filed for 12,000 satellites to fill out the initial constellation, and there may ultimately be 42,000 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit.

The first two Starlink test satellites set for launch. Credit: SpaceX

Each Starlink satellite is about the size of a table, and are flat-packed IKEA-style in the Falcon-9 nose fairing. Each satellite also sports a large solar panel that’s unfurled once they reach orbit.

60 Starlink satellites, stacked in a nose fairing for launch. Credit: SpaceX

Those numbers are also set to increase today, with the launch of Starlink 3 (batch number four) from Cape Canaveral Air Force station at 14:49 Universal Time (UT)/9:49 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST). SpaceX is now already the largest operator of satellites in low Earth orbit, and plans to reach a cadence of two Starlink launches a month, or one every two weeks.

The reality of ‘mega-satellite constellations’ such as Starlink in 2020 has also alarmed the astronomical community and generated controversy. Will artificial stars soon out number real ones in the night sky? This also comes as projects such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) are set to come online in the coming years.

Starlink satellites trail through the field of view of the Dark Energy Camera. Credit: DELVE Survey/CTIO/AURA/NSF

The Rise of DarkSat

SpaceX made an
effort to address the issue during the November launch, and stated
that they painted one of the new Starlink satellites black in an
effort to reduce reflectivity. To date, SpaceX has not released
images of just what ‘DarkSat’ looks like up close. Several US
classified satellites such as Lacrosse 5 typically pull a ‘vanishing
act’ and are suspected of using some sort of stealth technology,
though of course, the U.S. Department of Defense isn’t sharing this
ability with SpaceX.

It took a while for
the identity of the rumored DarkSat to become general knowledge.
Typically, objects are cataloged by U.S. Combined Space Operations
Center (CSpOC) Space-Track shortly after launch, but the flood of new
objects generated by a typical Starlink launch poses a unique
challenge. The third batch launch (dubbed Starlink 2) that included
DarkSat put 60 objects in orbit.

T.S. Kelso over at Celestrak later identified DarkSat as NORAD ID 2020-001U (COSPAR ID 44932).

[embedded content]

A discussion panel at the recent 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society addressed the Starlink issue. “The LSST survey is the most impacted by bright satellite trails because of its wide-fast-deep coverage of the sky,” Says Patrick Seitzer (University of Michigan) during the AAS panel on Starlink. “Original Starlinks will saturate detectors.” LSST is set to see first light in 2022.

Starlink with star trails over Virginia. Image credit and copyright: Chris Becke (@BeckePhysics)

The Starlink
satellites are also much more visible during original deployment than
when they reach operational orbits higher up. For comparison, the
original Iridium satellites were placed in an operational orbit 781
kilometers (485 miles) up, and where only visible to the naked eye
when they flared. The Starlink mega-constellation will deploy in
three orbital shells with operational altitudes of 340 kilometers
(210 miles), 550 kilometers (340 miles) and 1,150 kilometers (710
miles) respectively. As of writing this, DarkSat 2020-001U’s orbit
is still on the low end, at 366 by 368 kilometers. DarkSat should
reach operation altitude and orientation by the end of February 2020.

Like the Iridium
satellites, Starlink will also have an impact on the radio astronomy
end of the spectrum as well, something that’ll need to be

What Observers are Seeing

Want to track Starlink and DarkSat for yourself? – All of the Starlink payloads are up on Heavens-Above on both the App and the website… this great utility is probably the easiest way to catch a Starlink pass. If you have the site configured for your location, simply look for a string of dawn or dusk passes, and watch the region of the sky noted during the given time. Note that the brightness of the Starlink satellite train seems to be heavily dependent on the viewing geometry: for example, we’ve seen lots of bright flaring flashes well into the negative magnitudes as the train passes the same spot in the sky when a pass is around 45 degrees in elevation opposite to the Sun, while the train seems to have the same steady brightness when passing directly overhead near the zenith. When the satellites are lower towards the horizon in the sunward direction, however, they are considerably fainter, and only visible with binoculars.

DarkSat ‘U’ compared to other Starlink satellites and bright stars. Credit and copyright: Thierry Legault.

“For the moment, nothing looks different between Darksat and the others,” veteran astrophotographer Thierry Legault told Universe Today. “When I filmed them, the units of the last launch were brighter than magnitude +2, that’s very bright!!!”

[embedded content]

If Starlink-3
launches on schedule Monday, we can expect a deployment of the next
60 satellites in a ‘string of pearls’ configuration about an hour
later. Using orbital TLEs provided by Dr. Marco Langbroek, we see
good dusk passes Monday night centered on:

Paris: 16:45 UT

Norfolk: 22:45 UT

St. Louis: 00:20 UT
(on January 28th).

Los Angeles: 1:54 UT (on January 28th).

Raining satellites: Starlink passes behind a tree, with star trails. Image credit and copyright: Marco Langbroek.

We managed to catch
a recent Starlink pass at dawn of the second batch launched in
November 2019 from here in Norfolk, Virginia as a set of two dozen
satellites equally spaced about five degrees apart caught the Sun’s
first rays passing out of the Earth’s shadow. They were also easily
visible to the naked eye, about as bright as the stars in the Big
Dipper asterism at magnitude +2.

Expect fielding an uptick in spurious UFO sightings versus Starlink as well. This is already happening, along with anomalous ‘mystery drone’ sightings out in the western U.S. OneWeb also plans to join the mega-satellite constellation game in 2020, with the launch of their first operational batch of 34 satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in early February 2020. Based on the first test batch of six OneWeb satellites launched in February 2019 these satellites are much fainter at +8th magnitude, though these will still show up on deep sky images.

It’s strange that this is our new reality. Controversy notwithstanding, Starlink seems set to be a modern reality for the night sky, and backyard satellite trackers are playing a crucial role in documenting exactly what they are seeing as the modern mega-constellations unfurl overhead.

Follow us (@Astroguyz) on Twitter for latest updates on how to see the latest Starlink-4 satellite train in orbit.

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