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SpaceX releases a Payload User’s Guide for its Starship rocket – Ars Technica

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Enlarge / Starship comes in two flavors, crewed (top) and cargo (bottom).
SpaceX

SpaceX has released the first edition of a Payload User’s Guide for its Starship launch system, which consists of a Super Heavy first stage and the Starship upper stage. The six-page guide provides some basic information for potential customers to judge whether a launch vehicle meets their needs for getting payloads into space.

The new guide is notable because it details the lift capabilities of Starship in reusable mode, during which both the first and second stages reserve enough fuel to return to Earth. In this configuration, the rocket can deliver more than 100 metric tons to low-Earth orbit and 21 tons to geostationary transfer orbit.

The killer application, however, is the potential to refuel Starship in low-Earth orbit with other Starships, enabling transportation deeper into the Solar System for 100 tons or more. “The maximum mass-to-orbit assumes parking orbit propellant transfer, allowing for a substantial increase in payload mass,” the document states. SpaceX has yet to demonstrate this technology—which has never been done on a large scale in orbit—but the company’s engineers have been working on it for several years and partnered with NASA last summer.

The user’s guide also provides information about the size of the payload fairing in the cargo configuration of the vehicle, with a width of 8 meters and an extended volume capable of encompassing payloads as long as 22 meters. This would be, by far, the largest usable payload volume for any rocket that exists today or is in development. For human flights of up to 100 people, according to the document, “The crew configuration of Starship includes private cabins, large common areas, centralized storage, solar storm shelters, and a viewing gallery.”

Initially, the company says it is planning to launch both from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and its Boca Chica launch pad in South Texas.

What the new document does not include is pricing information for Starship, nor a date when the rocket will be ready for commercial customers. Cargo flights, certainly, will happen years before humans fly on Starship.

Anticipated Starship performance.
Anticipated Starship performance.
SpaceX

Over the last year, SpaceX has rapidly built a development site for Starship in South Texas and has assembled a factory-like production line with a goal of building one Starship a week by the end of 2020. It is not clear whether the company will reach this goal, but there is no question that the company is moving fast as it designs and tests new prototypes of the second stage.

Despite this pace, it seems reasonable to expect that Starship and Super Heavy remain a couple of years away from flying satellites into space. Nevertheless, the prospect of putting such large and heavy payloads into space has to be at least somewhat tempting to potential customers.

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Full 'Strawberry' Moon coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse tonight – Daily Mail

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Full ‘Strawberry’ Moon coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse TONIGHT – but rain clouds in parts of the UK may ruin the celestial spectacle

  • The Strawberry Full Moon will hit its peak in the UK before sunset at 20:12 BST 
  • It coincides with a  penumbral lunar eclipse that will see the Moon dim slightly
  • The Moon won’t appear pink unless it is close to the horizon as the name comes from the fact it coincides with the annual strawberry harvest not its colour 

A ‘Full Strawberry Moon’ will appear in the sky tonight and it will coincide with a subtle penumbral lunar eclipse, according to astronomers.

While it is called a Strawberry Moon, that doesn’t mean it will appear red or pink, the name comes from the fact strawberries are ready to harvest this time of year.

However, the Moon, which will reach its peak at 20:12 BST, will appear slightly dimmer than a normal full Moon due to the special type of eclipse. 

A penumbral eclipse is the most subtle form, it occurs when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned – with the Earth casting a slight shadow over the Moon. 

While it is called a Strawberry Moon, that doesn't mean it will appear red or pink as the name comes from the fact strawberries are ready to harvest this time of year

While it is called a Strawberry Moon, that doesn’t mean it will appear red or pink as the name comes from the fact strawberries are ready to harvest this time of year 

A penumbral eclipse is the most subtle form, it occurs when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned - with the Earth casting a slight shadow over the Moon

A penumbral eclipse is the most subtle form, it occurs when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned - with the Earth casting a slight shadow over the Moon

A penumbral eclipse is the most subtle form, it occurs when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned – with the Earth casting a slight shadow over the Moon

For skygazers in parts of the UK rain clouds will dampen the spectacle, and make the dimming effects harder to spot, according to weather forecasters. 

Zoltan Toth-Czifra, founder of Under Lucky Stars, says the Full Strawberry Moon will be a stunning sight if the skies are clear. 

“This year has been full of astronomical events with the supermoons over the past few months and it doesn’t end there,’ he said. 

He said the Moon will rise and be visible every night over the weekend and that Moons always rise in the east and set in the west.  

‘Unlike its name, the moon won’t be red or pink in colour,’ said Toth-Czifra.

THE STRAWBERRY FULL MOON DOESN’T APPEAR PINK OR RED

Despite its name, the moon is unlikely to be turning a hue of strawberry red.

In recent years, traditional Native American names for the full moons have become more common in modern day parlance.

According to the Maine Farmer’s Almanac – which first published the Native American names for the full Moons in the 1930’s – the name comes from the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in northeastern North America.

The name is applied to the full Moon in June or the last full Moon of Spring, but the same full moon went under many other traditional names in other parts of the world. 

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‘But it will be a breath-taking full moon, so you may even see it cast moon shadows on the ground,’ he said.

‘This moon is named Strawberry Moon as a reference to the time of harvesting strawberries in North America, originally from Native American tribes who used the moon as an indicator of when the fruit would be ripe.’

Toth-Czifra said the lower than average level of pollution due to lockdown, combined with clear skies in some parts of the UK, will make the Moon clearer than usual. 

‘As always, the moon will affect the Earth’s ocean, and the extra gravitational pull means we should brace ourselves for some spectacular tides worldwide,’ he said.

The eclipse won’t be obviously visible as it is a penumbral eclipse – unlike a full or partial version, this won’t actually block out part of the Moon.

Astrophysicist Dr David Gozzard, from the University of Western Australia International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research said the eclipse will last around three hours.

‘A strawberry moon is a name for a full moon in June and lunar eclipses like these always happen at the full moon,’ he said.

‘It’s called a penumbral eclipse so the Earth’s shadow has a fuzzy outer region where you only get a partial shadow and not a full shadow of the sun. That’s called a penumbra and that is the area the moon will pass through.’

The Strawberry Full Moon is named that way because it coincides with the strawberry harvest - it won't appear pink by default but could look more pink if it is low on the horizon

The Strawberry Full Moon is named that way because it coincides with the strawberry harvest - it won't appear pink by default but could look more pink if it is low on the horizon

The Strawberry Full Moon is named that way because it coincides with the strawberry harvest – it won’t appear pink by default but could look more pink if it is low on the horizon

‘Lunar eclipses come in pairs or sometimes triplets so this will have a corresponding sibling eclipse in May next year. It will be a more spectacular eclipse with a total or partial eclipse of the shadow of the earth,’ Dr Gozzard said.

The Strawberry Full Moon, which will appear an hour before sunset tonight, has also been called the Rose Moon in Europe due to it arriving as roses begin to bloom. 

It won’t be easily visible for everyone in the UK, but some will get a clear view.

The Met Office forecast for tonight says there will be sunny spells and showers for many, some heavy with isolated thunder.’ 

‘Heavy rain and gales developing across northern Scotland, edging south later.’

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SpaceX Sent NASA Astronauts Into Orbit Using Linux – Futurism

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Club Penguin

This past weekend, Elon Musk-led private space company SpaceX made history by launching a pair of NASA astronauts into orbit, an accomplishment that could upset the balance of the international space industry.

According to a terrific breakdown by ZDNet, the historic launch also contributed to a shift in power from proprietary software to open source — by running the Falcon 9 rocket on a version of the open source operating system Linux.

Kernel Space Program

The unspecified version of Linux, according to ZDNet, runs on three dual-core x86 processors — a redundancy system that keeps the astronauts safe by making sure all three units agree before executing each command.

ZDNet also pointed to a 2013 Reddit post in which SpaceX employees confirmed that Dragon and Falcon 9 both on Linux.

Linus Spacevalds

SpaceX isn’t the first group to bring open source software into orbit.

The International Space Station itself, where the NASA astronauts launched by SpaceX are now residing, reportedly switched to Linux from Microsoft’s proprietary Windows operating system in 2013.

READ MORE: From Earth to orbit with Linux and SpaceX [ZDNet]

More on Linux: Linux Creator: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Are “A Disease”

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How to watch the 'strawberry moon' eclipse from anywhere Friday – CNET

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A brilliant full moon rises at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017.


NASA/Kim Shiflett

Get ready to look to the night sky on Friday. A full “strawberry moon” is on the calendar, and it will come with an understated partial eclipse for some parts of the world. While the moon will be at its absolute fullest on Friday around noon PT, you’ll have several opportunities to enjoy the view. The moon will  still look full from early Thursday morning through early Sunday morning, NASA said Monday.

North America will miss the eclipse, but the Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the lunar event from Italy above a view of the Rome skyline. Mark your calendar for noon PT on Friday, June 5, and visit the project’s web TV page to join in.   

A penumbral eclipse is much more subtle than a total eclipse. The moon slips through the Earth’s outer (penumbral) shadow, which can trigger a slight darkening of the moon. If you didn’t know it was happening, you might miss it. A partial penumbral eclipse like the one on Friday makes it even harder to spot a difference.

Denizens of the moon, however, would notice the effects. “For spacecraft at the Moon such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the reduction in solar power is noticeable,” NASA said.

Unfortunately, the “strawberry” nickname for the June full moon doesn’t refer to a color, but seems to be an old reference to the strawberry harvest season. NASA’s Gordon Johnston rounded up a list of alternative names for this month’s moon, including mead moon, honey moon, hot moon and planting moon.

Even if the eclipse is too faint to detect, you can still take a moment to bask in the light of a lovely full moon this week. 

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