Aerospace Companies: From Subs To Rockets

This year, aerospace companies are jumping milestones in progress!

Jared Arbolario, Staff Writer

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Since the birth of spacecrafts and their manufacturing companies, the rate of creations and innovations has been steadily increasing. Companies like Boeing, NASA, and SpaceX have been competing to make the best creations and innovations. This year, all of these companies have been making breakthroughs left and right.

Whether they are run commercially or by the government, these companies have made all things aerospace: from ROVs to spacecrafts, and rocket engines to even submarines. They have spread from their headquarters to all over, from Mars to the depths of our oceans.

One of the most recent launches was by NASA when they launched one of their newer space probes to Mars on the Atlas 5, a rocket, from California. The InSight is another space probe NASA has sent to research and study the interior of Mars.

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The space probe, InSight, studying Mars’ interior

The probe was launched with an Atlas 5, one of the rockets NASA created, from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, right at 7:05 AM, on May 5. So if you heard a slight rumble around that area in the morning, it was most likely the Atlas 5 taking the robotic lander to the red planet. It’s in space right now and will land sometime in the fall. Space News says that the “InSight will land on Mars Nov. 26 at Elysium Planitia, a site near the Martian equator.”

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The Atlas V is loaded onto a transportation vehicle

Another event that occurred recently was the new rocket SpaceX has made (yes they have already made another model). What is it called though? No not the Falcon 9, but the Falcon 9 “Block 5”.

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The Block 5 is being transported to it’s launching station

The rocket will be released sometime during May 11, Friday. Like the original Falcon 9, the Block’s boosters were tested at Launch Pad 39A, of the Kennedy Space Center (Florida).

What’s the difference you ask? Well with the Block 5, the rocket can make more than 10 flights with only the first booster, meanwhile the original could only make 2-3 flights. SpaceX already has a deal in the works for the launch. With Bangladesh, SpaceX plans to launch the country’s 3,500-kilogram satellite, the Bangabandhu-1.

Space News makes a comment on the subject. “The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will be the first customer for the Falcon 9 Block 5,” they say.

With this new design, SpaceX will not only push the limits of reusable spacecrafts, but will also make business with other governments and companies, launching their products into the orbit or farther.

Now, this new mission may have you wondering, “what, why put a helicopter on Mars?” Well, NASA is soon making a decision on whether a small model of a helicopter should be placed on the exterior of the red planet. In hope to demonstrate technology with this vehicle, the plan would be to include it with the Mars 2020 mission.

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NASA’s floating machine flies over the dust by a rover

Built in the Jet Propulsion Lab, Ken Farley, a scientist for the 2020 mission, notes that “the Mars 2020 project has done everything that is necessary to accommodate that helicopter.” Well, based on the decision, we may or may not hear more about this supposed flying vehicle on Mars.

Now, this is not as relevant to aerospace, but does incorporate the changes within the well-known company: Boeing. But these changes are back in the depths of their headquarters, they’ll take place here in San Pedro. Boeing and AltaSea are partnering to help increase developments with the unmanned sub down at the harbor of San Pedro. The Voyager is over 50 feet long and was first used in 2017 around the San Pedro Bay by the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Because it is unmanned, it can explore the depths of the ocean for multiple months at a time. This addition is only supporting that the technology is coming to San Pedro. (SpaceX Might be Bringing Space to San Pedro)

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Above is Boeing’s unmanned submarine, Echo Voyager

In addition, there is another partnership that has occurred this month. Now think of Uber and it’s cars, and fuse it with the dynamics of NASA’s aircrafts. What do you think comes out of that? You got it, a flying taxi. Innovating urban transportation, these two companies are driving ahead. Now the idea of flying a car is off the ground. Yes, literally.

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The design of the “flying taxi”

“Uber has set a goal of testing these electric flying vehicles by 2020 and a commercial launch in 2023. The company has produced its own designs, talked to local governments and is trying to lay the foundation for a future in which people travel across cities in the sky,” says Bloomberg. So, don’t be surprised if you see flying taxis around.

Though these are only a few out of the many events that have already occurred this year, they mark many points in history showing the accelerating progress of not only aerospace and spacecraft but also transportation and exploration. At this rate, there could be colonies on Mars and space tours around the solar system! What’s next for these companies?

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