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SpaceX Continues Its Space Successes: However, Other Companies And Countries Will Be Competing

ArmchairPolitiicianNASA, July 27, 2017, by Brad Peery, WWW.ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com

SpaceX executed two successful launches of its reusable Falcon 9 space launch system. The first was from the east coast, and successfully put a Bulgarian telecommunications satellite in orbit. Its’ engines, which were being reused, were successfully recovered by landing them on an ocean platform.

The second launch was two days later from the west coast. It involved putting into orbit 10 Iridium satellites. Iridium has an existing data and voice satellite system that will be replaced by 75 satellites, with six more SpaceX launches planned to deploy and replace the existing satellite system. Iridium is a $3 billion, and the largest, SpaceX customer. Again, launch vehicle was reused, and also the engines were recovered by landing them successfully on an ocean platform.

SpaceX is projecting that successfully recovering launch engines and space capsules, it will significantly reduce the costs of its’ space launches. SpaceX has completed its’ ninth launch in 2017. It plans to do about twenty-four launches total in 2017. Their plan is for as many as 52 launches in 2019. It is unclear whether launch costs are coming down as much as expected.

India and China are also planning their own space launches for others. They are both expected to be competitors of SpaceX. India expects to spend $6 billion on its space program over the next 5 years, launching over 25 satellites. In May, India launched its’ “South Asia Satellite”, which Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Nepal can use at no cost. India has very low manufacturing costs. Competition with China is a prime focus of the Indian satellite program. India has satellite ground stations in Indonesia, Brunei, and Mauritius. It is also building a satellite ground station in Vietnam. The Indian network can also be used for military purposes, including monitoring activities in the South China Sea, which China is attempting to dominate. China has strenuously objected to India’s activities.

China offered to build telecommunications satellites for Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal, where India is offering free use of their satellites. China is developing a trading network called One Belt, One Road. It is an ambitious project that includes a traditional land-base trading route from China to Europe. It also includes satellite expenditures that are expected to be about four times those of India.

The U.S. space program is about $40 billion per year, and appears to be about six times that in China. Other competitors in this arena are Richard Branson’s One-Web Ltd., China-based startups One-Space and ExPace. Astrome Technologies, an Indian start-up company plans to launch 150 satellites to provide wireless communications to difficult-to-reach locations. This year, Team Indus, a Bangalore-based Indian company, plans to launch a moon-lander in a Google Lunar XPrize competition.

India is also offering its’ technology to the private sector. It is planning to sell its’ small launch rocket, the PSLV, to a joint venture. It is also planning to license production of its’ larger GSLV rockets to local industrial firms.

ArmchairPolitician.US Opinion:
Renewed space competition is underway, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX appears to be a leader in the race. However some large competitors could emerge, many of them driven by Indian space launch capabilities. Space is an important frontier that is drawing many participants. It is also important to the U.S. from a defense standpoint, particularly with North Korea developing nuclear weapons, and ICBMs capable of delivering them to the U.S., or putting them into orbit.

See:
ArmchairPolitiicianNorthKorea, June 14, 2017, by Brad Peery, WWW. ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com
What Are The Risks That North Korea Will Launch A Nuclear EMP Attack?

See Also:
ArmchairPolitiicianNASA, June 6, 2017, by Brad Peery, WWW.ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com
SpaceX Continues To Challenge And Supplement The Work Of NASA. A Whole New Era Of Space Travel Is Underway.

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