Welcome to this week's Engineering360 news brief. It's an all-space edition.
This week, Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, revealed on Instagram a tool to be used to design the capsule (ship) that will take people to Mars. One of the two parts of the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) spaceship project, which is a massive 157.5-feet long and 30-feet wide, is currently being designed. Built using carbon-fiber, it will be used as a mold to fabricate the cylindrical body of the BFR spaceship that is expected to carry 100 or more people in 40 cabins per flight. The main idea behind the project is to create a million-person city on the surface of Mars half a century from now. The tool unveiled is a step in the right direction.
Blue Origin BE-4
Aerospace company Blue Origin recently completed the longest duration test firing of its BE-4 rocket engine. BE-4 is in development for Blue Origin’s upcoming heavy-lift rocket, but is also being marketed as an American-made replacement for the Russian RD-180. During the test, the engine fired at 65 percent of its maximum power for 114 seconds. Blue Origin is developing the BE-4 for its New Glenn launch vehicle, a 270-foot-tall heavy-lift rocket with 3.85 million pounds of thrust that could be used for a range of missions, including satellite launches and eventual crewed trips to space. The rocket’s first stage will be powered by seven BE-4 engines, while its second stage will have just one.
Luxury Hotel in Space
The International Space Station is typically work, exercise, rest and repeat. But what if the requirements to be a NASA astronaut were, to say the least, minimal? We could all become astronauts. The Aurora Station, considered the "first luxury hotel in space," may be what we are looking for. At the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, startup company Orion Span Inc., based in Houston, Texas, announced the development of the world's first luxury space hotel in orbit. It expects to launch the modular station by the end of 2021 and receive its first guests the following year, with two crew members accompanying each excursion. The "hotel" would orbit 200 miles above Earth and would offer six guests 384 sunrises and sunsets while traveling at incredibly high speeds around the planet for 12 days. However, the Orion Span offer will not be for everyone. The 12-day stay will cost $9.5 million per person, or around $791,666 per night. A little costly for the average Joe.
Remember to check out Engineering360 and Electronics360 for more news and information like this — plus engineering reference guides, product spec sheets and videos of interest.