Israeli lunar lander arrives at Cape Canaveral ahead of SpaceX launch

The spacecraft, named Beresheet, which means “in the beginning” in Hebrew, will liftoff for the moon atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sometime next …

ORLANDO, Fla. – The moon’s next robotic visitor arrived at Cape Canaveral this week from Israel in preparation for launch next month.

Nonprofit SpaceIL’s special cargo arrived in a custom temperature-controlled container at Orlando International Airport on Saturday before being driven to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The spacecraft, named Beresheet, which means “in the beginning” in Hebrew, will liftoff for the moon atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sometime next month. The spacecraft will first undergo final tests before launch. The Israeli mission is the secondary payload on the rocket ride-sharing with Indonesia’s geostationary communications satellite.

“After eight years of hard work, our dream has come true: We finally have a spacecraft,” SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby said. “Shipping the spacecraft to the United States is the first stage of a complicated and historic journey to the moon. This is the first of many exciting moments, as we look forward to the forthcoming launch in Cape Canaveral.”

Easy landing in Florida early this morning ouw to Cape Canaveral. 🚀🚀 — SpaceIL (@TeamSpaceIL) January 19, 2019

SpaceIL was established in 2011 and funded by philanthropist Morris Kahn, who would later serve as SpaceIL’s president. Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino business executive, is also an investor.

The nonprofit was a finalist in the international Google Lunar XPRIZE competition that would have awarded $20 million to the first privately funded team to land a spacecraft on the moon. The competition ended without a winner when Google stopped funding the race to the moon.

The launch is slated for no earlier than the second half of February. After launch, Beresheet will land on the northern hemisphere of the moon about two months later, where it will take measurements of the moon’s magnetic field.

SpaceIL officials hope the spacecraft’s mission will inspire the next generation of space explorers in Israel and around the world.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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SpaceX Will Build Prototype Mars Rockets In Texas, Not California

Last week, the Times reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was canceling plans to build its biggest rockets at the Port of Los Angeles, and shifting …

From Texas Standard:

It’s not often that the Los Angeles times covers news with a Texas slant, but this time, it was somewhat unavoidable.

Last week, the Times reported that Elon Musk’s SpaceX was canceling plans to build its biggest rockets at the Port of Los Angeles, and shifting production to South Texas. The story got lots of play in Southern California where it was considered something of a blow to the region’s dream of becoming the epicenter of the next wave of space exploration. And it was seen as a victory for Texas – one of California’s economic rivals.

SpaceX already has a launch facility in Boca Chica, near Brownsville, and Steve Clark, a staff writer at the Brownsville Herald says the facility was initially expected to host 12 launches a year once completed. When Musk attended the site’s groundbreaking in 2014, he hinted that Boca Chica could have an even higher-profile role in SpaceX plans.



“He did say something about the possibility that the first person to depart Earth for Mars could actually leave from Boca Chica,” Clark says.

The Starship Hopper project – the one moved from Los Angeles to Texas – is the first prototype of SpaceX’s Mars initiative. The prototype vehicle will be built at Boca Chica. But development of the overall Starship Mars project remains in California.

Clark says the economic impact of Starship Hopper on South Texas is unclear, but that traffic to the Boca Chica site has increased. He says tourists are posing with the rocket prototype.

Texas likely got the nod to build these rockets because it would have been logistically more complicated to build them in California and then transport them to the Texas launchpad.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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Live view of launch pad 39A as SpaceX readies first Crew Dragon for launch

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How Much Is SpaceX Stock Worth?

Elon Musk has a plan. Actually, the CEO of SpaceX has several plans: He wants to continue supplying the International Space Station with food and …

Elon Musk has a plan.

Actually, the CEO of SpaceX has several plans: He wants to continue supplying the International Space Station with food and other consumables as far out as 2030, resume flights by American astronauts aboard American-built spacecraft, build a global satellite broadband network, and eventually put humans on Mars.

All of these plans, however, will cost money to develop the technologies to implement and continue driving down the cost of doing business in space. To get that money, SpaceX has been working diligently to raise debt and equity financing for its business. Fortunately for mankind’s space ambitions, it looks like SpaceX is succeeding at this — and fortunately for investors, every time SpaceX approaches its financiers for more money, it reveals a little bit more about its business, its finances, and its valuation.

Rocket landing on a drone ship

X marks the spot where we discover how much SpaceX’s treasure is worth. Image source: Getty Images.

A little bit of debt …

Case in point: In November, SpaceX secured a $250 million loan from “a select group of investors,” money it intends to use to continue development of its “Super Heavy” launch vehicle and “Starship” interplanetary rocketship. That was a nice chunk of change — there was just one problem.

SpaceX had apparently sought to raise three times as much cash — $750 million. At the time, it wasn’t entirely clear why SpaceX settled for the lower sum. (Wall Street banks were reportedly more than willing to ante up the entire $750 million Musk sought). But the reason for SpaceX’s decision to take on less debt soon became clear.

… and a whole bunch of equity

SpaceX would raise the rest of its sought-after $750 million with a stock offering. As The Wall Street Journalreported last month, SpaceX is in the final stages of selling $500 million worth of stock to its “existing [private] shareholders,” plus a new (also private) investor, Scottish money management firm Baillie Gifford & Co.

What we’ve learned about how much is SpaceX worth

So mission accomplished for SpaceX. But as good as this news is for SpaceX, it’s arguably even more important for investors who want to know how the market is valuing SpaceX today, on the off chance the company eventually files for an IPO. SpaceX revealed details on its business during the course of negotiations with its debt and equity counterparties.

As the Journal reports, SpaceX is selling $500 million worth of new shares to its private investors at “$186 a share.” For this math to work, SpaceX must be selling about 2.7 million shares. We also learn that this latest funding round is being conducted “at a $30.5 billion valuation.” From this fact, we can deduce that those 2.7 million shares represent a 1.6% interest in SpaceX. A little more elementary math and we can further determine that SpaceX will have roughly 165 million shares outstanding after completion of this equity issuance.

It never rains, but it pours

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time SpaceX has ever revealed enough information about its capital structure to be able to pin an accurate share count, share price, and market capitalization on SpaceX stock — and the deluge of new data doesn’t end there.

From TheWall Street Journal‘s reporting, we also learned that in the 12 months ended Sept. 2018, SpaceX generated $2.5 million in revenue and earned interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of roughly $270 million. That works out to a 10.8% EBITDA margin that SpaceX is earning on its revenue.

This number, by the way, is remarkably close to the 13% EBITDA margin earned by Boeing, and the 13.5% margin earned by Lockheed Martin — SpaceX’s two biggest rivals in spaceflight — despite the fact that SpaceX charges much, much less for its rocket launches than its rivals. This suggests that SpaceX has the capability to turn GAAP-profitable essentially anytime it wants, simply by raising its prices a bit or, conversely, by lowering its costs — for example by launching reusable rockets more frequently.

In that regard, it’s worth pointing out that through mid-January 2019, SpaceX has launched 40 rockets in a row successfully, and has relanded and recovered for reuse 33 of those rockets’ first stages. To date, only a handful of these rockets have actually been reused — but the more of them that are, the more SpaceX’s profits should improve, and the more SpaceX stock should be worth.

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Future SpaceX & Blue Origin rocket recoveries may use largest mobile crane in the US

While there’s a good chance that SpaceX will avoid changing their current Port Canaveral recovery operations and the complement of cranes they …

Florida’s Canaveral Port Authority took delivery of what is now the largest mobile crane on U.S. soil, originally purchased in order to support both extremely large cargo ships (known as New-Panamax-class) and the unique needs of orbital-class rocket recovery operations for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy and Blue Origin’s prospective New Glenn launch vehicle.

While there’s a good chance that SpaceX will avoid changing their current Port Canaveral recovery operations and the complement of cranes they already lease or own, Blue Origin will almost certainly take advantage of Port Canaveral’s vast new crane, capable of lifting more than 200 metric tons (~450,000 lbs) at heights greater than 50 meters (160 ft).

I know @AstroVicnet had some questions about the new mobile crane and how it will be used in Port Canaveral. Here is an explainer and how it connects to our Spaceport partners like @SpaceX and @blueorigin. #SpaceXFleet

— Julia (@julia_bergeron) January 19, 2019

To put the scale of the crane (and perhaps SpaceX and Blue Origin rockets) into perspective, Falcon 9’s booster – on its own – stands an incredibly 45m (~150 ft) tall or almost the same height as the LHM 600’s main boom (the gray cylinder/tower in the photos above), while Blue Origin’s New Glenn first stage – set to debut as early as 2021 – would tower an extraordinary 57.5m (~190 ft) tall, probably 60m if its small legs are deployed. While SpaceX’s BFR booster (now Super Heavy) is expected to attempt recoveries on the actual launch pad mount, it would stand around 63m (~210 ft) tall. New Glenn and Super Heavy are likely to weigh 50-150+ tons empty.

COLOSSAL CRANE ARRIVES: A 270-foot-tall mobile harbor crane billed as the largest in the United States sails into Port Canaveral aboard the cargo vessel Happy Dover on Friday morning. The 87-foot-long, 1.1-million-pound Liebherr LHM 600 is set to go into service later this year.

— Port Canaveral (@PortCanaveral) January 18, 2019

The point is that for monolithic objects that are as tall as large rocket boosters, the logistics of actually moving them around can be surprisingly complex and challenging. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Heavy boosters happen to be short enough to be conveniently moved and manipulated by cranes that are quite large but still fairly common and easy enough to lease or purchase. SpaceX consistently uses similar tall, yellow cranes for the process of actually lifting Falcon 9 boosters – around 30t (~66,000 lbs) dry – off of their drone ships and onto land, while far smaller wheeled cranes can be used for the process of manipulating Falcon boosters once they are horizontal.

Given just how relatively light Falcon boosters are compared to their towering height, the cranes that can safely lift such tall and delicate objects tend to be designed to easily lift 5-10X as much weight at once. The next-generation rocket boosters (and even SpaceX’s Starship upper stage) will continue to push the height performance and begin to test the mass capabilities of modern cranes, particularly mobile varieties like the one that just arrived in Port Canaveral. One massive benefit of wheeled cranes like LHM 600 is how versatile and flexible they are, while tracked cranes like the largest ones SpaceX currently uses simply can’t move without risking the destruction of the ground beneath them, requiring that they use advanced mass-spreading technologies (i.e. giant beams of hardwood) wherever they crawl.

Another view of Port Canaveral’s shiny new LHM 600 crane shortly after arriving ashore. (Canaveral Port Authority)

Teslarati photographer Tom Cross managed to catch Port Canaveral’s new crane shortly after sunset, January 18th. (Tom Cross)

One of several large cranes used by SpaceX to vertically transport Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters is pictured here during third recovery of Falcon 9 B1046, December 2018. (Pauline Acalin)

Blue Origin’s New Glenn visualized shortly after landing aboard a recovery vessel. (Blue Origin)

Liebherr’s mobile harbor cranes offer a far more mobile solution in the form of traditional rubber tires and multiple large spreader plates that can be deployed and retracted when stationary. It will be genuinely interesting to see if SpaceX decides to replace its proven modes of vertical-lift recovery operations to gain the benefits of a crane that is new and an unknown quantity but could still simplify certain recovery operations. Perhaps even more importantly, the Canaveral Port Authority owns the new crane and apparently bought it with the specific intention of allowing companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin to use it – presumably for a reasonable fee – to assist during rocket recovery operations.

Check out Teslarati’s newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes!

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