Billionaire Japanese Moonaut Sells Majority Share of Fashion Company

Yusaku Maezawa at SpaceX headquarters. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

AFP reports Japanese billionaire billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who has booked a trip around the moon with SpaceX, will sell a majority stake in the Zozo fashion retailer he founded to Yahoo Japan for as much as 400.7 billion yen ($3.7 billion).

Yahoo Japan will acquire up to to 152.95 million shares for a 50.1 percent stake in the company, AFP reports. The total includes 92.7 million shares owned by Maezawa, who holds 30.37 percent of Zozo.

AFP reports he decided to sell to focus on a new business and his plans to fly around the moon in SpaceX’s Starship vehicle in 2023.

“I will leave Zozo’s future in the hands of a new president, and I’ll move on to a new path,” he said in a tweet.

The 43-year-old former wannabe rock star has a personal fortune this year valued around $2 billion, making him Japan’s 22nd richest person.

He made international headlines by booking a ticket aboard a SpaceX rocket, as well as for his purchase in 2017 of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece for $110.5 million.

At a press conference on Thursday, Maezawa cited his space plans and ambition to start a new business as reasons for stepping down.

SpaceX Files for Permit to Fly Starship at Boca Chica

Super Heavy Starship (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for authority to fly its Starship vehicle to 22.5 km (14 miles/73,819 ft) from its test site at Boca Chica Beach in Texas.

The special temporary authority “is necessary to authorize Starship suborbital test vehicle communications for SpaceX Mission 1569 from the Boca Chica launch pad, and the experimental recovery following the suborbital launch.

“Recovery is limited to 2 functions: (1) prelaunch checkout test of the TC uplink from the ground station at Boca Chica (less than five minutes in duration) and (2) experimental uplink testing from the ground station at Boca Chica during descent,” the application stated.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will provide an update on plans for Starship and the Super Heavy rocket on Sept. 28 at the Boca Chica site.

NASA Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for SpaceX Starship & Super Heavy at KSC

Super Heavy Starship (Credit: SpaceX)

Draft Environmental Assessment
for the SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy
Launch Vehicle at Kennedy Space Center (KSC)

Full Report

August 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has prepared this Environmental Assessment (EA), with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as Lead Agency, to evaluate the potential environmental impacts resulting from construction and operations associated with the proposed SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). This EA analyzes effects on resources due to the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. Federal agencies are required to consider environmental consequences resulting from their actions.

(more…)

NASA’s Uncertain Path Back to the Moon

Astronauts explore a crater at the lunar south pole. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Nothing illustrates the changes wrought by the Trump Administration’s decision to move up the deadline for returning astronauts to the moon from 2028 to 2024 than a pair of contracts NASA awarded for the Lunar Gateway that will serve as a staging point for the landing.

In May, Maxar won a competitively awarded $375 million contract to build the Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE). NASA released a source selection statement that detailed how officials evaluated the five bids they received and why Maxar’s proposal was superior to the others.

(more…)

Video: SpaceX Starhopper Fires Raptor Engine in Explosive Display

The test vehicle seemed to survive just fine. It looked worse than it was.

SpaceX Pushes Back Starship Hopper Testing by Week

Starship hopper under construction at Boca Chica. (Credit: SpaceX)

The Brownsville Herald reports that SpaceX’s plan for hover tests of its Starship Hopper vehicle has been pushed back by a week.

The county had posted notice earlier this week that testing scheduled for late May was rescheduled to the week of June 3, but those plans are now on hold for another week.

According to a notice posted on the county’s website, State Highway 4 to BocaChicaBeach is scheduled to close from 2 to 8 p.m. on June 11 and/or in the alternative on June 12 and/or on the alternative on June 13.

The county has also established a hotline for road closures. The public can call (956) 548-9541 for information about the closures.











SpaceX Embarks on Another Funding Round to Raise $400 Million

Gwynne Shotwell

SpaceX is seeking to raise $400 million in its latest round of fundraising. According to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, SpaceX has raised 11 percent of the total:

Total Amount Offered: $399,999,936
Total Amount Sold: $43,999,332
Total Remaining to be Sold: $356,000,604

Five investors have participated in the funding round thus far.

Elon Musk’s company is preparing to launch its Starlink constellation of satellites, which could eventually include nearly 12,000 spacecraft that would provide high-speed Internet and other communications services. The launch of the first satellites is scheduled for no earlier than May.

SpaceX has also begun testing its Raptor engine, which will power its Starship vehicle and super heavy booster.











SpaceX Decides to Build Starship in Texas; R&D to Stay in California

Starship hopper under construction at Boca Chica. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has decided it would be easier to build its giant Starship spacecraft in Texas rather than at the Port of Los Angeles in California as originally planned, Alan Boyle reports.

SpaceX says it’ll build and test the prototypes for its next-generation Starship space cruiser and Super Heavy booster in South Texas, despite a deal it struck to build a rocket factory at the Port of Los Angeles.

At least by some accounts, the turnabout is a setback to Los Angeles’ efforts to build a high-tech “Silicon Harbor” at the port, with SpaceX’s planned 18-acre site on Terminal Island as the centerpiece. The Los Angeles City Council approved a 20-year lease agreement with billionaire CEO Elon Musk’s company in May.

[….]

“We are building the Starship prototypes locally at our launch site in Texas, as their size makes them very difficult to transport,” Musk explained today in a tweet.

However, Musk also said development work for Starship and its methane-fueled Raptor engines would continue to be done at SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters. He said any confusion about SpaceX’s plans was due to “our miscommunication.”

SpaceX is building a launch site at Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville. It is assembling a subscale Starship hopper to conduct atmospheric tests later this year.