Success would redefine the economics of space travel, but SpaceX’s reusable rocket shows that it’s still hard to perform a safe landing.The Falcon 9 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a payload destined for the International Space Station.
As if launching a rocket into space weren’t enough, on Saturday SpaceX tried to bring one safely back to earth by setting it down on a floating landing pad.
The effort failed, with the rocket crashing into its target. Even so, Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, claimed that the attempt brings the company a step closer to developing a fully reusable launch vehicle—something that could revolutionize the space industry by making launches a lot cheaper.
The Falcon 9 launch vehicle took off successfully early on Saturday morning, sending a capsule off to resupply the International Space Station. The first stage of the vehicle was designed to return to the ground—in this case a heavily modified ship at sea—and land softly using special thrusters.
Musk announced the failed landing on Twitter. “Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard,” he said. “Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.”
Some equipment on the so-called spaceport ship suffered damage as a result of the hard landing. “Ship itself is fine,” Musk wrote. “Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced.”
It’s unclear how the failure may affect SpaceX’s timeline for developing such a capability. Before the attempted landing, Musk said there was a 50-50 chance of success.
After releasing the second stage, the boosters of the Falcon 9 first stage oriented the 14-story-tall rocket vertically as it sank back down to earth and controlled its descent. Sticking the landing is tricky because the rocket’s speed must be controlled carefully, and the correct orientation requires very fine control of the vehicle’s thrusters, as well as several hydraulic fins.
Returning a vehicle to the ground this way is not a new idea. The Russian Soyuz space capsule lands on Earth using retro-rockets, as do many space exploration vehicles landing on other celestial bodies. However, it remains an extremely difficult engineering feat, especially with such a large object.
Musk blamed the hard landing on a failure of the four “grid” fins used to steer the first stage on its descent. “Grid fins worked extremely well from hypersonic velocity to subsonic, but ran out of hydraulic fluid right before landing,” he wrote in another tweet.
This is why most previous attempts at reusable launchers have taken the form of space planes like the Space Shuttle or the Air Force’s semi-secret X-37. These vehicles are very complex and expensive. Some rockets have been designed to be recovered via parachute. While this is cheap and reliable, it also takes a long time to recover and recondition the rocket for another launch.
A normal Falcon launch costs roughly $65 million to $70 million—which is already about half the cost of competing services—but that price could drop to between $30 million $40 million, Caceres estimates, if SpaceX can learn to land the launch vehicle.
How many times the Falcon 9 could be reused is not known. It is highly unlikely that a Falcon 9 could be reused 10 times or more.
That would be especially true if SpaceX were to make a completely reusable launch vehicle. Right now, only the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket is designed to be reusable. SpaceX hopes to eventually develop a reusable second stage booster, too.
GM revealed a concept all-electric hatchback today that it claims has a 200-mile range.
GM says it plans to start selling the Chevy Bolt in 2017.
GM today unveiled an all-electric concept car, called the Bolt, which it says will have a 200-mile range. That’s comparable to the range of Tesla’s electric luxury cars, but the Bolt will cost around $30,000 (while a Tesla will sell for between $70,000 and $94,000).
The Bolt, a compact hatchback, will be launched in 2017, GM says, making it a competitor to a mid-priced, mass market car that Tesla is working on. Electric cars could be a lot more attractive to consumers if they could travel as far as gasoline vehicles can travel between refueling.
GM would not discuss anything about the battery design or chemistry that would allow the Bolt to reach a 200-mile range. Success will mean either developing an entirely new battery technology, or—more likely—greatly lowering the cost of lithium-ion batteries. LG Chem, which supplies lithium-ion batteries for GM’s existing electric-gas hybrid car, the Volt, has previously announced that it plans to supply batteries for cars with a 200-mile range.
GM started trying to develop a 200-mile range electric car in 2012, about the time it licensed what had seemed to be breakthrough technology based on research at Argonne National Laboratory. Soon after, however, that technology was shown to have a fatal flaw.
Tesla Motors predicts it will be able to deliver a 200-mile range, $35,000 car by 2017, in large part by scaling up production of existing battery technology.
GM also unveiled a second-generation Chevrolet Volt at the Detroit Motor Show today. The new model has a battery-only range of 50 miles instead of 38 miles in the same-size battery pack as the previous model of the Volt (the electric range is shorter than other electric cars because it’s designed to use a gasoline engine for longer trips).
The improvements to the Volt’s battery provide clues about how GM might lower the cost of lithium-ion battery technology. A GM executive says the Volt will benefit from tweaks to battery pack design and the underlying lithium-ion cell design and chemistry. The range has also been boosted by allowing owners to discharge the battery more fully between recharges.
The new Volt’s battery pack incorporates cells made by LG Chem in a factory that was, until recently, idle in Michigan (see “Too Many Battery Factories, Too Few Electric Cars”). The pack includes fewer, but larger, individual cells, and can store 18.4 kilowatt-hours of electricity, up from 17.1 kilowatt-hours. The Volt also has more horsepower, because the battery pack can discharge power at 120 kilowatts, up from 110 kilowatts.
The Volt has another new feature that contributes to the overall efficiency gain: two electric drive motors. One motor is optimized for lower speeds, such as city driving. The second motor can help at higher speeds, and for quick acceleration.
But sales of the Volt, which GM introduced in 2010, have been lower than GM projected. To date, total U.S. sales are above 73,000, but 2014 sales were 18,805, a drop of 18.6 percent from 2013. The Nissan Leaf all-electric did far better, with sales of 30,200 cars last year in the United States, up 33.6 percent from 2013. The second-generation Volt, considered a 2016 model, won’t be available until the middle of this year. Pricing has not been announced.
Beyoncé, what did you just do? Could it be? Is she…
On Sunday, the 33-year-old pop star posted a cryptic photo on her Instagram page that suggests that she may be pregnant with baby No. 2! The picture shows Queen Bey lying on a sandy beach, with sand covering her up to her neck and displaying what appears to be a giant baby bump.
No caption was provided and it’s unclear when the photo was taken. She and husband Jay Z, 45, have not commented.
The two are parents to daughter Blue Ivy, who just turned 3, and recently vacationed in Cambodia (see pic below) and Thailand.
Bey had said in 2013, in an interview with ABC News, that she “would like more children,” adding that she thinks Blue Ivy “needs some company.”
A year ago, she told Anderson Cooper that motherhood “just gives you purpose,” adding, “I realized why I was born and, more than anything, all of the things I want to pass onto my child and the best way of doing that is not by preaching or telling her but showing her by example.”
Bey and Jay tied the knot in April 2008 after about six years of dating. When Beyoncé was pregnant with their little girl, she had revealed her first pregnancy on stage at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
The picture was posted hours before another award ceremony, the 2015 Golden Globes in Los Angeles. The two are not expected to attend.
Forget about the gowns and all the fabulous bling. Let’s talk about the facial hair!
Heads definitely turned when Conchita Wurst stepped onto the 2015 Golden Globes red carpet in a forest green gown.
But while the dress is what most viewers tend to look at during award shows, our eyes went straight to her face that just so happened to have a beard.
“Always try to see behind the curtain,” she tweeted Sunday morning.
So who is this woman making a serious statement on the carpet?
As it turns out, she is a successful Austrian singer and artist who has over 870,000 fans on Facebook.
Behind the beard, Wurst really wanted to share an important message with her fans and followers.
“The Golden Globes are an event that brings the glamour of Hollywood into living rooms across the planet,” she wrote on her social media sites. “But let’s not forget the events like this are also a strong showcase of the diversity and seriousness in entertainment as an art form.”
She added, “Recent events in Europe have shown that freedom is speech is under attack. Let’s unite and keep on with our unstoppable fight for peace and freedom—and freedom of expression.”
You’d think Billy Bob Thornton would’ve taken his own advice last night after his hilarious, yet brief, Golden Globes acceptance speech—but apparently not!
The actor, who took home the award for his work in Fargo stopped by Access Hollywood’s backstage show and played a rather rousing game of Would You Rather with the co-hosts. You know, just like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did on stage during their ridiculously funny opener…
Between Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Thornton didn’t hesitate one bit before he blurted out, “Jennifer Aniston, lifelong goal. That’s all I’m saying.'” Well, then!
Next up on the interview was a choice between Bill Murray and Christoph Waltz, to which Thornton replied, “I don’t even know what the second one is, so Bill Murray.
But the antics didn’t end there! The actor was asked “Keira Knightley or Jennifer Aniston,” and well, you can guess who he picked.
“Jennifer Aniston. How many times does it take you to get this through your head?!”
Just moments before the candid interview, Thornton was on stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel accepting the Globe for Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama where he told the audience that his words have a history of being twisted.
“These days you can get in a lot of trouble no matter what you say, you know what I mean?” he told the A-list audience.
“You can say anything in the world and get in trouble. I know this for a fact. So I’m just going to say thank you!”
Leonardo DiCaprio and Rihanna Get Flirty at Playboy Mansion Party—How Hot and Heavy Did Things Get?!
Well, it’s no big secret that Leonardo DiCaprio is a fan of beautiful women, so this shouldn’t come as a huge shock.
A-list actor (and his beard) was getting up close and personal with none other than Barbados beauty Rihanna during a pal’s birthday party at the Playboy Mansion over the weekend—but just how hot and heavy did things get?! Not as steamy as you’d probably like (you dirty dog, you).”No one was making out. They are just friends. That’s it,” a source who was also at the party.
“There was a big group dancing. Tom Hardy, Naomi Campbell and a bunch of other people. Everyone was having a good time together. Maybe a little bit of friendly flirting but no scandal here.”
Leo and RiRi were spotted smooching during the party (but that could be considered “friendly flirting,” too, right?).
The star-studded event on Saturday was to celebrate designer Nikki Erwin’s 30th birthday, whose boyfriend is Leo’s good pal, Chuck Pacheco, producer of films Alpha Dogs and My Sister’s Keeper.
Celebs like Paris Hilton, Hilary Duff, 50 Cent, Pamela Anderson and Tobey Maguire were also at the party.
DiCaprio was recently in the midst of breakup speculation after being spotted without his supermodel girlfriend Toni Garrn on numerous occasions, causing fans to assume that they’ve broken up for good. Another clue that their romance might has fizzled is that the blond model was not at DiCaprio’s 40th birthday party in November.
Well, it looks like the newly single star is in good (and gorgeous) company.
The Kardashian sisters have taken over half the globe to date. Next stop: Armenia.
Khloé Kardashian, Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian are planning to travel to their paternal ancestral homeland in April, E! News has exclusively learned.
The specifics are still being worked out for their family milestone journey, but Kim is set to take daughter North West with her, while Kourtney will be traveling with kids Mason, Penelope and Reign as well. Several cousins are also expected to be along for the continent-crossing ride.
Kim’s hubby, Kanye West, will make the trip if his upcoming touring schedule allows.
“Visiting Armenia has been on Kim’s bucket list forever,” a family insider tells us. “They are all so excited! They want to learn about their heritage.”
The Kardashian sisters’ late father, Robert Kardashian, was born to Armenian-American parents and his great-grandparents were ethnic Armenian immigrants from a part of Turkey that at the time belonged to the Russian Empire (which toppled in 1917).
The sisters have always culturally identified with their Armenian roots, annually paying tribute to victims of the Armenian Genocide, which occurred in what is now modern-day Turkey, and otherwise proudly recognizing their heritage. Kim has also spoken out about the plight of Syrian Armenians caught up in the ongoing civil war in Syria.
In 2011, when Kim landed on the cover of Turkish Cosmopolitan, she was upset that the magazine put out the issue at a time that coincided with the global Genocide Remembrance Day, April 24, reusing the same cover shot that had been used for the inaugural issue of Armenian Cosmopolitan the previous month.
“Cosmopolitan Magazine has a number of international editions all around the world that run in various territories, and when I did this shoot for the international covers I had no idea that Turkey was planning to run my story on their cover THIS month, considering Genocide Remembrance Day is this month,” Kim said at the time.
“My Armenian heritage means a lot to me and I’ve been brought up to be incredibly proud of my family’s background and culture so as an Armenian-American woman it is a huge honor for me to be on the first ever Armenian Cosmopolitan cover.”
Bon voyage, Kardashian fam—we can’t wait to see the pics!
FIFA Team of the Year: FIFPro World XI includes Manchester United star Angel di Maria, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronald
- Manuel Neuer is selected as the goalkeeper after winning World Cup
- Defence is Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Philipp Lahm
- Andres Iniesta, Toni Kroos and Angel Di Maria form a three-man midfield
- Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben and Cristiano Ronaldo complete the line-up
- Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo won his third Ballon d’Or trophy
All three players shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award were unsurprisingly selected by their peers to be named in the 2014 FIFPro World XI team.
Lionel Messi, Manuel Neuer and ultimate winner Cristiano Ronaldo were among seven 2013 team members who retained their places in worldwide voting by 23,000 members of national players’ unions.
Manchester United winger Angel di Maria was the only player in the XI that is currently plying his trade in the Premier League, although his selection will have been based on his performances for Real Madrid and Argentina last year.
First row from left: Manuel Neuer, Sergio Ramos, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos and Andres Iniesta; back row from left: Arjen Robben, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were in FIFA’s Team of the Year
Cristiano Ronaldo has a selfie taken with Brazilian women’s footballer Marta at the awards ceremony
The Real Madrid superstar smiles with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry after collecting the Ballon d’Or
Ronaldo signs autographs as he heads down the red carpet ahead of the awards ceremony
Manchester United winger Angel di Maria was the only player from the Premier League to make the team
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben was one of seven players to retain their place from last year
James Rodriquez, with wife Daniella, missed out on a place in the team despite his World Cup heroics
Philippe Lahm and wife Claudia arrive in Zurich, the defender was one of four Bayern Munich players in the XI
Toni Kroos made the team after winning the league with Bayern Munich and World Cup with Germany
Germany keeper Manuel Neuer was also in the running for the main Ballon d’Or prize
Germany’s World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm, Brazil captain Thiago Silva, and Spain pair Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta also stayed in the elite lineup.
David Luiz was voted into the defense despite playing in Brazil’s 7-1 rout by Germany in the World Cup semifinals, when Thiago Silva was suspended.
Still, the Brazilian pair was reunited for a second embarrassing loss, 3-0 against the Netherlands in the third-place match.
Arjen Robben was picked as the only player from the Dutch team which started the World Cup by routing title holder Spain 5-1.
Toni Kroos completed the lineup as the third Germany player, and the fourth who played for Bayern Munich last year.
As Kroos transferred in the offseason to join Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid, the European champion also had four players in the FIFPro lineup.
Di Maria was a standout in Madrid’s Champions League final victory, against city rival Atletico, before joining Manchester United.
David Luiz was the other World XI player who switched clubs last season, moving from Chelsea to join Thiago Silva at Paris Saint-Germain.
Brazil failed to get a third player elected as there was again no place for Neymar. The star forward lost out to Robben in a three-man attack with Messi and Ronaldo, one year after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the third forward elected.
The other 2013 team members who lost their places were Dani Alves, Xavi Hernandez and Franck Ribery.
Jose Mourinho to contest FA misconduct charge for comments claiming that a ‘campaign’ exists against his Chelsea side
- Jose Mourinho was given a misconduct charge by the FA last week
- He was charged after claiming a ‘campaign’ exists against his Chelsea side
- Cesc Fabregas was shown a yellow card for simulation instead of being awarded a penalty after going down against Southampton
- Mourinho has until 6pm on Tuesday to formally respond to charge
- He is expected to use video evidence to support his claims
Jose Mourinho is to contest his FA misconduct charge when he makes a formal submission to the governing body before Tuesday’s 6pm deadline.
The Chelsea manager was charged after claiming there is a ‘campaign’ against the Barclays Premier League leaders when they were denied a penalty in the 1-1 draw at Southampton on December 28.
Mourinho, who has generally toned down his comments since his return to English football, has the full support of the club in his case.
Jose Mourinho was charged by the FA for saying that there was a campaign against Chelsea
Mourinho (right) talks to his support staff after Cesc Fabregas was booked for diving against Southampton
The Chelsea manager can make representations to the FA disciplinary commission by way of mitigation, but it appears he is most likely to highlight his concerns by requesting a personal hearing.
It is understood Mourinho will put together video evidence to support his claim that match officials are failing to award his team key decisions in matches.
Mourinho lost control at St Mary’s when referee Anthony Taylor booked Cesc Fabregas for simulation when the Spaniard appeared to be fouled by Southampton defender Matt Targett.
At the time he said: ‘There is a campaign against Chelsea. I don’t know why there is this campaign and I do not care. Everybody knows it was a penalty.’
Cesc Fabregas is shocked after being denied a penalty and is instead booked for simulation
Since the charge he has taken a vow of silence and refused to speak with the media ahead of Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea chief sent his assistant coach Steve Holland instead, and it was his deputy who again spoke to the media after the win over John Carver’s Magpies side.
An FA statement released last week said: ‘It is alleged his remarks constitute improper conduct in that they allege and/or imply bias on the part of a referee or referees and/or bring the game into disrepute.’
Mourinho has already been issued with a formal warning following his demand for a ‘strong referee’ ahead of Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Stoke City on December 22.
Chelsea beat Newcastle United 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday but Mourinho did not face the media
Assistant manager Steve Holland stepped in for Mourinho at Chelsea’s press conference on Friday
Arsenal should sign Gareth Bale. He plays like Thierry Henry did at his peak… and the pain for Tottenham fans of seeing him at the Emirates would be an added bonus
- Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is under fire in Spain for shooting too much
- So, why doesn’t Arsene Wenger make a move for the former Spurs star?
- Arsenal can’t keep stumbling along with Per Mertesacker, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud if they want to dominate at home and abroad.
- And signing Bale would be a huge statement from Arsenal in so many ways
This time last year Arsenal were top of the Premier League table. They added Alexis Sanchez in the summer, who’s been excellent, and now they’re 13 points off top spot, and not even in the top four.
Doesn’t make sense does it?
I suspect the Gunners will eventually finish in their precious Champions League place. But while one stellar signing every summer – Mesut Ozil in 2013, Sanchez last summer – might eventually work over a long period of time, Arsenal fans have waited ages for their manager to get serious in the transfer market, in the title race and in Europe.
So maybe Arsenal need to work with more haste.
Alexis Sanchez has been an inspired signing for Arsenal, but they remain 13 points adrift of leaders Chelsea
Per Mertesacker (left) and Olivier Giroud can only reach a certain level… Arsenal need more than that
In essence they need to ‘sign a spine.’ David Ospina might be the long-term solution in goal, if they stick with Laurent Koscielny they will definitely need a world class centre back alongside him. A top-level defensive midfielder is a must, and so too a world-class striker.
Arsenal can keep stumbling along with Per Mertesacker, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud, but on the evidence so far, these players can only reach a certain level. For domination at home and abroad (isn’t that what Arsenal fans want?) the Gunners need to aim high, show some intent and really go for it.
But there is one player beyond the spine who could make a massive difference, and signing him would be a huge statement from Arsenal Football Club in so many ways.
The Gunners should go for Gareth Bale.
Gareth Bale jumps for joy after scoring Real Madrid’s second goal in their La Liga victory over Espanyol
Mesut Ozil returned to first-team action for Arsenal in their win over Stoke at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday
As Bale left Tottenham for Madrid, Ozil arrived at the Emirates and Arsenal fans came up with a mildly amusing song to reflect the contrasting transfer fortunes of the north London rivals. To the tune of the Inspiral Carpets’ 1990 hit ‘This is How It Feels,’ Gooners sang the words:
‘This is how it feels to be Tottenham
‘This is how it feels to be small.
‘You sold Bale and we signed Mesut Ozil…’
The ditty conveniently ignores that Spurs also signed Christian Eriksen at that time and he turned out (so far) to be far better than Ozil for a fraction of the price, but it’s still funny.
Bale in action for Real Madrid in their La Liga clash against Espanyol at the Bernabeu on Saturday
Bale’s play is similar to that of Thierry Henry in his pomp, pictured here celebrating against Everton in 2003
However, Bale is under fire in Spain for shooting too much. Sounds ridiculous, but Real Madrid fans and the media want him to give the ball to Ronaldo more.
One accusation levelled at Arsene Wenger’s side is that they don’t shoot enough, they overplay in and around the box. Go to a game at the Emirates and you’ll often hear fans’ frustrations when there’s one pass too many and a promising move breaks down.
Gareth Bale’s direct approach is reminiscent of Thierry Henry at his peak at Arsenal.
And the pain for Spurs fans of seeing Bale in an Arsenal shirt would be an added bonus for Gooners. It would be brilliant for the Premier League though.