‘Star Wars’ returns: Trump calls for space-based missile defense

The President has announced that the Defense Department will pursue a space-based missile defense system reminiscent of the one proposed by Reagan in 1983. As with Reagan’s ultimately abortive effort, the technology doesn’t actually exist yet and may not for years to come — but it certainly holds more promise now than 30 years ago. […]

Dreaming of Mars, the startup Relativity Space gets its first launch site on Earth

3D-printing the first rocket on Mars. That’s the goal Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone set for themselves when they founded Los Angeles-based Relativity Space in 2015. At the time they were working from a WeWork in Seattle, during the darkest winter in Seattle history, where Ellis was wrapping up a stint at Blue Origin . The […]

Elon Musk shows off the assembled Starship test rocket

After weeks of teasing renderings and production photos, Elon Musk finally showed off the finished Starship test rocket last night. As you can well see, the Starship test rocket has a stainless steel skin, which had a few people scratching their heads. Steel is indeed quite durable, but weighs more than other materials used in rockets, […]

Swarms of tiny satellites could act like one giant space telescope

It won’t be long before the James Webb Space Telescope is launched, an enormous and complex feat of engineering — but all one piece. That’s a good thing for now, but new research suggests that in the near future giant telescopes like the Webb might be replaced (or at least augmented) by swarms of tiny […]

Daily Crunch: AR startups face an uneasy future in 2019

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here: 1. Magic Leap and other AR startups have a rough 2019 ahead of them  2018 was supposed to be the year where […]

The New Horizons probe buzzes the most distant object ever encountered first thing tomorrow

Four billion miles from Earth, the New Horizons probe that recently sent such lovely pictures of Pluto is drawing near to the most distant object mankind has ever come close to: Ultima Thule, a mysterious rock deep in the Kuiper belt. The historic rendezvous takes place early tomorrow morning. This is an encounter nearly 30 […]

SpaceX’s Starship goes sci-fi shiny with stainless steel skin

SpaceX’s futuristic Starship interplanetary craft may embody the golden age of sci-fi in more ways than one: in addition to (theoretically) taking passengers from planet to planet, it may sport a shiny stainless steel skin that makes it look like the pulp covers of old. Founder and CEO Elon Musk teased the possibility in a […]

FCC fines Swarm Technologies $900K over unauthorized satellite launch

Back in March came the surprising news that a satellite communications company still more or less in stealth mode had launched several tiny craft into orbit — against the explicit instructions of the FCC. The company, Swarm Technologies, now faces a $900,000 penalty from the agency, as well as extra oversight of its continuing operations. […]

SpaceX said to be raising $500M to help fund internet service

SpaceX is raising $500 million at a valuation of $30.5 billion, according to a WSJ report citing people familiar with the matter. The company is said to be raising the capital in part to help fund its ambitious Starlink internet service project. According to the announced plan, SpaceX intends to launch 11,000 satellites to plaster […]

Virgin Galactic touches the edge of space with Mach 2.9 test flight of SpaceShipTwo

The fourth test flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo took its test pilots to the very edge of space this morning, reaching just over 52 miles of altitude and a maximum speed of Mach 2.9. It’s another exciting leapfrog of the aspiring space tourism company’s previous achievements. Takeoff was at 7:30 AM against a lovely sunrise […]