SpaceX

What does Quay Valley have to do with Hyperloop transportation?

Recently the WSJ published an excellent article on the competition to develop hyperloop transport systems that was stimulated by Elon Musk in his  “Hyperloop Alpha” proposal posted by SpaceX on Aug. 12, 2013. Among the nuggets in the article is a description of a futuristic city planned for a site located in-between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Alexander Chee of the WSJ writes:

"In his Santa Monica conference room, Quay Hays of GROW Holdings is laying out the plan for Quay Valley, the city he hopes will be a model for California’s future. It sounds, at first, like any other affluent California community: retail space, resort hotels, a winery, a spa. Where Quay Valley stands out is its plan to be solar-powered with extremely low water use. With a town of 26,000 networked smart homes and apartments built green from the ground up, Hays hopes to give 75,000 residents the eco-friendly lifestyle that critics of clean energy say is impossible. “There have been advances in green design and smart growth over the years, and the idea was, put all these things together in one place,” says Hays, a former publisher and film executive whose first job was booking punk and new wave acts for the Greek Theatre in the 1980s. His first attempt to launch Quay Valley was thwarted by litigation over water rights and the financial crisis of 2008; the new plan is to break ground on the site, a 7,200-acre expanse halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, sometime in 2016. When that happens, the world will be watching, and not just for the promised sustainability—Quay Valley also plans to feature the world’s first working Hyperloop, built by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies at an estimated cost of $100 million to $150 million."

Learn more at The Race to Create Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Heats Up

Update: Dragon returns to Earth

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Image: SpaceX/Michael Altenhofen

Congratulations to SpaceX & NASA. As noted in an earlier post, on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) launched a cargo-carrying Dragon capsule on a Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. Today, Dragon returned to Earth marking the successful completion of an historic mission. 

Dragon docks with ISS: A new era dawns

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Space X Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. NASA.

On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying an un-manned Dragon capsule on a mission to International Space Station; an ambitious and groundbreaking event for a private company. Today, at 12:02 PM Eastern time, the Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station (ISS) and a new era dawned.

On October 4, 1957, the world was startled by news that the U.S.S.R., “the Russian’s,” had sent an object, called a satellite, orbiting around the globe. Anxious Americans could see the blinking Sputnik circling overhead at night. On April 12, 1961, the U.S.S.R. put a man, cosmonaut Yuri A. Gargarin, inside a capsule at the top of a Vostok rocket and launched him into space, breaking the space barrier for humankind.

The U.S. quickly rallied and launched Alan B. Shepard, Jr. into space on May 5, 1961, and, on February 20, 1962, John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth and the first man to complete three orbits.

Pushing forward, president John Kennedy launched an ambitious program to reach the moon by the end of the 1960’s. With Michael Collins piloting the Apollo Command Module in moon orbit, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. descended to the moon in the Lunar Module. On July 20, 1969, they became the first humans to step on a celestial body beyond Earth.

The massive Apollo program transformed our world, but overtime became financially challenging and space exploration was refocused on robotic planetary missions.

The first component on the International Space Station was launched in 1998, and spacefarers began to arrive on the U.S. Space Shuttle and U.S.S.R. Soyuz. With the end of the shuttle program in July 2011, the Soyuz spacecraft became the only means of transport to ISS.

Into the breach entered a number of U.S entrepreneurs, among them Elon Musk. With a fortune made as co-founder of PayPal, Musk developed two ambitious projects: to travel to the planets and, in the available spare time, build an all-electric car that could travel 200-300 miles per charge. The Tesla Model S, the second electric car by Musk’s Tesla Motor Works, goes sale on next month.

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ISS robotic arm attaches to SpaceX Dragon capsule. NASA.

Today, with the successful docking of the Dragon capsule, a more significant and fundamental step has been taken. One, that over time will be seen as the dawn of a new era - not just of space exploration, but for the extension of humankind into the heavens. Those pioneering U.S.S.R. cosmonauts and U.S. astronauts led the way. Astronomic and space agencies from many countries are surveying space and space telescopes, such as the marvelous Hubble, peer to edge of the visible universe. Modern entrepreneurs now have an opening to carry humankind into space, maybe even to the planets.

The new journey to the heavens begins today.