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Chris Hadfield
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Is the US Paying $300 Million Too Much to Launch Rockets? Elon Musk Thinks So.

Is the government overpaying by $300 million? Elon Musk of SpaceX has long argued that there needs to be greater competition with the awarding of space launch contracts. New reports indicate that SpaceX may be $300 million less than the US government is currently paying.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX (Credit: Getty Images)
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX (Credit: Getty Images)


Special deal: buy a SpaceX flight and get a satellite (cost: $300m) for free!

That appears to be the deal that SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk is offering the US government, with the newfound competition in the national security payload launch market. Since SpaceX received approval by the US Air Force in 2015 to utilize its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX has received contracts to launch GPS III satellites into orbit. What the government has been paying SpaceX may be $300 million less than what US taxpayers will be paying the Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA), jointly owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to do a similar launch in 2020.

$300M cost diff between SpaceX and Boeing/Lockheed exceeds avg value of satellite, so flying with SpaceX means satellite is basically free https://t.co/CaOulCf7ot

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2017

Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are right under our noses.

Big Think LIVE

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

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Swedish scientist advocates eating humans to combat climate change

A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.

Surprising Science
  • A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
  • He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
  • The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
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Russia claims world's first COVID-19 vaccine but skepticism abounds

President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced coronavirus vaccine at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.

Credit: Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Coronavirus
  • Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Russia.
  • Scientists around the world are worried that the vaccine is unsafe and that Russia fast-tracked the vaccine without performing the necessary phase 3 trials.
  • To date, Russia has had nearly 900,000 registered cases of coronavirus.
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    Therapy app Talkspace mined user data for marketing insights, former employees allege

    A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.

    Talkspace.com
    Technology & Innovation
    • In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
    • Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
    • It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
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    Mind & Brain

    Viewing abstract art causes notable cognitive changes

    Viewing art that doesn't look like anything makes your brain take extra steps to try and get it.

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