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)


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

A still from the film "We Became Fragments" by Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller, part of the Global Oneness Project library.

Photo: Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller / Global Oneness Project
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
  • Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
  • Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
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Artist rendering of a supervolcano.

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Surprising Science
  • The supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park could cause an "ultra-catastrophe," warns an extinction events writer.
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Ashamed over my mental illness, I realized drawing might help me – and others – cope

Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.

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Sexual activity linked to higher cognitive function in older age

A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.

The results of this one-of-a-kind study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men.
Image by Lightspring on Shutterstock
Mind & Brain
  • A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
  • The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
  • The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
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