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First SpaceX Starship Hopper tests this week?

Capitalism in space: According to this news story on Sunday, SpaceX could attempt its first Starship Hopper tests this week.

A sheriff hand-delivered road closure notices to residents on Friday, according to a local resident. The document warned locals that SpaceX will “conduct testing” as soon as Monday, March 18.

The article also cites a flurry of tweets about the hopper that Elon Musk made on Sunday. Unfortunately, Musk’s tweets do not say anything about tests this week.

Regardless, it appears that SpaceX might actually be close to beating the schedule it announced for these tests back in November, when Musk said they were aiming for tests in June. If so, this would be a remarkable achievement, one that is almost unheard of in the aerospace launch industry.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

2 comments

  • geoffc

    The news out of the tweets was really good though.

    First hop (probably barely lifting) is going to be with the single Raptor they installed over the weekend. (If they test, 2-5 days after installing the engine, that is a VERY good sign. NASA would need 6 months to test before willing to fire it up).

    The two cylinders under construction at the original site (Hopper was trucked to a launch area, freeing up construction space) are for the next Hopper build, called Suborbital (But since everything that gets off the ground is suborbital, what does that mean?).

    And they will launch and build from Boca Chica and the Cape.

    And details on heat shielding.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Actually, the additional barrel sections now under construction at Boca Chica are not for a second StarHopper. From a Musk tweet two days ago:

    “We decided to skip building a new nosecone for Hopper. Don’t need it. What you see being built is the orbital Starship vehicle.”

    In late 2018 Musk said he expected the first Starship to complete construction by mid-year. Looks as though that project may be ahead of schedule.

    Imagine all the heads that would explode if Musk – gasp! – finished something ahead of schedule!

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