Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Musk confirms goal of orbital Starship flight this year

Capitalism in space: Musk today confirmed the stories published earlier this week that SpaceX has a target goal of completing the first test orbital flight of Starship before the end of this year, possibly as early as July.

The only new news in the article is Musk’s confirmation. It does outline again the challenges SpaceX faces to meet this goal, recognizing that these dates are thus merely targets that almost certainly will not be met. It also recognizes that the targets tell us that development will continue to move forward swiftly, and that an orbital test flight is also likely not that far in the future.

Who wants to bet that a Starship/Super Heavy rocket reaches orbit before SLS? Right now the odds I’d say are about 50-50.

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.


  • eddie willers

    “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”

    Robert Browning

  • Steve Richter

    angry astronaut is a very good youtube channel that covers starship and other space news.

  • pzatchok

    Reaching orbit is easy compaired to re-entry and landing.

  • pawn


    Yeah, that thinking always reminds me of the specifics of Kennedy’s challenge “and to safely return them”.

    So what are the odds for either one coming back in “one piece”.

    The Starship re-entry process is going to be a interesting real test.

    I do have to say that I love this stuff. The pace is wonderful.

  • Star Bird

    When soon will they be launching Long Range manned Flight to the Andromada Galaxy?

  • wayne

    good stuff.

  • Edward

    From the article:

    Even after reaching orbit for the first time, SpaceX will likely continue Starship development largely unchanged, treating the orbital regime as just another sandbox to test and refine Starship prototypes with.

    SpaceX has limited experience operating in space. Fortunately, Starlink is giving them additional experience, but their tests will teach them quite a bit about large structures in orbit. Starship is a pretty large structure for reentry, too. Transferring large amounts of propellants in orbit is also new, but NASA had been confident that it could be done, as it was one of the methods that they considered for Apollo. Keeping alive a large number of people will also be a new challenge.

    We have been seeing a lot of stainless steel on Starship, even in the animations, but SpaceX will need to assess the thermal control in space. Will they be able to have exposed metal, like the Apollo service module, or will they need thermal materials, like many satellites?

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *