Capitalism in space: SpaceX has now installed 29 Raptor engines on the fourth Superheavy prototype, intended to be the first to attempt an orbital launch, even as the company also prepares Starship prototype #20 for that flight.
In a marked increase to the already-impressive production cadence at SpaceX Starbase, it’s all hands on deck with Booster 4 and Ship 20 preparations ahead of the duo being sent to the launch site. Booster 4 was stacked on Sunday, with all 29 Raptors installed by Monday morning. While the orbital launch attempt is not imminent, the duo is expected to undergo a series of ground testing objectives, including multiple Static Fire tests for the booster. This will also provide time to complete the final elements of the Orbital Launch Site (OLS), from which the duo will conduct the milestone test flight.
Following a short ground testing campaign with Booster 3, which included cryo proofing and a three-engine Static Fire test, the focus is now on what will become the first integrated stack of a Super Heavy booster and a Starship vehicle. This is set to be achieved in double-quick time, following a call to arms from SpaceX to its workforce. This included the transportation of hundreds of workers from other sites in the country, as per a memo leaked on Facebook.
As predicted, SpaceX did not succeed in launching Superheavy/Starship on its first orbital test flight in August. However, as predicted the company is clearly pushing to attempt that flight before the end of the summer. Right now, based on the pace of operations, what has been accomplished, and what needs to be accomplished, I estimate that flight will likely occur sometime around late September to early October.
It also seems very obvious that SpaceX is trying very hard to beat SLS into orbit. If successful, it will underline most starkly the difference between free enterprise and government operations. The former got it done in about four years, for less than $6 billion. The latter has taken seventeen years, and about $60 billion, and has still not launched.
And even if SLS launches first, that contrast remains.
Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
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