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Starhopper has hopped

Capitalism in space: SpaceX last night successfully completed the first untethered flight of its Starship/Super Heavy prototype dubbed Starhopper.

This hop attempted and flew about 65 feet. They hope to do next flight, planned to be about ten times higher, in a week or two, according to a Musk tweet.

Below the fold is video of the hop. You can’t see much as the viewing angle is ground level, it is night, and the engine flames obscure things. Expect better footage from future hops.


Conscious Choice cover

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.  
Conscious Choice 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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • born01930

    What is so amazing about this is that it was mostly constructed out in the open…no fancy rigs or even a solid building…by a water tower company. That to me is the game changer.

  • pzatchok

    A water tower company?

    Not Lockheed or Northrop?

    And they are doing it under the direction of some non professional non NASA engineers? I bet they are over budget and late on their dead lines.

    Making a rocket NASA said could not be made and flown.

  • George Turner

    I sat watching the live stream for two nights to see that. From the angle I had, it was just a big glowing ball of flames. I would sum it up as “It took off, it hovered, it landed on the SLS.”

    It took them a while to put out the resulting brush fires, some of which were pretty large. I noted that all the water they were spraying to douse the fires was just going to grow more grass.

    They were flying Raptor #6, the first engine that’s resolved the combustion instability issues.

  • Dick Eagleson

    On other forums I note that the usual scoffers are rather more subdued this morning than is their wont.

    I mean, my God, if this cobbly water tower can fly, maybe that far sleeker thing nearby can do it too! The horror! The horror! Musk’s beach rockets might actually work!

  • Diane Wilson

    The analogy of helicopters comes to mind. (“Helicopters don’t fly; they’re so ugly that gravity rejects them!”) Yes, the water tower is ugly, but that Raptor engine is a challenge that the rest of the industry can’t ignore. And the water tower can accommodate three Raptors. Not to mention those two Starships that are already under construction, and Musk’s commitment to mass production of Raptors.

    This does put Bezos on the spot. What’s the status of BE-4? ULA has bet their future on BE-4; they should be asking some hard questions about now.

  • Powderburns

    Elon’s greatest crime is that he makes everything seem possible. He breaks down tabboos. That tower looked like it could have been assembled by the local rocket club. When you break down the shackles, when those shackles are all some people have, you break a power structure. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have been too surprised with a giant fireball. The appetite for risk! Horatio, captain of the gate.

  • Edward

    Dick Eagleson wrote: “I mean, my God, if this cobbly water tower can fly, maybe that far sleeker thing nearby can do it too! The horror! The horror! Musk’s beach rockets might actually work!

    Innovation takes an unexpected turn in the aerospace world. Who would have guessed that water towers were an aerospace industry, too.

    Good work for SpaceX. I am glad that they are overcoming their problems in a timely manner. I expect more problems to rear their ugly heads, especially since we have our first flying water tower, but the water-works engineers know their stuff.

  • mpthompson

    Regarding the grass fire after the test, a small herd of goats would keep that problem in check fairly nicely. It would also add to the utterly absurd, but wonderful, image of what will likely become the worlds most powerful and advanced rocket being built and tested in an open field.

  • Mark McSherry

    “A rocket being built and tested in an open field.” Why that’s right out the opening chapters of MISS PICKERELL GOES TO MARS (1951)!

    “At the far end of Miss Pickerell’s pasture, a huge, silver-colored structure gleamed in the late-afternoon sun. It was shaped a little like a pencil, but it was much fatter, and had several wide fins at the bottom. Even from here, Miss Pickerell could see that the thing was enormous. It was far bigger than any airplane Miss Pickerell had ever seen or ever heard about. And instead of resting flat on the ground like an airplane, it pointed straight up in the air.

    “A long thin ladder extended down from the thing to the ground, and even as she looked, Miss Pickerell saw two men walking across the pasture to the ladder. One behind the other, they climbed up and disappeared inside the structure.

    “For a long moment, Miss Pickerell stood there, shading her eyes with her hand. She was not slow to realize that this must be the secret expedition Mr. Haggerty had been talking about. And of course these must be the people who had been using her house while she was away.

    “This is the last straw!” Miss Pickerell said. “Just the last straw!” She tied the cow to a tree with great angry loopings of the rope, and marched down the lane to the pasture.”

    MacGregor, Ellen. The Miss Pickerell MEGAPACK ™: 4 Classic Adventures . Wildside Press LLC. Kindle Edition.

  • Col Beausabre

    And when the engine fires, you have roast goat! Sheer Genius!!

  • Diane Wilson: I as noted about two months ago (with no change since), we have heard nothing about BE-4 since last spring. Very worrying.

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