Capitalism in space: SpaceX engineers have removed Starship prototype #15, the first to successfully land after a test flight, from the launchpad and rolled back towards their assembly building.
They had already removed its three Raptor engines and landing legs for inspection, but taking the ship off the launchpad strongly suggests the company has decided to not fly it again.
The immediate assumption is that they will now fly prototype #16, built and ready for launch. The article however speculates something far more intriguing:
There’s a limited possibility that Starship SN16 – all but finished – could be sent to the launch site instead of heading straight to the scrapyard, but any testing would necessarily delay orbital pad construction and any flight activity would likely have to expend SN16 in the ocean rather than risk a land landing.
Ultimately, it’s looking more and more likely that SpaceX would rather go all-in on Starship’s inaugural orbital launch attempt, even if that means little to no ground or flight test availability for a few months.
Prototype #20 had been assigned that for that first near-orbital flight. Does this mean SpaceX has decided abandon #16 through #19 and to go straight to that orbital flight? To do this would also mean they have decided to forego any separate testing of Superheavy, and will instead fly it the first time with a Starship upper stage attached. It would also be the only possible way they could meet their July target date for that orbital flight.
If #16 does not move immediately to the launchpad and there are no Starship test flights for the next month or so, it will tell us that this is likely their plan.
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.
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.