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Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s eighth Starship prototype has passed its tank, thruster, and even fin tests, setting it up for the installation of its three Raptor engines.
Once installed, they will perform several static fire tests, on the launchpad. If those tests are successful, the company will then proceed with a full 50,000 foot test flight. Based on the pace of operations, my guess is that this hop will occur in about two to four weeks.
I’ve embedded one of the videos at the link below the fold, showing a variety of activity at the site.
In other SpaceX news, the Tesla that was put in solar orbit on the first Falcon Heavy test launch has just made its first “fly-by” of Mars, getting to within 5 million miles of the red planet. At that distance the planet really isn’t very close, which is why I put the word fly-by in quotes. That Tesla’s future:
The Roadster will eventually barrel into either Venus or Earth, likely within the next few tens of millions of years, a 2018 orbit-modeling study determined . But the chances of an Earth or Venus impact in the next million years are just 6% and 2.5%, respectively.
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.