Capitalism in space: SpaceX engineers, having successfully completed its tank pressure tests of its fifth Starship prototype, are now preparing the ship for its first static fire engine test, to be followed very quickly thereafter by its first hop to 150 meters.
SN5 [the fifth prototype] is being prepped for a flight test right out of the gate. SpaceX does not plan to perform an extended ground test campaign with SN5 after beginning Raptor engine testing.
It is understood that one good static fire test could be enough to clear the way for a 150-meter hop test. Furthermore, only a few days may be required to prepare SN5 for the flight test following a successful static fire test. If a static fire occurs this weekend, this will put the earliest possible hop date in the first half of next week.
As always, this schedule could change during testing.
The article also describes the status of both the sixth prototype, as well as the eighth being assembled now, noting that “if the 150-meter flight of Starship SN5 is successful, SpaceX is expected to quickly move on to Starship SN8 for an upcoming higher altitude flight test – potentially skipping a flight test with the SN6 prototype.”
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.
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