Two different updates yesterday and today on the development of Starship by SpaceX suggest strongly that the company is aiming for its next test flight to about 50,000 feet as early as this coming weekend.
The second story notes how the company has apparently decided it was not worthwhile keeping much of the debris left over from the crash of the eighth Starship prototype after its successful test flight on December 9th. They have instead focused entirely on clearing the landing pad as quickly as possible, even if it meant destroying some of the prototype’s remains.
The first story outlines the ongoing pressure tests for the ninth prototype, now on the launchpad, and how those tests have so far proceeded very smoothly. All that remains is SpaceX’s standard dress rehearsal countdown ending in a static fire test of the prototype. This is presently scheduled for tomorrow. Once it is accomplished, the test flight can follow quickly, probably no more than a week later, depending on weather, the data from the static fire test, and the innumerable uncertainties that routinely occur in a robust test program such as this.
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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