SpaceX switches to newer Starship and Superheavy for orbital test

Capitalism in space: According to Elon Musk, SpaceX has decided that the company will no longer use Starship prototype #20 and Superheavy prototype #4 for the rocket’s first orbital test flight.

Instead, the company will fly two more recently built and upgraded prototypes, rumored to be numbers #24 for Starship and #7 for Superheavy. The company has also decided to switch from the first generation Raptor engines to Raptor-2s.

All these changes likely explain Musk’s announcement that the first orbital launch will not happen sooner than May. The changes also further suggest that SpaceX has realized federal permission to launch from Boca Chica will be further delayed, and thus it might has well push forward in other ways as it waits for the right to launch.

I suspect that if the federal government hadn’t moved in to block operations, it would have flown prototypes 20 and 4 two months ago, just to get some data. Now such a flight seems pointless, as more advanced prototypes are now almost ready to fly.

This decision also reinforces my prediction that no orbital flights will occur out of Boca Chica before summer, and are more likely blocked through November. It also increases my expectation that the first orbital flight might not occur at all in Texas. The longer the Biden administration delays SpaceX’s operations there, the greater the chance the entire Starship/Superheavy launch program will shift to Florida.

The Obama administration’s Interior Department has decided let the people in a remote Aleut community die rather than risk the lives of the birds in a wildlife refuge.

The Obama administration’s Interior Department has decided to let the people in a remote Aleut community die rather than risk the lives of the birds in a wildlife refuge.

The Aleuts have tried for three decades to get permission to build a 11 mile long gravel road to connect their village with the nearest hospital. The federal government has repeatedly denied them permission because part of that road would go through a wildlife refuge. During that time 19 people have died because they couldn’t get to adequate medical facilities due to the lack of transportation. The quote below from Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is quite amazing, revealing starkly how little she (and the rest of the Obama administration) cares about the lives of others.

During an August visit to Alaska, Jewell was told that building a road that connects King Cove and Cold Bay was vital. But in December, Jewell rejected the road saying it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge. “She stood up in the gymnasium and told those kids, ‘I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,” Democratic state Rep. Bob Herron told a local television station. “You could have heard a pin drop in that gymnasium.” [emphasis mine]

The comments about this story on this webpage are right on the money. The Aleuts should build that road anyway, and dare the federal government to do something about it.

But I like this comment the best: “I’ve been saying for years that progressives LOVE humanity–they just hate actual people.”