Starship Stories June 17

If a dog is man’s best friend, can a robot dog named Zeus be best friends with a rocket to Mars? We’d like to believe so, and that’s what appears to be happening in South Texas.

LabPadre who documents SpaceX activity at its Boca Chica facility caught footage of what appears to be a Boston Dynamics-made robot dog running around the Starship test site.

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Starship Stories June 8

SpaceX terminated plans to lease a site to develop Starship launch systems at the Port of Los Angeles in March, the LA Times reports. The withdrawal notice from SpaceX marks the second time in two years a development site was approved by city officials before being cancelled.

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Starship Stories June 7

What’s next for SpaceX after sending NASA astronauts to the International Space Station? Returning Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley home safely in a few months is top priority for the team working for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

For the rest of SpaceX, CEO Elon Musk wants as many hands on deck working on the next big rocket: Starship. CNBC first reported on a companywide email Musk fired off on Saturday night. In the memo, the SpaceX founder pushed employees to “dramatically and immediately” speed up Starship development.

The Starship system is SpaceX’s next-generation rocket and spacecraft designed to be a “fully reusable transportation system.” Starship will send crew and cargo to Earth orbit and the Moon. SpaceX also intends for Starship reach Mars and other planets.

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Starship Stories May 29

An early SpaceX prototype static fire test that initially appeared successful resulted in a fiery explosion at a test facility in Boca Chica, Texas, although the dramatic scene is not entirely unexpected. Key points to know:

  • SpaceX is developing a super heavy-lift vehicle called Starship
  • Part of the development process requires testing prototype configurations
  • These tests are conducted publicly but safely with road closures and area evacuations ahead of time

While there is a NASA connection to Starship (see the recent SpaceX Human Landing System proposal), this rocket development has no connection to the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft that NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will use on the Demo-2 test flight this week.

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Starship Stories March 30

Update: A revised NOTAM has now been issued for Monday through Thursday of next week.

SpaceX is hard at work on its ambitious Starship spacecraft in South Texas, and the next static fire test appears to be planned for this week.

A static fire test includes a wet dress rehearsal which means engines are fueled; a static fire test adds the additional step of firing engines in place at full thrust (i.e. a launch without launching).

Elon Musk has documented recent Starship activity at SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility over the last few days, and the FAA has filed a NOTAM (Notices to Airmen) for the upcoming test.

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Starship Stories March 6

My interest in SpaceX’s Starship mega rocket has been limited so far because the company is still in the build-it-and-blow-it-up phase of assembly, but I have to admit there’s something alluring about huge rockets from any company.

Eric Berger has an in-depth profile on Ars Technica that looks at what exactly Elon Musk’s rocket company is working on with Starship:

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