SpaceX said the Starship Mk1 vehicle that exploded at its Boca Chica Beach test facility on Wednesday wasn’t going to fly, despite what company Founder Elon Musk had promised during a webcast in September.
“The decision had already been made to not fly this test article and the team is focused on the Mk3 builds, which are designed for orbit,” the company said in a statement.
The rocket, constructed out of stainless steel, literally blew its top while it was undergoing a pressurization test.
“The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected,” SpaceX said. “There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.”
During a webcast from Boca Chica on Sept. 28, Musk stood in front of the vehicle and said it it would fly to 65,000 (19.8 km) within a month or two. He also said he hoped an upgraded variant of Starship would make an orbital flight within six months.
The SpaceX founder also talked about rapid iteration of the vehicle. Starships are being developed at Boca Chica and a site in Florida.
SpaceX is developing Starship for missions to Earth orbit, the moon and Mars. Musk has also pitched the spacecraft as a civilian transport for rapid point to point travel between distant locations on Earth.
For space missions, Starship will be teamed with a first-stage booster known as the Super Heavy.
Updated Oct. 9, 2019 at 9:08 am PDT with paragraph summarizing some of the reasons for the schedule delays.
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
There’s been a lot of discussion over the last week or so about NASA’s delay plagued Commercial Crew Program, which is designed to restore the nation’s ability to launch astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.
Prior to SpaceX CEO’s Elon Musk’s Sept. 28 webcast update on the Starship program, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed frustration that the company wasn’t more focused on the Crew Dragon program that hasn’t flown astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) yet.
Asked about the delay by a CNN journalist after giving an update on Starship’s progress on Sept. 28, Musk questioned whether Bridenstine was asking about delays at with commercial crew or with NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). He laughed and mugged for the camera.
Musk’s rabid fans cheered it to be a sick burn against against a slow-moving space agency. The administrator diplomatically called it not helpful. He also revealed the cause of his pique.
Astrobotic, Blue Origin, ExoTerra, Paragon and SpaceX among contract awardees for advanced technologies
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 14 American companies as partners whose technologies will help enable the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.
The selections are based on NASA’s fourth competitive Tipping Point solicitation and have a combined total award value of about $43.2 million. This investment in the U.S. space industry, including small businesses across the country, will help bring the technologies to market and ready them for use by NASA.
If you had plans for Saturday night, you might want to change them.
SpaceX Founder Elon Musk will provide an update on the progress of the Starship Mk1 vehicle live from the company’s test site at Boca Chica Beach in Texas.
Musk tweeted the presentation will start at 6 or 7 p.m. CDT (7 or 8 p.m. EDT).. There are reportedly plans to webcast the event, most likely via the SpaceX website (www.spacex.com). However, those details have not been confirmed.
AFPreportsJapanese billionaire billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who has booked a trip around the moon with SpaceX, will sell a majority stake in the Zozo fashion retailer he founded to Yahoo Japan for as much as 400.7 billion yen ($3.7 billion).
Yahoo Japan will acquire up to to 152.95 million shares for a 50.1 percent stake in the company, AFP reports. The total includes 92.7 million shares owned by Maezawa, who holds 30.37 percent of Zozo.
AFP reports he decided to sell to focus on a new business and his plans to fly around the moon in SpaceX’s Starship vehicle in 2023.
“I will leave Zozo’s future in the hands of a new president, and I’ll move on to a new path,” he said in a tweet.
The 43-year-old former wannabe rock star has a personal fortune this year valued around $2 billion, making him Japan’s 22nd richest person.
He made international headlines by booking a ticket aboard a SpaceX rocket, as well as for his purchase in 2017 of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece for $110.5 million.
At a press conference on Thursday, Maezawa cited his space plans and ambition to start a new business as reasons for stepping down.
SpaceX has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for authority to fly its Starship vehicle to 22.5 km (14 miles/73,819 ft) from its test site at Boca Chica Beach in Texas.
The special temporary authority “is necessary to authorize Starship suborbital test vehicle communications for SpaceX Mission 1569 from the Boca Chica launch pad, and the experimental recovery following the suborbital launch.
“Recovery is limited to 2 functions: (1) prelaunch checkout test of the TC uplink from the ground station at Boca Chica (less than five minutes in duration) and (2) experimental uplink testing from the ground station at Boca Chica during descent,” the application stated.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will provide an update on plans for Starship and the Super Heavy rocket on Sept. 28 at the Boca Chica site.
Draft Environmental Assessment for the SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy Launch Vehicle at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Full Report
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has prepared this Environmental Assessment (EA), with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as Lead Agency, to evaluate the potential environmental impacts resulting from construction and operations associated with the proposed SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). This EA analyzes effects on resources due to the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. Federal agencies are required to consider environmental consequences resulting from their actions.
Nothing illustrates the changes wrought by the Trump Administration’s decision to move up the deadline for returning astronauts to the moon from 2028 to 2024 than a pair of contracts NASA awarded for the Lunar Gateway that will serve as a staging point for the landing.
In May, Maxar won a competitively awarded $375 million contract to build the Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE). NASA released a source selection statement that detailed how officials evaluated the five bids they received and why Maxar’s proposal was superior to the others.