Elon Musk said SpaceX’s offshore launch platform called ‘Deimos’ is under construction for launch next year

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk said SpaceX’s offshore launch platform called Deimos is under construction.
  • In a tweet Sunday, he said the platform could be ready for launch operations next year.
  • The platform is set to be used for the SpaceX Starship rockets.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk said that SpaceX’s ocean spaceport, called Deimos, is under construction and could begin launch operations next year.

Musk tweeted about the offshore launch platform, which is part of the forthcoming Starship rocket system, on Sunday in response to a rendered image shared by a fan.

Read more: Tesla is backing a new Europe project to build a big charging hub, shortly after Elon Musk made a mysterious UK stopover

The platform is intended to be used as a launch and landing platform for the SpaceX Starship, a spacecraft that Musk intends to send to Mars. SpaceX purchased two oil rigs off the coast of Texas earlier this year to serve as “floating” launchpads for the Starship. The platforms have been named Deimos and Phobos, after Mars’ moons.

The latest prototype of the Starship made a safe ascent and landing earlier this month. The reusable vehicle could be a “game-changer for space travel,” the BBC reported.

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SpaceX’s Starship rocket is set to splash-land into the ocean near Hawaii in its first flight around the Earth, FCC filings show

spacex starship sn15 landing success happy elon musk
Starship SN15 and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • The first orbital test of SpaceX’s Starship is set to launch from Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii.
  • The trip around the Earth is scheduled to take around 90 minutes, FCC filings showed.
  • The Starship rocket will launch on the Super Heavy booster, which will carry it into orbit, SpaceX’s filings said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX is planning for its first Starship rocket orbital test flight to launch from Texas and splash down off the coast of Hawaii, according to the company’s filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday.

Over the past year, SpaceX has launched five prototypes of its Starship rocket into the skies. The first four burst into flames on landing, but the fifth test flight, with Starship serial No. 15, or SN15, proved successful. This allowed SpaceX to move to the next step of Elon Musk’s goal to reach Mars.

The company’s FCC filings said the test flight, comprised of the Starship rocket and a Super Heavy booster, would blast off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. It did not give a projected launch date. The plan is for the booster to separate from the rocket nearly three minutes into the flight, and return to land roughly 20 miles from shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Starship rocket is set to continue into orbit, the filing said. SpaceX plans for it to travel almost all the way around the Earth before plummeting back into the atmosphere, and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean around 62 miles off the northwest coast of Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands.

The orbital test flight should last around 90 minutes, the filing said.

Read more: SpaceX may want to launch 42,000 internet satellites – about 5 times more spacecraft than humanity has ever flown

The five prototypes the aerospace company has already launched were the upper stage of a two-part rocket system for Starship. Now that the 16-story upper stage is able to reach high altitude smoothly, SpaceX will add on a 23-story booster called Super Heavy.

The Super Heavy booster will try to heave the nearly 400 feet tall spaceship towards orbit.

SpaceX’s ultimate goal is for the Starship to carry humans into low-Earth orbit, to the moon, and to Mars, then return to Earth to repeat the journey again. In April, NASA awarded SpaceX an exclusive contract to land the first humans on the moon since 1972.

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Police issue an arrest warrant for a YouTuber who got into SpaceX’s Texas launch site and filmed the Starship rocket

Elon Musk Starship
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk next to a Starship rocket prototype.

  • Police have issued an arrest warrant for a YouTuber who got into a SpaceX facility in South Texas in March.
  • Caesar L. Galaviz filmed himself walking around the SpaceX launch site, and got close to the Starship SN11 rocket.
  • The sheriff of Cameron County said an arrest warrant has been issued for Galaviz.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Police are looking for a YouTube creator who entered SpaceX’s launch site in South Texas and filmed close-up videos of SpaceX’s SN11 Starship rocket.

In late March, Caesar L. Galaviz got into the Boca Chica base of Elon Musk’s aerospace company without any security stopping him. He filmed himself wandering around the launch site and walking underneath the 16-story-tall prototype Starship. He then uploaded the video to his YouTube channel, which is called Loco VlogS.

Sheriff Eric Garza of Cameron County tweeted on Monday that police had issued an arrest warrant for Galaviz “for intentionally going onto the SpaceX property without their consent.”

Garza said Galaviz’s last known location was Conroe, Texas.

Galaviz recorded videos with the Starship prototype days before it burst into flames when landing during a test flight. The rocket was on stilts, so Galaviz couldn’t touch it.

This was the fourth Starship rocket to explode – but SpaceX’s most recent Starship test, on May 5, was successful.

Galaviz later deleted the video, which got five likes and 100 dislikes, but another YouTube account reuploaded the recording on March 31.

Galaviz posted an apology video on April 1, saying his actions were “wrong” and “illegal.”

“In my eyes, in that time of moment, I didn’t really think about that,” he said.

Galaviz told Insider in April that he entered the premises because he thought it would make a good video for his YouTube subscribers. “I hope that the SpaceX community can forgive me for my actions,” he said.

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Elon Musk said SpaceX wants to blast its Starship rocket into the sky again soon, after the last prototype landed without exploding

GettyImages 1229892421
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk said SpaceX “might try to refly SN15 soon,” after a Starship prototype’s Wednesday landing.
  • SpaceX has launched five Starships in five months. The latest version is the only one to not explode.
  • It takes SpaceX one step closer to creating a fully reusable rocket that can fly to orbit and back.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk on Friday said his aerospace company SpaceX may attempt another blast off of its fifth Starship rocket soon, following its successful landing on Wednesday.

Starship serial No. 15, or SN15, lifted off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, and flew to high altitude, before plunging back down to Earth and landing smoothly back on the landing pad.

Musk wants to do this again with the same rocket prototype “soon,” he said in a Twitter reply to an article by Teslarati about the successful test flight.

It’s taken SpaceX five months to get the rocket landing right. The first Starship test flight was in December, the second happened in February, the third and fourth both lifted off in March, and the most recent launch was on Wednesday.

The latest version of the mega-spaceship was the only version to not explode, taking SpaceX closer to adding another reusable launch vehicle to its collection. The previous four Starship prototypes burst into flames either during or shortly after landing.

These prototypes are the upper stage of a two-part system. SpaceX want to add on a Super Heavy booster, which will fire the rocket towards orbit, the moon and eventually Mars. The idea is that Starship will return to Earth so the mission can be repeated again and again.

starship moon human landing system
Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry NASA astronauts to the Moon’s surface during the Artemis mission.

A final version of the 16-story tall Starship rocket is set to land the first humans on the moon since 1972 under an exclusive contract with NASA. The spaceship will send two astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.

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SpaceX’s high-flying Starship prototype has finally landed successfully – a big step towards Elon Musk’s reusable mega-rocket

spacex starship sn15 landing success happy elon musk
The SN15 prototype stuck the landing (left), a big step towards becoming the reusable rocket Elon Musk (right) wants it to be.

On Wednesday, SpaceX sent the latest prototype of its mega-rocket system roaring six miles above Texas, its fifth such launch since December.

SpaceX is no stranger to Starship launches, but unlike the last four attempts, this prototype landed smoothly, without blowing up during its first 15 minutes back on Earth. A previous prototype exploded 10 minutes after landing, after a fire burning around its skirt wouldn’t go out. But this time, the fire at the prototype’s feet appeared to be extinguished.

“Starship landing nominal!” Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder, CEO, and chief engineer, declared on Twitter.

This version of the spaceship, called Starship serial No. 15, or SN15, followed the same trajectory as its predecessors. The 16-story rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. As it approached the peak of its flight, the vehicle shut off two of its three truck-sized Raptor engines. It hovered at roughly 33,000 feet before cutting the final engine, then tipped sideways and plunged back to Earth. As it neared the ground, the engines reignited to flip the rocket upright, and then it lowered itself to the landing pad.

As of Wednesday afternoon, SN15 was still sitting upright and intact on the landing pad.

A final version of this mega-spaceship is set to become NASA’s next moon lander – the vehicle that could put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

starship moon human landing system
An illustration of SpaceX’s Starship as a lander carrying NASA astronauts to the moon.

Musk has an ambitious vision for the launch system. The prototypes his company is launching are meant to be the upper stage of a two-part system. Eventually, a roughly 23-story booster called Super Heavy would heave the spaceship toward orbit. Musk wants this system to carry humans into low-Earth orbit, to the moon, and even to Mars, then return to Earth to do it again. The smooth landing of SN15 gets Starship a big step closer to being the reusable vehicle Musk wants.

“It’s a tough vehicle because we’re trying to crack this nut of a fully and rapidly reusable rocket,” Musk said in a NASA press conference on April 23. “Somebody’s got to do this. And if you have rapid and complete reusability, then that is the gateway to the heavens.”

SpaceX is building a booster that could carry Starship to orbit

The SN15 was the second of the five high-flying Starships SpaceX has launched that touched down in one piece – at least initially. The other was SN10, which landed in one piece in early March but blew up 10 minutes later. The first two Starship prototypes that soared to a high altitudes, SN8 and SN9, both slammed into the landing pad at high speeds and exploded immediately. Another, SN11, exploded in midair as it relit its engines for landing.

starship prototype explosions collage spacex boca chica spadre
From left to right: The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

SpaceX began assembling its first prototype of the Super Heavy booster – the other part of the Starship system – at its Texas facilities in mid-March. Musk said this version of Super Heavy is just for production testing, though the next prototype should fly.

To grasp the size of this launch system, look for the person standing on the lift in this photo Musk shared on Twitter. Starship, not pictured, would sit on top of that booster.

In addition to landing astronauts on the moon, Musk wants the Starship-Super Heavy system to power hypersonic travel on Earth. Ultimately, he has said, he plans to build 1,000 Starships that would carry people and cargo to Mars in order to establish a self-sustaining settlement.

Making Starship-Super Heavy reusable could slash the cost of reaching space by “a factor of 100 or more,” according to Musk. Its enormous size would allow it to carry large payloads to space, including tens of thousands of Starlink internet satellites that SpaceX plans to put into orbit.

In short, this is the launch system on which SpaceX is staking its future. But there are several hurdles to clear before it can reach space.

Environmental reviews could slow Starship’s journey to orbit

spacex starship super heavy spaceship booster rocket launch boca chica south texas illustration
An illustration of SpaceX’s planned 39-story Starship rocket system launching from Boca Chica, Texas.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has already booked tickets for himself and eight others for a week-long Starship flight around the moon in 2023. The group is set to become the spaceship’s first passengers. After that, NASA hopes that Starship will return astronauts to the moon in 2024. But a report from the agency’s Office of the Inspector General suggested it’s “highly unlikely” NASA will meet that deadline.

In addition to successfully landing Starship prototypes, SpaceX will need to integrate the Super Heavy booster with the spaceship, learn to launch the two parts together, and show it can land the booster in one piece.

The company will also need to rocket a Starship into orbit to test its ability to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. That will require a new type of launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration, which involves many regulatory hurdles, including a thorough environmental assessment. Depending on the findings of that assessment, it’s possible SpaceX may need to conduct a new environmental impact statement, which could take up to three years.

Complicating matters is a leaked FAA draft document obtained by Insider that revealed SpaceX’s plans to dig natural gas wells and build gas-fired power plants in Boca Chica. Such plans could prolong SpaceX’s environmental review process.

Still, Musk maintains that Starship could fly its first people in “a couple years.” He has also said he is “highly confident” that SpaceX will launch an uncrewed Starship to Mars in 2024, followed by a crewed mission in 2026.

“I tend to be somewhat optimistic with respect to schedules. I feel I should acknowledge this,” he said in the NASA briefing. “So take that with a grain of salt. But I think it’s not out of the question that it could fly people in a couple years.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Watch SpaceX launch its newest Starship prototype. The last 4 exploded.

elon musk starship thumb 4x3
Elon Musk (center) wants Starships to fly to Mars. But so far the only prototype to land successfully (left) exploded 10 minutes later (right).

Update: The SN15 prototype flew and landed successfully on Wednesday. Read more in our story.

SpaceX is about to launch its fifth high-flying Starship prototype on Wednesday afternoon. The spaceship is ready to lift off from the company’s Texas rocket facilities.

Known as Starship Serial No. 15, or SN15, the vehicle is the latest in a series of prototypes that SpaceX is launching up to 6 miles above Boca Chica, Texas. Eventually, a version of this Starship mega-spaceship is expected to become NASA’s next moon lander, which would put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

The plan for the SN15 flight calls for the rocket to shut off its three truck-sized Raptor engines one by one as it approaches the peak of its flight. Then the spaceship should tip sideways and plunge back to Earth, using four wing flaps to control its fall. As it nears the ground, SN15 should reignite its engines to flip itself upright and gently lower to the landing pad.

That last step is where its four predecessors have failed.

starship prototype explosions collage spacex boca chica spadre
The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

The first two prototypes that soared to high altitudes, SN8 and SN9, slammed into the landing pad at high speeds and exploded immediately. The third, SN10, landed in one piece but blew up 10 minutes later. The fourth, SN11, exploded in midair as it relit its engines for landing.

Watch Starship’s flight live

SpaceX is set to stream live from the launchpad and from cameras inside the rocket’s skirt, where the engines are, starting at 5:20 p.m. CT.

A few rocket enthusiasts and fans of the company are also broadcasting live from Boca Chica.

The NASASpaceflight’s video stream offers knowledgeable broadcasters and multiple quality camera views.

The commentators on the feed keep track of preparations at the SpaceX facilities that indicate progress toward liftoff – things like clearing the launchpad, activity in the tank farm next to SN15, and the loading of liquid propellant into the rocket.

LabPadre, meanwhile, offers six unique views of the Starship launch site. That YouTube channel is run by Louis Balderas, who lives across the bay from Boca Chica. Below is its main 4K-resolution feed.

For a more distant view of the launch site – broadcast from the top of a resort in South Padre Island, about 6 miles away – check out SPadre’s 24-hour live feed.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an airspace-closure notice for the Boca Chica area to make way for launch on Wednesday. A Cameron County judge has also issued local road closures. Both closures end at 8 p.m. CT, so SpaceX must launch by then.

Airspace and road closures are both required for launch. But they can change day to day depending on SpaceX’s plans and FAA procedure. If SN15 does not fly on Wednesday, further closures indicate that SpaceX could try again on Thursday or Friday.

A series of Starship explosions

For SpaceX, explosions during rocket development are par for the course.

“They use a different development philosophy than the government does, which is: Fly. If something goes wrong, they try to fix it. Fly again. If something else goes wrong, they try to fix that,” John Logsdon, founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider. “People have complimented SpaceX on how quickly they move.”

But, Logsdon added, “the fact that they’ve had these early development-program problems means that there will have to be a record of success before anybody except an extreme risk-taker is willing to get aboard.”

Success may be even more critical now that NASA has chosen Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon.

The agency announced earlier this month that it is working with SpaceX to turn Starship into a lunar lander as part of NASA’s Artemis program. NASA hopes to land its first crewed Starship on the lunar surface in 2024, though a recent report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General suggested it’s “highly unlikely” the agency will meet that deadline.

starship moon human landing system
Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry NASA astronauts to the Moon’s surface during the Artemis mission.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, recently predicted that Starship could fly its first humans “in a couple years.”

His goals for the launch system extend far beyond the lunar surface. Musk has said he plans to build 1,000 Starships to carry people and cargo to Mars. Ultimately, he hopes to establish a settlement there.

For now, though, SpaceX is trying to land the prototypes without blowing them up.

“Obviously we need to, like, not be making craters,” Musk said in a NASA press conference last month, referring to the explosions. “We’ve got some work to do, but we’re making rapid progress.”

This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published April 19.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX is preparing to launch its newest Starship prototype on Wednesday. The last 4 exploded.

elon musk starship thumb 4x3
Elon Musk (center) wants Starships to fly to Mars. But so far the only prototype to land successfully (left) exploded 10 minutes later (right).

SpaceX is getting ready to launch its fifth high-flying Starship prototype. The spaceship could lift off from the company’s Texas rocket facilities on Wednesday afternoon.

Known as Starship Serial No. 15, or SN15, the vehicle is the latest in a series of Starship prototypes that SpaceX is launching up to 6 miles above Boca Chica, Texas. Eventually, a version of this mega-spaceship is expected to become NASA’s next moon lander, which would put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

The plan for the SN15 flight calls for the rocket to shut off its three truck-sized Raptor engines one by one as it approaches the peak of its flight. Then the spaceship should tip sideways and plunge back to Earth, using four wing flaps to control its fall. As it nears the ground, SN15 should reignite its engines to flip itself upright and gently lower to the landing pad.

That last step is where its four predecessors have failed. The first two prototypes that soared to high altitudes, SN8 and SN9, slammed into the landing pad at high speeds and exploded immediately. The third, SN10, landed in one piece but blew up 10 minutes later. The fourth, SN11, exploded in midair as it relit its engines for landing.

starship prototype explosions collage spacex boca chica spadre
The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

For SpaceX, explosions during rocket development are par for the course.

“They use a different development philosophy than the government does, which is: Fly. If something goes wrong, they try to fix it. Fly again. If something else goes wrong, they try to fix that,” John Logsdon, founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider. “People have complimented SpaceX on how quickly they move.”

But, Logsdon added, “the fact that they’ve had these early development-program problems means that there will have to be a record of success before anybody except an extreme risk-taker is willing to get aboard.”

Success may be even more critical now that NASA has chosen Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon.

The agency announced earlier this month that it is working with SpaceX to turn Starship into a lunar lander as part of NASA’s Artemis program. NASA hopes to land its first crewed Starship on the lunar surface in 2024, though a recent report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General suggested it’s “highly unlikely” the agency will meet that deadline.

starship moon human landing system
SpaceX’s Starship human lander would carry NASA astronauts to the moon’s surface.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, recently predicted that Starship could fly its first humans “in a couple years.”

His goals for the launch system extend far beyond the lunar surface. Musk has said he plans to build 1,000 Starships to carry people and cargo to Mars. Ultimately, he hopes to establish a settlement there.

For now, though, SpaceX is trying to land the prototypes without blowing them up.

“Obviously we need to, like, not be making craters,” Musk said in a NASA press conference last month, referring to the explosions. “We’ve got some work to do, but we’re making rapid progress.”

How to watch Starship’s flight live

During the test flight, SpaceX is likely to stream live from the launchpad and from cameras inside the rocket’s skirt, where the engines are. During past Starship flights, the up-close cameras have provided stunning footage, like this clip of SN9.

SpaceX’s live feed of the SN15 launch will be embedded here once it becomes available. A few rocket enthusiasts and fans of the company also broadcast live from Boca Chica.

We recommend starting with NASASpaceflight’s video stream, given the broadcasters’ knowledge and multiple quality camera views.

The commentators on the feed keep track of preparations at the SpaceX facilities that indicate progress toward liftoff – things like clearing the launchpad, activity in the tank farm next to SN15, and the loading of liquid propellant into the rocket.

LabPadre, a YouTube channel from Louis Balderas, who lives across the bay from Boca Chica, offers six unique views of the Starship launch site. Below is the channel’s main 4K-resolution feed.

For a more distant view of the launch site – broadcast from the top of a resort in South Padre Island, about 6 miles away – check out SPadre’s 24-hour live feed.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an airspace-closure notice for the area to make way for launch on Wednesday. A Cameron County judge has also issued local road closures. Both closures end at 8 p.m. CT, so SpaceX must launch by then.

Airspace and road closures are both required for launch. But they can change day to day depending on SpaceX’s plans and FAA procedure. If SN15 does not fly on Wednesday, further closures indicate that SpaceX could try again on Thursday or Friday.

This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published April 19.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX is preparing to launch its newest Starship prototype within days. The last 4 exploded.

elon musk starship happy success thumb 4x3
Left: the SN10 Starship prototype soars above Boca Chica, Texas, on March 3. Right: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

SpaceX is getting ready to launch its fifth high-flying Starship prototype from its Texas rocket facilities. The spaceship could fly as soon as Wednesday.

Known as Starship Serial No. 15, or SN15, the vehicle is the latest in a series of Starship prototypes that SpaceX is launching up to 6 miles above Boca Chica, Texas. Eventually, a version of this mega-spaceship is expected to become NASA’s next moon lander, which would put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

When SN15 launches, it should shut off its three truck-sized Raptor engines one by one as it approaches the peak of its flight. Then the spaceship should tip sideways and plunge back to Earth, using four wing flaps to control its fall. As it nears the ground, SN15 should reignite its engines to flip itself upright and gently lower to the landing pad.

That last step is where its four predecessors have failed. The first two prototypes that soared to high altitude, SN8 and SN9, slammed into the landing pad at high speed and exploded immediately. The third, SN10, landed in one piece but blew up 10 minutes later. The fourth, SN11, exploded in midair as it relit its engines for landing.

starship prototype explosions collage spacex boca chica spadre
The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

For SpaceX, explosions during rocket development are par for the course.

“They use a different development philosophy than the government does, which is: Fly. If something goes wrong, they try to fix it. Fly again. If something else goes wrong, they try to fix that,” John Logsdon, founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider. “People have complimented SpaceX on how quickly they move.”

But, Logsdon added, “the fact that they’ve had these early development-program problems means that there will have to be a record of success before anybody except an extreme risk-taker is willing to get aboard.”

Success may be even more critical now that NASA has chosen Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon.

The agency announced earlier this month that it is working with SpaceX to turn Starship into a lunar lander as part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return people to the moon. NASA hopes to land its first crewed Starship on the lunar surface in 2024, though a recent report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General suggested it’s “highly unlikely” the agency will meet that deadline.

starship moon human landing system
SpaceX’s Starship human lander would carry NASA astronauts to the moon’s surface.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, predicted last week that Starship could fly its first humans “in a couple years.”

His goals for the launch system extend far beyond the lunar surface. Musk has said he plans to build 1,000 Starships to carry people and cargo to Mars. Ultimately, he hopes to establish a settlement there.

For now, though, SpaceX is trying to land the prototypes without blowing them up.

“Obviously we need to, like, not be making craters,” Musk said in a NASA press conference on Friday, referring to the explosions. “We’ve got some work to do, but we’re making rapid progress.”

Government clearances indicate that SN15 could launch on Wednesday. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an airspace-closure notice for the area that day. A Cameron County judge has also issued a local road closure from noon to 8 p.m. CT, indicating that SpaceX may launch in that window.

Airspace and road closures are both required for launch. But they can change day-to-day depending on SpaceX’s plans and the FAA’s launch-licensing procedure.

How to watch Starship’s flight live

During the test flight, SpaceX is likely to stream live from the launchpad and from cameras inside the rocket’s skirt, where the engines are. During past Starship flights, the up-close cameras have provided stunning footage, like this clip of SN9.

SpaceX’s live feed of the SN15 launch will be embedded here once it becomes available. In the meantime, a few rocket enthusiasts and fans of the company are broadcasting live from Boca Chica.

LabPadre, a YouTube channel from Louis Balderas, who lives across the bay from Boca Chica, offers six unique views of the Starship launch site. Below is the channel’s main 4K-resolution feed.

For a more distant view of the launch site – broadcast from the top of a resort in South Padre Island, about 6 miles away – check out SPadre’s 24-hour live feed.

NASASpaceflight also offers broadcasts with multiple high-quality camera views and input from a group of knowledgeable commentators. Their livestream will be embedded here once it’s available.

This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published April 19.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX is preparing to test-fly a new Starship after the last four exploded. It could return NASA astronauts to the moon.

elon musk starship happy success thumb 4x3
Left: The SN10 Starship prototypes soars above Boca Chica, Texas on March 3, 2021. Right: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

SpaceX is getting ready to launch its fifth high-flying Starship from its Texas rocket facilities this week.

Unlike its predecessors, this particular mega-spaceship is a relative of NASA’s next moon lander – the vehicle that will put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

Starship serial No. 11, or SN15, is the latest of a series of Starship prototypes that SpaceX is launching up to six miles above Boca Chica, Texas.

As SN15 approaches the peak of its flight, it should shut off its three truck-sized Raptor engines one by one. Then SN15 should tip sideways and plunge back to Earth, using four wing flaps to control its fall.

As it nears the ground, SN15 should reignite its engines to flip itself upright again and gently lower to the landing pad. This is where its predecessors have failed, though.

The first two prototypes that soared to high altitude, SN8 and SN9, slammed into the landing pad at high speed and exploded immediately. The third, SN10, landed in one piece but blew up 10 minutes later. The fourth, SN11, exploded in mid-air as it re-lit its engines for landing.

starship prototype explosions collage spacex boca chica spadre
From left to right: The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

For SpaceX, explosions during rocket development are par for the course.

“They use a different development philosophy than the government does, which is: Fly. If something goes wrong, they try to fix it. Fly again. If something else goes wrong, they try to fix that,” John Logsdon, founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider after the fourth Starship explosion. “People have complimented SpaceX on how quickly they move.”

But, he added, “the fact that they’ve had these early development-program problems means that there will have to be a record of success before anybody except an extreme risk taker is willing to get aboard.”

Nailing the landing is even more critical now that NASA has chosen Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon.

The agency announced on Friday that it’s working with SpaceX to turn Starship into the lunar lander that will jumpstart its Artemis program, which aims to establish a permanent human presence on the moon. NASA hopes to land its first crewed Starship there in 2024, but a new report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General found that it’s “highly unlikely” the agency will meet this deadline.

starship moon human landing system
Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry NASA astronauts to the moon’s surface during the Artemis mission.

On SpaceX’s end, a major step toward the moon will be flying and landing Starships here on Earth – without blowing them up.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has ambitions beyond the lunar surface, though. Ultimately, he has said, he plans to build 1,000 Starships that carry people and cargo to Mars and establish a settlement there.

Musk said Thursday on Twitter that the company was aiming to launch SN15 sometime this week. Government clearances indicate that Tuesday and Wednesday might offer flight opportunities.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued airspace-closure notices for the area from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The Cameron County judge has also issued local road closures – another requirement for launch – from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

How to watch Starship’s flight live

As of Monday afternoon, SN15 was upright on the Boca Chica launchpad. During the test flight, SpaceX will likely livestream from that site and from cameras inside the rocket’s skirt, where the engines are located.

The up-close cameras have provided stunning footage of past Starship flights, like the below footage of SN9. (We’ll embed SpaceX’s live feed below once it’s available.)

In the meantime, a few rocket enthusiasts and fans of the company are broadcasting live from Boca Chica.

NASASpaceflight broadcasters will likely cover a critical “static fire” engine test that SpaceX must conduct ahead of launch, anchoring SN15 to the launchpad and igniting its engines. It’s unclear when that will happen, but the earliest opportunity is Tuesday.

LabPadre, a YouTube channel from Louis Balderas, a Texas resident who lives just across the bay from Boca Chica, offers six unique views of the Starship launch site. Below is the channel’s main 4K-resolution feed.

For a more distant view of the launch site – broadcast from the top of a hotel resort in South Padre Island about 6 miles away – check out SPadre’s 24-hour live feed.

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NASA has chosen SpaceX’s Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon

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Left: The SN10 Starship prototypes soars above Boca Chica, Texas, March 3, 2021. Right: Elon Musk

NASA has picked SpaceX to put its astronauts on the moon for the first time since 1972.

The agency announced the partnership on Friday – a new $2.9 billion contract.

To accomplish this goal, NASA will work with SpaceX to turn its Starship mega-spaceship into the most advanced lunar lander in history – and the first fully reusable one. NASA officials say Starship could land two astronauts on the moon as soon as 2024 as part of the agency’s Artemis program.

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Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry NASA astronauts to the moon’s surface during the Artemis mission.

Through Artemis, NASA eventually aims to establish a permanent presence on the moon. The agency’s vision includes lunar habitats and a moon-orbiting space station. After that, it hopes to expand similar operations to Mars.

“We won’t stop at the moon. NASA’s long-term goal has always been to send humans to Mars, which is rich in discovery. And the moon is a natural stepping stone to getting us there,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said during a briefing on Friday.

That’s a goal NASA shares with SpaceX founder Elon Musk. In addition to carrying astronauts to the moon, Musk has said that he plans to build 1,000 Starships in order to fly people and cargo to Mars and establish a settlement there.

Musk responded to Friday’s announcement with an emoji-filled tweet saying simply: “NASA Rules!!”

SpaceX beat out two competitors for the contract: Blue Origin, founded by Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos, and defense contractor Dynetics. NASA was expected to choose two of the three for the new landing-system contract, but it settled on just SpaceX.

SpaceX’s $2.9 billion bid was much lower than the prices its competitors offered, according to NASA’s selection statement. The document notes that SpaceX plans to “self-fund and assume financial risk for over half of the development and test activities,” since the company wants to use Starship for its own commercial activities as well.

The first moon landing in 50 years

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SpaceX’s SN8 Starship prototype attempts to land at the company’s development facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on December 9, 2020.

NASA’s contract calls for SpaceX to conduct a full, uncrewed test flight before Starship carries any astronauts. For this demonstration, Starship would launch toward the moon using its 23-story Super Heavy booster – which SpaceX is still developing. The uncrewed Starship would then have to prove that it can descend to the lunar surface using its Raptor engines to control the landing. It’s not yet clear whether the lander will then lift back off to reenter lunar orbit or return to Earth.

If that goes well, NASA plans to conduct a crewed demonstration mission in which another Starship would land two astronauts on the moon. One of them would be the first woman to reach the lunar surface. NASA has pledged to send an astronaut of color on a future Artemis mission.

For that crewed demonstration mission, NASA plans to launch its own mega-rocket – the Space Launch System – towards the moon, with an astronaut crew tucked into the Orion spaceship atop it.

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An artist’s rendering of the Space Launch System rocket lifting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Then once in lunar orbit, the Starship and Orion would rendezvous so that two of the astronauts could move to the SpaceX vehicle. That moon-lander version of Starship will feature “a spacious cabin and two airlocks for astronaut moonwalks,” NASA said in a statement on Friday.

After landing, the plan calls for the astronaut pair to spend a week exploring the lunar surface before Starship launches them back to Orion, where their colleagues would be waiting to return to Earth.

Starship hasn’t landed yet without exploding

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From left to right: The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

SpaceX has been launching Starship prototypes from its rocket-testing facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, since last year. Four prototypes have flown to high altitudes – at least 6 miles above the ground – but they’ve all exploded or fallen apart upon their return to Earth.

The prototypes have, however, successfully demonstrated that the vehicle can fly and control its belly-flop fall back to Earth using four wing flaps.

The company hopes to nail the landing and get Starship to orbit by the end of the year. It’s an ambitious timeline, especially since the company will likely have to conduct an environmental review in order to get an orbital-launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“NASA is providing insight throughout this development and is ensuring that this system will be safe for our astronauts,” Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager of the agency’s Human Landing System program, said in Friday’s briefing.


“We are confident in NASA’s partnership with SpaceX to help us achieve the Artemis mission, and look forward to continuing our work toward landing astronauts on the moon to prepare for the next giant leap towards Mars,” she added.

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