SpaceX Orbital Starship Flying Soon! NASA Abandon SLS for 2024 Moon Mission?
We're amazed by the fast progress of the two SpaceX orbital Starship prototypes in Boca Chica and Cocoa. Moreover, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully sent the heavy AMOS-17 satellite into its orbit. But why didn't a Falcon 9 reentry happen, despite the rocket 1st stage being reusable? Last but not least, the secret X-37B military space plane and the LightSail 2 solar sail spacecraft can't be missing in this week's spaceflight news!
While we're eagerly awaiting the second Starhopper untethered hop of as high as 200 m, SpaceX Starship orbital prototype at SpaceX Texas facility is nearing its final assembly stage. According to Elon, the very first orbital Starship flight test could take place as early as by the end of August, after at least three raptor engines being installed onto Elon Musk Starship test rocket.
Why didn't the Falcon 9 first stage return to the launch site after separating from the second stage during the latest AMOS-17 mission? We give you our explanation in the video, and of course we'd like to hear your opinion in the comments as well :) But at least, the Falcon 9 fairing recovery from the Falcon 9 reusable second stage was a success.
NASA just released a 250 page technical assessment of SpaceX Super Heavy booster and Starship vehicle. The historic Apollo Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) will get new structures and upgrades, in order to support the planned Starship / Super Heavy launch frequency of as high as 24 times per year. "Starship / SuperHeavy will enable delivery of cargo and people to the Moon and Mars". Similar versions of this sentence appear multiple times in NASA's assessment for the SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy launch vehicle. Is NASA finally accepting the fact that their own SLS (Space Launch System) can't compete with SpaceX's reusable rockets in any way? If SpaceX continue their incredibly fast Starship and Raptor engine progress, we could indeed see Elon Musk Starship rocket flying for the Artemis Moon 2024 mission.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a new space command within the French Air Force.
The X-37B orbital test vehicle from the US Air Force has been in orbit for already 700 days. Since it's a classified mission, everyone is speculating about the real purpose behind this secret space plane.
The new SpaceX prototype suit, as well as the next gen space suit system from Collins Aerospace in collaboration with ILC Dover for future Moon and Mars missions, show significant improvements compared to NASA's current space suits.
LightSail 2 was launched more than one month ago by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Now the recent LightSail 2 sail deployment was a success, and the purpose of this small spacecraft is to demonstrate controlled solar sailing in low Earth orbit.
After the next SpaceX Starhopper flight and the first Starship prototype flight, Elon Musk is supposed to finally give the long overdue presentation about more detailed future plans for Starship / Super Heavy. We'll certainly keep a close eye on this, as well as on NASA's probable slow but already happening transition from building SLS to solely utilizing commercial rocket launch systems for all future Moon and Mars missions.
We analysed Elon Musk Mars colony plan in detail:
Falcon Heavy Launch bringing Lightsail-2 into orbit:
------- Interesting resources to look up: -------
The 250 page NASA environmental assessment of Starship and Super Heavy:
NASA industry partnerships mentioning SpaceX twice and even Starship by name:
On the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative:
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