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posted by Fnord666 on Friday August 23 2019, @07:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the hop-to-it! dept.

SpaceX is planning to attempt its highest hop ever of its new Starhopper prototype. This rocket is designed to test out certain capabilities and performance characteristics that will inform the development of SpaceX's upcoming Starship rocket (formerly known as BFR — Big 'Falcon' Rocket).

It looks like Elon Musk's Starship prototype, dubbed "Starhopper," has the green light to make its highest hop yet as soon as Monday.

SpaceX had planned to test the single-engine version of its eventual Mars vehicle with its second short flight last week, but the launch was abruptly canceled. Musk later tweeted that the Federal Aviation Administration required a bit more "hazard analysis" and Starhopper "should be clear to fly soon."

Now the FAA has posted a new airspace closure for the area around the SpaceX test facility in Boca Chica, Texas, beginning Monday afternoon and running through Wednesday night.

So it looks like we could finally see Starhopper make some serious maneuvers. Its last test hop was a short, nighttime 20-meter (66 feet) liftoff, hover and landing that was mostly obscured from view by fire, smoke and darkness.

This time the hope is that Starhopper will reach an altitude of around 650 feet (198 meters) before returning to the ground.

The NOTAM (Notices to Airmen) linked above specifies:


[...] Altitude: From the surface up to and including 8000 feet MSL

[...] Effective Dates:
From August 26, 2019 at 1900 UTC To August 27, 2019 at 0500 UTC
From August 27, 2019 at 1900 UTC To August 28, 2019 at 0500 UTC
From August 28, 2019 at 1900 UTC To August 29, 2019 at 0500 UTC

Also at:

Original Submission

Related Stories

SpaceX's Starhopper Completes 150 Meter Test Hop 6 comments

SpaceX's Starhopper has successfully completed a 150-meter test hop. Due to two orbital prototypes of Starship already nearing completion, Starhopper will not fly again, and will instead be converted into a vertical test stand for Raptor engine static fire tests:

SpaceX's Starhopper test vehicle – after finally gaining the required Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permit for its highest hop yet – successfully carried out its test on Tuesday. The approval was required to pave the way for the 150 meter jump out of Boca Chica, Texas. Monday's attempt was scrubbed at T-0 due to an issue relating to the ignitor system on the SN6 Raptor, moving the next attempt to Tuesday which was successful.

[...] Currently, SpaceX has two full-scale prototypes nearing completion which are designated Starship Mk 1 and Starship Mk 2 respectively. The Mk 1 prototype is being built at the Boca Chica launch site while Mk 2 is being constructed in Cocoa, Florida.

Construction of both prototypes is progressing well, with the primary structures of the two vehicles nearing completion.

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the two major sections of the vehicles (fairing and tanks) will soon be stacked together. From there, technicians will install the control fins, Raptor engines, and landing gear.

A presentation revealing new details about Starship has been tentatively rescheduled for mid-September.

Also at Ars Technica and Teslarati.

A video of the flight is available on YouTube.

Previously: SpaceX Launches CRS-18 Using Twice-Flown Booster, Starhopper Finally Flies
SpaceX 'Starhopper' Highest-Ever Test Flight Early Next Week
SpaceX's Starhopper 150-Meter Test... Scrubbed for Monday; Try Again Tuesday at Same Time [Updated]

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 23 2019, @10:00AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 23 2019, @10:00AM (#884010)

    Artemis is the first book released by Andy Weir after achieving 'The Martian' fame. I found it pretty disappointing in that it was a pretty overt effort to grab a Hugo award by directly appealing to their current trend for hardcore identity politics. The protagonist is a Muslim Saudi Arabian super-powered can-do-anything girl who likes to sleep around, tell everybody about it, and also writes about her escapades with her pen pal in Kenya which in Weir's world also happens to be the center of the space revolution. At first I also dismissed that as more identity politics, but there's actually some logic there. It's equatorially located (awesome for launches) but there's something that the book also talks about. There were no real rules or regulations and so it helped the industry boom (... no pun intended) and foment within the nation.

    It just seems absurd that a private company with an extremely well established record is unable to launch their rocket a couple of hundred meters in the sky because a regulatory agency gets cold feet at the very last moment. It's absurd. If we had as many regulatory agencies in the 1800s as we do today, I suspect America would never have come to become the great power that it is. For Musk who now has billions of dollars and significant governmental influence, this is just a mild annoyance. But these sort of regulatory agencies can, and do, completely destroy or deter newer companies simply because they don't have the resources to jump through the million hoops required to do, in general, exactly what they were going to do to start with anyhow.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 23 2019, @10:38AM

      by takyon (881) <> on Friday August 23 2019, @10:38AM (#884025) Journal

      It was looking a lot worse [] earlier and Musk never took to his readily available soapbox to badmouth the FAA. All he said was "Good conversation with head of FAA Space. Need a bit more hazard analysis & should be clear to fly soon."

      Starhopper is rapidly approaching obsolescence as a testing platform for Raptor engines since two (sub)orbital prototypes are within weeks or months of being able to fly. These will be more representative of the final Starships. If the authorization delay had continued, Starhopper may have never flown again. Whether that matters is up to you to decide. But more interesting than a 200 meter hop (to me) was the August 24th update presentation on Starship. That has apparently been delayed [] until mid-September.

      The opposing view to your point about regulations would be that SpaceX is moving faster than any aerospace company has in decades. Bureaucracy just looks extra slow in comparison.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Friday August 23 2019, @11:04AM

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Friday August 23 2019, @11:04AM (#884028)

      > It's absurd

      ... until someone gets a rocket landing on their house.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Friday August 23 2019, @11:15AM (4 children)

    by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Friday August 23 2019, @11:15AM (#884032) Journal

    I would like to propose a ban of all rich people from space until they use their wealth to fix problems down here and stop creeping out 13 year old girls.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 23 2019, @12:03PM (3 children)

      by takyon (881) <> on Friday August 23 2019, @12:03PM (#884048) Journal

      No. That's the same idiotic argument that has been thrown around a million times before, only with an irrelevant Epstein twist.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 2) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Friday August 23 2019, @04:37PM (2 children)

        by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Friday August 23 2019, @04:37PM (#884221) Journal

        People like me have been pointing out wealthy people squandering their wealth in parasitic immoral ways for a long time, as well as the true nature of the parasitic immoral alliance with israel, but now we have the ultimate proof, proof beyond anything I would have ever dreamed of, that the people who claim they deserve to be on top of the pyramid are actually little half-witted degenerate shits running high school blackmail pranks. (see also jeff bezos 'alive girl' texts)

        And you are unphased.

        Would you care to debate this in a friendly civil manner? I am starting a thing called and I'm looking for people to argue with in an orderly, bounded format.

        How would you frame the dialectic, 'We need mega-rich people even if they kidnap a given number of children annually so that we can have things like hedge funds and spaceships.' And you take the kidnapper side?

        Or maybe just explain how my argument is idiotic in greater detail plox thx, I love hearing why I'm wrong.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday August 24 2019, @12:35PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <> on Saturday August 24 2019, @12:35PM (#884689) Journal

          NASA offers a great return [] on investment even if you place no value on astronomy. SpaceX has developed Falcon 9, Heavy, and now Starship on a shoestring budget. The end result will be a fully reusable rocket that will decrease the cost per kg/ton to get things into low Earth orbit by orders of magnitude. Yes, this capability can improve people's lives, and turbocharge an agency like NASA.

          You could look to Blue Origin if you want to see some wealth squandering ($1 billion a year from Bezos), but even they are producing real rocket engines that they are selling to ULA.

          Bezos had an affair? Incredible! Normal people never do that. He's paying for that mistake.

          How would you frame the dialectic, 'We need mega-rich people even if they kidnap a given number of children annually so that we can have things like hedge funds and spaceships.' And you take the kidnapper side?

          The burden is on you to prove that these specific mega-rich people are kidnappers. No, being seen with Epstein or even on his plane or sex island is not evidence. Although it would be funny to see the Stephen Hawking sex tapes.

          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
          • (Score: 2) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Saturday August 24 2019, @02:33PM

            by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Saturday August 24 2019, @02:33PM (#884753) Journal

            The finer point of my assertion is that we are just banning rich people from space, not space development. Which is to say Bezos could build his rockets just not ride one. I know it would be difficult to enforce this law on someone who has spaceships, but this I think just illustrates the point further.

            What when Bezos could kidnap his wife into space? Or you? If Epstein could call off the police and fbi for 20 years so he could be the gatekeeper for victoria's secret's modelling talent agency, how would you or anyone expect to get justice in a world where he couldn't just go to an island, but a moonbase or space station?

            Anyone who is like, 'well we have heard the worst of what epstein has done' is truly naive. We have heard what he was unable to keep silent, which is almost nothing about what he has actually done. If you don't think he had some blood to clean up with the tile and carpet removal devices he quietly ordered to his mansion, then I think we can rule you out as a candidate for detective or investigative reporter, or appropriate legislator of space laws. He was active in eastern europe, where there are even fewer people who have to be paid off to kidnap someone.

            It's also the plot of Avatar and the entire Aliens franchise, if we let this bizarro corporate system loose on the universe, we are all going to be made responsible for it one way or the other while the wealthy gain the absolute, infinite ability to evade that responsibility.

            No justice, no peace, is an absolute law, and justice is in crisis on our planet not due to the masses of poor people, but due to handfuls of rich people. And yes it is a crisis, and you'd definitely think so if your granddaughter had been seduced and manipulated by a 60 year old creep who is above the law with some bogus promise of a modeling career that turned nearly immediately into a prostitution gig.