SpaceX News: Starship, Crew-1 Return and Lunar Lander

By Cje95 | Texas Living | 1 May 2021

Starship Testing:

Today was the first day that it looked like we could get a test launch of SN15 from Boca Chica but stood down this afternoon. The official reasoning was not given but the roads around the complex were reopened. If I had to guess it would be the weather as some nasty weather was headed down there today. My dad was actually driving back to Houston from South Padre today and he said it was already a mess in the morning. 


SpaceX seems to avoid weekend launches so that Boca Chica Beach can be open for nearby residents. If I had to guess the next launch window would not be until next Monday but depending on the weather they could still try again tomorrow. If this launch and landing are successful that could provide key reasoning for the lunar lander contract NASA gave them that I will talk about later on. They also have just been so close multiple times so they have to be close or at least I hope so!


Crew-1 Delay Again:

The weather is not the friend of the crew aboard the Crew-1 mission as yet again they are delayed in returning to Earth. The ISS has to be getting a little claustrophobic with having 11 astronauts up there for as long as they have! Flordia's weather is supposed to clear up by Sunday so they would be able to undock on Saturday then return to Earth Sunday. Luckily with 7 different landing zones, there are a variety of options for NASA and SpaceX to use.


I look forward to the crew discussing what the reentry was like. With the Demo-2 manned mission, the two astronauts were pretty surprised by the reentry sounds that were heard. Nothing bad just these astronauts had previously flown on Shuttle Missions which had a completely different reentry path and landing compared to this capsule! The astronauts currently aboard the Crew-1 mission have ridden in Russia's Soyuz capsule so they should be somewhat aware of the sounds of reentry via capsule. 


Lunar Lander Contract:

In what appears to just be typical now when getting awarded a huge government contract the $2.9 billion lunar lander contract is currently on hold. Both SpaceX and NASA agreed to the hold while the U.S. Government Accountability Office reviews the protests. After initially just Blue Origin filing a 50-page protest to how the contract was awarded Dynetics has also filed their own protest. The success of SN15 could be huge to show that the concept not only works but is making progress. 


Officially all work between NASA and SpaceX is halted with the lunar lander project but that is not the sole purpose so SpaceX can continue the development of Starship and use it as evidence that they are on track like they need to be. SpaceX had been listed earlier by NASA as a high-risk project because of how different it was in its design. Both Blue Origin and Dynetics had concepts that were much more reminiscent of the Apollo program thus using the "tried and true" method. With the change of administration who knows what the eventual outcome could be. The latest thought that the accountability office can take though is August 4th. After that, the contract has to either be approved or not so it should not take too much longer and SpaceX will continue its development nonetheless. 

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Graduated from Texas A&M in May of 2020 had dabbled in crypto since 2017 but dove in at the end of 2019. December of 2020 packed up and moved to D.C.! Huge sports fan, space nerd, and international newsreader! Follow me on Twitter @Cje95_

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