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SpaceX: Starship Orbital Flight, Starbase Sign Makes its Debut, Congress Throwing Blue Origin a Lifeline, and More!

By Cje95 | Texas Living | 18 May 2021


Starship

Since the successful landing of SN15 people have been anxiously awaiting the next step SpaceX was going to take with the project. For once I can say thanks to the Federal Communication Commission of FCC the answer is finally out about the next step! SpaceX will be attempting an orbital launch! What is even crazier is that they are asking for a 6-month window starting at the end of June.

 

The launch will occur out of Starbase, Texas, and last about 90 minutes. It will not complete a whole orbit of the Earth as it will splash down about 75 miles north of Hawaii. SpaceX will not be attempting to recover the ship as they normally do though.  The logic behind this is that it is a lot safer especially for the first launch. This will be a powered soft landing in the ocean though meaning that the engines will reignite to "land" the ship in the ocean where SpaceX will then recover it. This area was chosen due to the location and if the Starship breaks up upon reentry it will do so over the Pacific Ocean as opposed to land where people could be more seriously injured. 

 

This will also be the debut of the new Super Heavy which will launch Starship into orbit. It will be attached to Starship for a total of 171 seconds before returning to Earth. It is not clear how it will be recovered but it is supposed to land 20 miles away from Starbase in the Gulf of Mexico. It could be that SpaceX will position one of their oil rigs there for it to land on. The last time I had checked SpaceX owned 3 different ones and were redoing them to handle launches and landings of Starship but they may not be done yet. 

 

Starbase, Texas

What seems like yesterday but dates back now a couple of months Elon teased the idea of incorporating the area that SpaceX has in South Texas into a city. While it seemed like a joke at first glance it later came out that he was very serious about it. Now, what would Elon name it you might wonder? Well, Starbase of course since this location will be launching the Starship missions and has handled all of the Starship testings thus far. Even with all of these public moves, I was initially still hesitant on if he would do it, and well note to self never doubt Elon as he is definitely moving forward. Here is the brand new sign that was set up a couple of days ago at the launch location. 

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I am pretty sure it is okay now to say Elon is going to keep working and driving this idea/project forward. It has come out Cameron County where the land is located has been in contact with SpaceX on and off about what is needed to be done to get it hashed out. 

 

Congressional Lifeline for Blue Origin?!?!

When NASA opted to give the lunar lander contract to just one company, SpaceX, instead of two like the initial proposal called for it sparked an outcry. What has since come out though shows that due to Congress being well Congress and budget issues NASA really had to go with one and they needed to really go with the cheapest option SpaceX. Some members of Congress have now proposed amendments to different bills to allow NASA to direct more money to this project. 

 

In a way that only Congress could present itself, it is only the Senators from the states that lost that are proposing this. The biggest backer of this is Sen. Marie Cantwell from Washington where Blue Origin is based out of California which has SpaceX has not taken up this fight since they already got the money. What is even crazier is that the amendment that Sen. Cantwell added allots $10 billion just for the second choice. From how it is currently written SpaceX would be burned from additional funding for being well cheaper...... This leaves the possibility that whoever finishes second could get over 3 times the amount the original winner got and I really cannot wrap my head around the reason for that. 

 

Another Successful Falcon 9 Launch and Recovery

SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 rocket from Flordia a couple of days ago and this one carried 52 Starlink satellites and 2 rideshare ones! They were also going to recover the farings of this launch with their new recovery ships. The old ships had huge nets but due to issues with still catching them, they now have a crane on a boat to pluck them out of the water when they land. It will be interesting to see if they can reuse them or how many times they can be since they are landing in saltwater.

 

SpaceX & Google

Late last week it was announced that SpaceX and Google were partnering up for cloud-based services for Starlink customers. The cost and length of the deal have not been released yet but it is on track to launch by the end of 2021. This would be a huge coup for Google in the cloud space where they lag not only Amazon but also Microsoft so this could be their gamble to get back in the race. 

 

This allows SpaceX to build the massive terminals required right at the data centers Google owns. This helps keep downloading and uploading speeds quick as the terminals will be linked right into the data centers and thus the quickest connection possible. While I do not know where all of them are I do know Google owns several wind farms in the Rio Grande Valley to generate power for data centers which would help explain the link as it is at its core coming from the same area give or take. This will expand naturally to all of the Google data centers as the service expands beyond the 6 nations that are part of Beta testing. 

 

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Cje95
Cje95

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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