SpaceX begins installing ‘Mechazilla’ arms designed to catch Starship rockets

After a busy few weeks spent attaching Mechazilla’s two rocket-catching arms to a carriage-like backbone, SpaceX has begun the process of installing the integrated structure on Starbase’s ~450 ft (~135m) tall Starship ‘launch tower’. Once complete, SpaceX will have created a first-of-its-kind launch tower designed to stack and manipulate Starships and Super Heavy boosters in […]

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SpaceX’s next Crew Dragon astronaut mission settles on Halloween launch

After initially moving forward 24 hours from October 31st to October 30th, SpaceX’s next Crew Dragon astronaut mission has slipped back to its initial Halloween launch date. Again scheduled to lift off around 2:21 am EDT (UTC-4) on Halloween morning, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are on track to support their third […]

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SpaceX uses robot dog to inspect Starship after first engine test in months

SpaceX’s first orbital-class Starship prototype has survived the first of several expected Raptor tests, kicking off an engine test campaign that could mark a number of new milestones. With just 20 minutes left in a seven-hour test window, Starship prototype S20 (Ship 20) appeared to either unsuccessfully attempt its first Raptor static fire test or […]

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SpaceX rolls second-to-last ‘cryoshell’ to Starbase’s orbital tank farm

In the last two days, SpaceX has transported a giant mystery tank and the second-to-last ‘cryoshell’ to Starbase’s orbital tank farm, pushing Starship’s first orbital-class launch site a step closer to completion. While the horizontal tank moved to the pad on Sunday remains decidedly mysterious, the ‘cryoshell’ is a well-understood component of SpaceX’s custom-built solution […]

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SpaceX’s first orbital Starship launch slips to March 2022 in NASA document

A NASA document discussing a group’s plans to document SpaceX’s first orbital-velocity Starship reentry appears to suggest that the next-generation rocket’s orbital launch debut has slipped several months into 2022. In March 2021, CEO Elon Musk confirmed a report that SpaceX was working towards a target of July 2021 for Starship’s first orbital launch attempt. […]

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SpaceX rapidly tests, ships Falcon 9 second stage for next NASA astronaut launch

SpaceX has shipped, tested, and delivered the new Falcon 9 upper stage tasked with carrying the company’s next Crew Dragon astronauts to orbit as early as October 30th. Offering rare insight into the kind of timelines and margins SpaceX operates on for even its most important missions, a Falcon upper stage bearing NASA’s ‘worm’ logo […]

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SpaceX installs full set of car-sized grid fins on second Super Heavy booster

SpaceX appears to have installed a full set of car-sized grid fins on Starship’s second flightworthy Super Heavy booster, leaving the massive rocket just a few steps away from completion. Measuring ~69m (~225 ft) tall and 9m (~30 ft) wide, Super Heavy Booster 5 (B5) – like B4 before it – will be one of […]

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SpaceX schedules Falcon 9’s second West Coast Starlink launch

A pair of notices to mariners (NTMs) published earlier this week reveal that SpaceX could conduct its second West Coast Starlink launch as early as Sunday, October 17th. Used to delineate certain regions mariners should temporarily avoid or heed caution in, NTMs – while cryptic – often reveal roughly when a rocket launch or spacecraft […]

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SpaceX to launch Varda Space’s first Rocket Lab-derived ‘space factory’ satellite

Startup Varda Space says it has contracted with SpaceX to launch its first satellite – based on a Rocket Lab bus called Photon – on a Falcon 9 rideshare mission in early 2023. Founded in late 2020, Varda Space says its mission “is to build the first space factory” – or, to be more precise, […]

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SpaceX installing Raptors on first orbital-class Starship – third time’s the charm?

For the third time in two months, SpaceX has begun installing Raptor engines on its first orbital-class Starship prototype – hopefully for good. In no uncertain terms, Starship 20’s (S20) path to what could be its last Raptor installations has been about as windy and mysterious as they come. Starship 20 (S20) left the Starbase […]

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