2019-07-27 07:40:17 (edited by magurp244 2019-08-22 08:54:39)

As reported by [arstechnica]:

After spending months hammering together sheets of metal in a grassy Texas field, SpaceX's Star Hopper prototype has conducted its first launch test thursday evening, ascending untethered on its Raptor engines approximately 20 to 30 feet, and landing a few feet nearby. This is a remarkable achievement, but more is yet to come. The current development of the Starship Mk 1 is broken into two parts, the aft section that flew on thursday, and the upper half in development a few kilometers away down the Boca Chica Highway. The sections will be mated together in the coming weeks, and they have intentions to fly this Mk 1 vehicle within the next two to three months, with the goal of reaching 20 or 30 kilometers later in the year.

While much yet remains to be done, the pace so far is incredible. For the curious, you can watch a video of the StarHoppers short flight [here].

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2019-07-27 22:12:42

That's actually pretty awesome and I can't wait to see what comes in the future! Will definitely be following news on this thing.
A wise woman once said, "Star ships were meant to fly."
Hopefully this one does.

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2019-07-28 01:32:26

There gonna laugh at us in the future for our ridiculously over ambitious names for rockets, when they actually do have star hoppers...

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Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
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Oh! crap!

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2019-07-28 13:55:14

Without FTL, the best we could do would be a mix of fusion and laser propulsion to make relativistic speeds possible. Realistically, unless FTL turns out to be practical, we probably max out at 0.1c outside of the exceedingly rare-and-expensive, even by interstellar standards. In theory, a perfectly designed laser ship, with a high-quality laser highway could get far closer to C, but you'd have to build the laser stations at no more than 0.1c, probably much slower.
... But yeah, I had a long post with an aside about the "Star" bit being a weird name for an interplanetary ship, but it got kinda weird, so I deleted it.
It seems like everyone who hears about Orbital Rings immediately wants one, in spite of how outrageously expensive and difficult those would be at any point in the next century. Spacex's bringing launch costs down, and Blue Origin trying to industrialize space, are both necessary steps to making Orbital Rings make sense as a goal, and once you have one of those, you basically win. In the short-term, though, I'm hoping someone can scrape together the resources to build the kind of space infrastructure so that we can get genuine cost-effective production of 0g and vacuum chemicals / crystals / solar panels / etc, the kind of stuff that would solve a ton of Earth's problems if they weren't so expensive that even the obscenely rich haven't pulled them off. If you want post-scarcity, you need that nigh-infinite energy, space, and material. As has been made abundantly clear over the past decades, the Earth can only handle so much, and the only way to put the human genie back in the bottle is with levels of genocide that would make Thanos blush.

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2019-07-29 01:55:08

Hmm, well there are a few really interesting pieces of tech in development that could have us easily booting around the solar system at least. The first being the [VASIMR] Engine, or Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket. What it does is it injects an inert propellant gas and heats/ionizes it using radio waves into a super heated plasma, the resulting plasma is then accellerated and ejected with magnetic fields, which eliminates some of the failure points of conventional Ion engines, such as their electrodes. The beauty of the system is its ability to scale with power with variable thrust profiles, its estimated a well powered VASIMR engine could get to mars in 39 days. Course, the big problem with it is thats its an energy hog, generating tesla range magnetic fields and a lot of waste heat to contain the plasma. Currently there are plans for more low powered space tugs, but for the higher performance applications people are thinking nuclear power's the only currently viable solution, and the closest thing to that would be NASA's little [Kilopower] project for compact fission reactors in space.

As for working in space, not many people seem to have noticed, but Bigelow Aerospace is the company to be paying very close attention to. Some of you might recognize the name, as its the company that flew and tested the inflatable space module on the ISS awhile back. Well they've been quiet lately, but have been impatiently waiting for commercial crew launches like SpaceX's Dragon Crew Capsule to finally get certified and off the ground to start building private [Commercial Space Stations] using their inflatable modules. Two modules should be ready by 2020, with launches contracted for 2021 and 2022 have already been signed. The station link is a pretty interesting read for some of their concepts, like medical stations, biological containment, research, deep space complexes, etc.

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2019-08-14 09:20:39

As reported by [space.com]:

The FAA has just cleared SpaceX for the 200m flight test of the StarHopper prototype, with a window spanning august 16th to the 18th. Elon Musk was rather hopeful that the test could be conducted within the given time frame, so grab some popcorn for the next stage of development. Further news on the Starship-Super Heavy design is still planned for August 24th.

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2019-08-17 01:51:49

As reported by the [Daily Express]:

The FAA has delayed the StarHopper flight test pending additional Hazard Analysis, Elon Musk anouncing the decision after a discussion with the FAA. Some outlets have tentatively put the new test date between August 19th to the 21st.

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2019-08-17 04:21:23

I was in Florida when the SpaceX launched last Tuesday. It was really cool to hear. There was a lot of rain my parents said they saw it for a bit then it went behind a cloud.

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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2019-08-22 08:55:05

As reported by [Testlarati]:

The current 200m flight test of the StarHopper prototype has been canceled. Given the rapid development of the Mk1 and Mk2 Starship prototypes towards ready status, and which have much higher fidelity, the StarHopper would become redundant the moment they become operational, making the 200m test flight and permits for it a waste of time and effort. As a result, Elon Musks Starship update dated for August 24th has instead been moved to roughly mid-september to mid-october, when the Mk1 and Mk2 should be ready for test flights.

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