I’m tempering my excitement with the knowledge that further delays are possible, but signs are currently pointing to a Starship SN9 12.5km hop attempt today. A successful ascent, controlled free-fall, and vertical landing will be a huge milestone for SpaceX’s Starship program and our prospects of going places in these magnificent, ambitious vehicles.
Check LabPadre’s Nerdle Cam or the NASASpaceflight channel for the livestream. Barring a @SpaceX announcement, the time of the test flight may remain a mystery as usual. It’s been a magnificent sight to see SN9 and SN10 standing side-by-side at the launch site for the past few days. With visuals like this, it’s not hard to imagine a sci-fi future made real where we have fleets of Starships in active service.
The huge crane that’s used to put them in place is a pretty awesome sight too:
Tune in to the Nerdle Cam livestream for more!
In related news, this 4-minute video from Terran Space Academy presents the significance of SpaceX’s achievements to date and the Starship program beautifully:
(For more from this great channel, check out Starship: The Next Generation.)
Last but not least, an exciting announcement from SpaceX regarding the next phase in its crewed Dragon program:
Today, it was announced SpaceX is targeting no earlier than the fourth quarter of this year for Falcon 9’s launch of Inspiration4 – the world’s first all-commercial astronaut mission to orbit – from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, is donating the three seats alongside him aboard Dragon to individuals from the general public who will be announced in the weeks ahead. Learn more on how to potentially join this historic journey to space by visiting Inspiration4.com.
The Inspiration4 crew will receive commercial astronaut training by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing. They will go through emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations.
This multi-day journey, orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a customized flight path, will be carefully monitored at every step by SpaceX mission control. Upon conclusion of the mission, Dragon will reenter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida.
What an amazing time to be alive.