Elon Officially Unveils the Starhopper

Elon Musk has officially unveiled the Starhopper. It is actual images and not renderings. Nextbigfuture has been tracking the construction for the last month.

Some have noted how the shiny Starhopper rocket is from the pages of 1950s science fiction.

The story to look at is Robert Heinlein’s book The Man Who Sold the Moon and the movie Destination Moon which was released in 1950. The movie was cowritten by Heinlein and won the Academy Award for Visual Effects. The rocket ship in the movie looks very similar to the planned SpaceX Super Heavy Starship.

The film’s premise is that U.S. private industry will mobilize, finance, and manufacture the first spacecraft to the Moon, while making the assumption that the U.S. government will then be forced to purchase or lease this new technology to remain the dominant power in space and on the Moon. Industrialists are shown cooperating to support the private venture. In the final scene, as the crew approaches the Earth, the traditional “The End” title card heralds the dawn of the coming Space Age: “This is THE END…of the Beginning”.

Space development was stalled for many years after the Apollo missions. We had the space shuttle and the space station but there was a long plateau in capability. SpaceX is giving a private industry rebirth. SpaceX will send the next major manned mission around the moon.

The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship will now be made of mirror polished stainless steel and will have tripod legs. The real SpaceX vehicle looks very similar to what is in Destination Moon.

Another Falcon 9 Launch of Iridium 8

SpaceX is also broadcasting a webcast for a launch today of another Falcon 9. This will launch an Iridium satellite.

SpaceX is targeting Friday, January 11 for the launch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This is the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 7:31 a.m. PST, or 15:31 UTC, and the satellites will begin deployment approximately an hour after launch.

Falcon 9’s first stage for the Iridium-8 mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean