Launchapalooza: 26 New Boosters Debuting Worldwide

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.

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Musk Says Starship Ready to Fly From Boca Chica in July

Elon has always been optimistic on timetables, so we’ll see how long it takes.

The range is anywhere from 17 to 47 days from Musk’s June 14 tweet. You get a range of two to five months when you put those numbers into the Elon Time Converter. That means anywhere from mid-August to mid-November.

My guess is Aug. 15. Feel free to provide your best guess in the comments below. All dates must be for Central Time in Boca Chica. The actual date of the flight may vary depending upon where you live in the world. And, as always, no wagering!

FAA Stresses Required Environmental Mitigation Actions in Finding No Significant Impact From SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Launches

Starship/Super Heavy on the launch pad at Boca Chica, Texas. (Credit: SpaceX)

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will require SpaceX to take more than 75 actions to mitigate environmental impacts from its proposed plan to launch the Starship/Super Heavy vehicle from Boca Chica, Texas. 

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FAA Finds No Significant Impact From SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Launches From Boca Chica, Order Mitigation Steps

Jets fly by SpaceX’s Super Heavy/Starship launch system. (Credit: Jared Isaacman)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The FAA issued a mitigated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) decision on Monday that will SpaceX to launch its massive Starship/Super Heavy booster combination from its Starbase facility at Boca Chica, Texas. In order to launch, however, SpaceX must take a series of more than 75 actions to mitigate the impact on a sensitive wildlife areas that adjoin the launch base and the endangered and threatened species that live there.

FAA’s decision is a major step forward for SpaceX’s plans for a maiden flight of the booster combination from the Gulf Coast facility located just north of the Mexican border. It might also lead to litigation by a coalition of the environmental groups who believe the launch base is incompatible with the surrounding area.

FAA still needs to issue a launch license to SpaceX. The company plans to conduct a suborbital flight of the boosters that would see Starship crash into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii.

FAA’s decision is also good news for NASA. The space agency awarded a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to develop the Human Landing System (HLS) that will return U.S. astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time in more than half a century. The company is adapting Starship to be the lander; Super Heavy would launch it into space.

Starship/Super Heavy is the foundation of Elon Musk’s plan to colonize Mars. It is designed to launch 100 to 150 metric tons into Earth orbit.

FAA Delays Environmental Assessment for SpaceX Starship/Super Heavy Another 2 Weeks

Super Heavy/Starship system in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

FAA Statement

The FAA intends to issue the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the SpaceX Starship / Super Heavy project on June 13, 2022. Interagency consultation is ongoing.

The completion of the PEA will not guarantee that the FAA will issue a launch license. SpaceX’s application also must meet FAA safety, risk and financial responsibility requirements.

In addition, the comments submitted during the Draft PEA public comment period are posted here

SpaceX Looks to Raise $1.725 Billion in New Capital, $750 Million in Secondary Sale

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

CNBC reports on two stock sales by Elon Musk’s SpaceX that would send the company’s valuation to $127 billion:

The space venture is looking to bring in up to $1.725 billion in new capital, at a price of $70 per share, according to a company-wide email on Friday obtained by CNBC. Notably, SpaceX split its stock price 10-for-1 in February, which reduced the common stock to $56 a share – with the new valuation representing a 25% increase.

SpaceX is also conducting a secondary sale to company insiders and existing shareholders for up to $750 million in common stock. The company conducts these secondary offerings regularly, as a way for long-time stockholders to sell equity, given that SpaceX remains private more than 20 years since its founding.

The New York Post quoted a source as saying there was “very tepid demand” to SpaceX’s latest effort to raise capital, which would help to fund the company’s Starlink broadband satellite constellation and Starship/Super Heavy booster. The company raised $1.9 billion in 2020.

“No one is paying up for anything in this market,” the second source said, with public and private valuations of tech companies collapsing.

Part of Musk’s problem could be that many of his investors who typically participate in his fund-raisings committed several billion earlier this month to co-invest with him in Twitter. Now that position does not look great considering that Musk has questioned the social media giant’s financials.

Those loyal Musk investors for the moment might be somewhat tapped out, the first source said.

The value of Tesla stock has plunged since Musk announced plans to spend $44 billion to acquire Twitter. The decline in the stock has come amidst a general decline in tech stocks.

Musk has put the purchase on hold, saying that a lower price might be warranted if the number of automated bot accounts on Twitter are more than the company has previously stated. Twitter’s board, which approached the acquisition, said it will seek to enforce the sale.

Meanwhile, Musk has faced charges that he exposed himself to a SpaceX flight attendant and propositioned her for sex during a private jet trip to Europe. SpaceX is reported to have paid a $250,000 severance to the woman with a non-disclosure agreement that she not discuss the matter or disparate Musk or SpaceX.

Video: Elon Musk Explains Updates to Starship and Starbase

Video Caption: Today we’re going inside Starbase with the ultimate tour guide, Elon Musk. He’s going to take us through the High Bay to see where Starships are assembled, we’ll also see the new MegaBay under construction and talk about SpaceX’s plans to get this rocket flying.

Recommended videos to help with some context [Playlist] – https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLW…

Huge thanks to Ryan Chylinksi from Cosmic Perspective for helping shoot this video! – https://www.youtube.com/c/CosmicPersp... & http://patreon.com/cosmicperspective

FAA Pushes Starbase Environmental Assessment Back Another Month

Starship SN8 takes off from Boca Chica, Texas. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

FAA Statement

The FAA is working toward issuing the final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the SpaceX Starship / Super Heavy on May 31, 2022. SpaceX made multiple changes to its application that require additional FAA analysis. The agency continues to review around 18,000 general public comments. 

The completion of the PEA will not guarantee that the FAA will issue a launch license. SpaceX’s application must also meet FAA safety, risk and financial responsibility requirements.