Report: Government Documents Allege SpaceX has Violated FAA Permit, Encroached on Boca Chica National Wildlife Refuge

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

60 Minutes+ reports that government documents back up allegations that SpaceX’s Starbase test facility in Texas has violated its federal permit through excessive road closings and has encroached and trespassed on the protected Boca Chica National Wildlife Refuge.

The documents back up a claim by the environmental group Save Rio Grande Valley (Save RGV) that SpaceX has been closing the Texas state highway that runs through its operation for more than the 300 hours per year allowed under the permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The organization sent a letter to the local district attorney outlining its concerns.

(more…)

Video: Starbase Launchpad Tour with Elon Musk

Video Caption: Join me as I take a tour of SpaceX’s Starbase launchpad with Elon Musk as our tour guide! This is part 3 or 3, so if you haven’t seen parts one and two, definitely start there!

Video Tour of SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica (Part II)

Video Caption: Join me as I take a tour of SpaceX’s Starbase facility with Elon Musk as our tour guide! This is part 2 of 3, so stay tuned, there’s another one coming!

If you need some notes on this video with key points, check out our article – https://everydayastronaut.com/starbas…

Need a rundown on Starship? I’ve got you covered with our “Complete Guide to Starship” https://youtu.be/-8p2JDTd13k

Report: SpaceX Raises $850 Million

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

CNBC reports that Elon Musk’s SpaceX has completed an equity funding round of $850 million, raising the company’s valuation to $74 billion.

The company raised the new funds at $419.99 a share, those people said — or just 1 cent below the $420 price that Elon Musk made infamous in 2018 when he declared he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at that price.

The latest round also represents a jump of about 60% in the company’s valuation from its previous round in August, when SpaceX raised near $2 billion at a $46 billion valuation.

In addition to SpaceX further building a war chest for its ambitious plans, company insiders and existing investors were able to sell $750 million in a secondary transaction, one of the people said.

SpaceX will use the funding to build out its 12,000-satellite Starlink broadband network and to develop its Super Heavy and Starship vehicles.

FAA Holding Public Scoping Period for SpaceX Boca Chica Environmental Assessment

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

SpaceX Boca Chica Launch Site Scoping Period
FAA Announcement

The FAA is holding a public scoping period to assist the FAA in determining the scope of issues for analysis in the draft environmental assessment (EA). As a part of the public scoping period, the FAA requests public comments. More information about providing public comments can be found at the end of this email.

(more…)

Starship Flies, Explodes While Attempting to Land

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

SpaceX flew its Starship SN8 vehicle for nearly seven minutes on Wednesday, but the ship exploded as it attempted to land at the test site in Boca Chica, Texas.

Starship SN8 in flight. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

The vehicle flew vertically, powered by three Raptor engines. One engine stopped, and then a second one stopped firing, leaving a sole Raptor to power the flight.

Starship SN8 flies on one engine. (Credit: SpaceX website)

“Successful ascent, switchover to header tanks & precise flap control to landing point!” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.

Starship SN8 in glide mode. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

Starship then pitched and glided to its landing area. However, SN8 was not able to right itself using engine power before it struck the ground at 6 minutes 42 seconds into the flight.

Starship SN8 explodes on impact. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

“Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!” Musk tweeted.

Prior to the flight test, Musk had estimated that SN8 had about a 30 percent chance of landing successfully.

SN8 was the latest in a series of Starship prototypes. SpaceX wants to use Starship and the Super Heavy rocket to launch crewed missions to the moon and Mars, satellites into orbit, and rapid point-to-point flights between distant locations on Earth.

SpaceX Could Launch 70 Times From Florida in 2023

Mobile service tower surrounding Falcon Heavy booster. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX would be launching up to 70 times annually from Florida by 2023, including polar orbit launches that are not currently conducted from the Sunshine State.

Elon Musk’s rocket company is also planning to construct a mobile service tower (MST) to support commercial and national security launches from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

(more…)