Big Texas Will Be Production Site For SpaceX’s Biggest Rocket

SpaceX said it will develop and build its biggest spacecraft to date — Starship/Super Heavy – at its facility in South Texas instead of at the Port of Los …

SpaceX said it will develop and build its biggest spacecraft to date — Starship/Super Heavy – at its facility in South Texas instead of at the Port of Los Angeles as announced in April 2018.

Starship/Super Heavy was previously known as the BFR (for Big Falcon Rocket).

Development and manufacturing of the company’s Falcon 9/Heavy, Merlin and Raptor will continue at the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters. The announcement of the move to South Texas, however, did not eliminate the possibility SpaceX still plans to develop an oceanside factory in the near future for Starship/Super Heavy.

What is clear is that SpaceX will assemble and test its Starship prototype in Texas instead of California.

To streamline operations, SpaceX is developing and will test the Starship test vehicle at its site in south Texas, said a SpaceX statement. The company said this decision does not impact its current manufacture, design, and launch operations in Hawthorne and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SpaceX will, however, continue recovery operations of its reusable Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft at the Port of Los Angeles.

SpaceX is making a lot of noise about the development of the Starship “hopper,” a prototype of Starship/Super Heavy. The first short test flights for the hopper are to begin this year.

Hopper will also be built in Texas (where SpaceX has a launch site) because the massive size of these launch vehicles makes them very difficult to transport by sea or land.

In 2018, SpaceX COO and President Gwynne Shotwell revealed that the estimated cost of moving a BFR-sized rocket from the company’s main Hawthorne factory to the Port of Los Angeles would average $5 million for a one-way trip.

She said this amount is almost 10% of the list price of an entirely new Falcon 9 rocket ($62 million). A BFR is nine meters tall.

As a result, SpaceX decided to build a permanent factory at a Port of Los Angeles dock known as Berth 240. Locating at the Port of Los Angeles would have allowed SpaceX to build a manufacturing facility on a 19-acre plot on Terminal Island.

The initial plan was for the huge BFRs to be then transported via barge and the Panama Canal to Cape Canaveral in Florida.

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Sci-Fi Sundays: Analog, December 1962

2019 started off with a rather interesting tweet from Elon Musk. He was showing off the “Starship test flight rocket” from SpaceX. This thing evokes a …

2019 started off with a rather interesting tweet from Elon Musk. He was showing off the “Starship test flight rocket” from SpaceX. This thing evokes a strong bit of imagery that has been so deeply integrated into our culture through science fiction for so many years that it just feels… right.

Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering. pic.twitter.com/k1HkueoXaz

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019

Just look at that thing! Well, as you can imagine, seeing that beautiful piece of work inspired me to yank out some retro science fiction and look at the old illustrations. There are so many examples that you could just swap the test rocket into and they’d seem nearly untouched. The issue I’ve chosen for today’s Sci-Fi Sunday is one of these.

Publication: Analog Science Fact – Science Fiction

Issue: December 1962, Vol: LXXX, No. 4

Cover Art: Schoenherr for Blind Man’s Lantern

When I scan one of these, I’m always curious what the public was thinking and seeing about space. NASA has a convenient website where you can go and see details on major events. In December of 1962, the public was hearing about how Mariner 2 had flown by Venus, which was a pretty huge deal considering this was the very first time we had “conducted a planetary encounter”. Just picture that for a second. When someone was relaxing and reading this issue, we had not yet put a human on the moon. We had put humans in space, but they’ve only done orbits at this point, and on December 14th, one of our space robots passes by Venus and sends us back information. That had to be incredibly exciting.

Aside from just checking on the general space news of the time, it is also intriguing to look at what the Apollo program was doing. I found a more detailed breakdown on what was happening within the Apollo program during November and December of 1962. NASA was deep in planning and testing, with the most interesting part I found being that they determined we should definitely have a bunch of cameras on board with the astronauts, and they hoped the government would supply those cameras. The government ultimately agreed.

by Schelling for Blind Man’s Lantern

There’s that beautiful rocket again. Obviously Musk’s needs more portholes, but hey, they have time to iterate.

by Schelling for Blind Man’s Lantern

by Schelling for Blind Man’s Lantern

by Schelling for Blind Man’s Lantern

by Schoenherr for Subversive

by Schoenherr for Subversive

by Shelling for -And Devious The Line Of Duty

by Shelling for -And Devious The Line Of Duty

by Shelling for -And Devious The Line Of Duty

by Shelling for -And Devious The Line Of Duty

In the middle of the issue there is a non-fiction piece entitled Intelligent Noise. It basically talks about some of the ways in which we secure radio communications using pseudo random noise generation. I’m not going to get into how that works, I’m here for the art and pictures! I’ve copied the captions to each picture as they were in the issue.

The Big Bird — here a Thor-Delta — takes off! But every such bird has to carry a built-in destruct circuit to destroy it if something goes wrong and it heads for a city instead of an orbit. (Official U.S. Air Force Photo)

Small button — for big results. A special coded signal must be able to destroy a wild launch vehicle (Wide World Photos)

Sometimes — as in the Johnson Island tests, and the first of the recent Mariner Venus-probe shots — the destruct button is pushed. But the problem is to keep an accidental signal — a mis-operating diathermy machine, a static burst from lightning — from triggering the destruct circuit. The lock-and key characteristics of PRNG multi-frequency-channel systems provide jam-proof signaling. (Wide World Photos)

A russian trawler mother ship some 80 miles off Cape Cod. It is certain that the Russians are fishing… but some of the trawlers are fishing in the radio spectrum, rather than the sea. It’s a little difficult, however, to catch such frequency-agile fish as PRNG transmission permits! And there are times when we’d prefer to have telemetry and radar data strictly private, even though broadcast. (Wide World Photos)

by Schoenherr for Space Viking

by Schoenherr for Space Viking

I love this design for a space suit by Schoenherr. It doesn’t seem to fit with the typical aesthetic of the time.

by Schoenherr for Space Viking

by Schoenherr for Space Viking

by Schoenherr for Space Viking

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What is Elon Musk’s massive, retro-looking Starship doing in south Texas?

But billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is bringing his test rockets to Texas, instead, citing the difficulty in moving his Starship prototypes due to their …

The decision was also made to streamline operations, the Hawthorne, California-based company said in a statement.

“We are building the Starship prototypes locally at our launch site in Texas, as their size makes them very difficult to transport,” Musk said.

The move by SpaceX is a loss for the local California economy. But California’s loss is no doubt Texas’ gain. The greater Brownsville area has been reinvigorated with the spaceship’s construction complete, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Musk also said in a tweet that this prototype – or “test hopper” – is not at full height and is suborbital. This means the craft will be capable of reaching outer-space but return to Earth without making an orbital revolution.

Development of Starship will continue in Hawthorne, according to tweets from Musk.

Since Musk brought SpaceX to south Texas in 2014 there has been little activity around the site.

The Starship is outfitted with a shiny, retro-looking finish that Musk described in a tweet as a concept that needed “to be made real,” later adding that it obviously “must be more pointy tho.”

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Elon Musk just made South Texas the planet’s most interesting place for space travel

Days after massive layoffs shook SpaceX, the company announced plans to bring its Mars Starship prototype and testing to Boca Chica Beach in …

The decision was also made to streamline operations, the Hawthorne, California-based company said in a statement.

“We are building the Starship prototypes locally at our launch site in Texas, as their size makes them very difficult to transport,” Musk said.

The move by SpaceX is a loss for the local California economy. But California’s loss is no doubt Texas’ gain. The greater Brownsville area has been reinvigorated with the spaceship’s construction complete, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Musk also said in a tweet that this prototype – or “test hopper” – is not at full height and is suborbital. This means the craft will be capable of reaching outer-space but return to Earth without making an orbital revolution.

Development of Starship will continue in Hawthorne, according to tweets from Musk.

Since Musk brought SpaceX to south Texas in 2014 there has been little activity around the site.

The Starship is outfitted with a shiny, retro-looking finish that Musk described in a tweet as a concept that needed “to be made real,” later adding that it obviously “must be more pointy tho.”

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SpaceX isn’t moving Starship development to southern Texas (update)

SpaceX’s decision to construct its Starship test vehicle in Texas may have just been the harbinger of things to come. The LA Times has claimed that …

The company explained its move as a bid to “streamline operations,” according to the Times although it didn’t elaborate on what that meant.

SpaceX is no stranger to Texas. It set up a rocket test facility for the Falcon 9 in McGregor, and it’s in the midst of constructing a southern Texas launch site in Brownsville that will be used for both Starship testing and commercial flights. It might just be a question of concentrating work in the area that Starship will effectively call home, at least for the foreseeable future.

Update 1/16/19 7:55PM ET: Elon Musk says the LA Times‘ “source info is incorrect.” SpaceX is building Starship prototypes in Texas, but the development of both the spacecraft and its accompanying Raptor engines remains in Hawthorne, California. We’ve updated the article accordingly.

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