BFR Developments

Elon just tweeted about the anticipated time frame for the Hopper hops.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1148006177491472384

Somebody asked about Elon's long anticipated public presentation on the Starship/Super Heavy progress (originally anticipated for June 20) and Elon said:

"Will do Starship presentation a few weeks after Hopper hovers, so prob late July. If that timing works, free LJ chips for all present!"

...New Zealand fish-and-chips?... (maybe Rocketlab could deliver them by rocket).

The more serious news is that Elon wants the hops to happen "a few weeks" before his presentation which he anticipates to be in late July, so that suggests... around now?

Of course this is probably Elon-time. (Proves relativity is true and time is all relative.)
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Regarding SN6, the latest Raptor to be prowling McGregor...

A resident space-nut (they are the world's eyes and ears) heard what sounded like Raptor running for about 80 seconds. (Rumors say that they aren't going for max duration, but are currently evaluating different fuel mixtures in the thing.)

https://twitter.com/bluemoondance74/stat...2809689089

Here's something else that's interesting. An FAA Commercial Space Experimental Permit for initial Hopper flight experiments from Boca Chica.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/hea...-2019).pdf

Of particular interest are the initial flight parameters:

"5. Operating Area: "Operating Area" means a cylindrical region with a radius of 2270 meters from the launch point.

8. Altitude: SpaceX may operate the Starship Hopper vehicle to an altitude that does not exceed 25 meters AGL, in accordance with its application."

We knew that the first hops were projected to be no higher than the Hopper is tall. But 25 meters is an awfully low lid if the plan is to go higher later. (25 meters is about 2 1/2 times the thing's height.)

So I'm speculating that if all goes well, there will need to be a subsequent application to raise the lid.
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(Jul 10, 2019 07:38 PM)Yazata Wrote: Regarding SN6, the latest Raptor to be prowling McGregor...

A resident space-nut (they are the world's eyes and ears) heard what sounded like Raptor running for about 80 seconds.
(Rumors say that they aren't going for max duration, but are currently evaluating different fuel mixtures in the thing.)

https://twitter.com/bluemoondance74/stat...2809689089

Here's something else that's interesting. An FAA Commercial Space Experimental Permit for initial Hopper flight experiments from Boca Chica.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/hea...-2019).pdf

Of particular interest are the initial flight parameters:

"5. Operating Area: "Operating Area" means a cylindrical region with a radius of 2270 meters from the launch point.

8. Altitude: SpaceX may operate the Starship Hopper vehicle to an altitude that does not exceed 25 meters AGL, in accordance with its application."

We knew that the first hops were projected to be no higher than the Hopper is tall. But 25 meters is an awfully low lid if the plan is to go higher later. (25 meters is about 2 1/2 times the thing's height.)

So I'm speculating that if all goes well, there will need to be a subsequent application to raise the lid.

It's about time the herbivores of the region got over their placidity that surely set in from this long drought of no carnivorous raptor. Wouldn't want them to get as tame for the carving table as isolated island species.
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Big events:

Raptor SN6 has been packed up and shipped from McGregor to Boca Chica, where it has arrived, has been photographed and is being fitted to the Hopper as we speak. Speculation is that there will be a static fire, then the first untethered flight might be as early as next week.

https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/stat...1505771521

Extraordinary photos by BCG here:

https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/stat...5283653633

Look at the crazy complexity of the Raptor engine in the photo in the last tweet. Wires and conduits everywhere! (Reminds me of my hair.)

Live stream here (from Labpadre) This and the following stream may conclude soon, since Labpadre didn't know all this was going to happen today and has already scheduled business he has to attend to.

https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/stat...0160545792

Labpadre's closeup live stream here:

https://twitter.com/EddieRux/status/1149326920649068545

A third live stream by different people (South Padre Island Information) from a different angle here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSrh-Tg85Vo

This is all the stuff they never showed you in all those old 1950's Sci-fi movies. Like crews of technicians installing rocket engines in their spaceships.

Still no NOTAMs announcing Temporary Flight Restrictions issued by the FAA. Unclear about road closures. Nothing officially announced, but local resident Labpadre says he hears that something is anticipated on July 17 (next Wednesday).

Liquified gas tankers observed arriving, some of it liquid methane.


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Lots of news.

An FAA NOTAM announcing Temporary Flight Restrictions over Boca Chica has just been posted. Effective dates are Monday July 15 through Wednesday July 17.

https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_0258.html

And Elon's been tweeting.

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1149550157068812290

He writes

"Raptor engine mounted on Starhopper. Aiming for hover test Tues."

"~20m up & sideways for first flight. Mk1 Starship hopefully 20 km up in a few months."

Somebody asked how low the Raptor can be throttled, throwing out 10%. Tim, the Everyday Astronaut said that it can't throttle lower than 40%. Elon says:

"About right, but dangerously chuggy & risking bad things at 40%. We'll keep it above 50% for this flight."

And here's some aerial video (from a drone?) of the Cocoa FL site where SpaceX is constructing their much shinier alternative Starship prototype. Presumably this one will be transported (not sure how) to nearby Cape Canaveral and launched from there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_conti...-scr6FsddY

People in the aerospace industry are exclaiming about how SpaceX resembles old World War II era aircraft companies able to churn out prototypes very quickly. Today it takes the legacy companies with their bloated bureaucracies, government oversight and hordes of subcontractors literally decades to design new aircraft that aren't remotely as revolutionary as Elon's Starship. Designing a new aircraft the conventional way has been likened to herding cats.
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(Jul 12, 2019 08:23 PM)Yazata Wrote: . . . He writes

"Raptor engine mounted on Starhopper. Aiming for hover test Tues."

"~20m up & sideways for first flight. Mk1 Starship hopefully 20 km up in a few months."


Holy sacrificial fire, high enough to finally be a mild spectacle for the natives.
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Last night, after dark, BocaChicaGal videoed the newly installed Raptor engine gimballing in apparent TVC (thrust vector control) checks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pD5CZZfnYk

(Jul 13, 2019 04:07 AM)C C Wrote: Holy sacrificial fire, high enough to finally be a mild spectacle for the natives.

Not just the natives. Many thousands of people, all over the world, are watching this. (NASA and the entire aerospace industry are watching too.) Not only is it the belated appearance of an honest-to-God 1950's-style Sci-Fi spaceship (that promises to fly humans to the Moon and Mars), but Elon and SpaceX are allowing people like BCG unprecedented access to record each step in close-up detail. There's never been anything like this before.


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Today the road to Boca Chica was closed in the afternoon. (Photo of road block from LabPadre's live-feed)


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Then the road reopened and a bunch of vehicles went down to the pad and everyone figured things were over for the day. But... the pad cleared out again, the hard checkpoint went back up and pressurization and tanking texts were underway after the sun went down. (Extraordinary photo from Labpadre's live-stream)


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Talk is that there will be a static fire of the engine tomorrow in preparation for the Steampunk Spaceship's free-flight on Tuesday.

The place to see very cool live views of events as they happen is LabPadre's youtube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFwMITS...6PoJoh1OUQ
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Road is now closed and pad is cleared. Not sure what's on-tap. Hopefully a static fire.
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Here's a screen-shot of today's big event from LabPadre's live-stream. (Essential viewing for anyone interested in this.)


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It's reportedly a pre-burner test, in which they fire up what are in effect the little jet engines (turbo pumps) that feed their fuel-rich and oxidizer-rich exhausts into the main combustion chamber which wasn't lit today. One of the difficult things with a rocket engine is that the fuel and oxidizer have to be forced into the engine's combustion chamber with more pressure than the rocket engine chamber-pressure that produces the rocket thrust. That's (literally) hard and many of the complexities in rocket engine design result from that.

Apparently that static test fire might come tomorrow.

So... the untethered free-flight probably won't be Tuesday. It might have slipped to Wednesday (hopefully).
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