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Star Hopper

Star Hopper

This morning I watched video from southern Texas of a SpaceX prototype spacecraft, called Starhopper, making a successful testflight. The flight was about 1 minute long. It flew to an altitude of about 500ft and traversed horizontally about 200ft to a secondary landing pad.

The system being developed will likely be able to deliver cargo to orbit for about 1/10th of the cost of current vehicles. At the rate they are developing, the system could be operational by 2022. I can't help but dream that this could be an enormous turning point in history. Since creation we have been confined to this one planet. All of our settlements had to be right here. But what if we could build settlements in space? All of the resources necessary for human settlement, energy, metals, territory, and inspiration, exist in near infinite quantities in outer space.

The Pilgrims came to America in search of a new land free from what they saw as the corrupt rule King James exerted over the Church of England. When humanity is finally able to build settlements in space, we will be free to create new societies of any type we choose. It will be beyond inspiring to witness the lengths to which people will go to create new countries and civilizations in every conceivable nook of our little solar system.

Starship orbiting the Moon A rendering of Starship orbiting the Moon
photo credit: SpaceX

From this perspective it is exciting to watch the development of this system. The methane-oxygen powered Raptor engine is one of the most advanced ever developed. The fuel type and many other design choices, such as the ignition system, have all been chosen to prioritize servicing and refueling off of Earth, specifically on planet Mars.

The founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, has said that we may not have the opportunity to colonize Mars again for hundreds of years so we had better take advantage of the opportunity while it presents itself. I cannot help but wonder if Elon suspects there is yet another major threat to civilization lurking at the end of the Modern Era.

At any rate the people developing this system are incredibly motivated and are making rapid accomplishments. Could this be the architecture that will create a bridge between Earth and Space that becomes easy and routine for us to cross?



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Star Hopper

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