SpaceX put its Starship super-rocket through its first high-altitude test today — and although the flight ended in a fiery crash, the performance was impressive enough to draw congratulations from Jeff Bezos, who’s locked in a multibillion-dollar rivalry with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
“Anybody who knows how hard this stuff is is impressed by today’s Starship test,” Bezos, who’s the CEO of Amazon and the founder of the Blue Origin space venture, said in an Instagram post. “Big congrats to the whole SpaceX team. I’m confident they’ll be back at it soon.”
“We want to be able to go to the moon, but we want to be a customer,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters today during a teleconference. “We want to drive down the costs, we want to increase the access, we want to have our partners have customers that are not just us, so they compete on cost and innovation, and just bring capabilities that we’ve never had before.”
Fixed-price contracts totaling $967 million will go to the three corporate teams over the next 10 months to flesh out their proposals for lunar landing systems that would carry astronauts to and from the lunar surface.
SpaceX is seeking to bring in about $250 million in new investment during a funding round that’s still underway, amid a burst of activity related to the company’s Starlink satellites and Starship super-rocket, CNBC reports.
It’s not you, it’s me: That’s basically what Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is saying about his decision to end participation in a reality-TV matchmaking show that would have traced the selection of a woman contestant to accompany him on a trip around the moon.
SpaceX’s prototype for a Starship meant for trips to the moon and Mars suffered an eruption today on its South Texas launch pad, putting a dent in SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s ambitious schedule for flight tests.
Clouds of vapor issued explosively from the 165-foot-tall rocket’s top during a pressurization test, apparently because of a rupture in one of the craft’s cryogenic propellant tanks. The Starship Mk1’s top bulkhead was blown away by the blast.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture is among five companies that have just been cleared to deliver payloads to the moon for NASA. So is Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is offering its Starship super-rocket for lunar trips.
The next delivery orders in what NASA calls the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, or CLPS, are likely to call for payloads to be launched by 2022, said Steve Clarke, deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA’s science mission directorate. One payload that’s certain to be on the list is NASA’s VIPER rover, which is destined to look for signs of water near the moon’s south pole in late 2022.