SpaceX Starship Ready for most Ambitious Launch Ever as FAA begins new Environmental Study - The Comprehensive Minds

SpaceX Starship Ready for most Ambitious Launch Ever as FAA begins new Environmental Study

SpaceX Starship Ready for most Ambitious Launch Ever as FAA begins new Environmental Study

SpaceX Starship Ready for most Ambitious Launch


SpaceX is ready for Starship suborbital flight as FAA begins a new environmental study. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is beginning a new environmental review required for the company's future launch vehicle plans. 

With preparations underway for the first high-altitude flight test, SpaceX on November 24, at the Boca Chica test facility, conducted a static fire test of its Starship SN8 prototype. With the completion of the test, Elon Musk tweeted that the vehicle is now ready for a suborbital flight of 15 kilometers.

This flight will be the first Starship vehicle flight test to propel for a larger height from the pad at Boca Chica, till now. The Federal Aviation Administration stated that Starship tests, including suborbital flights, are within the limits issued by the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), based on noise levels and the amount of pollutants generated. 

FAA also gives SpaceX a proposal to build a second test pad at the site if a problem generates on the primary test pad. A new environmental assessment along with a newly developed EIS could take some momentous space to complete. 

Years later the draft report published, the FAA issued the ultimate report. SpaceX needs a new launch license from theFederal Aviation Administration to launch “Super Heavy” from the Boca Chica test site. On 23rd November, the FAA announced that they are responsible for the environmental review of Starship and Super Heavy launches from BocaChica. The agency said that the new vehicle falls outside of the deadline of the existing final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the launch site. 

They also said that it requires additional environmental review under federal law. Environmental organizations criticized the FAA for allowing SpaceX to change its plans for Boca Chica without revising the environmental impact Statement. Jim Chapman, President of Friends of the WildlifeCorridor, said, “They went from proposing a few launches per year of an already field-tested rocket to ongoing experimentation of untested technology without doing the studies that would ensure environmental protection and public safety and without giving the local community a chance to have a say.” Let's move to the next news as Starlink competitorXfinity launches data caps, which SpaceX says it will not use. 


Twelve U.S. states would be subjected to data caps in 2021 or limits on the amount of data one household will have access to before being charged extra fees announced by Comcast of Philadelphia. The company has described that any net usage over 1.2 TB of data usage is accessible with additional fees of $10 per extra 50 GB. SpaceX’s intention with Starlink was to provide internet service to rural and remote areas. Already the service is being launched and tested in densely populated areas. 

But SpaceX’s Starlink project has a series of main competitors in the internet market, one of the largest being Philadelphia basedComcast’s Xfinity. The reason for the excessive rise in the price of the data caps is the COVID 19 pandemic situation. 

In the new normal world view, people are having work from home, they are also having their leisure time at home, not in fields. Moreover, local governments are advising the citizens to remain indoor. With this, there is a constant increase in the use of data packs, residential Wi-Fi, and other net streaming devices. 

This leads to a rise in the use of data caps much more than normal time and it ultimately leads to a rise in price. 

Starlink is aiming to serve all nooks and corners of the Earth. As long as data caps continue to remain out of Starlink’s plans, there is a good chance that many customers of large Internet service providers will switch over to the more reasonable and more lenient Starlink service. 

Elon Musk’s Starlink internet satellite program is currently operating in the Beta stage. Starlink Engineers executed an “Ask Me Anything” seminar on the “r/Starlink subreddit” and publicized that the satellite internet infrastructure would not use data caps when it enters into public operation. The company plans to keep the service free of caps. 


SpaceX Starship technology


They also said that it would only be implemented when it is technically necessary. The company said, “So we really don't want to implement restrictive data caps like people have encountered with satellite internet in the past. Right now we’re still trying to figure a lot of stuff out, we might have to do something in the future to prevent abuse and just ensure that everyone else gets quality service.” Comcast is implementing the data caps in the states of West Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, Maine, NewHampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, as well as parts of North Carolina and Ohio, according to report. 

The statement of SpaceX didn’t influence Comcast very much. According to Comcast statistics, an average customer uses about 308 Gigabytes of data per month. Out of the whole number of Comcast subscribers or customers, only five percent of them reach the monthly limit of 1.2 terabytes. 

But it is not possible to route how much data is used by an individual person or device; or how many persons and devices are connected at a time of usage from the same router. As we previously said the internet usage has increased for enhanced productivity. 

Streaming is now popular among customers, it ables them to watch live T.V. programs and broadcasts. YouTube, Hulu is a popular platform that provides live streaming options to customers, mainly householders. 

That provides services through devices like Apple TV and Roku which use the data to stream the live telecasts. In order to compete with them, Comcast is aiming to provide more affordable and flexible streaming options than the options provided by their competitors. 

Our last news is regarding Relativity Space, lets take a look. On 23rd November, Relativity Space announced that it had raised the $500 million Series D round. This Series D round was conducted by hedge fund Tiger Global Management. 

The new investors who joined the round were XN, Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, Senator Investment Group, ICONIQ Capital, Elad Gil, and GeneralCatalyst. The existing investors also participated in the round, which increased the company’s funding by more than $2 billion. 

This funding will enable to speed up the project of reshaping aerospace manufacturing, said Relativity Space. Tim Ellis, co-founder, and chief executive of Relativity Space, said that this round was the largest Series D round he had ever seen in any company based in the Los Angeles area. Relativity Space had already raised a $140million funding from the Series C round a year before. 

This funding was planned to finance the company throughout the first launch of its Terran 1 rocket. “We weren’t looking to raise right at this exact moment,” Ellis said about the new round. Elis also said that the majority of the funding from that Series C round remains available. 

The new investors, appeared confident in the company's plans, noting that they did not take any new seats on the company’s board of directors. “It really lets us keep our heads down and is a big sign of trust by this investor group,” Tim said. Tim Ellis said, “The funding round is a massive validation of the customer traction that we have garnered to date.” The new round could go beyond simply gearing up production of the Terran 1. 

The large size of the round has led some in the industry to consider that the company could use it to influence its 3D printing technology for applications beyond its launch vehicle. 

Tim Elis further said, “lets us think more long term and really accelerate some of these long term initiatives that we’ve been planning for some time. It really is about accelerating the long-term vision and plans of the company. We’re not short of ambition.” The plan includes building production capabilities, development of launch vehicles, and improvement in 3D printing technologies. Ellis said the company’s final aim is to use its manufacturing technologies to colonize Mars. 

To colonize Mars there is a requirement for developing flexible, lightweight systems that can operate with a minimum of human effort. “All of those same parameters also happen to build a really lucrative business on Earth and a new, disruptive value chain for aerospace,” Tim said. Ellis said, “The factory we’re building, by its very nature, is driven by software and can be reconfigured for all sorts of things. 

We already know that, on Mars, we have to develop a factory that can build many things, so I do see that as something that could bein the path for a later date.” But, Tim further said, “We’re very focused right now on Terran 1 and just getting to launch and orbit to serve the customers we’ve signed.” Terran 1, the launch vehicle, Relativity Space has been developing using stabilizing manufacturing technologies. 

The company recently completed a full static fire test of the rocket’s Aeon 1 engine, running it on a test stand for three minutes six seconds. Work has also started for the 2021 launch at LaunchComplex 16 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Terran 1 will be able to place up to 900 kilograms in a sun-synchronous orbit and 1,250 kilograms into lower inclination orbits. 

Tim argued that the capacity and its payload fairing three meters in diameter set the vehicle apart from competitors in the small launch market. he said, “The increase in payload volume means we’re able to launch satellites that are quite a bit larger, physically, than other launch vehicles even if they could fit by mass”. 

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