Max Q: Starship. That’s the headline.

Hello and welcome back to Max Q!

In this issue:

  • Starship
  • See you later, Terran 1
  • Three brothers want to collect water from the moon for propellant
  • Stoke Space news and more


I’m writing this on Friday, so by the time you read it on Monday, Starship may already have taken to the skies. O blown up! Who knows!?

In any case, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued the launch license to SpaceX for the Starship orbital flight test at the close of business on Friday, giving everyone a LOT to look forward to over the weekend.

As a reminder: Starship is the most powerful rocket ever built. Once operational, it will be capable of carrying 100 to 150 tons (100,000 to 150,000 kg) into orbit. For reference, SpaceX’s workhorse rocket, Falcon 9, has a payload capacity of 50,000 pounds. To put that much mass into orbit, Starship’s 33 Raptor engines will generate more than 16.5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.

So far, it looks like the company is still targeting Monday, but that could change depending on technical readiness, weather, and other variables.

stacked starship

Image Credits: spacex (Opens in a new window)

So long, Terran 1: Relativity Space makes a radical change towards an even bigger Terran R

Relativity Space is retiring Terran 1 after a single test flight to double down on development of its next-generation Terran R rocket, which is now set to be even larger than previously announced.

The six-year-old company is making other significant changes to the Terran R: The rocket will no longer be fully reusable, but will instead be equipped with an expendable second stage. Plus, its design will rely less on additive manufacturing, the technology Relativity is best known for and has touted in each of its capital raises. These changes mean that the 270-foot-tall Terran R will now have a payload capacity of 23.5 metric tons in low Earth orbit and 33.5 metric tons when launched as a fully expendable vehicle.

While Relativity has been candid about Terran 1 primarily serving as a development platform to technologically pave the way for Terran R, it was assumed that the company would fly Terran 1 at least a few more times before retiring it.

Relativity Space Terran R

relativity terran space r. Image Credits: relativity space

After stints at SpaceX, three brothers want to build a spaceship powered by lunar water

A new company founded by a trio of SpaceX veterans, who happen to be brothers, aims to build a transportation network in space, using reusable spacecraft powered by water collected from the moon.

Argo Space Corporation, founded by Robert Carlisle, Ryan Carlisle and Kirby Carlisle, is betting that lunar propellant will liberate Earth’s space activities and unlock a dynamic economy beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).

Their plan targets several key limitations of the space economy: First, all existing orbital transport vehicles are focused on LEO, not more demanding orbits like geosynchronous (GEO) or cislunar. Second, none of these vehicles is reusable. Third, there is no method to refuel even a theoretical reusable vehicle. And lastly, any such method would likely depend on terrestrial resources for propellant.

Image Credits: Argó Space

More news from TC and beyond

  • of the European Space Agency The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft is now on an eight-year journey to Jupiter. (THAT)
  • aerospace firefly completed a full duration static fire test prior to its Victus Nox mission for the US Space Force (Firefly)
  • ispace is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, a little less than two weeks before its first lunar lander reaches the moon. (Tech Crunch)
  • Kepler Communications closed a $92 million Series C round to grow its real-time satellite data relay network. (Tech Crunch)
  • orbital loft was selected by Ball Aerospace to manufacture and operate an experimental test bed for the Space Development Agency on its Longbow satellite platform. (Ball)
  • POT he is confident that Blue Origin will have the New Glenn rocket ready for the ESCAPADE mission in 2024. (SpaceNews)
  • by orbex Chief executive Chris Larmour said he would step down after eight years at the helm of the small startup. (Tech Crunch)
  • rocket laboratory it will now launch NASA’s TROPICS satellites from New Zealand, instead of Virginia. (Rocket Lab)
  • Space Seraphim found that European space investment exceeded US investment during the first quarter of this year, the first time that European spending has exceeded US spending. (Seraphim)
  • aerospace slingshot is more than doubling its optical detection network for objects in low Earth orbit, adding 80 new sensors in 20 global locations. (Sling)
  • The US Federal Communications Commission launched its new space office, which will be headed up by Julie Kearney. Previously, Kearney was special adviser for space law and policy on the commission. (FCC)

Max Q is featured by me, Aria Alamalhodaei. If you like reading Max Q, consider forwarding it to a friend.

Max Q: Starship. That’s the headline. by Aria Alamalhodaei originally posted on TechCrunch

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