- Maria Pointer (bocachicaMaria)
- SpaceX has built a stainless steel rocket ship at its starting point near Boca Chica Beach, located on the southern tip of Texas.
- "Test Hopper" is the first, though only partially functional, Starship prototype: the launch system that SpaceX founder Elon Musk hopes to send people to Mars.
- The Sheriff handed over the announcement on Friday to the residents of a closure by source, who lives near Boca Chica Beach. The document warned locals that SpaceX would "test" on Monday, March 18th.
- Previously, SpaceX said his test hopper "will be tied in the initial testing" and that none of his "hops" – short vertical takeoffs and landings – will be visible "off-site".
- One resident announced that he had not received the announcement. The person also claims that SpaceX has promised a plan for launch activities, but has one more.
SpaceX, an aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, headed by Gwynne Shotwell, is about to test its first missile ship prototype to send people to Mars, according to a document reviewed by Business Insider.
SpaceX can launch its "Test Hopper" prototype on Monday, according to announcements made to some residents' mailboxes near Boca Chica Beach, which is on the southernmost tip of Texas.
SpaceX began building its starting point in Boca Chica in 2014 for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. However, Musk said at the beginning of 2018 that Boca Chica would "be dedicated" to the new Mars vehicle, called Starship.
On March 8, SpaceX flew to the bottom of his mirror-polished Test Hopper at Boca Chica. Shortly thereafter, the engineers attached a single Raptor rocket engine to the vehicle base – the latest and most powerful SpaceX machine.
The Test Hopper cannot be launched into space, but it will test the fundamental hardware and ideas that SpaceX needs to create a full-fledged Starship (formerly called the Big Falcon Rocket).
- © Kimi Talvitie
When fully implemented, the Starship can cost about 400 feet tall, be fully reusable and use a "bleeding" atmospheric reentry system. And if Muska's "aspiration" dreams of the system come true, Starship can get into orbit in 2020, send his first crew around the month of 2023, and release the first people to Mars in 2024. 150 tons of cargo at once to the red planet.
Read moreBubble Life: How we can fight hunger, loneliness and radiation on Mars
First, SpaceX needs to demonstrate the basic concepts behind Starship with a test hopper.
The company's representative's comments, as well as the announcement reported to some Boca Chica residents, suggest that SpaceX will attempt the first Test Hopper integrated rocket testing on Monday, followed by a tethered hop test.
Why Key "Test Hoppers" Are Starting to Appear
- Copyright Jaime Almaguer
The Hopper Test cannot fly to Earth orbit. It is a relatively rough and squat machine whose bottom is about 60 feet. The rocket ship is designed to fly on short "hops" that do not run more than 16,400 feet in the air, as requested by the Federal Communications Commission.
In January Musk said his company would build a higher, orbiting version "around JuneAnd it rocket ship should "Stronger skin (wrinkles) and a smoothly curved part of the nose." However, this timeline is now uncertain as the windstorm of Texas winds exploded and in February the Test Hopper nasal cone was damaged. Musk said the day of the incident that it would take several weeks to fix the nasal cone.
Nonsensical or not, SpaceX moves forward with the earliest test fires from its test hopper on the beach.
"SpaceX will carry out checks on newly installed ground systems and carry out short static fire tests in the coming days," said Business Insider's SpaceX representative last week.
A "static fire" ignites a rocket engine to make sure it works, but a vehicle on which a test hopper is in place is held down to not lift the ground. Such tests help engineers find and solve any problems before they try to run in serious.
"Although the prototype is designed to perform sub-orbital flights, or hops powered by the SpaceX Raptor, the vehicle will be tethered during initial testing and the hops will not be visible from outside the plant," the company representative added. "SpaceX will establish a security zone circuit in coordination with local enforcement, and inscriptions will be introduced to alert the community before testing."
The local sheriff passed the test warnings to the residents before the weekend, as he learned about the situation.
This announcement made by Business Insider stated:
BOCA CROSS VILLAGE RESIDENTS
“SpaceX plans to test already in the week of March 18, 2019 at the company's premises near Boca Chica Beach, Cameron County, Texas. During these tests, SpaceX, in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, creates a security zone perimeter. Signage will be in place before testing to alert the community to all temporary closure of Highway 4 and Boca Chica Beach.
"Boca Chica Village residents will have access to their homes during testing."
The printed notice also included a Google map marked below and the following text that accompanies it:
"[T]Temporary checkpoints will be set up on Highway 4. Individuals who provide proof of residence between the two checkpoints will be able to continue via the soft checkpoint. During a temporary closure, access beyond a fixed checkpoint will not be allowed. "
- Google Maps; Business Insider
"We deserve this courtesy"
The fixed checkpoint is located about 1.5 miles west of the SpaceX launch pad, as well as the easternmost houses in Boca Chica Village.
By comparison, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida allows visitors to witness start-up activity no closer than 3 miles from its best-known starting area.
Read more: For the first time I saw a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, which plunged into space – here's what it was on the ground
One resident of Boca Chica Village, who asked not to be named, told Business Insider that the sheriff had never delivered a home notification. The resident also said SpaceX's representative, who had previously committed to running plans, has not yet done so. "He deserves the courtesy" of SpaceX.
Even Judge Cameron County Eddie Treviño did not recognize the nature or timing of SpaceX's test plans when he approved the closure of the roads on Thursday.
"It's exciting, and we know we're getting closer to the first test, or to what they're going to do," said Treviño, according to The Brownsville Herald. "We wish them all the best of luck and we are thrilled."
SpaceX did not immediately respond to Business Insider questions about the size of the security circuit and the potential risks to the population from static fires and hops. In May 2014, the company filed the required environmental impact statement, dealing with discharges and safety precautions, but these documents do not describe a test program similar to a test hopper, nor launching extremely large vehicles capable of operating on Mars.
But for his part, Musk at least strangled his flight.
"It could be very good that the first person to fly to another planet will leave this place," he said during a groundbreaking ceremony in September 2014.