SpaceX’s Starhopper

“This is for suborbital VTOL tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.” Musk added.

VTOL is short for vertical take off and landing. Similarly to helicopters and some fighter jets. Musk says the diameter of the body is about 30 feet.

Musk says that the first Starship prototype should be completed around June. The current version will be used for ‘hopper’ flights where SpaceX intends to sent it up and down to test launch and landing systems.

Iridium-8 Launch

SpaceX completed its first successful launch of the year. The Iridium-8 mission is the final mission for the Iridium complete their Next constellation of satellites. Friday’s launch released 10 satellites into orbit. Meanwhile, SpaceX was able to land the first stage rocket on the droneship, Just Read The Instructions.

Fairing Recovery Testing

Another project SpaceX is working on is recovering the rocket fairings as they all back to earth. Recovering them could lower SpaceX’s cost per launch. Each fairing costs an estimated 3 million dollars, for instance. Consequently, Mr. Steven missed the fairing but came very close to recovering it.

Leaner Means Layoffs

Late Friday SpaceX announced that it would be reducing its workforce by about 10%. The company currently employs 6,000 workers.

In a statement SpaceX said, “To continue delivering for our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company. In other words, the company will be letting go about 557 employees.

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