by Brule Eagan
Watching the nearby SpaceX Boca Chica launch site continue to grow has been like watching a photograph develop — at first, you don’t see any evidence of activity, even though you know it’s there — then, suddenly, it all becomes apparent. People who were skeptics about this a couple of years ago are now saying “Wow; they’re really going to do this”. The prototype “Starship Hopper” is visible from a distance now. It looks like something straight out of a ‘50s sci-fi flick, clad in stainless steel, but eventually, SpaceX plans to send one of these to Mars, with humans aboard. They’ll use this one for testing for some time to come; founder Elon Musk saying the first orbital version should be finished by June, and will feature a smoother nose and thicker skin. That, coupled with its “Super Heavy” booster, will be about the size of a 35-story building, taller than anything else down here. The view of Starship Hopper from South Padre is already quite a sight:
And that’s without the booster attached. Meanwhile, on nearby South Padre Island, the newly-remodeled Dolphin Cove Amphitheater is complete. It’ll be the prime location for watching launches.
I’m looking forward to feeling the sonic pressure of liftoff. And I’m looking forward to seeing these monsters being delivered to the launch site. Lately, the biggest things I’ve seen heading down the Interstate are the blades for those tremendous wind-power turbines that are filling the outlying landscape, and those things are huge. (I’ve talked about those before in “Land Of The Giants” in the archive).