TechCrunch Space: SpaceX has big plans for Starship in Florida

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Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. I hope everyone enjoyed Independence Day. Speaking of news!

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Last week was a little slow in terms of news – given the holidays, this was expected – but I was very excited by this partnership between two startups to provide AI-enabled computing power in space. San Francisco-based Athero is developing the computer, and Cosmic Shielding Corporation is providing a new radiation shielding material. The payload will go into orbit in just a few days, and I’ll definitely be following the progress in the coming months.

An Athero computer for space-based applications.
Image Credit: Aethrow

SpaceX’s ambitious plan to launch its Starship mega-rocket 44 times per year from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has caused a stir among some of its competitors. But SpaceX may have even more ambitious plans for a second launch pad: Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS).

SpaceX Starship is all set
Image Credit: SpaceX (Opens in a new window)

Launching the week

Hats off to Firefly Aerospace for launching its Alpha rocket for the fifth time last Wednesday. This mission carried eight CubeSats into orbit for NASA, which paid for the mission as part of its Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) Demo 2 program to support the development of small launchers. Revisit the launch below.

What are we watching

I got my hands on an advanced copy of the new space documentary “Wild Wild Space,” directed by Ross Kaufman and based on the book by space journalist Ashlee Vance. I’m considering writing a full review, but I’ll say this: It’s a raucous ride. There are many, many quotable sentences, such as this one from Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck: “I’m not built to make shit up.” It’s available on HBO on July 17th – it’s well worth a watch.

Image Credit: HBO

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