TechCrunch Space: SpaceX’s big plans for Starship in Florida

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. I hope everyone had a great Independence Day. On to the news!

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Last week was a bit slower, in terms of news — to be expected, given the holiday — but I was still super excited by this partnership between two startups to deliver AI-capable computing power to space. San Francisco-based Aethero is developing the compute, and Cosmic Shielding Corporation is providing a novel radiation shielding material. The payload will go to orbit in just days, and I’ll definitely be following the progress in the coming months.

An Aethero computer for space-based applications.
Image Credits: Aethero

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

SpaceX starship fully stacked
Image Credits: SpaceX (opens in a new window)

Launch of the week

Hats off to Firefly Aerospace for launching its Alpha rocket for the fifth time late last Wednesday. The mission delivered eight CubeSats to 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. Rewatch the launch below.

What we’re watching

I got my hands on an advanced copy of “Wild Wild Space,” the new space documentary directed by Ross Kauffman and based on a book by space journalist Ashlee Vance. I’m mulling writing a full review, but what I will say is: It’s a raucous ride. There are many, many quotable sentences, like this one from Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck: “I’m not built to build shit.” It’ll be available on HBO on July 17 — it’s worth the watch.

wild wild space
Image Credits: HBO

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