Elon Musk’s Space X to launch Starship rocket: What to know
SpaceX is counting down to the first test flight of its Starship, the most powerful rocket ever built, designed to send astronauts to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX made final preparations to launch its powerful new Starship rocket system into space for the first time on a brief but highly anticipated, uncrewed test flight from the Texas coast.
Here is what to know about Monday’s launch and the tech billionaire’s project.
What is Starship?
- The rocket is the biggest and mightiest ever built, and its maker has lofty goals of ferrying people to the Moon and Mars. It is 120 metres (394 feet) high and stands taller than the Statue of Liberty.
- The stainless steel Starship has 33 main engines and 7.6 million kilogrammes (16.7 million pounds) of thrust.
- Given its muscle, Starship could lift as much as 250 tonnes and accommodate 100 people on a trip to Mars.
- SpaceX foresees eventually putting a Starship into orbit and then refuelling it with another Starship so it can continue on a journey to Mars or beyond.
- Musk said the goal is to make Starship reusable and bring down the price of space travel to a few million dollars per flight.
- “In the long run – long-run meaning, I don’t know, two or three years – we should achieve full and rapid reusability,” he said, according to a report by the Agence France-Presse news agency on Monday.
- The eventual objective is to establish bases on the Moon and Mars and put humans on the “path to being a multiplanet civilization,” Musk said.
Launch attempt tomorrow pic.twitter.com/czFsQ53Xsa
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 16, 2023
At what time is the launch and where can you watch it?
- The two-stage rocket is due for blastoff from the SpaceX facility at Boca Chica, Texas, during a two-hour launch window that opens at 7am (12:00 GMT).
- According to SpaceX, a live webcast “will begin 45 minutes before liftoff” (11:15 GMT), which can be accessed at this link.
Starship’s flight test window opens at 7:00 a.m. CT tomorrow; a live webcast will begin ~45 minutes before liftoff → https://t.co/bG5tsCUanp pic.twitter.com/mBGaFNwhaU
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 16, 2023
What is expected on Monday?
- If all goes as planned on Monday, all 33 Raptor engines will ignite simultaneously to lift the Starship into a flight that nearly completes a full orbit of the Earth before it re-enters the atmosphere and free falls into the Pacific at supersonic speed about 100km (60 miles) off the northern Hawaiian Islands.
- If Starship reaches the three-minute mark of flight after launch, the booster will be commanded to separate and is expected to execute the beginnings of a controlled return flight into the Gulf of Mexico.
- Starship’s blazing re-entry over the Pacific will test its ability to aerodynamically steer itself using large flaps and for its heat shields to withstand the intense friction generated as it plummets through the atmosphere.
- “The ship will be coming in like a meteor,” Musk said. “This is the first step in a long journey that will require many flights.”
Will the Starship launch succeed?
- Musk is not hopeful about the chances of success on Monday.
- “Success is not what should be expected,” Musk told a private Twitter audience on Sunday night, saying the best-case scenario would provide crucial data about how the vehicle ascends to space and how it will fly back to Earth.
- “Probably, tomorrow will not be successful, he said. “It’s just a very fundamentally difficult thing.”
- Musk said it’s more likely for the flight to be postponed than to launch on Monday. SpaceX has backup launch windows on Tuesday and Wednesday for roughly the same times.
Starship fully stacked at Starbase pic.twitter.com/UW4V3ZRcLR
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 15, 2023
Who else is investing in Starship?
- California-based SpaceX has a $3bn contract with NASA to land astronauts on the Moon as early as 2025.
- It would be the first Moon landing by astronauts in more than 50 years.
- The moonwalkers are to leave Earth on NASA’s Orion capsule and a Space Launch System rocket, transfer to Starship in lunar orbit for the descent to the surface and then return to Orion.
- But Starship isn’t just for NASA. The first flight by a private crew is planned to orbit Earth. Two private flights to the Moon are also in the works – no landings, just fly-arounds.
Maritime gas prices – CTV News Atlantic
For the most part, drivers in the Maritimes are paying slightly less for gas Friday, but the cost of diesel is up.
In mainland Nova Scotia, gas is down three cents to a minimum price of 152.9 cents per litre.
In Cape Breton, motorists are now paying a minimum price of 154.8 cents per litre for regular self-serve gasoline.
Diesel increased 2.5 cents, the minimum price is now 137.7 cents per litre.
The minimum price for diesel in Cape Breton is now 139.6 cents per litre.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
On Prince Edward Island, gas increased 1.1. cents, the minimum price is now 165.6 cents per litre.
Diesel on the island increased 1.5 cents, the minimum price is now 157.5 cents.
Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, gas is down 2.4 cents, the maximum price is now 164.6 cents per litre.
Diesel is up slightly to 0.6 cents, the maximum price is now 158.6 cents a litre.
NL Unemployment Rate Slightly Rises – VOCM
Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate rose to 5.2 per cent in May, marking the first increase since August 2022.
The rate for Newfoundland and Labrador rose slightly to 10.2 per cent from 10.1. In metro, the jobless rate in May hit 5 per cent, a slight increase from the 4.9 recorded in April.
The job report comes two days after the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, citing concerns about a string of hot economic data, including low unemployment.
May jobs numbers not enough to change Bank of Canada’s course: Experts
Canada’s labour market showed minor signs of softening in May, but economists and other experts said the Bank of Canada likely wouldn’t read the numbers as a sign that its rate-tightening campaign aimed at bringing down inflation is working.
Unemployment rose to 5.2 per cent from five per cent, the first increase since last August, according to the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey for May.
The numbers released Friday said the economy lost 17,000, though employment overall was little changed.
Randall Bartlett, senior director of Canadian economics at Desjardins, cautioned that job losses were concentrated among the youngest workers in Canada as they enter the summer jobs season, and “not necessarily characteristic of what we’re seeing in the underlying labour market.” He said the job losses can’t yet be seen as a “trend.”
“We need to see how this shakes out in the months ahead, and then we’ll decide what it means for monetary policy,” Bartlett told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview.
Dominique Lapointe with Manulife Investment Management noted “small loss” mostly among the younger age group of workers should be interpreted with caution, as seasonal adjustments can be challenging for that demographic. He also pointed out that employment rose among core-aged workers.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE BANK OF CANADA?
The jobs numbers came days after the Bank of Canada resumed its interest rate tightening cycle, hiking its key rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.75 per cent after a string of unexpectedly hot economic data.
Lapointe said he is expecting another rate hike next month based on recent inflation and GDP readings. He said the jobs numbers aren’t significant enough to change the central bank’s path.
“I don’t think this morning’s (Labour Force Report) report would change what’s going to happen in July. We’d probably need to see way more weakness in other economic indicators before the next meeting for them to change their course,” he said.
Jay Zhao-Murray, FX Analyst at Monex Canada, noted that the data that went against economists’ expectations for job gains in May, but agreed that the numbers wouldn’t shift the central bank’s thinking.
“With employment cooling on the whole, this latest report does weaken the case for further hikes from the Bank of Canada, but given the details and composition of employment changes, we do not think it would materially change the Bank’s latest view on the economy,” he said in a written statement.
He said he is expecting another 25-basis-point rate hike from the Bank of Canada in July, “unless the subsequent data also confirm the negative signal from today’s report.”
Economist Tuan Nguyen of RSM Canada, meanwhile, said “there are reasons to believe that May’s decline in net jobs is not a fluke,” given that most of the job losses were in business, professional services, and trades.
Taken with an uptick in the unemployment rate, he pointed to signs that “a long-awaited softening of the labor market has finally arrived.”
“Following Friday’s job data, the Bank of Canada’s decision to hike the rate to 4.75 per cent … might be the last one in this cycle. Nevertheless, we continue to believe that rates should remain at that level at least until the end of the year to ensure substantial easing of inflation,” Nguyen said in a written statement.
Wages, which the Bank of Canada has zeroed in on as a particular concern in its inflation fight, rose 5.1 per cent year-over-year in May.
Bartlett made the case that wage growth in Canada is more “subdued” than it might appear.
He noted that StatsCan’s monthly wage reading is one of several wage indicators that the Bank of Canada looks at, and others appear to be decelerating more quickly, meaning that “wages are not the concern we had anticipated” when it comes to the possibility of a “wage-price spiral” some economists fear could push inflation higher.
Regardless, Bartlett said he expects the Bank of Canada will interpret the labour force reading as a sign that Canada’s labour market remains “very tight.”
“It needs to see the unemployment rate move meaningfully higher (and) the job vacancy rate move meaningfully lower in order to be able to see wage growth come down to a level that’s consistent with two per cent inflation,” he said.
CONSUMER SPENDING CLUES
As for the sectors where people lost jobs in May, Bartlett said the data holds clues that Canadians are still spending money despite the high-interest rate environment.
“It’s not necessarily in sectors where you would think tight monetary policy and higher interest rates would be leading to job losses,” Bartlett said.
Accommodation, food services, arts and recreation were not hit particularly hard with losses, but those are areas where people generally cut back on spending in tough economic times, Bartlett said.
“We may see the consumer continue to be relatively healthy in the second quarter, and it may be maybe pointing to that still,” he said.
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