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ISS astronaut spots SpaceX’s Starbase facility from space

SpaceX's Starbase facility as seen from the ISS.

An astronaut gazing out from the International Space Station (ISS) managed to spot SpaceX’s Starbase spaceflight facility in Boca Chica, Texas, some 250 miles below.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata photographed the sight from the ISS as the orbital outpost passed over the Lone Star State earlier this week. Posting the image on Twitter, Wakata asked his followers if they could spot SpaceX’s facility far below.

Unless you live locally, or you’ve been tracking SpaceX’s work at the site extremely closely, it’s a safe bet you won’t be able to spot Starbase. So let us help you out …

SpaceX's Starbase facility as seen from the ISS.

In the image above, the red circle shows SpaceX’s Starbase Launch Control Center building, as well as the Starbase Tracking Station. It’s also the location of SpaceX’s so-called Rocket Garden, where it displays multiple Starship spacecraft, most of which sport older designs that never launched.

The green circle shows the launch site for the upcoming maiden test of SpaceX’s next-generation rocket, the Super Heavy.

The Super Heavy will attempt to carry the Starship spacecraft into orbit on a brief test flight, with NASA hoping to use both vehicles for future crewed missions to the moon and even Mars.

SpaceX has yet to confirm a date for the first launch of the Super Heavy, though it’s expected to take place in the coming months.

When it does finally get to blast off, its 17 million pounds of thrust will make it the most powerful rocket ever to have flown.

That’s way more than that of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which generated a record 8.8 million pounds of thrust when it lifted off for the first time in November at the start of the Artemis I lunar mission, and more than double that of the Saturn V rocket, which powered astronauts to the moon for the Apollo missions five decades ago.

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Trevor Mogg
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