Pennsylvania family travels more than 1,000 miles in hopes of watching SN8 launch

Local News
February 07 2021 06:00 pm

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KVEO) – For those living in the city of Brownsville, a trip see to the SpaceX Boca Chica facility down Highway 4 would not take more than a half hour. For one Pennsylvanian family, however, the trip took 28 hours.  

The development of the Boca Chica SpaceX site has captivated the interests of technology and space-travel enthusiasts from all over the United States and world, some even willing to travel long distances to see the site in person.  

Abide Mararaure and his wife Khanyisa drove to the Rio Grande Valley with their year and a half old daughter from Pottstown, Pennsylvania to see the SpaceX launch. He says the 1,912-mile-long trip took 28 hours travel, and the family stopped in Tennessee and Louisiana to rest.  

He says they are fascinated with the advancement in technology being put forth by SpaceX.  

“I come from the African continent. We are way too far from Africa but seeing this now gives me hope that I’ll be able to tell my relatives that I’ll be there in 30 minutes,” said Masaraure. “It’s just captivating to know that there is some individuals out there who are creative and are going to do something which is going to benefit the world.” 

Starship Serial Number 8 (SN8) is projected to take flight as early as Friday. SN8 is the top portion of the reusable Starship System (Starship and Super Heavy) that will be tasked with transporting cargo and humans to Earth’s orbit and beyond.  

The anticipated launch is one that comes with firsts. It is the first prototype to be launched at its full 160-foot height and will go farther into the atmosphere than those before it.  

SN8 will use three Raptor engines to ascend 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) and is expected to come back down using an untested “belly flop” maneuver, where the spacecraft rotates horizontally to the ground, using the movable flaps to stabilize itself as it descends and realigns itself vertically before landing.  

Masaraure visited the Boca Chica site earlier this week and says this is not the first time the family has traveled to watch a launch. The couple was in Cape Canaveral when SpaceX launched astronauts to the International Space Station back in May. They were also in the Valley to watch the SN5 hop.  

“This time it’s different because with this one it’s something that has never been done. Especially the belly flop maneuver,” said Masaraure. There is a chance the test will not be successful, but SpaceX has SN9, SN10, and SN11 in line for the future. 

Masaraure hopes seeing all this in person will leave an impression on his daughter.  

“I hope one day she will want to be an astronaut and maybe be the first one to go to Mars,” he said. “I hope she will be captivated when I show her these photos in grade seven or eight.”  

The couple has been here since Sunday night and plan on staying until after the launch.  

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