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Elon Musk Gives Everyday Astronaut A Tour Of The SpaceX Starbase Factory [VIDEO]

Elon Musk Gives Everyday Astronaut A Tour Of The SpaceX Starbase Factory [VIDEO]

Rocket science communicator Tim Dodd is known for making rocket science understandable for ‘everyday’ people through in-depth educational videos on YouTube. He got an exclusive first-look at the SpaceX Starbase facility where the aerospace company is developing the Starship launch system that will enable humans to explore the Solar System. SpaceX founder Elon Musk invited Dodd to the Starship rocket factory at Boca Chica Beach, Texas, on July 30. Dodd had the opportunity to interview him as they walked through the factory. Everyday Astronaut created a three-part video series to share with thousands of space enthusiasts subscribed to his YouTube channel.

The first video in the series was released on August 4. Musk walked with Dodd around the facility for over two hours discussing technical aspects of the launch vehicle that is actively under development. SpaceX is working very rapidly to prepare the first fully-stacked Starship-Super Heavy rocket that will be launched to orbit this year. “This is definitely a very exciting time because we are in kind of a final push to complete the launch system, Stage Zero, essentially,” Musk told Dodd while engineers and mechanics worked in the background. In the video you can see just how massive Super Heavy is! 

Image Source: Elon Musk via Twitter

The 230-foot rocket was moved to the launch pad on Tuesday, where it will undergo pre-flight testing before conducting the debut orbital test flight. The enormous stainless-steel launch vehicle features giant grid fins, used to guide the vehicle as it descends. Dodd got a close-up look of the gigantic grid fins before their installation, pictured below. Musk said he estimates the grid fins weigh around three tons. He expects that SpaceX will have to cut the mass of each grid fin in half because currently the vehicle has many things that make it too heavy. Musk also shared that Starship SN20’s grid fins are electrically powered and controlled by a modified Tesla Model 3 motor.

Image Source: Everyday Astronaut via YouTube

During the interview, Musk said that the hardest part about designing a rocket is doing it in a cost-friendly manner. “Humanity will be a multi-planet species, if we get the cost per ton to orbit to a point where we can afford to become a space race civilization and a multiplanet species,” he said.

Dodd asked Musk about NASA’s Artemis Human Landing System (HLS). SpaceX was awarded $2.89 billion to develop a lunar-optimized Starship to land NASA astronauts on the Moon by 2024. The company is working on a tight schedule to have the spacecraft ready. Dodd wondered a couple of things about the Starship lunar lander design because it features noticeable differences from the Starship that is designed for Mars missions. The lunar lander will not feature aerodynamic fins because the Moon does not have a thick atmosphere, nor strong gravity. SpaceX had previously published a render of the HLS Starship design that depicted a set of small thrusters at the top/mid-section of the vehicle, Dodd asked about the thrusters as they walked in front of a lunar lander mock-up nose cone featuring the red NASA logo and a U.S.A flag. Musk told him that the HLS Starship might not need landing thrusters at the top section of the lunar Starship. "With the agreement of NASA, we could see that design evolve [...]," he said. They could land on the moon with a propulsive descent powered by a Raptor – if its power is not too much to leave a hole they might decide to remove the top thrusters from the lunar Starship. Musk and Dodd discussed multiple technical aspects of the launch system. You can watch the full 1-hour interview in the video below, courtesy of Everyday Astronaut via YouTube.

Everyday Astronaut SpaceX Starbase Assembly Facility Tour – Part 1

 

 

 

Featured Image Source: Everyday Astronaut via YouTube 

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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