Featured Image Source: photographer Greg Scott @GregScott_photo via Twitter
NASA's Artemis program aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2025. The agency partnered with SpaceX to make it a reality. SpaceX is developing a lunar-optimized Starship Human Landing System (HLS). Landing on the moon will be a stepping stone to launch the first humans to Mars aboard Starship before 2030. SpaceX is developing Starship HLS at its Starbase facility located in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. The company started to build a second facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX already has environmental approval to launch Starship from Florida and it has already started building a Starship launch tower next to historic Launch Pad-39A. The same launch pad from where NASA Apollo astronauts launched to the moon half a century ago. SpaceX already completed building a tower at Starbase, which is equipped with robotic-arms designed to stack Starship atop Super Heavy and 'catch' the stainless-steel vehicles soon after a mission, the Florida tower will be an improved version of it.
Another flyover of #SpaceX's #NASA Starbase & pad 39A yesterday provided some good insight into all the new construction at the sites. Starbase buildings are coming up now, a new tower section just rolled out & the chopsticks are making great progress. @elonmusk @FarryFaz pic.twitter.com/5cdYIvDrG4— Greg Scott (@GregScott_photo) July 21, 2022
Last month, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared that the "SpaceX team is making great progress at the Cape & Starbase!" he wrote in response to photographer Greg Scott, who captured aerial images of the stainless-steel tower segments at the Florida build site, pictured below. Other Florida spaceflight enthusiasts have also been sharing photos of the tower's construction progress via social media.
SpaceX team is making great progress at the Cape & Starbase!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2022
Rehearsing the route for our Explore Tour, available starting tomorrow! If no Pad 39A Operations activities, we can drive around its backside! See Mechazilla (on left), currently 3 segments high. @ExploreSpaceKSC pic.twitter.com/GvoKglHn8f— KSC Bus Driver (@BusKsc) July 4, 2022
Section 5 of the SBK (Starbase Kennedy) launch tower just passed by the VAB on its way out to Pad 39A tonight. This is the section where cryogenic propellants are loaded into Starship. It should be lifted into place soon making it 1 step closer to reality. #SpaceX #NASA pic.twitter.com/Wyllt5bl9O— Greg Scott (@GregScott_photo) July 28, 2022
On July 31, SpaceX rolled out the fifth launch tower segment down the road that leads to Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex-39A. LabPadre livestream camera captured footage of the operation, video linked below. The launch tower consists of nine segments, SpaceX has already stacked five and the top three segments have been seen at the launch facility, as shown in the graphic below.
The 5th tower segment of #SpaceX's Mechazilla Tower at the Cape has been stacked.— Lolomatico_3D (@Lolomatico3d) July 29, 2022
Chopsticks are mostly complete.
It is confirmed that the chopsticks are shorter than the ones in Boca Chica, Texas.
Tower segments 6-8 are finished, nothing yet to see from segment 9. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/5nmlaJGBWH
In June, Musk shared a presentation slideshow about the company's accomplishments and goals that features renderings of the future Starship factories it will build in Texas and Florida. The facilities look futuristic with glass walls and giant vehicle assembly buildings for Starship, pictured below. SpaceX is primarily focused on achieving a successful Starship orbital flight test sometime this year. "A *successful* orbital flight is probably between 1 and 12 months from now," said Musk today, August 3rd. The company is preparing the Starship SN24 and Super Heavy Booster 7 prototypes to perform the flight as soon as it receives a spaceflight license from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Images Source: SpaceX