Behold! SpaceX’s Mechazilla moved its robotic arms this week to lift Starship onto the Starbase launch tower mount. On January 9, SpaceX shared an amazing video of Mechazilla stacking Starship SN24 atop the Super Heavy rocket Booster 7, linked below. The 390-foot-tall rocketship is taller than the U.S. Statue of Liberty. SpaceX founder Elon Musk nicknamed the Starbase launch tower ‘Mechazilla’ in reference to the ‘Mechagodzilla’ character from the ‘Godzilla’ film franchise.The 469-feet-tall launch tower is designed to stack and recover the spacecraft by 'catching' it as it descends from the sky. Collectively, the surrounding ground structures with the launch tower and propellant tanks near the launch pad are referred to as ‘Stage Zero’. The tower is also equipped to fuel the spacecraft on the launch mount.
Ship 24 stacked on Super Heavy Booster 7 at Starbase in Texas pic.twitter.com/hLcghfq349— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 10, 2023
This marks the sixth time SpaceX stacks the two-stage rocket. The stainless-steel prototypes are undergoing pre-flight preparations to perform a debut orbital test flight which could happen within the first quarter this year, if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides a spaceflight license. “We have a real shot at late February. March launch attempt appears highly likely,” said Musk via Twitter on January 7th. Before the gigantic silver vehicle could take flight, it must undergo more testing – including a fully-stacked Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) and a static-fire test of its 33 Raptor V2 engines. During the WDR, SpaceX will fuel the vehicle with around 5,000 tons of liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellant in order to simulate launch day operations from fueling to countdown but not ignite the rocket. The test serves to ensure the vehicle is working optimally for lift off. It will be the first WDR with a fully-stacked Starship.
Starship 24 lifted onto Super Heavy Booster 7 today. Awesome! Go SpaceX!— Starship Gazer (@StarshipGazer) January 10, 2023
SpaceX has not yet performed a 33-engine static-fire test, it is proceeding carefully because the engines are capable of generating an immense amount of force which could potentially damage Stage Zero if not done with caution. The Super Heavy rocket is capable of producing over 17 million pounds of thrust at full throttle, making it the world’s most powerful rocket to ever exist. Such force is required to propel the 165-foot-high Starship to Low Earth Orbit with around 100 tons of cargo. A spaceflight communicator, Zack Golden (@CSI_Starbase via Twitter), creates technical videos of Starship-related developments. He shared that before Starship performs the orbital flight, engineers tested the orbital launch mount by using a 5,000 ton mass simulator, to simulate the spacecraft's weight. “This is an important test to be completed ahead of Full Stack Wet Dress Rehearsal testing!” shared Golden. Watch his full YouTube video explaining this vital test in the link below.
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Hey #StarshipAddicts, check out this CSI Special Report explaining why SpaceX is using this '5,000 Ton' Starship Mass Simulator on the Orbital Launch Mount!— Zack Golden (@CSI_Starbase) January 4, 2023
This is an important test to be completed ahead of Full Stack Wet Dress Rehearsal testing!
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy 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.