December 9, 2019 • Evelyn J. Arevalo
SpaceX is building the first prototypes of Starship, their next-generation spacecraft, at their two facilities one in Boca Chica, Brownsville, Texas and the other in Cocoa, Florida. Last month, their Texas prototype Starship Mk1 was damaged while undergoing a series of cryogenic pressure testing. While SpaceX engineers in Florida were building Starship Mk2 simultaneously. Read: SpaceX Starship Mk1 tests in Boca Chica Texas.
Starship Mk1 in Texas. Source: SpaceX
There was a friendly space race between SpaceX Cocoa and SpaceX Boca Chica, competing to see who would be first to develop a fully assembled Starship and conduct a debut flight. Now, SpaceX says they will temporarily pause their work in Florida, and send more workforce and equipment to Boca Chica.
Images Source: YouTube LabPadre
Yesterday, the company shipped pre-built parts of a new Starship vehicle from Florida to Boca Chica Texas. These will become the next Mk3 prototype of the craft. A Go Discovery ship delivered what appears to be a stainless steel pre-built dome structure with other tank components to aid in Starship's construction. SpaceX is moving forward with construction of the Starship Mk3 craft in Texas.
SPACEX STARSHIP: 2 Starship bases & a Bulkhead that had been removed from the Cocoa site have just been loaded onto Go Discovery in the Port. My guess is that they are on their way to Boca Chica, but thats just my guess. Care to— Greg Scott 🚀🚢😎 (@GregScott_photo) November 30, 2019
enlighten us @ElonMusk? #SpaceX #Space #Science pic.twitter.com/up6YwrYJKE
SpaceX has reportedly transferred up to 80% of the Starship workforce in Florida to do other work operations in Florida or Texas. SpaceX stated they have not laid off any employees who were building the Starship prototype in Florida. Some employees at the site chose to leave the company when SpaceX offered them job opportunities of either transferring to work in Texas, or remain in Florida to work on different projects.
SpaceX Florida will focus on building a new launch mount on historic Pad 39A, that they are currently leasing. This pad was the same one astronauts used during the Apollo moon missions. They plan to accommodate the site to fit a Starship with it's Super Heavy rocket. They will also find a new nearby assembly site for Starship to make it easier to transfer to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), because Cocoa is too far to transfer a large vehicle. Once all that is set, SpaceX plans to continue their Starship assembly in Florida.
Starship will be a massive two part vehicle, needs a Super Heavy rocket to cross Earth's atmosphere powered by its 37 Raptor engines. The rocket will return to Earth from space landing vertically on a spaceport pad in order to be reused again. Starship will be able to cruise through space solely powered by it's 6 Raptor engine thrusters. The craft will be fully reusable capable of carrying 100 passengers and over 100 tons of cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond into the depths of space. Starship will be the most powerful rocket ever built! Read: SpaceX Is Building The World's Most Powerful Rocket: Starship Technical Details.
If the Starship prototype development does well we could see an orbital flight as soon as next year. Read more about the future of this craft:
* Featured Article Image Source: Twitter @LabPadre.