Featured Image Source: @LabPadre via Twitter
SpaceX is rapidly testing Starship prototypes at a small village in Boca Chica Beach located in the southernmost tip of South Texas, near the city of Brownsville. Starship will be a gigantic stainless-steel two-stage launch vehicle. That will be capable of transporting one hundred passengers and tons of cargo to space destinations. The company is working on a tight schedule to accomplish building a space-ready Starship. SpaceX’s first private passenger Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese fashion entrepreneur, booked a voyage aboard Starship for the year 2023. He plans to turn his space tour into an art voyage around the moon called “dearMoon”. A group of around eight artists will be selected to join him. “If Pablo Picasso had been able to see the moon up-close, what kind of paintings would he have drawn? If John Lennon could have seen the curvature of the Earth, what kind of songs would he have written? If they had gone to space, how would the world have looked today?” Maezawa says, “People are creative and have a great imagination. We all have the ability to dream dreams that have never been dreamt, to sing songs that have never been sung, to paint that which has never been seen before. I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us.”
With only a couple of years to develop the launch vehicle, the company operates 24 hours every day, all week, to accomplish the ambitious timeline. SpaceX teams at Boca Chica are developing several Starship prototypes simultaneously, to test out. The production line of Starships are referred to by Serial Number, SN. There are two under assembly – Starship SN5 and SN6. These are under construction inside a Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), pictured above. Yesterday, June 24, engineers tested a Starship dome tank during a cryogenic test that tested the structure's strength. Every prototype will undergo a series of tests that give engineers insight towards developing a space-ready craft.
Early morning today, June 25, SpaceX transported Starship SN5 to the launch pad at Boca Chica. The launchpad is located approximately 4-miles down the road from the assembly facility. Locals set up cameras that captured video of the steel prototype transported to the launch pad, shown below.
Starship SN5 will undergo a series of pressure tests, like previous test vehicles. These pressure tests are to determine if the structure is ready for a test flight. Engineers’ goal is to make a stainless-steel prototype that can withstand a pressure between 6 bar and 8.5 bar strength – or about 8.5 times the pressure of Earth's atmosphere at sea level. A 6 bar is the internal pressure Starship needs to withstand to fly to space, and an 8.5 bar is what is needed to launch astronauts. If the Starship SN5 test vehicle withstands a cryogenic pressure test and reaches the bar, it is expected to conduct a 150-meter test flight above Boca Chica Beach.
SpaceX’s ultimate mission is to make life multi-planetary. The founder and Chief Engineer at SpaceX Elon Musk envisions a fleet of hundreds of Starships embarking on a journey to Mars. He shared that he will give a presentation update on the spacecraft’s development and progress in September.
September sounds about right— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 24, 2020