Featured Image Source: Tesmanian.com / Evelyn J. Arevalo @JaneidyEve
Driving down Highway 4 road at Boca Chica Beach in South Texas feels like you are entering a portal into the future. A giant neon sign that says – STARBASE – welcomes you to catch a glimpse of SpaceX’s Starship rocket factory. The region will one day become a spaceport from where fleets of spaceships will transport hundreds of astronauts towards the Moon and Mars. Seeing two giant Starship vehicles standing tall in the horizon as the sun sets makes you believe that civilian space travel en masse will be possible in our lifetime. The tiny beach village is relatively quiet, all you can hear is the sound of seagulls singing, metal ringing, and heavy machinery, as SpaceX employees build prototypes of the stainless-steel spacecraft that could change the course of humanity’s future forever.
“Most people have no idea Starship exists or how large this beast is!” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said, “Body diameter (9 meters or 30 feet) is bigger than a 747 or A380 [aircraft]. Starship thrust & mass are more than double Saturn V moon rocket. Making life multiplanetary means massive rockets. Got to be done,” he wrote via Twitter on Friday. The Saturn V rocket supported NASA missions to the moon during the Apollo program. Humans have not returned to the lunar surface in roughly 50 years, SpaceX aims to change that by 2024.
Source: Tesmanian.com / Evelyn J. Arevalo @JaneidyEve
Engineers have tested multiple prototypes of Starship since 2019. The latest test vehicle that performed a test flight is Starship SN15. It is the first full-scale vehicle to land intact after flying in May, now it is retired at the factory's backyard. “It would be so cool for retired starships (or mockups) to be transported to museums around the world to allow people to see the sheer beauty of this engineering marvel in the future! […]” a Twitter user, @AdamKlotz, told Musk in a comment. “Good idea,” Musk responded, “They are not easy to move over roads, which is why the factory is close to the launch site, but we will support a museum that wants a prototype if they take care of transport,” he said. Having retired Starships on display at museums would inspire children to dream of a spacefaring future and also serve as an educational tool for aspiring aerospace engineers; they would be able to see just how massive Starship is.
Good idea. They are not easy to move over roads, which is why the factory is close to the launch site, but we will support a museum that wants a prototype if they take care of transport.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 24, 2021
Starship SN16 stands next to SN15, it has not performed a flight yet (pictured below). Musk previously said that they “might use SN16 on a hypersonic flight test.” However, the company is currently focused on developing the Super Heavy booster that will propel Starship to orbit. They target to conduct the first orbital flight attempt from Texas to Hawaii before this year ends. The first booster is already undergoing ground tests at the launch pad while an enormous launch tower is actively under construction.
Starship SN15 and SN16/Source: Tesmanian.com Evelyn J. Arevalo @JaneidyEve
Rain and lightning here now:— Starship Gazer (@StarshipGazer) July 22, 2021
11:56 am 7/22/21 pic.twitter.com/suwrDoZ67O