Featured Image Source: Elon Musk
The founder and Chief Engineer of SpaceX, Elon Musk, has been spending the last couple of weeks working at his SpaceX facility located in a small village in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville, Texas. Last night, at around 3:00 a.m. CST (local time) he shared a video of the construction progress of a shiny stainless-steel propellant tank mid-section that will make up the structure of Starship SN1 (video below).
Midsection of Starship propellant tanks pic.twitter.com/Aa8yKPJEFS— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 10, 2020
Starship SN1 will be the first fully-assembled test flight vehicle that will perform a 20 kilometer test flight in the coming months, the first flight could occur as early as March. During Starship Career Day event that took place last week, Musk shared he has been spending most of his time working at Boca Chica Beach lately and that he sleeps in a local village house, he said:
"I work in the factory and go sleep in the little village over there. [...] Local community was supper supportive, and generally like I said good vibes are here (at Boca Chica)."
The job fair event aimed to find about 40 employees to fill up four work shifts for 24/7 operations meant to finish building the flight vehicles and surrounding building structures. Specifically, the company was mostly looking for welders to speed up Starship production, they were also looking other construction operations that involved building structures both at the assembly facility and launch pad. We will see production pick up significantly once they hire more workforce. Musk previously said SpaceX teams could build up to 20 Starship prototypes this year, each featuring slight changes to test out during flight.
We’re now building flight design of Starship SN1, but each SN will have at least minor improvements, at least through SN20 or so of Starship V1.0.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 28, 2019
The company has been testing stainless-steel propellant tanks to test their weld strength. On January 30, teams conducted a cryogenic pressure test on a propellant dome tank, it reached an internal pressure of 8.5 bar, or about 8.5 times the pressure of Earth's atmosphere at sea level. The tank needed to withstand a pressure of at least 6 bar for an orbital flight without humans onboard. SpaceX aimed to increase the bar strength to ensure the craft ends up being safe for crewed flights, which is great progress towards the development of Starship SN1.
The final version of Starship is scheduled to take the company's first private customer, Japanese entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa on a journey around the moon 238,900 miles away from Earth, he bought all the 100 seats aboard Starship. Musk has stated on several occasions he is thankful to Maezawa, says that what he paid for his space voyage was significant enough that it will -"have a material effect on paying for cost and development of Starship. He's paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its booster. [...] He's ultimately paying for the average citizen to travel to other planets."
The voyage around the moon aboard Starship is scheduled by the year 2023, so SpaceX is working on tight schedule to get everything ready for this awesome mission. Maezawa desires to transform the space voyage into an art project named Dear Moon, he will invite a small group of artists to join him he says, "I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon. These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us." The Dear Moon voyage aboard Starship will be very inspiring to watch. Ultimately, SpaceX has their vision set on colonizing Mars, the moon is just a stepping stone towards accomplishing it!
About the Author
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.