“The future of humanity is going to bifurcate in two directions: Either it’s going to become multiplanetary, or it’s going to remain confined to one planet and eventually there’s going to be an extinction event,” says SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who is working to develop the spacecraft that will enable humans to become a multiplanetary species. He believes “Starship is key to preserve the light of consciousness.” SpaceX’s ultimate goal is to enable brave astronauts to build the first sustainable city on Mars.
SpaceX’s Starbase facility is showing the first glimpse of the future that is to come in South Texas. Driving down Highway 4 road to Boca Chica Beach looks like a scene from a futuristic film – giant Starship vehicles and stainless-steel structures towering into the blue sky. SpaceX teams are currently working on preparing the first Starship Super Heavy launch vehicle that will attempt a debut test flight to orbit this year. On Sunday, August 1st, Chief Engineer Musk shared a stunning photograph of the enormous Super Heavy booster prototype, known as Booster 4, that is undergoing work inside a high bay at the Starbase factory. “Installing Starship booster engines for first orbital flight,” he said. In the photo, Musk is carrying his youngest son, named ‘X Æ A-Xii,’ while he works alongside employees on the 230-foot-tall rocket. You can see just how massive the booster is with humans for scale in the image shown below.
Installing Starship booster engines for first orbital flight pic.twitter.com/yhqrNFBclh— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 2, 2021
Super Heavy Booster 4 will be equipped with 29 methane-burning Raptor engines capable of generating over 16 million pounds of thrust. These rocket engines are one-of-a-kind, designed by SpaceX to enable rapid and full reusability and also enable the first Mars settlers to synthesize fuel via In-situ resource utilization. Astronauts could build a propellant plant on the Red Planet to create Raptor engine fuel with the Sabatier process by extracting carbon dioxide from the planet’s thin atmosphere and subsurface ice-water to create liquid oxygen and liquid methane (fuel) to power a return to Earth. SpaceX recently announced that it achieved building 100 Raptor engines at its headquarter in Hawthorne, California. Local Boca Chica residents have captured photos of multiple Raptor engines that were shipped to the South Texas facility, shown below.
Raptor delivery early this morning!!! The new Raptor engines! pic.twitter.com/ouw9hoF4ck— Daniel Sanchez Photography (@Daniel_S_Images) August 1, 2021
3 more Raptor engines arrived about an hour ago!!!@FLsunshine4me2 @elonmusk @SpaceX @mdleac @Booster_Buddies pic.twitter.com/LAPw9YR7iv— Daniel Sanchez Photography (@Daniel_S_Images) August 1, 2021
In the coming weeks we can expect to see Booster 4 rolled out from the assembly facility to the launch pad where it will be mounted atop the newly built orbital launch tower. The launch mount is almost complete. "Starbase is moving at Warp 9 [rapid speed]," Musk captioned a photo of the 370-ton launch table being placed by gigantic cranes. Soon we will see teams lift Starship SN20 atop Booster 4 and see a full-scale launch system stacked for the very first time. SpaceX plans to launch the Starship launch vehicle from Texas to orbit then land it off the northeast coast of Kauai, Hawaii, during the first orbital flight attempt. To prepare for this test flight, engineers will conduct ground tests to assess performance of all the vehicle’s systems.
Starbase is moving at Warp 9 pic.twitter.com/p8F5Qqfl8T— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2021
Way up there!!! pic.twitter.com/vC8rnDkcsp— Daniel Sanchez Photography (@Daniel_S_Images) July 29, 2021
"FULL SEND" from the launch table!!! pic.twitter.com/PtGswriwGU— Daniel Sanchez Photography (@Daniel_S_Images) August 1, 2021
Featured Images Source: SpaceX Elon Musk
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.