SpaceX

SpaceX South Texas rocket factory is speeding up Starship production

SpaceX South Texas rocket factory is speeding up Starship production

Featured Image Source: @RGVaerialphotos via Twitter

Imagine living in a spacefaring civilization, a future where it is possible to book a voyage to the moon and Mars. The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk not only envisions returning astronauts to the moon and colonizing the Red Planet, he also aims to create a future where Starship will serve as a city-to-city transportation vehicle on Earth, like an airplane. Starship would transport 1,000 passengers at hypersonic speeds anywhere on Earth in under 1 hour. SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this future a reality. The Starship spacecraft is under development at the aerospace company’s South Texas rocket factory located in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville, TX.

SpaceX teams are speeding up Starship production at Boca Chica, where multiple stainless-steel Starship vehicles are under construction. Each Starship prototype is labeled with a serial number, SN. Starship SN1, SN2, SN3, and SN4, all underwent testing and were destroyed in the process earlier this year. The twin Starship SN5 and SN6 vehicles passed pre-flight testing and each completed a low-altitude test flight of around 150-meters above Boca Chica beach. In an attempt to make flying stainless-steel crafts routine, teams will manufacture many Starships to test out in Texas. Musk said earlier this year he expects to manufacture at least 20 Starship test vehicles to perform test flights. Each test vehicle will feature slight changes towards the development of the spacecraft. In an aerial photograph captured recently, multiple Starships can be seen under construction simultaneously, pictured below.

 

 

Starship SN7 will be a test tank that has already been transported to the launch pad where it will undergo cryogenic pressure testing. Starship SN8, SN9, SN10, and even SN11 have already initiated construction, according to a Boca Chica resident who captured video of labels on stainless-steel ring structures indicating its serial number (video below). Starship SN8, is expected to conduct a higher altitude test flight of around 20-kilometers, it will be the first prototype featuring a nose cone and aerodynamic fins.

“Building the production system so that we can build ultimately hundreds or thousands of Starships — that’s the hard part,” Musk said on September 1st during a Human To Mars teleconference. “But we’ve been making good progress on the productions system as people can see from the aerial photos of Boca Chica. […] A year ago, there was almost nothing there, and now we’ve got quite a lot of production capability. We’re rapidly making more and more ships, and we’ll be starting production of the booster soon.” During the teleconference, Musk stated the cost estimate for developing Starship is around $5 billion.

 

 

SPACEX STARSHIP ASSEMBLY FACILITY

 

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

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.

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